I am visiting lots of social media sites to find out what people think about all things badminton. I would like to know how people see and feel badminton and what it means to them.
My observations tell me that my perception of badminton might be different than the majority. But I do not think I am reinventing something.
I feel there is something that has been lost through times which is why I am curious. So I ask questions.
Questions that make people think about topics look trivial. Questions, which are easy to answer at first glance but in fact, it is so difficult and you can quickly lose yourself in the diversity of all the related topics without an actual answer for the original question.
Your openness on the connecting topics determines how deep your understanding could be on mindset.
I wanted to have a go with it to understand it since I discovered the importance of it. Now I want to extensively describe what it means to me.
First of all, there is no absolute way to measure and inspect a badminton mindset as it is happening.
There are signs of it when it is lacking or going well but cannot be measured as it is continuously growing or shirking at every second driven by your current emotions and your environment.
I have had a poll on a social media site to find out what people generally think about mindset in badminton. It shows that we kinda get it but not exactly.
The thing is that we are not on the same page and that is why we need explanations about it.
I believe every sport have 4 main aspects (and many-many sub-aspects) which are describing the whole concept of specific sporting activity.
If you are proficient in a sport, you probably can understand most aspects of it by reading this explanation. However, I cannot guarantee that you`ll be a professional mindset owner at the end of this article.
But you can get a strong, basic understanding of what it is and you might find out the way how could it work for you.
The foundation of our mindset is coming from our parents, close and broad relatives. Later on, your teachers and coaches trying to complete your mindset to make you a successful person.
After them, you take over and define what it supposed to mean for you and when you stuck you go back to those roots to discover illogical statements and actions to get back on track.
But it will not last for so long, it is continuously changing so your mentality may become complete for a final exam or a tournament but not for your whole entire life.
You need more challenge and experience in handling hard times to flexibly adopt a new situation with your current understanding of a problem. You will then learn the way of possible solutions through these processes.
What I found during my research, there are people who only talk about these 2 aspects and missing things that would complete All-Things-Badminton as a whole.
It is useful if you are able to recognize these crowds to have a great conversation about their views on badminton. And it is not a surprise if they can tell you new and exciting things.
So to speak, if someone is proficient in techniques, you can have a great talk about how you can do it better or how to learn a type of shot.
The same applies to tactics. All the other topics are less likely to be on the plate when it comes to badminton small talk.
My observation is that most people stuck on these two topics and the social media platforms are full of questions that are challenging these currently dominating subjects.
I am conscious, that we are missing a lot out if we are only focusing on these. There are much more here we ought to investigate.
I think it is the most identical field of all sports. The movements are pretty much representing the outlook of the sport, therefore it is unquestionably the easiest to recognise.
There are many kinds of them and everybody prefers somehow different techniques based on the motion range limits of their body parts, inherited muscle memories, body preferences, etc.
Everybody has their own favourite way of executions of their favourite drills/tasks at and from every physical point on the court to neutralize or attack the opponent in the most common situations or how to practice defensive movements, etc.
There are comfortable ones, efficient ones, stamina challenging ones and physically and tactically risky ones. It depends on what you think is best for you or for your players.
These methods can change many times when you start the sport and they can also change consciously or unconsciously over time. It all depends on how you feel about the sport of badminton the most.
I encourage every one of the ways of development exercises until it`s not hurting the athlete.
This is the topic that makes the whole game exciting. It makes you feel like you are being in a battle.
You need to know what techniques you like and dislike to apply on the court and then you should observe the same to your opponent and build up your rally goals, set goals and match goals accordingly.
If you are a good player you will do the planning before the match. But…
You must think in advance about how to put your opponent under the pressure of your most vicious shots.
This is the birthplace of mind-blowing situations and great achievement over others. As I`ve found out throughout surfing online, this is the most favourite topic of most enthusiasts.
I would not say that “this is overrated” because it is not, it is really important and a lovely topic.
But we must admit that the whole thing does not stop here.
There are many more to talk about which are vastly affecting the outcome of the first two aspects, the techniques and the tactics. Let`s see the next big aspect.
My approach is that we supposed to see the scientific areas of our body management from the point of view that matters the most for an athlete.
