Momentum – The Key To Success In Life and Badminton

On February 24, 2011, in Instructional, by Peter Rasmussen
Peter Rasmussen

Objects In Motion Tend To Stay In Motion

When I use a word like “momentum” while talking about badminton you might think I’m talking about footwork and movement around the court. While it is true that you need to be aware of your momentum for smooth footwork, that’s not what we’re talking about today.

The concept of momentum is something that people have used to become successful in many areas, including badminton. Let’s take a look at a recent example, World Junior Champion Viktor Axelsen and his recent growth as a player. Around this time last year few people outside of Denmark were aware of Viktor, and then he made the finals of the Swedish International. Suddenly he was on all of our minds as we watched him begin to perform at a higher and higher level. This all culminated in a history making performance at the World Junior Championships in April of 2010 where he became the first European to win a world junior title in singles.

When you observe a player like Viktor’s progress you can’t help but feel like he has some sort of invisible energy pushing him to even greater performances. This is momentum working in his favour. You see this happen within a single tournament where a player seems to play better and better with each round, and they seem unstoppable. You also see this happen over the course of several tournaments where a player’s performance seems to carry over from one week to the next.

The best players know how to harness momentum, and most importantly they know how to prevent it from disappearing. That’s the real key, because once you lose momentum it’s a lot harder to get it back.

The easiest way to lose your momentum in badminton is to hurt yourself. It doesn’t matter if you’re Lin Dan or Lee Chong Wei, if you’re injured and have to take time off to recover you lose all of your momentum. The most successful people in this world know how to leverage one success into another. This is why Lin Dan is the most successful men’s singles player of all time. One tournament win leads to another, and another. People begin to fear you, and you begin to believe in yourself without compromise.

So what is the key to maintaining our momentum? We need to understand how growth and improvement works. Many of you may already be aware of this, when you train you are actually breaking down your muscle tissues. It’s when we rest between training sessions that our body and mind regenerate resulting in performance improvements. If we over train we prevent ourselves from building up momentum in our training.

So is momentum a straight forward process? No, unfortunately it doesn’t quite work that way. As we’re training we inevitably run into plateaus where we struggle to see improvements for a long time. Then as if from nowhere we see a sudden surge, improvements seem effortless and our progress unstoppable. It’s important to realize that we need to be realistic with our training. We will not improve constantly and we will have down periods. With this understanding in mind you will be much stronger mentally and emotionally when you do hit a plateau.

Here are some common ways that we lose momentum and how to deal with them:

Injuries – Perhaps the most common and most damaging way to disrupt your momentum. The best way to deal with injuries is to prevent them. To do this you need to pay very close attention to what your body is telling you. Do lots of off court training to deal with common injuries that badminton players experience and you’ll be far less likely to get hurt. If you’re already dealing with an injury treat it well, see a physiotherapist and don’t push yourself too hard. This was a mistake I made too often and it shortened my career.

Distraction – Whether it’s unavoidable like school work, or simply socializing, anything that distracts your focus from the game will hamper your momentum. That being said, balance is also important in your life although that’s probably a topic for another article. You need to have other things in your life so the game doesn’t get boring for you, but there is a limit to how many different things you can do at one time.

Lack of motivation – When you’re stuck in a rut and aren’t playing great it’s hard to stay motivated. Simply by understanding that this is inevitable you can be prepared and give yourself the positive self talk necessary to get through periods of frustration. Also, make sure that you are having fun with your training because the best sure fire way to kill your motivation is if you hate what you’re doing.

Taking time off – this is an important thing to consider, because we can’t always train and taking a short break can be very helpful, but taking too long a break can kill your momentum. With that in mind sometimes the best time to take a break is when you are struggling to see improvements. Oftentimes you return to the game with a renewed sense of motivation and you see what was blocking your progress previously.

Think back on your badminton, and how momentum has affected your performance. What could you have done to prevent the dips from becoming as bad as they were, and what could you have done to keep the good periods going longer? By paying attention to your momentum you will find ways to accelerate your progress.

5 Responses to Momentum – The Key To Success In Life and Badminton

  1. Mike says:

    Thx, can you tell a bit more about Injuries, when you have one, and you want to play but you can’t! When Sport is a important part of your life, but you are injuried for a long period! How do you deal with it mentally! Also as you finally get started you be to eager and start to fast and heavy making it even worse…

  2. Peter Rasmussen says:

    Hi Mikael,

    thanks for your questions.
    Well, injuries it really something you want to prevent. You can be off the court for months to recover and it will probably take even longer before you are back at your previous level. But if you are so unfortunate that you get one, I guess that patience is really the key word. Don’t start to play if you don’t fell ready and start very slowly. As a rule of thumb if you play one day and the next day you feel pain or sore in a “bad way” it means that you have pushed your training too fast.
    It can be very frustrating mentally to have injuries. The most important thing is to keep focusing on the things you can do, on and off court, that still help to improve your game. It could be technical/ mental training for instance. Don’t allow all the bad thoughts of the things you can do to take over. They will drive you crazy, so learn to control your mind and keep it positive. :-)

    Kindest regards


  3. Usman says:

    Thanks for your tips!!

    Im coming back from a knee operation. Its was in november that i got the operation and got back training 1 1/2 months later. Now im perfectly fine and im still training in summer in the gym (4 times per week). I have a program to build my strengh and being stable on my legs and re-inforce my whole body to prepare for the next season. My problem is that im being on a limit/plateau when i play badminton. I making too many mistakes, getting frustrated and i dont see any improvement in my play. Im a provincial/national level, so im expecting a lot from myself. I want to know what to do and continue progressing without any limie/plateau?

  4. Emmet Gibney says:

    The thing to recognize is when you are in a plateau, and when are you in a “perceived” plateau. Sometimes we think we’re not improving, but it’s because we gauge our performance based on day-to-day differences in our play.

    The reality is that it is a mistake to judge your improvement based on how you feel from one day to the next, and improvement is tough to notice. My advice is to keep a “training diary” where you record:

    -What you did that day
    -How you felt about your play
    -Notes about what you could do better
    -Observations about your opponents (how do they play, how can you exploit their weaknesses)

    There is a saying in business that says “what gets measured get managed”. This means that by tracking the progress of something only then can we actually manage it, and seek to improve upon it.

    I hope this helps :)

  5. Gordon says:

    Tks. i just want to ask you peter how not to let your opponent to break your momentum during badminton tournament????? bcoz during tournament my opponent usually likes to break my momentum like wasting times see elsewhere during the match, thus i always losing many points to my opponenent,the finally i lose. How do i focussed when he break my momentum??????????

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