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  1. #18
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    I'll take a slightly different perspective, and assume that one takes as much coaching as they can (afford!). The question then becomes "Is playing games in addition to my coaching beneficial/detrimental?"

    To which I would answer "it depends"

    If the games are played without an intent to improve on technique, then technique is not going to improve. If you are playing against strong(er) opponents then at least you may be getting useful tactical experience.

    If the games are played with a mindset on improving some technical aspect, then I would say playing games in this context is beneficial 'in general'.

    Of course the downside to playing is that you strengthen muscle memory of any poor techniques that are employed (and indeed poor strategy/tactics that go unpunished by lesser opponents).

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  3. #19
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    I think coaches prefer beginners not to play games to prevent them from developing bad habits. It is a lot easier to teach good strokes from the beginning. It's a lot more difficult to correct and replace an bad stroke.

    So if possible, learn the basics correctly - then start playing games. Also, be sure to use the proper strokes - even if you might not win.

  4. #20
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    when you play games, it is best that it be supervised by a coach. The coach should give u immediate feedback on your games.

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  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by pcll99 View Post
    The coach should give u immediate feedback on your games.
    This is one of the most important things said in this discussion. Thanks for saying it Please bear in mind how important it is that the student learns to think about what they are doing. Without this, they cannot think about what they are doing, and they cannot take the coaches feedback about rallies and situations that happened, because they are unable to remember what happened.

    Good luck everyone!

  7. #22
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    It's pretty unrealistic in the majority of cases to have a coach to hand for games, though. Probably only if you are in a performance centre (in which case you are not a beginner), or you are on a course will that be available.

  8. #23
    Regular Member Wingu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pcll99 View Post
    when you play games, it is best that it be supervised by a coach. The coach should give u immediate feedback on your games.
    Do not forget to ask your opponent for advise either, during games, intervalls and after the game. In Japan, you even ask your opponent you played against in a tournament for advise after you finished the game. I've never seen this in Sweden though. Wonder how it is in other countries.

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  10. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wingu View Post
    Do not forget to ask your opponent for advise either, during games, intervalls and after the game. In Japan, you even ask your opponent you played against in a tournament for advise after you finished the game. I've never seen this in Sweden though. Wonder how it is in other countries.
    Asking your opponents for advice/feedback in very common in chess. It's encouraged. Badminton players should probably consider doing the same, especially those friendly games, or games with more superior players. Definitely one way to improve.

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  12. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by raymond View Post
    Asking your opponents for advice/feedback in very common in chess. It's encouraged. Badminton players should probably consider doing the same, especially those friendly games, or games with more superior players. Definitely one way to improve.
    Don't bother with obnoxious arrogant opponents...

  13. #26
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    I think asking opponents about strategy might be ok. But in terms of technique, make sure you are asking someone knowledgeable. I can play a pretty good game - apparently, as I've recently found out - most of my technique is wrong. So you wouldn't want to learn the wrong technique from someone like me.

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    I actually got to my level without any drills or training. All my abilities stemmed out from lots of game experience. Want to get a stronger smash? Hit harder. Want to get there faster? Then go! Eventually your muscles will grow and the will to win will improve you beyond any training can teach you. If you know all the basics, start playing many different people

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    Quote Originally Posted by Optiblue View Post
    I actually got to my level without any drills or training. All my abilities stemmed out from lots of game experience. Want to get a stronger smash? Hit harder. Want to get there faster? Then go! Eventually your muscles will grow and the will to win will improve you beyond any training can teach you. If you know all the basics, start playing many different people
    Congrate! You are one of the few lucky ones, blessed with natural ability. Unfortunately, very few are like you at that far end of the bell curve.

  18. #29
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    I think the answer to this question relies on the answer to this question:

    What are your training needs?

    In other words, as a player, what are your strengths/weakness, and how do you improve your strengths and fix your weaknesses?

    imo training shouldn't consist of 100% games or 100% drills.

    If you are a beginner with limited or no stroke/footwork mastery, then the bulk of your training should be focused on drilling. Will playing friendly matches make you worse? Maybe. It depends on how focused you are when you play (do you go on autopilot, or are you focusing on using good footwork and hitting technique?), and whether or not you are able to learn from playing. In general, playing matches is time you can spend drilling. If you have access to space and partners to drill with, you should prioritize drilling over games. If you at an open gym situation, then sure, play matches. Just stay focused during your matches, and try to learn from them (either through coach/advanced player feedback, or self analysis—it is key to develop self-awareness early, a player who knows his own weaknesses can improve far faster and better than an ignorant player)

    If you are an intermediate player, with moderate mastery of strokes and footwork, you may want to incorporate more matches into your training. Why? At this point, drilling will improve your body (muscle memory for strokes and footwork and fitness), but as your skill increases, you need the brains to back up your playing. Depending on how fit you are, or how strong your mastery of strokes/footwork is, you should still prioritize drilling over matches. However, if you are a solid intermediate player, you should be playing more matches against players of you skill level or higher than a beginner. (Ex. As a beginner you would play 1 match per training session. Now you maybe want to play 2-3 matches per training session). Take care to reinforce drilled skills during play. Again, try to learn from matches through either feedback or self analysis.

    If you are an advanced player, with complete, or near complete mastery of strokes and footwork, you should now know what training you need. If you suffer from injuries, perhaps you may dial back drilling for more matches, or focus on quality drills over quantity of drills. Perhaps you feel as though your tactics are lacking—play more matches against stronger opponents, or with handicaps. At this stage, you should have enough self-awareness to know what training you need.

