While by no means am I as qualified as my business partner Jeff, I have now spent 13 years playing our beloved sport of badminton. When I was first introduced to badminton in my mid-teens, I had been playing tennis for most of my life. Because of the low participation of badminton in South Australia, most of the badminton I learnt in the first couple of years was self taught. Hence, even these days I find myself constantly learning better ways to play the sport. Sometimes, I’m on the court thinking, “where the hell should I be standing right now” and maybe that’s you too. The beauty of having a badminton business with someone who’s played for the country is that I’ve learnt a lot about the sport that I already know and love. So here are my three quick wins that I have learnt this year (mostly doubles focused as I don’t play singles much these days!):
When you play a block in doubles, move towards the net. In the past, I’d happily stand side by side with my doubles partner defending smashes either by lifting, driving or blocking. As a result of any of the shots that I chose to play, I didn’t really show any intention of moving after playing the shot unless I was given a clear opportunity. But by playing a quality block and moving towards the net, this gives you an opportunity to take control of the front court, giving you and your doubles partner an attacking (front & back) position.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with what a block is, it is a defensive shot played against a smash where the shuttlecock is “blocked” using the power of the opponents smash back across the net at a small height above the net and towards the front court (generally). See the video below (0:35 - 0:38)
Sort your serve out. This might seem obvious and it may not seem like a big deal when you’re mostly playing social badminton like I do. However, getting your serve right can make a whole world of difference. I used to hold my serve very low and even though I was able to serve it over relatively tight to the net, I was giving more time to my opponent by starting so low. Now that I have corrected my serve to a more appropriate height, I have made it a lot more challenging for the person returning to attack on the return.
Attack if you are in position Often when playing social badminton, I find players would be in attacking formation (one person at the front of the court and one at the back) and they would be playing offensive shots (drops & smashes) but then all of a sudden for no apparent reason they would choose to play a clear. I am guilty of this sometimes when I am tired or being lazy too! But what’s happening is that you just gave away the offense and it’s much easier to attack forever than to defend forever (for most). Attacking doesn’t have to mean hitting it as hard as you can constantly, it means a combination of attacking shots (half/full smashes in various locations and various types of drop-shots) to set yourself or your partner up with an opportunity to finish the point. While this isn’t something I learnt from Jeff, it is something that I see very often and being mindful of it will certainly improve your game!
Once again, Thanks so much for reading our blog and we hope to see you out there!
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Henry is an ex-state badminton player who represented South Australia as well as Melbourne University. He remains an avid badminton player in the social scenes of Melbourne. His passion for all things badminton lead him to be a co-founder of Volant Wear.
If you’re a badminton player, you probably realise that there are so many options when deciding what’s the right or best shot to play. Did you know you can take a mathematical approach to shot selection? Yes, we’re talking about mathematics.
Samuel (Sam) Ho is an ex-national Australian Junior Badminton Player, MBA candidate at the Melbourne Business School as well as a corporate banker for one of Australia's largest banks, National Australia Bank.
Bob would come onto the court and steam roll people without training. It always looked so easy for him and it never looked like he even needed to work up a sweat. But in most tournaments, he would pass the first couple of rounds and then lose relatively closely to another competitor. The competitor was usually someone who was seeded and Bob would be very competitive against them, often losing in very close sets.