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    Question About footwork & setting the pace...

    Hi everybody, as I am writing those words I feel a bit desperate
    I am sorry about the length of this post but it's so difficult to translate sensations into words

    My problem which has been worsened since past two years, is about managing to play at my own rate/rhythm, especially when it's opponent turn to hit the shuttle. I think my problem is close of the one that can be encountered in boxing.

    Indeed, the slower the rate of play of my opponent is, the more I have a hard time being on the shuttle early. In fact by "slow pace" I mean to say "the frequency at which opponent hits the shuttle" and "the speed of the motion he used to play a shot" (not the speed of the shuttle itself)


    A typical example (but not the only one) of what my problem:

    > I make a long serve
    > My opponent makes a drop shot (a slow one with a parabolic path)

    Even if I have felt that he would play a drop shot before he hits the shuttle, I often don't manage to retrieve it easily whereas sometimes a single step could be enough to reach it.

    1. I hugely practice my footwork and plyometric exercises, at least swift enough to reach the kind of shot mentioned above. Thus, I think that the problem doesn't come from muscle structure or fitness.

    2. I don't think it's about game reading or insight because the problem occurs even when I read the shot.

    3. I am an offensive player. I always tend to play at 100% and try to be the quicker I can on the shuttle (to make a link with professional players, my play tends to appear like Cai one)



    After much thought, I feel that my problem is about automatism & timing.
    Indeed although I read a shot, I think for a given situation, my brain isn't quick enough to command my legs/arms/muscles to do the right movements at the correct pace and is bad to assess the amount of energy need to the action. I think it's related with proprioception.

    For instance, in my above example it useless to rush on the shuttle and to waste energy whereas there is merely one little step to make to reach (early) a slow drop shot.

    Unfortunately even if keep this fact in mind, I doesn't help. Worst than that, even if I try to focus at 100% and be ready to charge at the shuttle quickly it doesn't really help.



    What I wish to arrive at is to have a brain wave (trigger) as soon as possible after I read/identify the shot the opponent will play, which would make possible to do the appropriate movement (it might be a slow one if the situation doesn't required a full strength one).

    In other words I wish to have of quicker "decision taking"


    What are your impressions about that?
    Do you agree with my assumptions?

    Does anybody having idea(s) of exercise I could make to improve.
    I am already making tons of shadows to improve my footwork/balance/automatism

    For those who read this sentence thanks for your patience

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    Quote Originally Posted by ben95 View Post
    Indeed, the slower the rate of play of my opponent is, the more I have a hard time being on the shuttle early. In fact by "slow pace" I mean to say "the frequency at which opponent hits the shuttle" and "the speed of the motion he used to play a shot" (not the speed of the shuttle itself)


    A typical example (but not the only one) of what my problem:

    > I make a long serve
    > My opponent makes a drop shot (a slow one with a parabolic path)

    Even if I have felt that he would play a drop shot before he hits the shuttle, I often don't manage to retrieve it easily whereas sometimes a single step could be enough to reach it.

    1. I hugely practice my footwork and plyometric exercises, at least swift enough to reach the kind of shot mentioned above. Thus, I think that the problem doesn't come from muscle structure or fitness.
    perhaps mix up your shadowing fast then slow, because you aren't always going to use your full speed, some opponents may play at a slower pace and some may not

    if you say its not a fitness problem maybe its a routine thing, do you incorporate like one step movements into your shadowing?

    find someone to practice doing slow swinging shots against you so you can practice simply returning the shot. Then over time you might react quicker.

    there are times where I wish I didn't try to read a shot, and just wait for the shuttle to leave my opponents racket bed before I commit

    heres an example
    this guy I believe named Jacky perf example vs Taufik though but...
    3:31
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIgLp1Q6Tk8

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    sorry about double post and formatting. this PC is very odd.
    Last edited by mojopin; 07-10-2009 at 12:45 PM.

