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  1. #18
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    In my opinion and only my opinion ... Can't see any current player with overall skills compared with the older ones. BBN talks about Rudy Hartono. And who watched Tang Xian Fu, Hou Jia Chang play? Tang's excellent technique and strategy is a delight for who had chance to see. Hou's speed, reflexes and counter-attacks are unique - inviting his opponents to attack by sending the shuttles half-court.

    Zhao Jian Hua had physical problems and was never the same after the Calgary World Championships. He was one of the best in the last 20 years, if not the best. Evidence is the game (in badminton city) against Liem Swie King and think at that time he was about 18. Watch how he plays and compare with the current top players. Probably Bao Chun Lai and Taufik are the closest ones in terms of skills.

    True, badminton has changed. Players try to play faster - getting fitter, running faster, smashing harder. Is that really the way the game should go I don't know. Now wonder how old players like Fung Permadi, Hendrawan was able to stay at top playing their 'slow' and un-agressive game.

    And in my opinion, neither Fung Permadi nor Hendrawan can compare, technically speaking with Zhao JianHua, Rudy Hartono, or Hou Jia Chang or Tang Xian Fu.

  2. #19
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    It's debatable to say who was/is the best badminton player. Zhao Jian Hua was very good indeed but I still think Yang Yang was better only because he won all four grand slam titles whilst no one else has yet - or have they??

    I heard that Morton is now with Yang Yang's and Zhao Jian Hua's training camp, help training young potential badminton players...

    *Why do I happen to hear all these unusual stuff now?? Or are they true.....*

  3. #20
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    So interesting this thread.

    I vote that Han Aiping could easily keep up with the current ladies singles players.

    Hendrawan is a very interesting player indeed. His net is really very good. But what is interesting is how he can change pace of the game. Against Peter Gade, he literally plays faster than P Gade in the first few points.

    Zhao got pneumonia before the 1985 WC in Calgary.

    Morten Frost? which other players have appeared in the WC twice? Morten's footwork is technically very good. Very smooth and change of pace is superb

  4. #21
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    When I see people say that past skills were superior I am slightly dubious. It is difficult to define skill but the pressure on every shot is so much greater now. Competition is a survival of the fittest, tactically as well as physically, if players nowadays could be playing slower and winning then surely we would see someone doing that.


    Zhao is probably my all time favourite player to watch, but even then a whole generation have come through taking the best of his innovations , so standards push ever higher. I think there a lot more potentially dangerous players at the worlds than in the eighties. Any of the players from Denmark, China , Malaysia, Indonesia, Korea could beat any other in the first round, plus the new countires like Singapore.

    Remember in the eighties the worlds was only every fourth year and there were no olympics, yet still, Frost, YY, Zhao emerged as all time greats. I think we will be unlikely to see anyone retaining a world singles title now even over two years, such is the competition.

  5. #22
    Regular Member Bbn's Avatar
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    Recently during an interview Hafiz was asked which were the players he hoped to

    avoid in worlds.

    His reply was Taufik and Gade because they were very experienced and could read

    the game well.

    Many players tend to play a stereo typed game and allow more savy players to lead

    them like mules,play to their rhythm.

    I' m sure players today have to play faster since shuttles travel faster with better

    racquets and also require faster footwork to get behind the shuttle.

    But evey few years there emerge some rare players like Sun Jun, Taufik, Frost etc

    who have exceptional anticipation, versatility, vision of the court etc, which could

    be difficult to emulate. Maybe this is called unique talent.

    Zhao was different in that he could see the court differently from other players ,

    Hou had eyes like a hawk, I' sure sometimes talent comes once in a blue moon,

    how many guitarists can play like Eric Clapton?


    That's not to say anyone is wrong,.

  6. #23
    Regular Member Bbn's Avatar
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    PS

    If speed alone can determine a champion,

    I vote that Lee Tsuen Seng or Bao Chun Lai will win worlds hands down in August.

    Now why is that unlikely to happen?

