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Farewell to the grips guide

Discussion in 'Techniques / Training' started by Gollum, Jan 24, 2017.

  1. Gollum

    Gollum Regular Member

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    As you may know, I have a grips guide that has been popular for years now. I am preparing to replace it with newer content, especially videos.

    The grips guide has history for me. It was the first article on my website, but it goes back further than that. The original (much shorter) version was published here on BC, and that was what started me making instructional badminton content. That little article is why the Badminton Bible exists.

    Now that I'm planning to retire the grips guide, I want to involve the BC community in the process. While I will make all the decisions, I would still appreciate any thoughts you have on this.


    Why do this?

    I need to update the content because I have changed some of the things I teach.

    Of course, I could just update the article, but I don't want to do that. We are now making a different style of content (better, I think!), and I don't want to keep the old articles around forever.

    To make a high quality resource, it's not enough to add new things. You also have to remove cruft.


    What I'm planning

    I'm about to start filming several videos on learning individual grips (e.g. thumb grip). These will replace the core content of the grips guide, and I will redirect those article pages to the appropriate new videos.

    I'm planning to make these videos free. Some of the other grip-related videos will probably not be free (e.g. changing grip). As always, every video will be accompanied by free text content.

    I am also planning to avoid making any new images, and instead rely on video. I feel video is more effective, and it's less hassle than managing a whole bunch of images.

    If you look at the grips guide, that leaves three main sections:

    • Adjusting your grip -- covers grip length, late forehand and backhand, and smash
    • Which grip? -- a laundry list of "which grip for shot X" pages
    • Background info -- odds and ends, like an explanation of how the BE grips teaching changed
    I must decide what to do with these. Currently this is my plan:

    Adjusting your grip: this is actually useful content, so I'm keeping it. I will move these pages from the article and put them into the new content structure. Eventually they will get "upgraded" with videos.

    Which grip: I feel this section is thin. I would normally just teach this when I am teaching a shot. I am tempted to remove all these pages, redirecting each page to the most relevant topic (e.g. "which grip for smash defence" redirects to "smash defence basics").

    Background info: honestly, does anybody read this? Does anyone care? The only practical page is the one about grip (handle) size, so I might keep that. The rest I intend to remove.


    How you can help

    You can help by letting me know your views on this. Am I planning to remove content that you've found useful? Or do you agree it's dead weight? Any other thoughts welcome too.

    It's important to clean up old content, but equally one must be careful when making drastic changes to a popular resource. That's why I'm doing this openly. Please let me know what you think.

    Remember that it's useful to leave feedback even if you have nothing special to add. "Sounds fine to me" is just as valid as "No, don't take those pages away!"
     
    #1 Gollum, Jan 24, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2017
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  2. visor

    visor Regular Member

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    Great to hear this!

    Re list of which grips,
    I think it's still important to have some pics or preferably short clips of close up slow motion videos of various grips used during various strokes, even just to see and be aware of the importance and variety of grips and their applications. Of course, each of these different grips can then be hyperlinked to more comprehensive articles and videos that delve specifically into them individually in more details.


    One very important technique you may want to expand upon, is the use of loose grip and finger power. I see that you already have a section about relaxed grip, but a slow motion video showing close up of the hand with relaxed grip going into grip tightening into the shot would be very instructive.


    Often times beginners and mid level players try to generate power the wrong way by compensating with too much shoulder and arm action. They try to pound the shuttle with raw power instead of using a whipping action which can only come from a loose arm and a loose grip and grip tightening.

    Of note, I notice that in the BWF Shuttle Time video series for beginners and children, the students don't hit clears yet until they can master some basic footwork and quick grip changes with alternating backhand and forehand net shots in the forecourt. This seems quite wise as it instills a loose grip early on during the learning process.
     
    #2 visor, Jan 24, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2017
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  3. eelvis

    eelvis Regular Member

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    As a keen novice player, I have the found the ever importance of a relaxed and tension free wrist, arm and body. Fluidity of shot make is enhanced, when relaxed, changing grips and setting strike position is improved. The more detailed videos will definently enhance understanding. Can i throw a request in, don't know how difficult it would be, chromecast support would make it easier to watch.
     
  4. Cheung

    Cheung Moderator

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    Background makes interesting reading.
     
  5. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly Regular Member

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    Would you consider archiving the current grips guide and provide a link to it when you've got the new guide up? The current guide is still one of the best (if not THE best), most comprehensive guides on badminton grips around.
     
  6. Gollum

    Gollum Regular Member

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    Good suggestion! :)

    Currently this is not feasible for me to do, but in time it should become straightforward. I use the embedded Vimeo player, and they are planning to add Chromecast support. Vimeo don't move quickly though, so this is more of a long-term thing.

    Eventually, I may switch to a third-party video player (e.g. VideoJs) to enable some advanced features. In that case, I would be looking for Chromecast support.


    Arrrgh, I knew someone would say that. ;)

    I'm still considering it. It's always tempting to maintain old material -- it feels safer, it feels like you're not throwing away something that might be useful.