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    Posting a video would be the most useful thing. Regarding your example 1- is your serve a good serve? _i.e. baseline and high - you might be giving yourself no time if too short 2- are you spit stepping ? really really important 3- is your footwork correct? ( just because you're practicing something, doesn't mean it is actually correct ) 4- What does "retrieve it easily" actually mean? hitting too low?is the problem with your shot technique ? not making it in time? Moving too late or poor positioning/too close far from net, incorrect lunge? off balance? are you trying shots that are not appropriate? 5- Are you standing too far back, with incorrect feet positioning? moving forward to a drop should be one of the easier movements - try post a video even if only from a phone or something so people will be able to help you better as it is very difficult to imagine a potentially complex problem vid words alone. btw, i find that soemtimes during footwork practice as you split step, call out the opponents shot in your head and the second you land your split, your totally focused on what the shot was and moving towards it.

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    i think part of the problem is your "drive", the desire to go after the birdie. for example, you see the birdie coming, but there's a split delay in your brain telling you to move towards the birdie... so it's almost like a brain laziness? lol

    i think it takes mental preparation, and also a habit thing. before a game, pump yourself up, and TELL yourself GO AFTER the birdie and don't wait for it to come to you.

    practice with your partner and go for 100% return rate. don't worry about the quality of the return at the moment, just get yourself there. so do half court drop/smash. you clear, and have your partner either drop or clear. since you don't know which shot is coming, you'll have to be prepared for both. if he drops, get the drop, if he smashes, get the smash. the goal is to go for 100% return rate and the speed of your returns.

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    Hi Ben,

    I've had the same problem before. I just kept being extremely slow and inaccurate with my shots and movements when my opponents played like snails. It was extremely frustrating, especially when I was used to dictating the pace of play and making people run all over the place.

    Even worse was trying to figure out why it happened. Was it mental confusion? Slow decision-making? Dusty courts? Bad warm-up? Am I just not 'programmed' to play at such a slow pace? I still have similar problems not with pace, but with much weaker players. It's harder to play for some reason.

    I think the solution for me was to stop classifying shots. Instead of thinking "Hey, that's quite the easy shot. Such a slow drop!", I just see every shot as the shuttle coming to my side. From there, I just react.

    I think this is because the internal dialogue goes something like "This is an easy shot, I can't miss it!" or "Gee, I'd feel really stupid if I missed that one!". And then the impossible happens because you brought it to life with your self-talk, and you can't play your shot!

    I play at a high enough level that there's no point in reading your opponent's shots. There's loads you can read but when your opponents change their shots like pros (i.e. at the last split-second with their wrist), it's all about reaction time. So when something like this happens, I know it's all mental.

    So remove the idea that a shot is "easy" and another one is "hard". Shots are shots and the moment they cross the net they are all threats. Keep your mind busy and you'll move smoothly and play your game regardless of who you're facing.

    Hope that helped a bit. Sorry for the long post.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ben95 View Post
    Indeed, the slower the rate of play of my opponent is, the more I have a hard time being on the shuttle early. In fact by "slow pace" I mean to say "the frequency at which opponent hits the shuttle" and "the speed of the motion he used to play a shot" (not the speed of the shuttle itself)

    3. I am an offensive player. I always tend to play at 100% and try to be the quicker I can on the shuttle (to make a link with professional players, my play tends to appear like Cai one)

    What I wish to arrive at is to have a brain wave (trigger) as soon as possible after I read/identify the shot the opponent will play, which would make possible to do the appropriate movement (it might be a slow one if the situation doesn't required a full strength one).

    In other words I wish to have of quicker "decision taking"

    What are your impressions about that?
    Do you agree with my assumptions?

    Does anybody having idea(s) of exercise I could make to improve.
    I am already making tons of shadows to improve my footwork/balance/automatism
    Three categories of "deception":

    1. Body Movement/Footwork/Swing Technique/Style
    - e.g. you may see people with poor footwork but are able to move quickly around the court
    - e.g. you may see people who have very odd looking racquet swings-- arms flailing, loose swings, off-balance, etc. but are able to generate decent shots
    - as an opponent you may end up watching them rather than watching the shuttle-- consciously or sub-consciously
    - sub-consciously your mind could be thinking 'how did they generate that amount of power with such an ugly looking swing'
    - the result is your mind is distracted and it takes you longer to return the shuttle
    - over time if you play repeatedly against the person your brain will consider it to be 'normal' and you'll be able to react much quicker to the shuttle

