I don’t know if you realised from the picture in my previous post, but I am tiny. In that picture my face is pressed up against the net, so that should give you a pretty good indication of my height. Pretty darn small, but so is a shuttlecock and we all know how powerful that can be!
When I first started playing badminton a few months ago, I felt like tall people ruled the court. They seemed to be able to get to the shuttlecock before it even began to arch downward, their long limbs carried them across the court in one step and they seemed to be able to reach everything pretty easily. So there I stood, little old me, wondering where I would fit into the game. Was I too short? Was there any point?
Being a lawyer, I am trained to observe and pay attention to detail, so I did. I started observing games in real life and on YouTube, sure enough there were shorter people playing, scratch that, they were playing really well! I saw shorter people kick taller people’s butts! So ignoring all quips about my height, I decided to go for it and carry on playing!
Of course, I have to adapt my playing style to take into account my height. Some things that work for others may not work for me, but then I try to find a way in which they will work for me.
I am supposed to hit the shuttlecock back at the highest point when hitting it overhead, admittedly I get lazy and can actually get to it when it’s a bit higher if I keep my racket up, so I will work on that. ‘Keep your racket up’ is very meaningful to me because it has to act as an extension of my arm. I need to use my racket to get even more reach. I may need to take more steps to get to the shuttlecock than a taller person with legs that go on forever, but I will just have to get quicker. Where there is a will, there is a way!
I was playing with quite a strong player last week and somehow found myself behind him. Yes I know I usually live at the front of the court, but the serve took him to the front of the court which left the back of the court exposed. Dutifully I moved to the back of the court to cover him. During the rally I saw his arm move a split second too soon and the shuttlecock from the opponent came hurtling down towards the ground. Time slowed down, I heard myself saying ‘noooo’ and then by some miracle I managed to lean down and tap this shuttlecock back from within an inch of the floor because guess what, that is within easy reach for me! My partner’s bewildered face cracked into a full on grin as he whirled around to see what had happened. I shrugged, blushing from the roots of my hair down to my toes and trying to hide how pleased I was to have helped him out. I guess being small can have its perks….