    Just my two cents.

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  20. #30
    Regular Member Mark A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Birdy View Post
    It's been almost 9 weeks since I started taking lessons and badminton seriously.

    I have been told by some people that I shouldn't play games because it actually makes you suckier.

    For example, when you play games, you don't really focus on how you hit and you just want to win the point or you just reinforce poor habits. I don't know how true this is though, because on the other side, some people said I should play games to apply what I learn in lessons and drills.

    They said games are more important than doing drills or lessons because that's where you really learn how to play.

    Which is true?

    My brother who plays for a college team is suggesting I stop playing games once and for all and focus mainly on drills and lessons for 3-4 months straight before moving to games, but some other players who play really well said I should play games.

    I don't know which is true.. Any advice or insights would be appreciated.
    a) not playing games is, IMO, ludicrous advice. If you're not being coached to play better in games, what are you going to do with it?

    b) there are two prongs to coaching: actually making the shot, and strategy/tactics. You can only get better at the tactical side if you play games; you're not going to improve your shot selection if you're just hitting what the coach feeds you.

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  22. #31
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    How do you improve?
    To me, it's like a neverending circle.

    1. You recognise a weakness/mistake.
    2. You learn how to overcome the weakness (e.g. better technique.)
    3. You practise that new technique in drills.
    4. You try to incorporate that new technique in games.
    5. You repeat 3. and 4. until you have fully incorporated the new technique and it's your new standard technique/way of playing.
    6. You search more weaknesses and jump to 1.

    Therefore, you should always do both, drills and games.

    (seriously: nobody would stick to badminton if he never played any matches for a longer period of time...)

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  24. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSeeley View Post
    Thanks for your response. Perhaps my post wasn't clear! To say that someone should not play games is not what I was trying to say and certainly I wouldn't expect someone who has been playing a short space of time to be amazing. I do not think games are necessarily harmful.

    However, given the choice of spending time doing drills or playing games, where you COULD do either one, I think that as a beginner (as you will be even at 9 weeks), then focused drills with a coach is the best thing to do. I am not saying games will necessarily be harmful, but I do not believe they will be as beneficial as doing drills.

    You will hopefully, on rereading my post, agree that I did not say that professionals and semi professionals will not benefit from doing drills. Indeed, what I was trying (and perhaps failing) to say, was that, in order to practice to your best, you need to pick the practice that most suits what you are trying to achieve (goal setting you have already correctly mentioned). So, for an example, a professional player would absolutely do drills to improve the accuracy of their stick smashes, or the amount of spin they can impart on a tight spinning net shot. That professional would also gain a lot from playing certain types of practice games - but by comparison I do not think a beginner will benefit nearly as much!

    In my opinion, practice games should be focusing on applying skills that have been learnt already, and applying them in games. This is good to do at all levels. However, in order to do this, you should really be able to practice a skill you have already learnt. I do not think that beginners have necessarily learnt enough to go out and practice in an uncontrolled game (conditioned games are different - they are drills in my eyes).

    As such, I believe that a beginner will be MOST benefited from doing drills, because they need to learn the skills such that they can do them automatically. Bycomparison, an advanced player has more choices in the best way to practice - is it learning new skills/perfecting old skills in drills (just like the beginner) or is it learning to apply those things better in games (which a beginner is not capable of, because they have not yet reached a technical level that is going to yield helpful practice in games).

    That was the point of my post - as you get more advanced, the most "beneficial" practice changes.

    None of this takes into consideration what is fun, and what you should do if you DON'T have a choice. I certainly don't get to train very often, so I have to play games. Games are fun But I will never be as good as I can be without spending more time doing drills and perfecting my skills. Until I have those skills to practice in games, I will be limiting myself. That said, playing some badminton is better than no badminton at all!

    I agree with your post. Mine wasn't intended as at odds with anyone else. Just my (badly expressed) opinion on why the "games vs drills" debate is not as clear cut as "they are equally important" or "drills/games are better", because their importance is different depending on your skill level!
    I like that you bring out that we should consider level of the player in deciding whether to focus more on games or drills because I just realized that it matters a lot. Say if you are beginner, and you go out playing games chances are you will be making a lot of mistakes and developing poor habits if you play too much games. However, if you practiced a lot of drills (say dedicated 4-5 months doing drills, nailing down the basics) then games at least you can consciously think about what you are doing wrong.

    I agree with you that at higher level playing games is helpful because that's when you really are putting your drills to a test (to see if you've improved).

  25. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by amleto View Post
    It's pretty unrealistic in the majority of cases to have a coach to hand for games, though. Probably only if you are in a performance centre (in which case you are not a beginner), or you are on a course will that be available.
    I agree. I think instead we can just ask our opponents or teammates for feedbacks. That's what I currently do. It's been helpful..

  26. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by |_Footwork_| View Post
    How do you improve?
    To me, it's like a neverending circle.

    1. You recognise a weakness/mistake.
    2. You learn how to overcome the weakness (e.g. better technique.)
    3. You practise that new technique in drills.
    4. You try to incorporate that new technique in games.
    5. You repeat 3. and 4. until you have fully incorporated the new technique and it's your new standard technique/way of playing.
    6. You search more weaknesses and jump to 1.

    Therefore, you should always do both, drills and games.

    (seriously: nobody would stick to badminton if he never played any matches for a longer period of time...)
    True, play games to find out your weaknesses and use drills to correct them. I guess overall the key is recognizing the purpose of the drills and games and balancing out their needs.

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