    2. Shuttle deception
    - e.g. trick shots
    - e.g. flicks/attacking clears/etc.
    - e.g. cuts/slices/reverses/etc.
    - the shuttle moves in a different direction/speed/trajectory than you were expecting; often labeled as 'wrist action/deceptive wrist'
    - the result is you anticipated when you shouldn't have or anticipated incorrectly
    - general remedy is to increase the pace of play to give your opponent less time to deceive you
    - if you know your opponent well and know the limits and types of shots he is able to play you can anticipate
    - keep a clear mind while waiting for your opponent's shot

    3, Swing Speed deception
    - "fast" refers to hand/racquet is quicker than the eye-- swing is not visible/brain is unable to track/diagnose the swing
    - "slow" refers to medium speed-- swing is slightly slower than "fast"-- swing is visible/brain is able to track the swing

    a) fast-slow - initial racquet head speed is fast but as/slightly before shuttle is contacted and in follow-through, swing speed decreases and is constant
    - brain/defence gears up to receive power shot and must re-adjust for usually some type of sliced shot
    - brain may take extra time before re-adjusting if eyes decide to follow the motion of opponent's racquet head during follow-through (brain is mesmerized by racquet that appears out of nowhere that is gliding in a smooth controlled fashion "slow phase")

    b) slow-fast - initial racquet head speed is slow but as/slightly before shuttle is contacted and in follow-through, swing speed increases
    - brain watches opponent's racquet head speed since it is visible to pick up a cue as to what shot to expect
    - slow-fast allows opponent many options; many different slices with and without power
    - brain/defence may be late if expecting a slower shot only to encounter a snap-smash
    - brain may take extra time before re-adjusting if eyes decide to follow the motion of opponent's racquet head speeding up during follow-through (eyes will automatically tend to be attracted to very fast moving objects-- innate survival mechanism-- note that even if object is very fast moving the mind gets used to it and ignores it after a while-- it is the slow-fast change in racquet head speed that attracts our eyes to the opponent's follow-through)
    - result is that even if expecting a slow drop from the "slow" phase of racquet head speed, if the actual shot played is a sliced drop and the racquet head speed increases rather than decreases during follow-through, the eyes will be attracted to the fastest moving/accelerating object (the opponent's racquet rather than the shuttle)

    c) fast-fast(-stop) - initial raquet head speed is fast, at contact is fast, in follow-through is fast until the end of follow-through when racquet may stop
    - standard swing style for well-trained players and people with good technique-- encourages solid contact with highest potential for power
    - all pros use this style-- it is the safest to avoid mishits/poor hits when pace of play is high and is the easiest to use when your footwork tempo is also fast
    - not deceptive at all-- hand is quicker than the eye so your brain doesn't bother paying attention to opponent's racquet and sees the next fastest moving object; the shuttle
    - this is the type of opponent you're used to playing against-- "good" opponents

    d) slow-slow - initial racquet head speed is moderate and stays moderate in follow-through
    - this is the opponent you've described-- could also be an opponent with slow-fast style that you're playing against
    - slow-slow on its own can be mildly deceptive if your are mesmerized by opponent's smooth swing and end up watching their racquet rather than the shuttle after they contact it (opponent's swing should be extremely smooth and elegant-- eyes are attracted to beautiful things)
    - is usually much more effective when shuttle deception is also used; e.g. well-sliced, finger power, etc.
    - if shuttle is sliced then brain is confused by the (visible) racquet head moving in one smooth direction while shuttle direction/trajectory/speed moves unexpectedly (perhaps in the opposite direction)

    To solve your problem recognize what type of swing speed style your opponent has. Not many can recognize these four variants of swing speed. Even if they know about it they can likely only play one or two of the four styles as this is what they're used to. This is actually why many people find it a lot easier to play against opponents who have extensive training (pros are of course a different story due to their conditioning and speed)-- almost everything about their shots is predictable from the types of deception that they have/don't have to their choice of the "right" shot to play.

    Unless your opponent is consciously using slow-slow or slow-fast swing speed to deceive you, the remedy is easy.

