Sorry to have left you hanging after part 1 yesterday! So the backhand shot was not the only one we learnt on Tuesday evening. The second half of the session was spent practicing net shots. I usually hit these too high up allowing the opponent to smash the shuttlecock down. The ideal thing to do is to make the shuttlecock just pop over the net and dribble down.
I tapped the shuttlecock gently numerous times and it bounced up like a ping pong ball each time! Then the coach showed me that it’s more of a slicing motion I need to achieve with my racket slanted rather than flat and my arm has to be higher than the racket while I slice upwards. This was quite a hard shot to practice and the shuttlecock was barely hitting the net, let alone going over.
After several attempts I finally got the motion into my noggin and started listening to the coach when he said my arm – specifically my elbow had to be higher than the racket and would you believe it, the shuttlecock began to topple over the net. Big woop! Literally, have you ever seen such a beautiful thing? I got the same buzz I usually get from buying a new shade of lipstick and trust me I love doing that! I need to practice this shot a lot though because it’s a difficult one!
The other thing the coach instilled in my brain was for me to keep my legs bent while playing. As soon as I stood up straight I would not get to the shuttlecock quick enough because I would not be in the ready position. So basically I spent 2 hours squatting. It did work and I did get to the shuttlecock much quicker than when I was static but now my thighs are on fire and I feel like my legs have been beaten with a stick. Oh the pain!
The coach had so many useful tips for me, I was trying to soak them all up like a sponge. I played doubles with him at the end which was fun and he gave me advice during the games. He wanted me to step to shots and extend my racket and arm rather than run to where the shuttlecock is and then try to hit it with my racket. This made so much sense as this uses less energy and your racket gets to the shuttlecock before you do. Also, I have found that when I run to where the shuttlecock is, I then don’t have enough space to hit it with my racket. This is something I also really need to practice so that it becomes a habit.
So I have learnt all these useful tips and I really want to practice them. I am hoping to do so at Friday club and not revert back to just hitting the shuttlecock in any way possible to get a point. The problem with this is that something weird happens to me on the badminton court. I have found that I am quite competitive, I turn into Monica from Friends (yes I have the big hair to boot – think of the episode in the Bahamas) and I get this fire in my belly which is hard to stop!
Friday will need to be more about me practicing these shots rather than trying to get points. I realise that practicing these shots will mean missing them quite frequently but that is the only way to learn and will improve my game in the long term. As the Danish philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard said ‘to dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself.