Since I injured my foot last December, I have not worn my badminton shoes. It was definitely a psychological issue, I just was too scared to play in them. I have been playing on and off in my very soft, flexible merrells which I love, but they are not badminton shoes. Since my foot healed, I slowly transitioned back into smart shoes for work and last Friday I finally took the plunge and put my beloved – see me from the moon – babolats on. Yay!
This decision was driven by two factors: 1) I didn’t want my fear to stop me wearing my babolats and 2) I found I was slipping around the court in my merrells. I hadn’t noticed how well the babolats gripped the court until this long break from them. I wore them last Friday and felt like I could stop when I wanted which was great! I also felt like they weighed a tonne though! It felt like someone had strapped two bricks to my feet! I realise I just need to get used to playing in them again.
As you are aware, I am much slower than I used to be, so I am trying to fix this. Last Monday I finally went back to play at the no strings badminton session which I really enjoyed! There was a different group of players with only a couple that I recognised. I enjoyed playing with mixed abilities and I feel like I am finally beginning to play more badminton. I am hoping my reaction times and fitness level improve with more practice.
Last Friday I concentrated on just one thing while I played. I feel like that is the way to fix how I play. Small incremental changes. I focussed on keeping my muscles relaxed so that I could be more fluid in my movements around the court. I am usually very tense in apprehension of the ‘shot’ which apparently inhibits my movement and the way I hit the shuttle. So I tried to stay as relaxed as possible and held my racket loosely until I was about to make contact with the shuttlecock which was when I would squeeze it.
So I know that change does not seem like a big one, but I found it significantly improved the way I played. I was more relaxed and moving quicker, more gracefully. My shuttlecock was going much further than before, without big effort on my part.
I’m feeling positive as I have scheduled to play more badminton in the upcoming weeks! I feel I have found a way to improve the way I play – little by little. I don’t think the difference will be noticeable overnight, but in a controlled and trained way. Surely that will be a personal victory?
Corrections corner – you do not put your racket leg first. Trial and error has reverted me back to the correct technique which is that I move forward with my non-racket leg when approaching the right side of the net. Sorry about the momentary blip guys! I am hoping the more I play, my mistakes will be ironed out! The fact that you leave comments and question me is very useful because I then revisit my methods and work on them. As always – willing to learn and happy to share what I learn!
I have removed references to right leg first in the above post so that I don’t misguide some of you!
I am now playing twice a week again so I am slowly remembering what to do! Wahayy! 🙂
My focus at tomorrow’s session will be to lower my centre of gravity while I play and to try to keep myself moving while on the court. I will update you on how this change affects my games!