In my understanding, there are 4 domains of this huge aspect I use to cluster my thoughts about recovery.
1. Medical domain
It is about learning how to listen to your body`s need and how to heal it if you can.
What you can heal and what you cannot? When to involve a professional? Is it a major or minor injury? How to ease soreness? Etc.
You can learn from your Baddies, friends, family. Everybody has their own methods and they believe they are right and they want to help you do their best advice.
It has many cases where athletes can learn what their body needs to build back up as fast as it is possible with no professional treatment.
However, sometimes you must meet a professional who knows what to do exactly to heal your body with the less possible side effects. You can also learn from your Physio how to fix/avoid your minor injuries next time.
2. Nutritional domain
It is about the continuous observation and the discovery of your digestion and the type, the amount of food your body prefers to build back to the shape where you have been before the physical stress you get on a training.
You must observe and learn how your body reacts to the food you eat, so be brave and try the ones as well you do not like at the moment.
Dare to change your diet for the sake of your performance and remember WHY you need to change it. What benefits it will deliver?
Maybe your body likes different things, unlike your taste buds.
So it is one of the most important skills of an athlete who wants to succeed to eat what is best for the body.
Food biodiversity and biocomplexity are key for a healthy athlete!
Try to eat as many types of fruit/veg/meat as available in your country (no need for foreign food) and if possible, eat them as a whole.
For instance, do not peel an apple eat it as is. You can eat cooked vegetables, but make sure raw fruit/veg is also on a plate daily.
The more naturally complex your food is, it will be the more nutritious.
3. Active and passive rest domain
It is important to stay away from some type of activities to prevent unnecessary risk of injury (like extreme sports or any other sport considered risky by your parents or your coach).
It is also essential to do other sports diversely which could enhance your body and eventually positively affecting your footwork, reactions, stamina, mindset, etc. so all your valuable badminton skills overall.
These supportive sports could be like running, cycling and almost all type of swimming. (Avoid breaststroke, its leg technique is actually bad for a badminton knee). Hiking, aerobic, cricket or other non-contact sports.
4. Sleeping domain
Using your phone before going to bed is actually makes you fidgeting.
It takes at least half an hour without a screen before you can start sleeping according to the International Olympic Committee`s online course about recovery, access the course here.
It might affect the whole sleeping experience and you will wake up tired and your mood could ruin your whole day.
I can confirm that from my personal life as a player and as a father, for sure, how much better the next day is if I had a good night sleep.
I have my preferred time when to go to bed and what is the minimum time I need to sleep without disturbance.
If you consider yourself as a mentally healthy human you might only need to focus on your off-screen time to make your sleeping habits decent.
If you think you are experiencing something worse and need external help, there are professionals out there who could advise what to change and how to cope mentally to solve the sleeping problem/insomnia and hopefully you can avoid taking pills.
Sleeping quality can be enhanced by sports psychologists, clinical psychologists or sleeping experts who could help you how to release stress on and off the court.
They can help you to solve your fears and doubts and increase your level of acceptance over your mistakes or other circumstances where you have no impact. Whatever is your case, ask for their help.
This is the most confusing and also the most unknown part of all sports. Mindset is a way of thinking as they say.
But it could not be more vague and confusing than this. Actually, this sentence does more harm to the mindset of people than the genuine help it could give.
Whoever said that did not realise the damage it will cause.
Mindset is not something we ought to simplify that much, so I recreated this sentence to give more sense to it.
Some people say think positive and this is what it takes. Or someone has a good attitude and a bad attitude which cannot change over time.
Some people think that it is about tactics only. And they could be both right and wrong. It depends on what they mean under their explanation about tactics.
But, at the end of the day, we need to see mindset at its core and understand that all the tactical decisions, all the technical executions are run by memories and emotions which are not necessarily following logic.
That is one reason why we must accept our mistakes because our decisions are not necessarily following logic. Believe me, this is critical to accept.
The conscious way is to observe all your emotions and then your reactions in detail to be able to change your behaviour. The unconscious way is the same and requires the same effort.
Why is it important to realise that?
Performance psychologists think about mindset on an emotional level and it is not limited to tactical decision-making methods on the court.