    But there are downsides. The potential for confusion increases when you have multiple versions of the same content, especially when they significantly contradict each other. And even though web content takes up no real "space", duplicate content is still a kind of clutter. You still have to put it somewhere.

    With our newer content, we are trying to be more focused. That means reducing repetitive or tangential content to a sensible minimum. It also means thinking about content boundaries -- "where does this idea belong? Should I include this in the current video, or would it be better in another one?"

    And from my perspective, I want to feel I'm unconstrained by the past. I want to make new stuff without worrying about how it jars with old stuff.

    The one area where I relax these constraints is the blog. Blogs are well known to be more free-form and disorganised, and I think this is an appropriate place for me to ramble.


    I might put this -- or a updated equivalent -- in the blog. What parts did you find interesting? Was it mainly the "what happened to the old grips?" and "alternative views" pages?


    Yes, I agree. This also gives me an idea: maybe I could extract a moving gif from the video, to show the grip from different angles. Or perhaps just a looping video. There are more exotic possibilities too, but I'd better not get carried away or I'll never get anything done. ;)

    The issue is how to organise this content. In the past, I organised it like a textbook or treatise, and it shows. Now I am trying to organise it for practical learning. I feel it's more appropriate to simplify the process of learning the grips, and then get on with actually learning a shot.

    So instead of thinking, "how would I write a badminton encyclopedia?", I now think, "how would I coach this in real life?". Of course, there are important differences between video and personal instruction. But I am trying to stay closer to real coaching where possible.

    When in real coaching did anyone say, "let's go through all the shots, and you tell me the right grip"? How is that helpful?

    I am also prioritising players over coaches. That's not to say coaches can't benefit, but for example, I do not want to flood my content with the kinds of grip discussions you get at coaches' conferences! ;)


    Good idea. :) I would need to experiment to see what we can get with different slow motion shots.
     
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  7. darrengsaw

    darrengsaw Regular Member

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    Hi Mike,

    I like the idea of switching to a more video oriented approach. I agree with Visor that it would be helpful to have some kind of at a glance slow mo or similar for each grip.

    I often find myself just having a look as a reference guide, so that would be helpful.

    Regarding Chromecast, I know that at least for phones, and android phones specifically you can cast the screen from the browser. I have used this myself for BB videos, and while not quite as good as native app casting it still works well.

    Can't vouch that it works for PCs/IOS etc though.

    Overall really impressed with the Bible updates recently, well worth the small monthly fee.




    Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk
     
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  8. Gollum

    Gollum Regular Member

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    Yes, I feel that the role of this content is a quick reference (or to learn for the first time). It's best to be clear and short, and not bundle other grip-related concerns into the core reference videos.


    Nice! I need to try this sometime. I'm a bit behind the times. :oops:
     
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  9. Charlie-SWUK

    Charlie-SWUK Regular Member

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    I think that if you're redoing this content, you should expand on the information even further.

    Covering how to hold a racket is the very foundation right, moving away from pan handle grip.
    Covering how shots affect your grip would go even further into intermediate play.

    However, there are lots of advanced elements that will change how the grip works with your shot.
    1) As Visor already mentioned, finger power. I think this could go under a general 'how tight to grip the racket' section, explaining that you squeeze and grip harder to tense your muscles when you hit hard. I think you could also explain how grip tightness can effect net shots, lifts, and drop shots.
    2) Pronation of the wrist - this is something a lot of players really struggle to understand in explanation. I think a video would be really helpful here.
    3) Variations of pronation - slice and moving the racket across the shuttle rather than 'into' the shuttle. In particular this would be good for drop and net shots. Like for a drop, you could explain that you might hold the racket firmly but slow the wrist down, and then brush across the shuttle sideways for slower drops, or at a diagonal for faster drops.
    4) Flexion, because this always gets mixed up with pronation. People swing their wrist joints forward as hard as they can, and strain themselves. I think it's necessary to give a visual explanation of flexion/extension. Your wrist might flex a bit during a shot, but I think explaining this could result in fewer extremes.
    5) Grip height and where the handle should sit in your hands.

    While this all sounds very technical, it can be made succinct. I also think these are important elements of grip to teach people for different shots. I also think that the basic grip, without an understand and use of pronation, won't do people much good.
     
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  10. Gollum

    Gollum Regular Member

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    Those are all good ideas, and I do intend to cover those subjects. However, some of them belong outside the grips content.

    I'm thinking of making a "hand skills" section for some of this stuff.
     
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  11. Charlie-SWUK

    Charlie-SWUK Regular Member

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    Maybe add that stuff into another section and put a recommended reading note at the bottom of grips? A lot of that stuff is more advanced anyway. I would cover the basics of probation with grips just because they go together so closely.
     
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  12. MSeeley

    MSeeley Regular Member

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    Gollum,

    I have always been a fan of the grips guide. It is excellently structured for someone who wants to understand the theory, but I would agree with you that teaching those same grips is done very differently.

