i wrote these a few months back. my goal is to have a few fundamental articles as education for the average badminton player. i planned the article to be much longer, i got busy and never finished the rest of it. however, i realized that it is a fine article as it is so i am posting it here to share with you all. ------------------------------------------------------------ The three ‘S’ of a complete badminton player Author: Kwun Han – http://www.badmintoncentral.com/ Here is the first of a few badminton musings from me. I have decided to start on the most fundamental analysis of badminton. This time I will go into the three most fundamental characters that a badminton player should posses. I call these three factors the 3 “S” of badminton, Strokes, Stamina, and Strategy. These 3 “S” of badminton are all crucial to be a good badminton player, and no good badminton player will be without one of them. Each of the “S” is closely tied to another and missing one “S” will be akin to a car missing a wheel. So pay close attention to each of them and train them appropriately. Strokes The first S I want to go into is what I call “Strokes”. By stroke I do not mean only the swing of the racket, but everything that is associated with the basic technique of badminton. Overheads forehand and backhand clear / smash / drop, drives, lifts, net shot. Footwork to each court, and then footwork / body / arm / swing coordination. These are the fundamentals mechanism of how a badminton player gets to the birdie and hit the birdie back to the other side of the court. For recreational and beginning/intermediate badminton players, that’s what we focus our times on. It does take a lot of time to be able to do all these strokes. And to strive to a good player, one must spend a lot of time practicing different drills so each of the strokes can be executed at ease. Without the ability to execute all the different strokes, one will not be a complete badminton player. Stamina The next S I want to go into is Stamina (aka. endurance). While strokes enable us to return the birdie to the other end of the court, Stamina enables us to execute the stroke. Stamina is the continuous supply of energy to our body. A badminton game or match can last anything from 5 minutes to up to 2+ hours, and there can be many games played within a day. A complete badminton player can only sustain the amount of physical exercise with good stamina. Without which, a badminton player will be unable to successfully execute his/her desired strokes. Strategy Out of the 3 “S”, the most difficult one to grasp must be “Strategy”. I am using the word Strategy loosely. By this last S, I also like to relate it to two other S’: “mental Smartness” and “mental Strength”. The goal of each shot in the rally is to gain the most advantage for the rest of the rally, with the hope that eventually, one would gain enough advantage to actually win the rally. At the most simple level, strategy or smartness is the ability to make the correct shot decision each time a badminton player is about to hit the shuttle back to the opponent. In most situation, there are at least a couple of choices of shot. Eg. If faced with a high clear, what would be the best shot to make? A smash? Another clear? Or perhaps a cross court drop? Which decision would create the most advantage in the rally? To go one level higher, to make the correct choice in each hit is important, but equally important is the ability to make the correct choice for a series of return and to lay out a game plan for the duration of a few point or even the whole match. This is the strategy of the game. There are many factors affecting the choice of strategies. It may be laid out according to the skill set (strokes) of the player, it may be laid out according to the strength and weakness of the opponent, or perhaps the stamina of the player and/or opponent. To go down one level deeper, a complete badminton player should also have mental Strength. Mental strength is the ability to make the correct decision even when under pressure or at a large disadvantage. What if one is down to 5-14? Will the player be able to fight a comeback, outperforms and play to the weakness of the opponent? Conversely, what if the player is up 14-5? Will he be able to focus and finish off the last point? Or will he relax / crumble and let the opponent slowly catch up? A complete badminton player should posses the ability to make the correct decision on every instant before a shot is made, and also be able to plan out the correct overall game strategy before the game or change strategy during the game.