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  1. #1
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    Default Getting rid of bad techniques and building new good proper ones

    Considering for how long I play badminton and how young I was when I started, I feel frustrated that I can not play higher than I do. This is due to me starting out with not good techniques. For instance I was playing with a half panhandle grip. There were people who showed me the basic forehand grip, but forgot to mention that I have to use pronation of underarm and adjust the hitting position to be able to hit the shuttle square on. Therefore I could not accept they were showing me right grip - I didn't know how to hit with it!

    Many years later and I am an indermediate player but not happy with my level. I find that I am held back because of old bad instincts on the court. I need to have a good day just to feel comfortable with my basic grip. When I have a good day the techniques are working and I play on an advanced level. But when I have a bad day my techniques regress so much that I can end up looking like a beginner without proper clear or smash. This is very unfortunate and creates big doubts.

    Does anyone have tips for how to stabilize correct techniques and build proper muscle memory and get rid of old bad habits? Or should I just give up the thought of improving and accept I will always be an intermediate player? My on court training possibility is 2-3 times a week. Smash and late forehand shots are the big problem areas.
    Last edited by vixter; 04-05-2015 at 10:19 AM.

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    First thing is first:

    My on court training possibility is 2-3 times a week.
    On court is not training. Please distinguish if you mean training, or playing games.

    Training is training. It's practising shots, drills, footwork, shadows, and other technical aspects of play. Playing games is experience, but it's not really training.

    To develop you will need dedicated training time. If you have a coach, even better.

    For instance I was playing with a half panhandle grip.
    This isn't strictly wrong.

    The racket face has to change depending on position, where you're hitting it from in comparison to your body, so on and so forth.

    Pan handle grips can be good for net kills for instance.

    Therefore I could not accept they were showing me right grip - I didn't know how to hit with it!
    I've been told some pretty tenuous information. It's good to be aware of the information you're getting, and what you're doing with it.

    When you're retraining, you need to have an awareness of what you're being told. If /everyone/, and /everything/ you can find online is telling you one way - like with the basic grip - you're going to need to make the extra effort to find out why it works.

    There are very few situations where a technique cannot physiologically work for you, so unless you have a very base problem with your physiology, these techniques should work for you.

    Does anyone have tips for how to stabilize correct techniques and build proper muscle memory and get rid of old bad habits?
    The key stages of play development tend to be:
    Beginner - the player doesn't have a clear understanding of what to do, and often need to break down actions step by step.
    Intermediate - a good idea of what to do, and some autonomous performance. Still requires some thought for execution.
    Advanced - fully autonomous play and understanding of what shots to play.

    But, the line between Intermediate and Advanced is so very blurry. Even the absolute top athletes are still thinking about what they're doing, and exactly what they want to do with their shots.

    You will need to regress yourself to a beginner level to rebuild aspects of your play. It is no good going into games straight away, trying to correct several elements of your game. Eventually you'll overthink everything, and end up using muscle memory anyway.

    You need to go through coaching drills, and step by step breakdowns and executions to rebuild that muscle memory.

    When you're doing these drills, really focus on what you're doing with the racket, and your feet. As you start to rebuild that muscle memory, you'll start improving speed, performance, and you'll start to perfect that technique.

    1) Get dedicated, true training time.
    2) Put in the academic effort to understand the information you're told, and figure out why it works - if it makes no sense, ask why, find out more.
    3) It's not worth categorizing yourself; they're just a rough indicator. If you only consider 3 levels of play, you're simplifying things too much.
    4) Don't try to correct everything at once. It won't work. You'll overthink things, and end up not correcting things properly. One step at a time.
    5) When you start correcting things, really think about them and focus on what you're doing.
    6) Get a coach, or very knowledgeable training partner.
    7) Practise, practise, practise.

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    I gather your problem seems to be having to learn pronation all over again and instill that into your muscle memory.

    Agree with dedicated training. No games until you get this corrected.

    One small point may help you pronate... ** always lead the stroke with the tip of your elbow. **

    This will force you to cock your arm and wrist in supinated preloading. Then just extend and pronate into the shot.

    Watch some slow mo videos of LD or LCW and you'll understand.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie-SWUK View Post
    First thing is first:
    .....
    Thanks for this well thought reply with many good pointers. It will work motivating for me.