  7. #24
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    From Chinese players point of view, skills and technique are of equal importance. That's not news. Most of modern players are more aggressive, playing a very high paced game. In my opinion, singles game can't play in a permanent high pace - similarly an athlete can't run a 400M race with a 100M pace. This the reason why a player need to be good on attack and also same in (active) defence, able to vary the game pace and upset his/her opponent rhytm. Just looking at the current crop, how many are able to do all this? Probably only 1 or 2 IMHO.

    Han Ai Ping is probably the best overall skill lady player of the last 20 years. Agree that none of the current top female player could match her at her best. Another player less known, a Korean girl (17 year old at that time??), Lee Ying Suk, had beaten Han Ai Ping, Li Ling Wei and getting better of Susi Susanti in the Sudirman Cup but later betrayed by her nerves and bad coaching lost the game and never seen again in international tournaments. Felt really bad as this girl had everything to become one of the greats - speed, power, anticipation and technique.

    But after looking at most of the current top players, I feel there are only more 'Chinese' style players. Download the games Zhao vs Liem and Frost vs Yang Yang; I prefer the way of the 60's - 80's. At least then the powerhouses had their style.

    From my memory, Tang Xian Fu and Hou Jia Chang already played this style back in the 60's. Their speed and power are definitely not inferior - and from my view, more complete than current top players.

    Transferring the same logic to football (soccer) - currently with so much money and facilities, better coaches there should not be a problem mass producing Maradonas, Peles, Jairzinhos, Di Stefanos, Bests, etc. I see Figo (Portugal and Real Madrid) currently the best player but comparing him to Maradona...

  8. #25
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    I don't think anyone is saying that speed is the only determining factor in winning/losing now. But the fact is that it is essential to have speed nowadays to even compete at the top level, in developing juniors we have to look for players capable of moving fast on court.

    Fitness levels are undoubtedly higher than ten or twenty years ago. Modern diet, medical back up and training methods mean that players at all levels are stronger , faster and trained more specifically. In addition many injuries which would have been career ending even ten years ago are now more treatable.

    My point about competition being a survival of the fittest and eliminating ineffective strokes can be clearly seen in the service. In the early eighties forehand serves were common in mens doubles, when the backhand serve was seen to be more effective a whole generation came through where backhand serves were the normal, it is exceptional to see any county to international md player serving forehand now.

    Backhand serving in singles has become more common, especially when playing the 5 to 7 format. Maybe in a few years the singles game will be so fast and attacking that the low bh serve will be dominant at the top level?

    Womens singles, while perhaps not as appealing to the fan as in the past has developed. Look at a video of Camilla losing in the All England final in the early nineties and compare with the Camilla of today. Her game has been forced to improve in every area. Her physical strength, speed off the mark and tactics have all developed. Her range of shots and how early she takes the shuttle have also improved, together with her deception. This is how she managed to remian at the top for so long, by improvement.

    I too would rather watch Zhao play Frost or YY than watch two of todays current top ten, but this is because those players remained at the top for years and repeatedly played each other in major events, so fans identified with them and a rivalry was built up. Sun Jun/Gade had such a rivalry for a short period but since then we have seen a succession of players emerging and then being overtaken.

  9. #26
    Regular Member Bbn's Avatar
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    I see your point DLP. Maybe european countries have only recently

    adopted the military type training of say China, now adopted by Malaysia etc.

    I think everyone is about the same standard nowadays, the diff being a lot of

    players in some countries are full time pros drawing a salary whilst others are part-

    timers.

    Martin Dew is not wrong in implying that some players should build up their

    deception etc. as a niche over and above fitness etc norms.China players especially

    are favoured if they are tall and atletic but when it comes to doubles skills they are

    much wanting as they seem to think that a shuttle is sth to be quickly hammered

    down asap.

    I was just watching Ha and Kim playing Msia, Kim is not only fit and fast but he has

    an extra dimension,great racquet skill and placement ( not Pace), which could have

    been developed along European traditional lines. Such skills are unmatched

    elsewhere.

  10. #27
    Regular Member Bbn's Avatar
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    After looking thru the messages i think what DLP is trying to tell aspiring

    young players is to work on fundamentals first ie. keep up with what the rest of the

    world is doing, the basics of fitness , pace etc.

    Later one can refer to history to draw inspirations on how to work on individual flair.

