How to win doubles when our partner can't play correctly?

Discussion in 'Techniques / Training' started by Obito, Nov 1, 2017.

  1. s_mair

    s_mair Regular Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    Messages:
    4,388
    Likes Received:
    2,727
    Location:
    Germany
    I know perfectly well what you mean. I'm playing in a small club with 10-15 players attending a normal club night. If there's an important soccer match on TV, we sometimes end up with 6 people only. :confused: Then there are two categories of players, the team and the hobby players and normally, the hobby players have the majority. Which basically means that we usually need to mix with the hobby guys and girls to have everybody playing on court.

    I know I should now say things like "I don't care who I'm playing with, I always enjoy the game and have fun!" - but hands down, that's just not always the truth. There are matches that just don't seem to "come to life" at all - you know, those matches in which no rally exceeds 5 shots and every second rally ends after 2 shots with a bad unforced error or an easy kill. Even if it sounds rude, there are matches that I only want to be over as quickly as possible and I couldn't care less if I win or not.

    On the other hand, it happens that I'm having a lot of fun in these matches too. What's most important is that you try to level out the player combination on both sides best possible. So for us, the most promising combination is to have one team player partnered with a hobby player on both sides. I found to get most of my motivation in these matches when in theory, our opponents should be the better pair and I feel like it's on me to make the difference. Mostly, we rotate then partners after the first match and I just love it when I scored a win with both hobby partners in the end. :)

    Overall, I would say the fun and motivation on court depends a lot on the flow of the match. Once there is a certain flow and you have interesting rallies going on, then is the time for @visor's "Be like TTY!"-moments. Play risky, do stuff you would never try in a "serious" match and just try to show (off) that you're the best player on court. I would even say that you can actually improve your own game in these kind of matches too. Either if you are working on your shot precision/variation or (if your partner is slower on his feet) you can work on your court coverage and movement.

    What totally sucks almost everytime is a situation in which there are three good players plus one really weak player on court. The strong pair will automatically isolate and focus on the weak spot and you (as his partner) will be standing around mostly and watch him fail. There's just zero fun in that.

    The only sentence I'm a bit worried about too is this one:
    For me, this would be a situation in which I would be happy, that I know for sure. If I had to squeeze out everything I got to win a tight match in the end, I would go home with a smile on my face. Because obvioulsy, it was me who made the difference on court (at least that's what I would be telling myself :D). Chances are higher that I end up frustrated if I had just wiped the floor with clearly weaker opponents.
     
  2. Abu Tanki

    Abu Tanki Regular Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2015
    Messages:
    239
    Likes Received:
    47
    Occupation:
    Student
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    Thanks for these posts everyone. As someone who has a similar problem to Rob3rt they were good reads on how to change your mindset.

    Sent from my SM-J500FN using Tapatalk
     
    Rob3rt likes this.
  3. yippo888

    yippo888 Regular Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2004
    Messages:
    452
    Likes Received:
    59
    Occupation:
    Therapy Radiographer
    Location:
    Nr Guildford, England
    As mentioned before playing with a weaker player against a stronger pair puts you in a more challenging position. But your approach should be the same, play the right shot and give your partnership the best opportunity to get into a good position. The better position you put your partner in, the more likely they are to hit an effective shot.

    It is great sometimes when you have 4 high level players together and you can great consistent great rallies and a real contest. But you can also have similar games playing with a weaker partner but putting them in good positions and reassuring them that they have done the right thing even if they have a mistake. Or just reminding them when they played a wrong shot, but in a constructive way so that they can eventually improve. We have all been there, being the weakest player on court. It's frustrating but you can only do you best.

    I can only echo what a lot of people before have said about playing for enjoyment over winning. Even if you lose, by exercising your mind by being tactically aware and also encouraging and teaching your partner, you will find enjoyment. It's a wonderful game after all!
     
  4. SSSSNT

    SSSSNT Regular Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2011
    Messages:
    592
    Likes Received:
    100
    Location:
    Here
    I'm not clear on if you can change partner or are you stuck with just one partner.

    I was in a situation where I often were stuck playing with/against a couple of very weak players just because they and I often arrive at the same time. I didn't enjoy those matches so I just flat refuse to play when my partner or opponent is the weak guys. I would speak up about this disparity and try to arrange matches that are more fair, even if it means I play less games. Clearly this made me rather unpopular but I notice the games are much more exciting for everyone.
     
    yf19-sama and Rob3rt like this.
  5. DarkHiatus

    DarkHiatus Regular Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2015
    Messages:
    1,207
    Likes Received:
    771
    Location:
    Manchester
    Nail on the head.

