Badminton psychology plays an important role in your badminton games, especially when you're playing competitively (whether in official or unofficial competitions). When you participate in a competition, sometimes you're required to play at badminton courts where you've never played before in your life. Some players who have been playing on that particular court will have a significant 'home ground advantage', which could boost his/her mental strength. This can overwhelm you during the competition. However, good badminton psychology can help you get comfortable with the rallies and gain a dominant position in a game. This could help you to overcome badminton mind games played by your opponent.
Badminton Psychology: Factors Working Against You
When you're playing on a new badminton court that you're unfamiliar with, the following factors can affect you mentally. These are factors that can affect your confidence and may result in poor performance.
1. Shuttle Speed
In some instances, you'll realize that the speed of the shuttlecock is different when you're in a different region. The speed of the shuttlecock is affected by climate, weather, moisture in the air and several other factors.
You'll need to use shuttlecocks with the appropriate speed in your area to suit the international standard. However, the same shuttlecock in the same region can fly at a different speed!
Air density also affects the speed of the shuttle. Shuttles fly at a different speed in different badminton halls. The difference is minor, but to some players, a small difference in shuttle speed could lead to winning and losing badly. You'll realize that shuttlecocks tend to fly faster in smaller badminton halls and faster in larger badminton halls. If you think that the competition shuttlecock is flying faster than usual, avoid lobbing orclearing. Avoid high serves. Try not to engage in badminton drives too. This helps you reduce the chances of hitting the shuttle out of the court.
If I have to be blunt, the lighting at some badminton courts is just terrible. Some courts have many lights positioned right on top of the ceiling. This can be distracting. You might not be able to see the shuttle clearly when you're facing the lights.
As a result, the timing of your strokes is negatively affected. Heck, you might even miss the shuttle entirely! However, your opponent might be used to it if he/she had been playing there for a while.
Do not get frustrated!
When you get a lift or high clear from your opponent, the lights can be disturbing. In these instances, execute shots such as a clear or drop shot instead of a smash. It's much easier to get your timing right for a clear or drop shot, as compared to a smash. Be patient and focus on the rally. Don't take unnecessary risks such as smashing when the lights are shining straight into your face.
3. Slippery Floor
Some floors are extremely slippery especially in countries with dry weather (where moisture levels are low). Besides that, dust on the floor can make the floor slippery. If you realize that the floor is more slippery than your usual courts, take some short time outs in between rallies.
Let a FEW drops of water drip out from your water bottle outside the court. Then rub your shoe on the few drops of water. This will help you get good grip for a couple of rallies.
Don't overdo this!
Do it fast and come back to the game quickly. Otherwise the other party might complain and you'll be restrained from doing this.
3 Ways to Work Yourself Back into the Rallies with Badminton Psychology
1. Calm yourself down if you're nervous
Badminton is a game that relies a lot on control. Therefore, relax your muscles in order to have more control over your racket.
Do not be too eager to serve. Take some time in between rallies to calm yourself down.
If you're nervous, you won't be thinking clearly.
You won't have any idea on what kind of game you're dealing with.
2. Control the pace of the game
If you notice, a game of badminton is usually played at a certain pace/tempo.
A successful badminton singles player should always take control of the pace of the game.
This means that you should dictate the pace of the rallies in order to have a dominant position in the game. Sometimes in competitions, if you're too nervous or lack the confidence, you should always play a slower game. Attack less often. Hit high clears (or lobs) to give yourself more time.
Play a strategic game. Plan your next move. Don't just return the shuttles just for the sake of getting them across to your opponent's side.
Avoid exchanging fast badminton drives with your opponent. The more nervous you get, the more likely you will over-hit the shuttle, sending it out of the court.
When your opponent drives a shuttle straight at you, hit a drop shot or clear instead.
Employ some badminton psychology in your game!
3. Take some risks during the first few points
To use badminton psychology against your opponent, a good way is to secure the first few points in the game. This is a good way to get the momentum to your side from the start of the game.
For example, lunge forward to perform the badminton net kill when your opponent plays aspinning net shot.
As long as you anticipate your opponent will play a spinning net shot, lunge forward to do the kill regardless of whether it will be tight. This is high risk. But if the kill is successful, your morale will definitely be boosted. Even if you failed to get the shuttle over, the net kill will somehow influence your opponent mentally.
However, take note that you're taking very high risks. Don't expect to be successful on the kill.
Another example of a risky shot is to perform a powerful smash regardless of whether you have good balance. Hit the shuttle extremely hard so that he thinks that he might be dealing with an aggressive opponent.
The purpose of aggressive and risky shots is to affect your opponent's mental strength. Even if it fails, you shouldn't let it affect the rest of your game.
In order to use badminton psychology effectively against your opponent, you first must have a strong mindset.
Most importantly, play smart.