We’ve all been there don't we? Making mistakes as a rookie badminton player. It is exciting to watch the others playing doubles. The fast-paced attacking and defending between the 2 teams, the swift and seamless movement between the partners tempted you to pick up your racket to conquer the court. But now you are in the court and things are different from what you expected it to be. “Hard game”, or so you think.
Well, let us set aside the skills and experience which could be improved over time. First of all, we need to get our basics right. Here we will go through a few common mistakes beginners make.
The utmost common mistake even experienced players make, how does one control the shuttle when he or she is not able to control his/her mind? It is normal to have feelings as a human being. The most common emotions among athletes, badminton players are frustration, anxiety, fear and anger. We often find ourselves frustrated when the score gap is getting larger, or when we make silly mistakes that we should not be making, we are discouraged. We are anxious in a match, or playing against opponents who are better than you, we falter against them. But remember, just like any other sport, it takes time and effort to develop your game in badminton. Don’t be afraid or frustrated playing against stronger players or when you make a mistake. Instead of letting these thoughts bugging you in the game, analyse them after the match, and improve, and come back stronger. Players often lose not because they are inferior or weaker, but they lose their focus.
Groot, a.k.a good root or get rooted.
The essence of doubles is, no doubt, teamwork. When your partner goes to the front court, you cover the back. When the opponent is attacking, position yourself so that you and your partner can get a full coverage of the court. But beginners often neglect this thumb rule. Most of the time, inexperienced players find it hard to position themselves because they are not familiar with the game or they find it hard to catch up with the tempo of the game. It is not your fault if you make this mistake, it takes a lot of time and trainings to improve but first you need to be aware of it. When your partner is doing most of the work in a rally, you should not stand idle. Always be on your feet and wait for your chance in the rally. You should be able to adjust your court position with your partner whenever required. If you can start, stop and change direction quickly, and move with economy, then you will have a big advantage, and will find the rest of the game much easier.
3. Bad serve
A good low serve is crucial in badminton doubles. Doubles is an attacking game so good opponents will try to attack your serves if you serve too high over the net, putting you under lots of pressure. If you regularly serve out, into the net, or so high that your serves are regularly killed, then your opponents will get a lot of free points and it will be almost impossible to win. One bad serve in a doubles match is almost unavoidable. Two is forgivable. More than that is too much. A bad serve also leads to our point one, it irritates us thus affecting our mindset. Again, it takes time and effort to hone your serves. The most important thing is that you don’t quit halfway.
4. Poor receive
To be honest, playing badminton is like playing chess. Step by step, every move every swing you make is to pave a way for your subsequent moves. It is more than just a game to hit and return the shuttle to the opposite court. Most of the beginners tend to just return the shuttle back to the opponent but you are serious about getting better in this game, you need to be mindful of the court and return your shots strategically. It is important to analyse your opponent, are they backing? Are they left or right-handers? Where are they standing? Which spot on the court is the hardest for them to return?
Yes it is true that doubles are mainly focused on attacking but it is not the only thing in doubles. Most of the inexperienced players tend to smash regardless of the situation. Even if the shuttle is low, smashing it will do and in the end they smashed the shuttle into the net. The core of attacking is not about quantity but quality. 1 good smash that scores is better than 10 that does not, or even worse, smashed into the net. You should hit a smash only when you are fully ready and have enough time to execute the smash. Smashing recklessly does not help much for the game but prone you to injuries. So be patient and extend the rally and wait for the perfect opportunity to win. Even if you are losing, make your opponent work for every point.
6. Bad Footwork
Footwork is the key element in badminton. If you can start, stop, and change direction quickly according to the direction of the shuttle, you will be at an advantage as you will find the rest of the game easier. One mistake every beginner should avoid is randomly moving around the court. This will make it very difficult for you to reach the shuttle at the right time. Use appropriate footwork to move around the court. It takes time to develop but it's better than doing it the wrong way, start from familiarise yourself with the 6 corners of the court
A player should use a proper stance while serving and even while receiving a serve. Most of the time, people who start playing badminton, stand in a position they are comfortable with. This is a very bad habit. Standing in the right position not only differentiates the professional and the beginners but it also shows respect to the opponent. Furthermore, you would not be able to return a good receive shot if you are standing loosely. You must always stand with your non-racket leg forward and racket leg backward with your hands at chest level when you are receiving. This makes it easy to move for the next shot.
It is completely normal for everyone to make mistakes but the ability to realise it and work on it is what differentiates the good and bad players. The most important thing is to enjoy the game but not to be stressed about the mistake made. It takes time and consistency to be good at something. Give yourself some time and a pat on the back :) The fact that you are reading this means you have taken your first step on improving. Thanks for reading!