How often do you hear someone finish a match and then they begin to complain about something that caused them to lose? Something happened during the match, or there were some conditions on the court that made it “impossible” for them to win, or say they claim. The excuses are many, but just to list a few:
- The lighting was bad
- The ceiling was too low
- The walls are painted a colour which makes seeing the shuttle impossible
- There is wind in the hall
- The floors were slippery
- My racquet is no good
- The shuttles were too fast
- The shuttles were too slow
- My opponent was a hack, his awkward style threw me off
I’m sure you can add to that list, either from excuses you’ve heard, or from excuses you’ve come up with yourself. There’s a funny thing about excuses though, once you deal with one another one pops up to fill it’s place. They are never ending because the problem was not whatever excuse you were coming up with, the problem is the fact that you see the external influences around you as unbeatable obstacles. The reality is whatever harsh conditions you might be dealing with, your opponent is likely dealing with them as well. And even if they weren’t dealing with those circumstances, it doesn’t matter because nobody cares about your excuses. While it might make you feel better about losing, it won’t help you to become a better badminton player.
The easy way to get past these conditions that are bothering you is to accept them as just being part of the game, and instead of worrying about them shift your focus to things that you can control. So what do you have direct control over in your badminton game? Let’s look at this from two perspectives, first during game play, and second during practice/training.
During game play the first thing you have control over is the shots that you are hitting. Pay attention to your shot selection and executing the strategy and tactics that you decided you would use. Try not to make improvements upon your game during game play. In other words if you are struggling to improve your cross court net shot, avoid using it too much during game play, save it for practice. Another major thing you have control over during game play is your thought process and your self talk. This is perhaps the most important thing you need to focus on during game play, and what makes the biggest difference between the very best players and us mere mortals. You need to be positive during matches, and you can’t let things like fast shuttles or other issues become excuses.
However, the reality is that during game play there is not a whole lot that is within your control. Most of the hard work has already been done well before this point while you were practicing and training your shots and your body. Once the games begin, all you can do is stay focused on executing what you have practiced so many times before.
This is the time where you have the most control over your badminton game and your ability to succeed. During practice you can work on your shots extensively and refine them to the point that you don’t need to think about your technique when it comes time to actually play. If you find that you make a lot of unforced errors during matches, then you should focus on drills that help you to improve your consistency. If your opponents are killing your net shots because you don’t hit them tight enough, then practice your net shots more. It’s really not that complicated, but it does require you to put in that effort.
Perhaps the biggest area that we neglect is our physical training. Sure playing badminton is fun, and it’s an easier way to maintain our fitness than running or during intense training, but if you want to see better results you have to be fitter. When you are playing a tournament or even just a match in your local club and you start feeling tired, there isn’t much you can do because it’s too late. You should have put that effort in beforehand. If you and I are playing each other and we have equal skills, but I’m much fitter than you, I will win most of the time.
Are you making excuses for yourself? Well stop it! Spend the time before your matches, before your tournaments, and focus on improving the things that you have control over. If you find yourself making excuses the reality is that your opponent was just better on that day, pure and simple. Now go out and kick some butt!