The layers of trust in doubles – How layers build up – part 2 of 6

The end of the previous article: “Let it happen. Accept your vulnerability and TRUST your partner`s abilities.

About trust

So what layers am I talking about? When we talk about trust, we often thinking about it as a big, intangible cloud that we have or not have at all.

The thing is, that it has layers and many sublayers. Let`s put that into words what we all feel but not thinking about it deep enough.

For instance, we are going to go to sleep at home. In our bedroom. It is most likely an environment we can trust.

We know how it looks, smells, what sounds can happen and who or what can usually enter the room. Those are the basic reasons why we trust this place.

If one of those conditions’ changes, because the cat is hungry and become annoyingly attacking, or we still can smell the dinner roast in the bedroom or we hear a strange noise because the fridge turned on, an on and on… we`ll start fidgeting.

Our brain starts calculating the chances of any possible outcomes (positive or negative) and as a result, it will create lots of hypothesises and worries about things important to us or just makes us worry or excites us and won`t let us sleep.

There are primary, secondary and tertiary layers. It is easy to replace quickly a secondary or tertiary layer, but it is hard to replace a primary one.

It needs time and effort. Let`s see an example. If you are in a tournament and your string torn during a rally, it is easy to replace it with the same racket and string tension.

Why? You know you have trained with this racket. You feel it. This is the perfect extension of you.

You know that your knowledge layer shouldn`t be affected by the change.

Your muscles and you vision have been trained how to drop at the net, how much effort your whole arm needs to use to a drop shot or a cross-court drop.

When you see a this kind of trajectory of the shuttle what else you need to do differently to perform this shot effectively.

You built up trust in your motor and visual skills. Now it works like a charm with this racket, with this grip and at that tension.

But what if you have only one of these rackets with these abilities and if it broke you need to play with one you don`t know? So what will happen inside your mind during the match with an unknown racket?


You`ve got loads of narratives like:

  • “Does that new racket affecting my game?” (Questioning knowledge)
  • “I will look like a bad player if I play badly after the racket swap! (panic)”
  • “It can`t happen, I`ve trained hard, is it all gone now?”
  • “Am I a fail?” (Questioning Identity)
  • “No, I am not, if I fail it is because of the racket.” (Protecting Identity and knowledge with creating an excuse)

After those, you can decide, (breathing) Ok let`s try it out the racket:

  • “Clears are smooth” (feeling lucky, not knowledgeable)
  • That was a terrible net shot” (impatience)
  • Good smash, at least this remains driven by me (untrusted knowledge at some shots)
  • Drives are flat and quick, I`m not slower!” (ray of light on trusting knowledge)
  • Another terrible net shot” (Forcing down our own trust in our knowledge by anger, losing focus)
  • Come on, you are better than this!” (Disappointment, anger, challenged knowledge)
  • Why this one landed in the net? (Confused, disappointed, ashamed)
  • Another mistake!” (Anger, low level of trust, just about giving up)
  • And missed it again. (mistrust in knowledge)
  • I can`t win with this one. This racket is awful!” (Complete abdication)

A change is like that doesn`t look big but it may turn into a whirlpool of misery, depending on how different the replacement racket is.

How the player trusts its own knowledge and Identity will determine how much distraction this person`s focus can bare in a situation at a game.

Every little thing and condition could building up the overall trust in the layers and every little distraction can break it a bit down and create virtually unbeatable obstacles.

If anything changes, you need to build up trust again or replace it with another layer.

Building overall trust could be a long run, or not at all. It depends.

Your identity can step up if you lose faith in your knowledge.

For instance: “This racket is awful, but I am a kind of a guy who will show you that it is not a problem to me.”

When you are considering yourself on an overall reliable level at all layers, replacing things in the secondary or the tertiary layers doesn`t take much time but the effort (change the t-shirt during a match, or a grip, or the string-snapped racket, or your game face or your tactics, etc.).

Your daily observations on yourself will provide you the solution how you can overcome on this.

If you try to replace too many things in the layers during a stressful situation, it can turn into mistrust of self (Identity) and in this case, your might wants to escape to get back into an emotionally “safe” environment.

Trust could be like a wall of pebbles. Uneven surfaces holds up each other`s weights.

It means, nothing is simple or black and white. The weight representing the importance of a sublayer.

Trust is the most important mental skill in badminton (probably in all sports and basically in life).

The trust in your body parts. One by one. The trust in your certain shots. One by one.

Trust in your decisions, in your focused and peripheral vision, in your hearing, in the perception of the shuttle through your racket.

Trust in the supply of your basal needs, your coach, officials, relatives, teammates or people representing the public.

These small things build up your trust in yourself and your environment. Only you can tell which one has a big or a small value. Which one is matter at every situation and which one holds less importance.

By your environment, I mean your nutritional sources, your own personal places, the environment where your relatives are, where you meet with teammates and coaches, so it is not limited to the physical environment where you perform.

If you can trust all of the above, then you do not need to worry about existential threats which are desired.

An example for the above: If one of your shots does not work out for you at this moment, then avoid hitting it and replace it with a simpler alternative to keep up the overall trust in You.

Otherwise, you are risking to weaken it or lose it. In other terms, if one of your layers` components is failing for some reason, just replace it with a trusted component.

If you continue using the currently failing component, it may create an avalanche of unnecessary risk-taking and loads of bad decisions where you will lose your precious focus on the game and the most important thing makes you strong. The trust in You, overall.

End of part two. Part 3 is coming soon.

A final thought about singles players


Their situation is different. Not easier, not harder.

It`s a different thing. They need to trust every layer of themselves on the court alone and at first, it sounds easy.

Comparing to doubles, where one suffering with performance issues but the other can inspire, means they can pull each other`s performance up or down.

In singles, the inspiration needs to come from inside, or, you can accept your opponent`s performance as another source of inspiration. That is what we call rivalry.

Your respect for your opposition can allow you to accept their performance against you. It works even stronger if the respect is mutual between the players.

Please see good examples of getting inspiration from your opponent here and here.

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I am a vivid psychology lover and always interested in how performance builds up and my interest is not limited to sports. Below I wanted to make a collection of links which are helped me to understand the layers of trust in Badminton. Please see links to the articles here:

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One Comment on “The layers of trust in doubles – How layers build up – part 2 of 6

  1. Pingback: The layers of trust in doubles – part 1 – SUNRISE BADMINTON NETWORK

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