    Jake Downey's has some excellent books on mental state in badminton, and the Inner Game of Tennis by Timothy Gallwey is a perfect read for anyone struggling with how to be happy with your performance.

    The gist is that first you need to discern the difference between giving a good performance and winning. You should be satisfied with giving a good performance, even if you lose the game. Even if it is against individuals, you should recognise that they are the stronger pair overall, but you should also ask, "what more could I have reasonably done?". If your answer shows that there was nothing more you could do, then you gave a good performance, and if not, then you must seek to improve, regardless of your partner.

    Next, you need to focus on how to deliver your best performance under ANY circumstance. That circumstance is most commonly when you're under pressure e.g. in tournament play, but equally applies to training (where there's nothing to lose), and also to playing against/with weaker players, where there is an expectation to win.

    Only when you can achieve this mental state will you become that player who never cracks, and delivers time after time.
     
    Rob3rt likes this.
  6. Rob3rt

    Rob3rt Regular Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2012
    Messages:
    7,122
    Likes Received:
    1,346
    Location:
    Germany
    The thing is, my game is already quite deceptive (not as much as my singles game, though), so if I go for even bigger risk outrageous shots it'll look like I don't even care about the game. Been there, done it. Been criticized for it.
     
  7. Rob3rt

    Rob3rt Regular Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2012
    Messages:
    7,122
    Likes Received:
    1,346
    Location:
    Germany
    Good point. I never saw it that way, thanks. So not being able to get better if you are playing with weaker players might not necessarily be true, point taken. But there's still the frustration problem. Don't tell me you can't understand a little frustration when you are clearly playing the best and still having a hard time winning because of your partner? Maybe sports doesn't mean just because you try hard you will win, but it should be that the player playing the best wins, right? How do you deal with that?

    Well, I try my very best not to offend my partner with my behavior. So I don't scold him/her (like Ivanov clearly does), get angry or any of your examples. But I can't deny that sometimes I shake my head after the 10th unforced error or so. It's only human, I can't keep a poker face the whole time, unless it's competition.

    Okay. This might work. I will try focussing only on my play and not so much on my partners', but it's hard. It's not like I'm waiting for him/her to make mistakes and count them but it's hard not to notice, you know? And you are right again, the better I get the more likely I'm having to deal with this. I once had the chance to play a tournament with a much better player but I didn't. Why? Because I felt like it's a burden for him and I don't want that. It's not enjoyable for either one if the level of play so clearly differs. Only wanting to play with better players is a very selfish act, in my opinion. I don't want that.
     
  8. Rob3rt

    Rob3rt Regular Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2012
    Messages:
    7,122
    Likes Received:
    1,346
    Location:
    Germany
    Yes, good point. I'm in a similar position. I did that too, organizing good games and refusing games. People didn't like that, but I began to enjoy the games more again. Now it's starting again. Oh well, maybe I'm just hard to please and having too high expectations.
     
  9. Rob3rt

    Rob3rt Regular Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2012
    Messages:
    7,122
    Likes Received:
    1,346
    Location:
    Germany
    Thanks for your insights. The people do that too at the clubs I play. But I don't enjoy that and think it's a bad idea. Let me explain you why. Yes, the score might be tighter if you play that way (stronger/weaker vs. stronger/weaker), but I don't think it makes the game more enjoyable - not for the stronger players. I sometimes prefer to play "stronger/stronger vs weaker/weaker" because that way you don't mess up your habits, like positioning, shot choices and so on. Also you don't have to worry bumping into your partner taking your shot or you having to cover 75 % of the court. That doesn't mean the stronger players should completely destroy the weaker players in a match like that, but that way the weaker players are able to clearly see their weaknesses and are able to improve better and might even get more motivation to improve than if they had won a very tight game with better players, thinking to themselves "hey, that was quite good, a tight match with good players". This might give them the wrong impression. Sorry, maybe I'm being too harsh, but that's my experience. Maybe I'm completely wrong here, but I've seen this so often: people completely overestimating their skills and challenging much (!) better players to games they should just not play! This is either complete delusion on their side or just a very self-serving attitude to have.
     
  10. Rob3rt

    Rob3rt Regular Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2012
    Messages:
    7,122
    Likes Received:
    1,346
    Location:
    Germany
    Thanks, that might actually help to get rid of my frustration in situations like this. If I gave my best and still lost, there's nothing I can do. I could even be happy if I performed well enough.
     
