I am visiting lots of social media sites to find out what people think about all things badminton. I would like to know, see and feel what badminton means to everybody else. I know that my perception of badminton is different what others think it is and this is absolutely fine. So I do not think I am reinventing something. But I think there is something lost through time which is why I am curious. So I ask questions.
Questions that make people think. Questions which can be easily answered but also become so difficult to answer and can be lost in the topic. It depends on how deep you have thought about the topic. I will extensively describe what do I think about it and what it means to me.
The difficulty is that there is no real, 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 measure it as it is continuously growing or shirking from every second to another driven by your current emotions.
I have had a poll on a social media site to find out what people generally think about mindset in badminton. So the point is that we are not on the same page and that is why we need to talk about it.
I believe every sport have 4 main aspects (and many sub-aspects) which are describing the whole thing well. If you are proficient in them, you can understand the whole sport on a professional level. However, it does not mean that you cannot be a professional in the sport without knowing all. I found it interesting that there are groups of people, literally everywhere in the world who can be classified by which aspects of the sport they are proficient. It is quite satisfying because you know what can be mentioned in a talk with who to have a great conversation about badminton. If someone is proficient in the 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. My observation is that most people stuck at these two topics. The main aspects in my opinion are:
I think it is the most identical topic of all sports. There are the movements which pretty much representing the outlook of a sport, therefore it is unquestionably the easiest topic. There are many, everybody has its own favourite at every points or situation. There are effective ones and there are stamina killer ones. There are proper ones and there are with a risk of injury.
There are comfortable ones and there are efficient ones. It depends on what you think is best for you. It is changing many times when you start the sport, and it can consciously or unconsciously change over time. It all depends on how you want to feel badminton.
This is the topic which 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 if you are a pro, no matter what you have planned, you will change it if needed.
You need to think in advance that where and how you should technically perform your shots and in which order to put your opponent under your most vicious shots. This the birthplace of such nice situations and great achievement over others. As I`ve found out throughout my searches 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. But the whole thing does not stop here, there are much more to talk about for sure.
One is the medical part which is about healing the body with or without involving a professional, whether it is a major or minor injury, soreness, etc. It has many aspects where athletes can learn what their body needs to build back up as fast as it is possible and no professional treatment is necessary. But sometimes you must meet a professional who knows what to do exactly to heal the body with the less possible side effects.
The second is the nutritional part. What your body prefers to build back to the shape where you had been before the physical stress you`ve got. What source and amount of protein needs and when to consume. How much water intake needs and when. What amount of nutrients and/or any other type of extra care your body needs.
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. Maybe your body does like different things then your taste buds. The pace of recovery defines the amount of training you can take so that one is a good candidate to be the most important to an athlete who wants to win. Biodiversity and biocomplexity are key for a healthy athlete!
The third is the active and passive rest part. It is important to stay away from activities with unnecessary risk of injury (like extreme sports or any other sport considered risky) but also important to do other sports which could enhance your body and eventually your badminton skills. These sports could be like running, cycling and almost all type of swimming. (Avoid breaststroke, its leg technique is actually bad for a badminton knee)
The fourth important part of it is the quality of sleep time. Using your phone before going to bed is actually makes you fidgeting for at least a half an hour according to the International Olympic Committee`s online course about recovery, access the course here.
But I can confirm this from my personal life for sure how much better is the next day 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 an average human you might only need to focus on your on-screen time to get things better.
If you think you need help, there is a professional way. Sleeping quality can be enhanced with a sport psychologist who can 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.
This is the most unknown, misunderstood but also the most confusing part of all sport. Mindset is a way of thinking as they say. Some people say think positive and this is what it takes. Or someone has a good attitude and a bad attitude. Some people think that it is about tactics only. And they could be right and wrong. It depends on what they mean under their topics. But at the end of the day, we need to see deep inside and understand that all the tactical decisions, all the technical executions were run by emotions which are not necessarily following logic.
Performance psychologists think about mindset on an emotional level and it is not limited to a tactical decision-making method on the court like, I am not hitting this way, I will hit it that way to win a point against this opponent. It is about vulnerability, fears, shame, 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 learning a new shot (it doesn`t matter what level you are on right now…). It is new to you, you have never performed it 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 about if you physically feel the right thing at your arms and the footwork. “Does that look right? Because it definitely feels funny. Oh, it`s pathetic. Why can`t I hit the shuttle, I do what I have been told. I need feedback from somebody or at least to see a video about me.”
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. And then the narrative in your head will start saying how you should feel about this shot like, “Okay, it feels good on this way. When I hit this I will feel cool. The coach thinks that it looks alright so am I. It is a common example, it happens with most of us.
For a badminton enthusiast, the narrative could be even more described how they want to feel during the shot. Common example: “I will hit this shot like Lee Chong Wei does. I will be LCW on that shot” (Which may mean to you relentless, dominant, aggressive, offensive, etc or all of them).
Based on the above examples we can ask the question:
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 at a relatively short period of time?
Have you ever felt fancy when you did a movement which 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, feels like a song? I feel kinda relaxed and happy when I do shadowing, maybe I am just weird, but it is a movement without pressure. Breathless heartbeats seasoned with muscle pain and joints with narrowed ranges composed by the joy of doing my moves. That is what I feel, can you relate? 🙂
Emotions make it super hard to compete but if you can handle them, those will bring you gold. A sword with double-edges. Works both ways, up or down. Your relationship with those emotions will decide which shot will go over, which tactics will work for you better. It can also affect your stamina, your heart rate, vital capacity, acidity level within your muscles, digestion, recovery… everything.
The way of thinking about yourself, about your opponent, about the whole game will define the representation of your performance. Respect, honesty, flexibility, bouncebackability are here to shape the performance you can believe in. Accepting your vulnerability, forgiving to 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, 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 you can trust.
All I want to say is that mindset should come first and most importantly:
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