Social badminton... etiquette...

Discussion in 'General Forum' started by aussiebirdie, Mar 20, 2018.

  1. aussiebirdie

    aussiebirdie New Member

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    Hi all,
    I'm a new member of the forum.
    I'm a female from Australia who's just restarted playing badminton socially 4-6 times a week. I used to train at a club in my early teens and have just resume playing in my early 20's. I also try to do one training session a week but it's more footwork related rather than actual technique for shots (as in it's assumed knowledge you know how to clear/drop shot/smash etc -- most of which I can do just not super consistently).

    Anyway when I play social badminton, I'm generally the worst player there. I always get thrown into mixed doubles matches with really advance players and I personally don't mind, but I can't help but feel guilty for them? I feel like I'm an inconvenience to play with, and I can feel everyone on the court dumbing down their skills to hit to me. Because I make enough mistakes as it is, I also find myself resorting to holding the racquet incorrectly as I'm still getting used to holding it the correct way, just so I don't make any more mistakes. Now I personally don't mind losing social matches but I feel like my doubles partners always regret having played a game with a beginner on court. I've even heard people remark "Okay let's play a real game now" when they sub me off for someone more experienced.

    Anyway I'm really not sure what to do! I want to play and it's just social badminton, they're just fun scratch matches. I find myself saying "sorry" 100 times throughout the game. I just want to hold the racquet properly and try implement different techniques I've been coached like turning side ways to hit my clears etc. but at the same time I feel like I have to do absolutely anything I can to ensure I don't make more mistakes as it is.

    Is there anything I should say to the doubles partner before playing?

    How do you feel when you get paired with a beginner badminton player?
     
  2. Cheung

    Cheung Moderator

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    I think you might be doing yourself a disservice and playing down your ability. :)

    Those opponents would not be playing so hard with you if you couldn't handle it.

    How about playing more ladies doubles games? Arrange a group of four on the night and make sure nobody tries to steal your turn on court.
     
  3. thyrif

    thyrif Regular Member

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    I agree with Cheung, if they don't like playing with you they wouldn't have asked.
    At my club, we often play with people who have different skill levels (all feathers, though, plastics hurt my arm). I am often the 'more advanced' player on court and it can be a lot of fun just playing around and making funny shots and rallies.
    The remark "let's play a real game now" happens with us too. This, to me, means a game at my full level, a 'serious game, which is also fun. Don't think this game with you wasn't fun, it's just two different kinds of fun. Although the sentence can sound not so nice (I try to avoid it), don't worry about it.

    Also, playing with people who are better than you will help you improve a lot faster than by only playing your level games.

    Don't worry about mistakes too much. And remember to have fun!
     
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  4. BadBadmintonPlayer

    BadBadmintonPlayer Regular Member

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    I hate this "sry, sry, sry...". So I always say to beginners that they shouldn't have to apologize for mistakes and give their best. We all make mistakes.

    Think of the next point and not of the last mistake. Be happy, positive and do your best! With this mental attitude you will also play better and all have fun.
     
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  5. Cheung

    Cheung Moderator

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    Yes. I have this behaviour as well and we play for drinks to spice it up .
     
  6. DarkHiatus

    DarkHiatus Regular Member

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    As others mention, it's not necessarily related to your ability being that much lower. I often remark that "this will be a fun game", because I know that the pairings are very similar in ability, and the game could be a 29-30 affair. Sub in a stronger player for one side and it no longer becomes a "real game" where everyone is fighting tooth and nail for points!

    I play with weaker players often and as someone keen to get more people playing at higher levels, there's only one way to improve - practice, which you can make perfect practice by having an encouraging partner and opponents playing to your weaknesses. Note that I also play with 3 stronger players often, and I've sunk possibly thousands of hours into badminton - there's ALWAYS bigger fish in the sea, so might as well develop a good mindset now :)

    You may end up finding someone who resents playing with/against a noticeably weaker player, but they do themselves a disservice too - they're depriving their club/group of a player who could flourish and challenge them to improve them in future.
     
  7. kwun

    kwun Administrator

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    Are there players of similar level as you?

    Badminton players are also human, they come in many flavors. Some only want competitive games, some like easier games, and most people I know don't mind playing with someone lower than their level. It doesn't sound like you are new there so everyone already understand what level everybody are at, if they agree to play with you in the first place, then they should already understand that.
     
  8. ChanKC

    ChanKC Regular Member

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    Hi,

    I have been there before - being the newbie and having only played ~10 times in 25 years. What I found is the best way to improve is your attitude, which from the sounds of your post is spot on. As long as you're willing to learn and improve, and the people you are playing with are supportive of you, you really don't need to worry.

    I have tried playing at clubs where the players would flat our refuse to pick me or just roll their eyes and snigger whenever I made a mistake - I promptly left that toxic environment. From the sounds of it you're at least not experiencing that side and as others have said that comment of a "real game" sounds worse than it is.

    One thing that you should change is to stop saying "sorry" throughout the match, the odd point here or there is fine, but it's unecessary to keep repeating it.
    What I generally do is make a joke at the start of the game so they know that I know my place "you've drawn the short straw with me". "I'll try not to let you down", "apologies in advance". The reason why I do this is like you I feel bad for "letting them down" so I want them to know that I am trying my best.

    On your last point if I am paired with a beginner I find it refreshing because it presents a different sort of challenge and I'm more happy that someone else wants to participate in this great sport.
     
  9. Borkya

    Borkya Regular Member

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    I'm gonna be honest. You probably are slowing them down, and they probably do play more gently when you are in the game and they probably don't think it's super fun to play with you.