    Now, given that you have already given this a lot of thought, and will no doubt produce excellent content, if I were creating a grips related resource, it would include:
    1. a section describing what is currently taught in coaching manuals
    2. a section describing why these ideas are not the only source of truth
    3. a section that allows people to actually get started playing with a grip

    Ultimately, most people are drawn to grips because they are told grips or important or they have some inclination that their grip is "wrong". Either way, the question they will ask is: "What grip should I use when performing shot X"?. I would be structuring the content to succinctly answer that question for that shot, with more about the qualities of the shot that the correct grip should allow, so that the understanding of grips is enhanced.

    For example with smashing: which grip should I use? Basically anything that resembles a basic grip is good, but you can also venture towards thumb grips and still have great success. But the question is which grip is "best"? The obvious answer is:
    The grip that allows you to:
    Take the shuttle as high as possible
    In front of you
    From a side on hitting position
    With no anatomical difficulty
    Where you can hit with power
    Where you can hit with steepness

    The above points are basically describing a body shape that must be achieved at contact. Not many grips meet that criteria. Panhandling can be powerful, or could be steep... but is very unlikely to achieve maximum power AND steepness because of the contact point and inherent biomechanical and anatomical constrictions when you try to take the shuttle higher. Every grip other than the "correct" grip, fails on one or more of these points. What I would hope, is that when the contact point is moved away from the ideal contact point e.g. a late forehand smash, people could then figure out what grip would work in that scenario, given the rules defined because they understand "grips for smashing" not just "the smash grip".

    I would then want to give tips/advice on actually getting started learning shot X using the "correct" grip. This teaching may well be different from just learning the shot from scratch when you already have the correct grip: but most people fall into one of these categories.

    I think I have been rambling for long enough; you probably understand what I am trying to say. And once again, let me repeat: just my ideas on how I would go about it, knowing full well I have probably given a lot less thought than you have :)

    Please let me know when the new content is available and I will be glad to read and expand my knowledge. Good luck mate!
     
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  13. Gollum

    Gollum Regular Member

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    Very good thoughts Matt, many thanks. :)

    Yes, somewhere I need to acknowledge that, and explain the differences (not that they're huge differences). In particular, I'd like to get people thinking about grips in a flexible way, as opposed to "this is The Right Grip and shall not be deviated from." ;) The current level one coaching manual is good in this respect.

    I suppose that breaks down into two areas:
    • Suggesting a shot to practice that uses the grip
    • Specific grip practice exercises
    The former would be a matter of pointing to other content; the latter would belong in the grips / hand skills section.

    You're thinking along the same lines as I've been here.

    It doesn't really show yet, but one reason I'm breaking content into smaller pieces is to make interlinking more effective -- allowing for things like prerequisites and other related linkage.

    I wish I could think of a concise way of saying "prerequisite" without using such a formal word...
     
  14. Charlie-SWUK

    Charlie-SWUK Regular Member

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    @Gollum
    Yeah I think something as simple as 'We hold the racket this way [basic grip] because as we swing our arm forwards, we want to rotate the forearm. Rotating our forearm generates a lot of power in badminton that we want to utilise in our shots. By using this basic grip, we want the racket to be facing the shuttle at the peak of this rotation. This gives us the cleanest hit, with the most power. If we hold the racket with the panhandle grip, we often cannot get a clean hit if we use wrist rotation, meaning we cannot generate the most power possible.'
     
  15. Gollum

    Gollum Regular Member

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    Yeah, that's pretty much how I think of it. I did previously put something like this in the basic grip video (with a technique comparison), but now I would prefer that to be extracted elsewhere.
     
  16. Gollum

    Gollum Regular Member

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    Just to let you know, the new grips content is now published and the article has been retired.

    I still have more content I would like to make on this topic, including some based on the ideas in this discussion. There is also still a mixture of new and old content in the grips section, including a few text pages that I extracted from the original article.

    In particular, I don't yet have any video talking about different approaches and the need to keep such things in perspective. I also still have some tidying up to do with naming consistency across the site. Anyway, it's a start. ;)
     
  17. Charlie-SWUK

    Charlie-SWUK Regular Member

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    Yo! Been looking through some of your new grips stuff.

    Grip size, food for thought, I was told that beginners/intermediate shouldn't be able to touch their palm with their 3 fingers in basic grip. It should be a small margin. Anything extra is too thick. This is only for learners really, advanced players can do as they see fit.
     
  18. Gollum

    Gollum Regular Member

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    Yeah, that page was a straight-up copy from the article -- I'd like to replace it with something newer when I get time. The test that you mention is a good approximation. :)

    (By the way, I know that those ported article pages are called "new", but that's an artefact of my system. The content management for old articles and new content is totally different, hence the system doesn't "know" it's the same content relocated. Bleh. ;))
     
  19. Charlie-SWUK

    Charlie-SWUK Regular Member

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    That's just computers though eh, I noticed you introduced new content though But yeah that's the guesswork I was taught, I use a grip a little thinner than that.
     
  20. Gollum

    Gollum Regular Member

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    Yeah. Sadly it's my fault, as I wrote the code! ;)

    Legacy systems are hard to deal with (even your own!). Generally best to be pragmatic and not get bogged down by the past too much.
     

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