    I can play 2-3 times a week in the club and you are right that this is free game sessions. Just as you say I have noticed that match play doesn't help me improve anymore. But I can use part of this time for real training too. I have started to seek out the people that want to train with me. Like do a drill, give me a certain shot over and over to play. And I will help them too of course, giving them a drill they want to do.

    I'm aware that a panhandle is not always wrong, surely not close to the net. My clears used to be quite powerless though so it was definitely not good technique. The technique has improved, yet I suffer from "off days" where I just can't seem to sink into the right grip, swing and timing.

    What you said about me needing to regress to a beginners level before I can build up stronger basics was interesting and will help me to not get discouraged the days when I really do feel like a beginner.
    Last edited by vixter; 04-05-2015 at 06:53 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by visor View Post
    I gather your problem seems to be having to learn pronation all over again and instill that into your muscle memory.

    Agree with dedicated training. No games until you get this corrected.

    One small point may help you pronate... ** always lead the stroke with the tip of your elbow. **

    This will force you to cock your arm and wrist in supinated preloading. Then just extend and pronate into the shot.

    Watch some slow mo videos of LD or LCW and you'll understand.
    Thanks. It is a good pointer indeed, leading with the elbow.

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    I hope it helped! I'm having to relearn to play entirely from scratch with my left hand, so I know what you're going through.

    Personally, I train around 6 hours a week, and then do as much as 15 hours of games (but am currently not doing this while I'm relearning - my standard isn't high enough for those games at the moment anyway!).

    As you train you will develop muscle memory and familiarity. You will find that you sink into it more naturally, but it will take work nonetheless to first develop this.

    I would thoroughly recommend getting a coach to help you. When you have someone that can break down the shot for you, show you exactly what you need to do, and correct you when you fall into bad habits.

    For your basic grip, one thing people do is mark the bevel on the grip with a marker or something like tipex. This mark on the bevel shows you where the V between your index finger and thumb should be on the racket.

    - When you say your clears are lacking, are we talking rear court clears going to the mid court?
    - How are your net shots (not kills; your tumble/close shots, and your crosscourts)?
    - How are your smashes from the mid court?
    - How are your smashes from the rear court?
    - Have you learned 'proper footwork'?
    - Are you playing more straight, or cross court shots from the rear/mid court?

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    Yes, then we are a little bit in the same boat, if you are having to re-learn to play with your left arm! It's back to basics!

    I do think getting private lessons could really benefit me. I will ask the trainer at my club about this.

    -On a good day I wouldn't say that my clears are lacking. I can put power into them and I occasionally hit them long of the baseline, so we're not talking half court clears.
    -My net shots are good. I hit them sharp. often force a lift or even a failed lift into the net.
    -Smashes from both mid and rear court definitely a problem. especially from rear court. I am not a natural smasher. I don't know how to "pack a punch". I often feel I'm not getting a square hit. I will hit 1 good smash out of 10. I think my smash is only arm. I don't know how to channel the power from the rest of the body into the smash.
    -Footwork is ok, not too bad, and I do exercises for footwork also off court.
    -Both. more straight I guess. My tactic awareness is quite good I think. Just lacking in techniques.

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    Lessons will help! I get private training for 2 hours per week, and between times if I'm unsure on something, I'll get someone to record me with my phone on both my left and right to see the difference. It is very difficult from your own perspective to see where you're doing something incorrectly, you need the second pair of eyes watching what you're doing.

    At the moment it definitely sounds like your grip and pronation are off.

    Basic grip and why it works:
    Ideally you want to strike the shuttle at the highest possible point; this gives you the most energy transfer (your arm is at its longest leverage point) and also allows you to generate the steepest angles.

    For your body position, at the point of contact, your body should be just passing square on. (As you should know, for rear court play you should be kicking through - that is, your racket foot moves through with your racket hand. This is to transfer weight.) So at your point of contact, your racket foot should be a little in front of your non racket foot.

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    Similar to the above.

    Immitate this position with the semi pan-handle grip you were using. You'll notice your strings are actually pointing outward. As you bring the racket through they'll straighten more, because your elbow will close. This is helping to produce those straight shots, but why they're a little less than desirable in terms of power. Think of it as sweeping the shuttle down. Because of the pan handle grip you're using, the strings are already facing more forwards, and therefore there is no pronation.