    At the moment past stars are only of theoretical interest.

    Took me some time to realise and sometimes I forget that most in the forum are

    teenagers. Too bad badminton is so physical otherwise technique would dominate

    as in Table-Tennis.

  11. #28
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    Badminton has been and is a game of survival of the fittest. There were many threads referring to the increasing of fitness level in the modern game. But like BBN mentioned, this could a recent(??) change of training methods in Europe. Also the advances in sports science contributed definitely to this area.

    I still see some 'old timers' as better players than current top players. Granted the game changed. Like the BH short serve, it forces the defender instead of doing an 'easy smash' to decide how to attack. Having more options is not always an advantage. On the other hand the server also need to develop a better all around game - since he served short the pace is faster.

    In the case of juniors, I've mentioned that one of the favourite recruiting ground in China for potential players is during the track and field competitions. Coaches look for speed, explosiveness and coordination among the young athletes. This had been done since the 60's as far as I know, and probably we now can figure out why.

    Camilla is really one of the best current players. Her game is quite complete, all around improvement is noticeable - remember watching sometime ago her backhand was weaker, now she can deliver backhand baseline to baseline from a more defensive position. I may be wrong, but her pace is still a little slow otherwise she would not have a problem playing against Gong Zhichao. Having said that I still see Han Aiping, Li Lingwei as better players. Also Luo Un, current England coach(?) at her best would have no problem playing against Camilla. Don't take me wrong, Camilla is still one of the lady players I really like to watch. I enjoy watching her play more than the current Chinese top lady players.

  12. #29
    Administrator kwun's Avatar
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    to me, after watching the older video clips from the 80s. i think one of the contrast that i can see between old and new players is that, clinical vs. style.

    looking at the recent stream of players like Chen / LeeHI / WongCH. they are all all-around players, all-around means that they can do all shots in a sense, "perfect". clears, drops, to the ground smashes, very fast and efficient movement in court. they can cover all and every part of the court like it was programmed to. however, when they do that, they are borderline mechanical. in a way, their movements and shots are so precise, it seems to have robbed away the beauty. not beauty in the way that they are so precise, and beauty in the way that somehow i feel that they lack the style.

    when you go back to the players back in the 80s. different players have their own styles, you can see the difference between Han Jian / Frost / Liem / YY / Zhao. their styles are unique. but their movement and shots aren't neccessarily as precise and clinical as the current players.

    but i am not to say that there are no current players with style of their own. i think Taufik has style, Gade also, but less so. and i have problem trying to decide if Xia does or not. he is in the borderline.

    perhaps clinical and style are the wrong words to describe them. but i hope someone understands what i mean and help me explain my thoughts.

  13. #30
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    I might be biased, but I think the players in the 60's and 70's were more passionate about the game. I heard my coach talking about his committment to reach the 'perfection'. After 'normal' practice, he would spend hours to improve his strokes, like his drop shot and its variations from different situations and angles. To do this he made adaptations to the footwork to achieve the purpose. On top of this, he also mentioned that he had a net hung in his dining room so that he could practice and improve his serve when at home.

    I might also be that currently on average the level of players is closer that is was, say 10/20 years ago. Players from different countries have same or almost same probability to win the trophy which is very positive. Looking from this angle, I would agree that on average the actual top 20 players level is higher than before.

    Individually speaking, I still see players of the olden days better. Tang Xian Fu still tops, with Hou Jia Chang and Zhao JianHua very very close. For ladies, the ones I've seen Han AiPing, Zhang AiLing, Yeh Zhaoying and consider them technically the best. None of the the actual top ladies players could produce the shots like they did at their prime.

    Kwun, don't know how to explain what you are trying to say. But I remember 1 sentence my coach said long time ago - to find THE top player, should look in the countryside. How many potential badminton players (in the national team) grew up climbing trees?

    Don't want to assume that I know what he meant, but read interviews on 2 famous personalities in football: Arsene Wenger (manager of English team Arsenal and with many years of experience developing young players in France) and Cruyff the Dutch superstar of the 70's. Wenger, curiously mentioned same thing as my coach did 20 years ago, as the possibility why there is no another Maradona or Pele. Cruyff said that possibly the next superstar is playing soccer on a dirty and road full of holes against older players.