For instance, “I will hit the shuttle that way to win a point against this opponent” or “I do this shot to create an attacking position to myself”.
Those are tactical decisions and will not determine how the decision-maker will feel about the shot before or as it happens.
Mindset is much more about vulnerability, fears, shame, regret, frustration, trust, just to mention a few.
It is about my feelings and the way I can handle them to keep my performance consistently high.
You are an advanced player and learning a new shot (it doesn`t matter what level you are right now…). It is new to you, you have never performed it before and you are excited.
You have seen how it should look on the court, you have got the key points to focus on. Now is the time to practice.
You`re not sure if you physically feel the right thing at your arms and is your footwork proper?
You would think:
“Does that look right? Because it definitely feels funny. It`s pathetic. I`ve been playing for ……. years and I have never struggled that much, ever. Why can`t I hit the shuttle right, I do what I have been told. Am I? Damn you, teammate, how could you do this? I can`t get it. I can`t achieve this on my own. Am I a failure?”
After that, you will get some tactical goals about when you should apply this shot and now you are overwhelmed with too many new things in a relatively short time.
Patience can only bring you through on this. Try it all over again and again until you succeed. You will.
At that time the narrative in your head will start evaluating your emotions and will tell you how you should feel about this shot. I mean like: “It feels bad. Keep going.“
Or when you finally get it “It is better. Goes where and how I want it. Keep it. Feels good. Practice more!”
For a mad badminton enthusiast, the narrative could be even more described how they want to feel during a shot.
We are all narrators. The voice is there for all, no need to be a scientist to start observing how the voice will react under pressure and how it is evaluating positive outcomes.
The narrative will not cause damage if you can balance it. Remember, consciousness brings success, so you must become conscious if you guess you are struggling with mental strength.
This may mean to you relentless, dominant, aggressive, offensive, or something abstract, etc. or all of them or none of them).
Unguided narratives can cause serious damage to performance. If a player overplays a shot or overuse a mental skill (e.g. Lin Dan is always aggressive, I will be Lind Dan on this match) it can lead to a loss of point, or sets or huge defeat.
For instance, your coach asking you to execute a task on the court and is telling you how to do it and you say: “Okay coach” but you think “I gonna do this in a Lin Dan style.”
In this case, the outcome will be something different compared to what has been asked.
It looks like we are pairing a package of emotions and feelings to situations where we are performing particular motions, particular shots and preferred directions of our shots in this situation.
Are you struck by a new thought, I was.
Does that mean that every split-step, footwork or shot I make has its own emotion or emotions? How many this could be? How could I feel that many things in a relatively short period of time?
Have you ever felt fancy when you did a movement that you think is really cool and you looked like a pro?
Do you feel during shadowing that the same rhythm of movements together is like a flow of emotions? Musicians may say it feels like a song. Or something beautifully flowing?
I feel kinda relaxed and happy when I do shadowing, maybe I am just weird, but it is a satisfying sequence of movements without pressure.
I fee like I am exercising martial arts where the movements are practised without an actual fight.
Breathless, heavy heartbeats seasoned with muscle pain composed by the joy of doing my moves with zero stress until I can cope. I love it. Can you relate?
Emotions make it super hard to compete but if you can evaluate them right, those will bring you success.
Works like a sword with double-edges. Works both ways, the same thing can bring you up or down.
Your relationship with those emotions will decide which shot will go over or which tactics will work for you.
Mindset can also affect your stamina, heart rate, vital capacity, acidity level within your muscles, digestion, recovery… basically everything.
The way of thinking about your performance, yourself, your opponent, about the whole game will determinate the outcome of the game before it starts.
Trust, honesty, flexibility, bouncebackability are here to shape the performance you can believe in.
Accepting your vulnerability, forgiving yourself and then trust your skills and yourself will give your mental strength to overcome your fears whether you win or lose.
Mindset is part of everything and it is still a stand-alone topic.
It is there to support your technique, it is helping you to focus on tactics, it is with you when you decide what food you eat to recover faster, which ancillary sport you should do to become a resilient player.
It is there when you decide to go to bed and it is with you when you feel vulnerable or among fears and you need something or someone you can trust.
All I want to say is that mindset should come first and most importantly:
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