    Now, change yourself to the basic grip, and immitate the position again. You should notice straight away that you have to rotate your forearm to get the strings more square on, this is the pronation involved with playing the shot.When your forearm is rotated, but your wrist is not extended, your strings should be straight on. You want to produce that rotation in your forearm as you play the shot to straighten the strings out.

    As @visor has said, lead with the elbow. Your shoulder will follow naturally, and the rest is discussed below.

    Force = Mass * Acceleration
    If you accelerate from an already moving object, you retain the velocity, and then accelerate on top of that.

    You want as many parts of your arm accelerating off of one another as possible. This is why we accelerate from the elbow, to the radioulnar, to the wrist. This is what helps us to generate power in our smashes. By moving our weight we increase the mass, and provide a small amount of acceleration too - this is why the kick through is very important.

    This is why the basic grip works, the strings are straight when as many movements as possible are complete, including the shoulder, elbow, forearm, and wrist. It does not inhibit any of these moves - it works with them.

    Proper footwork will provide you with techniques to position yourself not only to take shots, but to use the kick through properly while playing them. It is very important, and your coach should encourage good footwork throughout to ensure you're in the best position to transfer power to the shuttle.

    Hopefully this gives you a starting point, and allows you to understand why the basic grip is what you need. I hope you'll also be able to follow and observe what I've outlined here - especially with string facing - to reinforce your understanding. You'll need a coach to help you build your technique, but to me 'why' is often as important as 'how'. I also hope this breakdown will help you to feel more comfortable with the basic grip, and absolve any alien feeling with it. Please let me know if any of the above is unclear, or if you'd like further information.
    Last edited by Charlie-SWUK; 04-05-2015 at 08:21 PM.

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    I assume you have read this article...

    http://www.badmintoncentral.com/bc/2...or-worthwhile/

    You are going through exactly what happened to me. I had played the game for many years but has no proper guidance. Played competitions but not consistent. Sometimes I would have very good days but also bad ones despite the tremendous effort.

    Then I had a period of my life where I had quite a lot of free time. I decided "hey, why not try learning badminton from a coach?" Fortunately, at this stage, I was living in HK and you see many people (not only juniors) having training sessions. So, it was a matter of exposure to a culture of learning as an adult that got me curious about it being possible to improve. For me, I found a coach though a friend of mine....actually, he was a current international player at the time. Why did I go straight for this type of person. A) he was also coaching my friend, B) my attitude is if I am going to change, it requires full commitment- if I can't change with this guy, then I won't be able to improve with anybody!

    Setting your aims are absolutely crucial because this determines your commitment and focus to training. I had made it absolutely clear that I wanted to play competitively, play singles and start learning from the beginning.

    It depends on your personal goals but I was prepared to start from the very beginning. I.e. Mentally prepared to give up everything and start again from the very basic. (Almost everything except my service - my serve was far higher quality than other parts of my game). Starting from the beginning means you have to deal and accept the frustrations of inconsistency or not be able to perform a technique.

    My first lesson was a test for the coach to see my techniques, how I play, have a discussion and learn a bit of badminton. We went through footwork patterns as these are crucial foundations for singles (and vastly improve doubles though I didn't realise it then). I kept getting mixed up about putting which leg forward because of years of wrong footwork - the starting first step is the most important and I had never considered it before.

    After that humbling experience of a first lesson, I found I couldn't remember the steps when I got home!! Crazy!! I just paid that money and forgot the content!! So next time I brought a notebook and drew rough patterns to practice at home. Then, because I had reinforced the knowledge, when I had a spare moment of standing around at work, I would move my leg pretending to do the first step. This was to help train muscle memory. That's what badminton fanatics do!! I was training two sessions a week with the coach (total 4 hours per week) in order to break the old bad habits and retrain the new ones. But effectively, it was more than that because I was practicing and thinking about footwork patterns off court.

    So 3-4 months of twice a week lessons, taking notes, practicing at home and taking it easy during games outside. A string environment to break old habits. Of course, this coach was sometimes flying off to All England, Swiss Open, Indonesia, Japan Opens so my training was sometimes interrupted.