  11. DarkHiatus

    DarkHiatus Regular Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2015
    Messages:
    1,207
    Likes Received:
    771
    Location:
    Manchester
    I think so if you embrace it.

    On the flip side, if you win but you performed poorly, you may not be happy - have you ever felt this? If not, then I would strongly urge that you try to change your mindset.

    You may find people are put off that you are unhappy even after you beat them. These are the same people who will be bewildered that you can be happy after losing!
     
  12. Rob3rt

    Rob3rt Regular Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2012
    Messages:
    7,122
    Likes Received:
    1,346
    Location:
    Germany
    Of course I have felt this.

    Don't worry. I keep that to myself. But there's been times when I played very very well and lost. And I've been happy.
     
  13. s_mair

    s_mair Regular Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    Messages:
    4,388
    Likes Received:
    2,727
    Location:
    Germany
    The crucial thing in this whole discussion is the mindset with which you step on court. And without knowing you in person, I feel like you have two mind-modes available as soon as you grab your racket:
    1) "I want to play well and win!"
    2) "I want to improve!"

    Both modes simply won't bring you much enjoyment in those mixed-level matches. IMO you will either find/develop another mode called "I want to have fun!" or "I want to support others to improve!" or I don't really see a way in which you will find some more motivation in this ever.

    Standard question (as DarkHiatus has also mentioned): Have you read "The inner game of tennis" yet? It's still the only book that I can recall that has significantly changed a lot of things I do and think regarding badminton on and off court. To actively think about the "what do I want?" every time I grab my racket is one of them.
     
    visor likes this.
  14. MSeeley

    MSeeley Regular Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2009
    Messages:
    2,049
    Likes Received:
    732
    Occupation:
    Professional
    Location:
    England
    Just a note: a few of the things you have said here are not true. The pair that plays the best badminton will win (which we can define as the winning strategy - not necessarily the best looking, or the best against other people, or most tactically sound: it only matters about on the day strategy).

    Your point about "its only human" is also not a fact. The fact you feel that way is the limitation here.

    I could say a lot more about these posts and responses, but I will restrain myself. I understand and sometimes share in your frustrations, but the way you act, think and behave is just a habit, and you can decide what habits you have. At the moment you are justifying your behaviour whilst asking for help to change: if you want to change then do so (or practice doing so), and if you are happy to carry on as you are and still be judging those around you, then you can continue to do that too. Just be honest about it.

    Some questions: Are you judging your partners, or their skills? Why are you doing so? What does it give you (i.e. how do you benefit?)? What does it give them (how do they benefit?)? What gives you the right? Would someone else considering the same events judge it differently? Do they deserve judgement? Are you in a position to judge them anyway? How do you know your judgement is correct? etc etc. Lots of questions to consider...
     
    Rob3rt likes this.
  15. ucantseeme

    ucantseeme Regular Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2010
    Messages:
    4,701
    Likes Received:
    1,937
    Location:
    on court no. 1
    I feel you. I mostly don't enjoy a doubles game for several reason. Here are my killers of motivation:

    - your partner don't fit your style and play a game which force you more to work with your weakness, instead with your strength
    - loose and funny partners which don't take the training match serious and play more relaxed and in a wellness mode instead of serious game play
    - partners who state before the match that they are not able to play at a peak because of sickness or injury (stay at home)
    - partners who do bad positioning, bad tactics etc.

    To your problem:

    IMO it is not only the issue that your partner is just weaker than you, it's a combination of all. I can enjoy games with weaker partners, if they know how to bring me with my strength in the game and put much effort into the game to shine. Even if they do unforced errors (and IMO the error issues is the thing which divided a good from a bad player by 1-2 levels), if they try their best to make the game for my enjoyable, I can enjoy it. But this is seldom the fact that anybody has a partner, which is weaker, but has the abilities to give you the signal "I do whatever I CAN and rip my ass off". If I don't feel that, I lose the motivation like you.

    I also need to add that I also have the chance to play with a slightly better players than me, who are not doubles experts and they can kill my motivitation with the above stated points. So IMO it's not only the weaker player who might kill my motivation, a slightly better player can do it, too.

    For the weaker players, I often use my memory of my level 3-4 years ago. Everybody starts small and with this perspective I can work against my loosing motivation a bit and can avoid to hate my partner for his play. If I need to play with some partners more often, I always try to use the personal dialog without anybody around to talk on eye-level which things brought me into trouble several times. I mean, everybody can only learn when he notice that he made mistakes, and why they are mistakes or bad ideas.