    Short-term remedy for your particular problem:
    1. Do not anticipate. Do not even be thinking of anything while your opponent is playing his shot.
    2. Have a clear mind. Do not even be thinking about keeping a clear mind while playing. Rather you need to have a clear mind.
    3. Relax. Then relax even more.
    4. Put your body into a passive state. (along the lines of relaxing and decreasing your tempo)
    5. Allow your vision to blur somewhat-- i.e. do not focus on every minute detail of your opponent's preparation and racquet swing that you can. Instead you could try looking (passively) at a point say half a metre below where the shuttle is and sort of look at the shuttle (and catch the opponent's racquet) in your periphery.
    6. Shut down the brain. Dumb down. The mind is a dangerous thing.
    (the only two times you should be thinking is (1) after you've started moving to retrieve your opponent's shot then you can think about which shot to play and (2) well before your opponent has made his shot you can choose to envision returning one particular type of shot if your opponent happens to make the shot you expect-- limit your mind to only this one shot if the dominos happen to fall perfectly and let your body react to everything else)
    7. If your opponent's tempo is still too slow then relax some more by finding a semi-interesting game on a nearby court to watch. Watch the game on the other court while you're waiting for your opponent to hit their shot out of your peripheral vision.
    8. Now that you are relaxed, you will reach the drop shot earlier. Return with a tight net shot forcing your opponent to move in quickly. Their increase in footwork tempo will make it difficult to return to a slow-slow stroke during that rally.
    9. If the high serve is too slow of a tempo for you then use a faster, flatter long serve to force your opponent's footwork tempo to be higher. Slow-slow stroke is not as easy to execute when footwork tempo is fast. Target your serves not only to specific places on the court but also to places relative to your opponent's head. Are their shots less effective when they are forced to take the shuttle round-the-head? Wide to the forehand? Directly above their head? Above their right shoulder? Above their left shoulder?

    Long-term remedy:
    1. Train to increase your footwork speed. This will help you be even more relaxed on court. You'll be so fast that you won't even bother to strain to look at your opponent's swing speed cues. Instead you'll be bored and will prefer to challenge yourself by letting your eyes wander and seeing the shuttle at the last second and then moving to return it.

    Enjoy.

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    Dear Ben95,
    I have a very good deceptive drop & many a times, I have seen my opponents stranted and loosing points to drop shots to which they could have easly resched and played a tight net tumble\high clear. (And a few times I was also at the receiving end- starting late or my initial movement in the wrong way)

    The ideal solution is adding "split drop" to your footwork. Please time it in such a way that as the opponent hit the shuttle, you are just bouncing back. Then you will be on your toes and you canot wait any further-or you will loose the effect of this "pre loading bounce" Then be assured that you will never be late for the suttle.

    The second part is your "footwork tempo" for which there is no short cut-but to practice at relaxed pace. You need to reach shuttle at the ideal time-Where you will meet the shuttle at the earliest point possible, and you will make sure shot as you end your footwork for that shot-neither early nor late. Please check for situations where you are early for shuttle and waiting it, also remeber to return to your base without delaying time. Some times we make too much hurry and spoil our tempo al togother. use all the time you have.

    Read Gollum's posts here and in badmintonbible.com. It was really helpful for me to correct my mistakes.

    Hope this helps.
    Prince

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    from my understanding, its not your brain but your lack of footwork. if you do proper footwork drills for 8hrs a day for 5 years, your footwork will become second nature and you can move to shuttles at your own pace.

    my recommendation: footwork drills until you puke

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    you need to practice changing the pace in your footwork drills.
    If you constantly practice fast or constantly practice slow, your brain doesn't know how to inject the change up.

    So if you play someone faster you will play at a fast consistant pace.
    Then if you play someone slow you drop to their pace and play slow consistant pace.

    If you practice going slow and smooth and burst onto the shuttle with a lunge or something eventually you will train your mind to do that no matter what the pace of the game is.
    It's all in your training and changing the habits.

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    Maybe you can try applying your correct footwork AFTER he makes his initial shot... if I understand you correctly, that is

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    It's already been said, but: as a starting point, make sure that you use a split drop every time.

    Get someone to check whether you're doing this -- often players think they are, but get so caught up with thinking about the game, that their basic footwork (the split drop) disappears.

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    you kno how i fixed that problem?...

    If you are playing at 100% rate, you might be really stiff and all energergized for the next shot. But youre so stiff that when the birdie comes, you cant react fast enough for some reason.... Idk if this is true for you, but when im all excited and psyched up during a game, i find myself real stiff and that decreases my flexibility and reflexes and it also slows down my footwork.... So try calming down and relax it also saves more energy and you can last longer

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    Default Split Drop

    Quote Originally Posted by Gollum View Post
    It's already been said, but: as a starting point, make sure that you use a split drop every time.