    I made rapid progress in training and wasn't fussy about winning games. I felt if I learnt new techniques, it is definite that I will lose more games at first. But the objective was long term changes. In games, if I lost a point, I would immediately shadow the correct foot pattern, and then the stroke. After all, if you can't get to the shuttle properly, you make it harder for yourself to play a good shot. Losing games didnt affect me - these were low level sessions help me start to incorporate the new techniques in game situations.

    I also learnt there are off days in training. There are some days where no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't perform a technique very well. Yet, other days where everything goes well. My coach was very good at adapting the training and explained this happens even with top athletes and happens in competitions. This told me even a very top player can have an off day, even if they are fully focussed. I know we talk about it but experiencing at high level training made me more sympathetic.

    Even certain shots may work poorly yet the rest of the game is perfect. I was starting mid court drives. Two steps out from base position left or right and playing a drive. At this stage, I know the footwork and hand-arm preparation. Yet, it proved very difficult to get the right contact point to make the shuttle zip off the racquet strings and fly straight - the shuttle would fly a bit slow with a curved flight. Anyway, I got a bit disgusted with myself and in the break to get some water, threw my racquet down on to my bag. The coach immediately changed the routine to something else. In the next lesson, we tried the stepping out and drives again. This time, it went really well! Even coach was surprised at the difference and seeing as it was going so well, he pushed up the intensity and level of difficulty. That ended up being a hard physical workout with my footwork having to considerably speed up.

    My techniques improved significantly and I found a group of good singles players. From this group, I was able to refine techniques such as rhythm, bounce, neutral shots, change of pace etc. I was also watching a lot of videos - Sun Jun and Hendrawan were my favourites and analysing their strategies to contain Peter Gade's fast attacking style was very educational. Sun Jun doesn't look so good on court but every shot has a purpose. Hendrawan played the net area exceptionally well. It was because of Hendrawan that I changed the training to include more netgame techniques. Coach got a bit bored of hours of feeding shuttles and me trying to spin the shuttles LOL. But when I got the feel of spinning the shuttle, my singles game improved another level.

    So good luck to you on your quest for improvement and I hope my experience will help you find what is best for you. My coach remarked a number of times how satisfying it was to teach me and see the improvement. But it was due to the focus and the extra effort off court that helped. I was the first student of his to take notes of the lesson which he was impressed with (but my memory was so poor!). It is possible to make massive improvements as an adult, even though you have been playing many years incorrectly. Of course, we can't get to international/national level but it was fun trying!

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    I won't discuss individual techniques much in this thread. More importantly, I feel it depends on how your attitude is to learning and helping along the process of learning (which of course applies to other skills). I am pretty much of a 100% learner - full out or not at all. Which is why, for me, I had to get a very high level coach.

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    Thanks a lot for sharing your experiences guys. I only get encouragad from this. I definitely want to get some private lessons as well as training on my own. If I can afford it is another story!

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    There's some great, encouraging information in this thread.

    I can only echo what others have said. If you enjoy improving and learning new techniques, then it's absolutely worth the effort to get training or coaching. You will often get worse before you get better, but you will get better.

    Make a reasonable effort to check that you are practising good techniques, not learning bad habits. Of course there is conflicting information available, so it's not possible to be certain. Just try.

    If you can afford some coaching, the outcome will be better than if you only do training without a coach.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vixter View Post
    Thanks a lot for sharing your experiences guys. I only get encouragad from this. I definitely want to get some private lessons as well as training on my own. If I can afford it is another story!
    Sure. The expense is the main drawback and requires some budgeting. I am not sure how much I spent but for sure, it was much less than a postgraduate diploma course at University (this is about 7000 euros where I live). I don't how useful a postgraduate diploma is but I use my badminton education every week of the year!! hahaha So it was money well spent in improving my quality and enjoyment of life

    As for how much can you improve, do check the links in this post

    http://www.badmintoncentral.com/foru...=1#post2330178

    It refers to a player who started at the age of 25.

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    It all depends on what you want, right ? You want to enjoy playing social games, go play games. You want to learn play badminton, go get training, practice the drills.

    All the good badminton players that I know practice for hours and hours; no game! All the bad players that I know, play games all the time; no drills.

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