Ever wondered during a doubles game how your opponent could be there that quick at the net? Or how they could even hit the shuttle from that position? Wonder no longer, here are the answers.
There are 2 types of visual deceptions or tricks exist. One is the well-known form of tricks which is spectacular and instantly eye-catching as it happens. The first and the most common what I call Focused Visual Deception (FVD). An FVD can happen when an athlete trying to anticipate the possible outcome of the movement of her opponent instead of keeping the focus on the shuttle and then react accordingly. This type of trick is very popular in all disciplines as it is spectacular. The other one we will excessively talk about is the Peripheral Visual Deception (PVD). A PVD can happen when the opponent memorising the position of a player or their racket position based on their peripheral vision and calculate their distance accordingly based on their opponents’ height adjustments and positioning. In doubles, there are lots of things to listen to while the game could be so intense so it is easy to believe in our peripheral vision and aim the shuttle where visibly there is free space. So again, it is not happening by our mistake, it is happening by our opponent`s consciousness of their body and racket positioning.
It is a level of consciousness of a player who deliberately positions itself low at the net or coming unexpectedly from rear visibly covered by the other player or off the sight of our vision to confuse us. Shots from different places made the players orientate their faces to the shuttle which creates a mild or vast vision loss of the opponent`s side. That is when the peripheral vision steps into the equation and then the visual memory of where the players were before my shot or which direction they were moving to. When the shot happens and the player quickly get back the contact of the opponent, the player in front could catch the shuttle higher and faster as expected, creating an unforced winner situation to them which will be hard to challenge. Furthermore, deliberate low racket positioning can also confuse the opponent and make an unexpected end of a rally. In Zen terms: Subdue the opponent without a long fight. It is common in disciplines where a male player is incorporated as the fast pace of the rally builds up the confusion and creates a good soil for the flower of deception. It is rather rare in singles and women`s doubles.
First of all, based on the above video links, what observations have you made?
This is most likely happens when a player holds a nice low position close to the net and from their opponent`s peripheral vision, it looks like he/she is far enough to hit the shuttle crosscourt at the net, make a slight push to the midcourt or just make a table-turning netshot of the rally. What can you do to avoid? Hit more straight shots at tense situations would be a good idea for first, it could dramatically reduce the chance of PVD, however, it can slightly increase the chance of other tricks. Keep it low, keep up the pressure or dare to lift when in struggle (sometimes you better lift it up).
Well, position yourself low but as low to still be able to react fast. You need to know how to rotate on court with your current partner. You need to have a very fast arm if you want to try position your arm low and then intercept successfully. You need to be aware of your own direction of movement and anticipate your opponent`s possible direction and their shot. It`s easy. 😀
I would make a side note of my observations that a lefty or funny looking clothes can increase the chances of PVD. Just saying.
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