    Get someone to check whether you're doing this -- often players think they are, but get so caught up with thinking about the game, that their basic footwork (the split drop) disappears.
    Gollum, a few questions about split drop

    1. I have seen deferent technics for deferent players. Lin Dan splitd very wide every time where as Peter Gade do not do that. Is there any specific advantage if you make a very wide split? What is the deciding factor?
    2. I have an 80% succces with split drop. But 20% of the times, it creates a negative impact-especially, when i am tired. I lower my base toomuch or I mis time it in such a way that I am either flat footed or find it too difficult to change direction. I have been working on this issue. Any tips? Is it better to avoid split drop when you are too tired?
    Thanks in advance.
    Prince

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    Quote Originally Posted by nprince View Post
    Gollum, a few questions about split drop

    1. I have seen deferent technics for deferent players. Lin Dan splitd very wide every time where as Peter Gade do not do that. Is there any specific advantage if you make a very wide split? What is the deciding factor?
    2. I have an 80% succces with split drop. But 20% of the times, it creates a negative impact-especially, when i am tired. I lower my base toomuch or I mis time it in such a way that I am either flat footed or find it too difficult to change direction. I have been working on this issue. Any tips? Is it better to avoid split drop when you are too tired?
    Thanks in advance.
    Prince
    1. Probably the deciding factor is what shot you think the opponent might play.

    2. Try not to avoid split drop - if you do, then you have a worse chance of reaching the shuttle. If it is really impossible to reach the shuttle, just give the point up and save your energy for the next one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ben95 View Post
    Hi everybody, as I am writing those words I feel a bit desperate
    I am sorry about the length of this post but it's so difficult to translate sensations into words

    My problem which has been worsened since past two years, is about managing to play at my own rate/rhythm, especially when it's opponent turn to hit the shuttle. I think my problem is close of the one that can be encountered in boxing.

    Indeed, the slower the rate of play of my opponent is, the more I have a hard time being on the shuttle early. In fact by "slow pace" I mean to say "the frequency at which opponent hits the shuttle" and "the speed of the motion he used to play a shot" (not the speed of the shuttle itself)


    A typical example (but not the only one) of what my problem:

    > I make a long serve
    > My opponent makes a drop shot (a slow one with a parabolic path)

    Even if I have felt that he would play a drop shot before he hits the shuttle, I often don't manage to retrieve it easily whereas sometimes a single step could be enough to reach it.

    1. I hugely practice my footwork and plyometric exercises, at least swift enough to reach the kind of shot mentioned above. Thus, I think that the problem doesn't come from muscle structure or fitness.

    2. I don't think it's about game reading or insight because the problem occurs even when I read the shot.

    3. I am an offensive player. I always tend to play at 100% and try to be the quicker I can on the shuttle (to make a link with professional players, my play tends to appear like Cai one)



    After much thought, I feel that my problem is about automatism & timing.
    Indeed although I read a shot, I think for a given situation, my brain isn't quick enough to command my legs/arms/muscles to do the right movements at the correct pace and is bad to assess the amount of energy need to the action. I think it's related with proprioception.

    For instance, in my above example it useless to rush on the shuttle and to waste energy whereas there is merely one little step to make to reach (early) a slow drop shot.

    Unfortunately even if keep this fact in mind, I doesn't help. Worst than that, even if I try to focus at 100% and be ready to charge at the shuttle quickly it doesn't really help.



    What I wish to arrive at is to have a brain wave (trigger) as soon as possible after I read/identify the shot the opponent will play, which would make possible to do the appropriate movement (it might be a slow one if the situation doesn't required a full strength one).

    In other words I wish to have of quicker "decision taking"


    What are your impressions about that?
    Do you agree with my assumptions?

    Does anybody having idea(s) of exercise I could make to improve.
    I am already making tons of shadows to improve my footwork/balance/automatism

    For those who read this sentence thanks for your patience
    Apart from the split drop, nobody has mentioned about your position on court and centre of balance. Also of note is how to close your court space down against an opponent. All these affect your speed in going to the shuttle.

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    Are u doing a split drop? Are you focusing on the shuttle? Or are u just too nervous? Im always nervous when I play with a new player. Even though that player is lousy hahaha!

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