    Atm I don't have the problem like you. I train mostly with fixed partners for XD and MD, so they are familiar and supportive players for my training matches and but I also needed efforts to talk to them. And it also need that they talked to me, because error rates and bad quality shots in weak areas are always higher compared to the areas where you shine. So as a doubles partner, I try also to do things to make my partner shine. But without talking you will never know and can just guess.

    Even if your partner force you to work with your weakness to often, I developed my focus to see this as an match training exercise, instead of beeing pissed off, because I can't shine and make the win. Nowadays I don't care about winning in training. I did it, but beeing out of comfort is a good mental, motivation training for me. My advice is not to see only the bad things. Even in the baddest things you can find a good aspect for you, you just need to look behind some issues.

    And for people who think that it's easy to cut the strong player out in doubles, it's by a degree possible with personally rotations and complementary tactics to bring you back in the game.
     
    Rob3rt likes this.
  16. Borkya

    Borkya Regular Member

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2016
    Messages:
    469
    Likes Received:
    464
    Occupation:
    teacher
    Location:
    Xiamen, China
    Sorry, but i don't understand this mentality. Why in the world would you ever be mad being forced to confront your weaknesses? Isn't that the point of training and playing? Why bother playing if you only do what your good at? Do you not want to improve?

    I try to not only put myself in a weaker position, but force my opponents to do things to put me in a weaker position (aka give them a lot of lifts so they have more smash opportunities so I can practice returning a smash which was a weakness). Short-term losses leads to big strides in skill (guess who is master of returning smashes now).

    Maybe that is the mentality of a hobby player, but what serious player would ever get mad about that? Any serious opponent will find your weakness in a game and exploit it. So you need to understand it in training and work to improve it, not avoid it.
     
  17. Rob3rt

    Rob3rt Regular Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2012
    Messages:
    7,122
    Likes Received:
    1,346
    Location:
    Germany
    Yeah, I guess you are right. I will try having more of this fun you are all talking about. ;)


    Not yet, it's been on my wishlist for quite some time now since you guys on here constantly praise it. :D
     
  18. Rob3rt

    Rob3rt Regular Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2012
    Messages:
    7,122
    Likes Received:
    1,346
    Location:
    Germany
    Yes, that's what I meant. That's part of what is frustrating; in singles quite simple: You play better than your opponent on that day, you win. In doubles it's not that easy.


    Maybe the wording was bad and I should have written "more common", as I see a lot more players getting emotional on court even on the pro circuit than ice-cold poker-faced Lee Chong Weis. :D


    Those are indeed a lot of questions and they are not easy to answer, but I what I think you're trying to say is that I should focus more on myself than on my partners' play or my opponents. Point taken.
     
  19. DarkHiatus

    DarkHiatus Regular Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2015
    Messages:
    1,207
    Likes Received:
    771
    Location:
    Manchester
    It's available as a free PDF easily on Google. Print it if you want a hard copy?

    So are all of Jake Downey's books which also cover doubles tactics the most in depth I've ever seen. Again, Google is your friend.

    No excuses now, my friend :)
     
  20. yippo888

    yippo888 Regular Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2004
    Messages:
    452
    Likes Received:
    59
    Occupation:
    Therapy Radiographer
    Location:
    Nr Guildford, England
    i think what you have to appreciate in doubles is that its all about the partnership. Even if YOU play the best of court, it doesn't necessarily mean that translates to your 'team' (you and your partner) playing well and playing that way may well lose you the game. ie i think in doubles there are many ways to define you are playing well yourself individually, all your shots could be played with such deception that you wrong foot your opponents all the time forcing a weak return. Perhaps you are able to smash with such accuracy and intensity that they cannot return most of your smashes. You could be PWNING the net and every time you come forward you are able to dominate the rally and win the point.
    However i find, particularly for myself that often if i play well it can sometimes expose my partner. For example i have always been noted as very quick. i rotate very quickly and force the pace of the rally, and i tend to go into the net a lot. When playing with players of lesser experience or speed, if i am not careful because they are slow to fill in the gap it quite often puts us in a difficult position tactically. Usually i have to slow myself down and pick my moments to go into the front court as to not expose my partner.
    You can still play to the same intensity but you just sometimes have to tailor your approach to your partner.

    It is similar in basketball where sometimes the team with the topscoring player isnt the winner of the game at the end. Thats why in a lot of other sports assists are seen as such an important stat as well as actually scoring.
     

Share This Page