  14. #31
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    Do you mean orthodox and unorthodox?

    I think you are using style in the wrong context. The style of game has changed, as the players and their equipment have changed. The pace of the game has defintely increased, with more emphasis in attack rather than defense. This results in fewer rallies. Where as players in the olden days, they prefered to move one another around the court and play mind games to force an error, modern players are happy to smash their way to victory.

    Modern players seldom use unorthodox techniqes, because they have been taught properly since a child and haved honed and refined to perfection. This makes it appear mechanical in some aspects, but I think efficiency is the word I would use.

    Every person has a style to their play. Xia definetly does. His looks may be ordinary but who else wears a shirt with the collar turned up!

    I think I have noticed a trend to pick tall slim players nowadays as opposed to before. Also, looks like there is more meat on the older players...LS King, H Jian, M Frost. There used to be some relatively fat players who played doubles too. Some Malaysians and Koreans I saw playing, were quite porky! I think Zhang Jun is about the porkiest out there on the circuit now.

    Do not forget that most countries in the world are coached by Asian (Chinese) coaches, therefore they play with much the same style.

    Some said to me that they hated watching an all Chinese final. I was offended initially, but after witnessing such a final. I have to conclude that it is a bit more boring to watch.

    Todays games are a lot more physical but less mental.

    Just my opinion.

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    This whole process of the changes in badminton in the last half a century is nearly evolutionary in its methodology. However, a certain stagnation could possibly occur, as unlike in nature, there is not outside influence or force to affect the world of badminton. In this way, international level badminton has adopted the style which was the most effective in the last two decades; the hard training and power style developed by the Chinese has become predominant. Is it possible that because of this, badminton has not been allowed to grow and advance as a sport to its full potential? Are other avenues not being fully explored, with a stronger focus on mental training and skills? Could it be possible that a champion might arise as a result of his or her training in a completely different method that is totally antithetical to that most utilized today, allowing a complete, yet disadvantageous overturn in the badminton world?

  16. #33
    Regular Member Bbn's Avatar
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    Didn't gopichand win AE in 2001 with his unique style?

    Although majority of Msian players are modelled after China,

    those from Nusa are original made in Msia and showing good results.

    Denmark and Ina always create their own niche and ina is getting more influential

    than ever. More fusion likely or more diversity?

    And there is the unique Kim Dong Moon.

  17. #34
    Administrator kwun's Avatar
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    unorthodox vs. orthodox. yes. that's inline with my thoughts as well. modern players are so much well trained, their shots are closer to perfection, or what many would considered to be "standard" strokes and movements.

    but even so, orthodox/unorthodox doesn't describe my thoughts exactly. let's give a few examples of MS games to illustrate my thoughts:

    TC semi 2002 - Xia vs. Wong

    perhaps plain/dull vs. creativity is another dimension. i sometimes find some modern players to be rather dull, esp for the attacking game. i just watched the TC match between Xia and Wong. throughout the match, it was net/net/net/net, lift, smash, net/net/net. add in a push once in a while. execution was done at lightning speed and perfect from both sides, any margin of errors are severely punished.

    i personally did not find that game exciting to watch other than the tension involved.

    AE final 1999 - Taufik vs. Gade

    another contrasting example, i think this was 2000 or 1999 AE final between Taufik and Gade, that was a much better game, there are fast smashes and tight netdrops, but both sides showed much more creativity in their play, along with their precision, speed and power.

    Japan Open final 2003 - Xia vs. Lin

    not sure how many people have seen this match. it should be out in badmintoncity.com soon i hope. here is a contrast to the TC semi game. i actually find this match to be very exciting to watch. it was an match full of offensive shots. but this time i don't find it dull. in fact i find this match to be one of the better ones in my book. Xia and Lin showed their completeness in their game. you see everything there is to a badminton match, speed, power, smash, drop, clear, net, push, drives. all precisely executed and intertwined into each rally and never shows any signs of plain or dullness throughout. adding onto that the style of Xia made this a great match to watch IMHO.

    so yet again, more thoughts but still no concrete description.

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