The end of the previous article: “Let it happen. Accept your vulnerability and TRUST your partner`s abilities.“
So what layers am I talking about? When we talk about trust, we often thinking about it as a big, intangible cloud which we have or not have at all. Believing this could not be further from the truth. The thing is, that it has layers. And all layers have lots of components. Let`s put it 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 we can 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 and after 5 mins it turns out it`s the fridge turned on, we`ll start fidgeting. Our brain starts calculating 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 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 on 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. Your muscles 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. You built up the trust of your motor 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 this racket with these abilities? So what will happen inside your mind during the match? You`ve got loads of narratives like “How much different is this racket comparing to mine?” and “Ohh, the clears are better! That was a terrible net shot. Good smash, drives are consistent, I`m not slower! Another terrible net shot. Come on, you are better than this! Why this one landed in the net? Another mistake! And missed it again. I can`t win with this one. This racket is awful!” 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 abilities and how much distraction this situation causes on the focus of winning.
Every little thing and condition building up the overall trust in the layers. If anything changes, you need to build it up again. Building overall trust could be a long run. But when you are on an overall reliable level, replacing things in the secondary or the tertiary layers doesn`t take much time but the effort (change the t-shirt, a grip, look out to the coach or someone important to me to get feedback). If you try to replace too many things in the layers during a stressful situation, it can turn into mistrust of self and in this case, your might wants to escape to get back into an emotionally “safe” environment.
Trust is the most important mental skill in badminton (probably in all sports). 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 are build up your trust in yourself and your environment. And 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. Click here for part three.
Ps.: A final thought to this post 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 for first it sounds easy. Comparing to doubles where one suffering with performance and the other can inspire, so they can pull up or down each other`s performance. In singles, the inspiration needs to come from inside, or, you can accept your opponent`s performance as another source of inspiration. Your respect for your opposition can allow you to accept their good 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.
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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