    But so what?

    Everyone starts at the lower level and everyone has this kind of struggle. The good news is that these players you are playing with also went through the same thing. In fact, they might be going through it now with higher level players. The better you get a badminton, the more you need to "pay it back" for all the more advanced people you played with when you were a beginner. All players know this.

    So don't worry about it! They know you are trying, they know you are a beginner who will make lots of mistakes, so don't be so passive. Say sorry only once (at the beginning or the end of the game) and STOP SAYING SORRY OTHER TIMES! This is not just for badminton improvement but for feminine power (we say sorry a lot more than men, and we need to stop being sorry for breathing and taking up space in this world.) Beginner guys don't walk around whimpering "sorry" after every shot, and beginning female players shouldn't either.

    So just accept it. And own it. You are a beginner player. The people you play with know that, and they play with you to help you improve, not for "the best game ever." So don't feel bad about it. Playing with more advanced players will help you improve faster and someday, when you get better, don't forget this feeling and make sure to offer to play with newbies and "pay it back," when you can.
     
  10. Cheung

    Cheung Moderator

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    She isn't - she trained before. Maybe not to a very high level but I suspect it shows up in her present play.
     
  11. Borkya

    Borkya Regular Member

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    Well, we don't know her level exactly, but she feels outclassed so the advice still stands. It stands for lower level experts playing with the top players even. When you feel like the worst one in a group (if it is true or not) it is really hard to keep your confidence and not feel like a burden. But she shouldn't.
     
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  12. thyrif

    thyrif Regular Member

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    Indeed, the less advanced players don't need to say sorry, at all. Everybody makes mistakes, people don't expect you to suddenly be better if you play with more skilled people. If you feel you may be slowing them down, remember they chose to play with you, so just say: Thanks for playing with me, lets have some fun!
    I don't agree people play with players on a lower level because they 'owe' them. I believe it is because it can be fun, too! Sometimes I just want to make silly shots and have funny rallies.

    Furthermore, nice to see lots of positivity in this thread :)
     
  13. llrr

    llrr Regular Member

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    It's a fine balance though isn't it? I mean, your "silly shots and funny rallies" could be offensive to the weaker player, because maybe they wanted to play with stronger players to get the full experience of a higher quality match. Instead, people joke around and it makes them feel even worse because they know it's their lower standard that resulted in people not playing seriously. On the other hand, we have people who appreciate higher skilled players from taking it easy, so that they can actually hit the shuttle and play rallies. They would not enjoy every bad shot being killed with full power.

    I think in every sport this is a delicate matter and the best advice I can give is communication! If your partner is evidently a weaker player, ask him/her if they want everyone else to play seriously. If you're a weaker player, tell your partner to go easy/hard on you, and also state in the beginning that you're new/rusty/whatever. In my experience, people with vast skill differences will generally avoid playing with each other because they know of this issue, so if someone wants to join a strong match knowing they're a much weaker player, then they want something out of the match (maybe to see what it's like to play higher skilled players, or to try to improve their own play). If they're total beginners, they have to join some match, so inevitably it will happen where more skilled players will have to play with a very weak/beginner player, in which case it's a lottery whether you will have nice people with supportive attitudes. If the beginner gets skilled players who are obviously uninterested and just want the match to finish as soon as possible, then they're not worth playing with. Find nicer people (they do exist!).
     
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  14. thyrif

    thyrif Regular Member

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    Good point! I agree, and I think usually the matches we play have both silly things and some more serious rallies.
     
  15. Charlie-SWUK

    Charlie-SWUK Regular Member

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    I play with lower skill players the same way I played with kids when I was coaching. I try to give them shots that will keep them ambitious. It'll be things like playing a half smash or a more generous netshot to keep them involved with the game. Sometimes I'm playing with much older players, and they just don't have strong movement anymore, and in that case I try to play them shots they can reasonably reach.

    It's just little things like giving your clear/lift extra height, or like with the older players, not lifting it dead to the baseline. Or not just making them run to the net and back again over and over. At the same time, I tend to try to teach them about the game through how we're playing. Like with net shots, I'm a lot more generous and don't tumble them as much, but if they put it 3 feet into the air I'm still going to kill it (albeit with less pace).

    There is a huge difference between going easier to keep someone in the game, and being flagrantly disrespectful by just playing trick shots the whole time. I think if you have the mentality of 'I'm too good to play with these people, therefore I'm not going to play them with any respect', you should probably step off the court. Everyone begins somewhere, and if you can't accept beginners need to play above themselves to learn, then you are blind to the learning process you once had. It is guaranteed that someone, at some point, had the patience to be on court when you were bad; whether that was your coach, or other players, or whatever it was... you had someone give you that chance.

    I fully accept that if you're going to have those weaker games where you do need to restrain yourself a bit, you want the stronger games to compensate for that. You want to stretch your legs, practice, and let loose with your shots. You are there to play afterall, but so are the beginners, so just be respectful about the situation.

    On one of the courses I was assisting with coaching, they held an Easter tournament for the juniors. Most of them were sort of early-mid teens. They didn't quite have enough players to make up brackets properly, so the lead coaches opted me into playing with them when I wasn't umpiring. I would try to keep the score within 2-3 points with them, then at around 10 or 11 points I'd let them come even; after that I'd make rallies where I played properly, but I'd make the odd mistake. Strangely enough they all won their games against me at around 15-14/13 - only one lost against me, unfortunately he served into the net at 14-14.

    Those kids were so unbelievably proud to have won their games against me. I could have gone into it all out, they wouldn't have had fun. I could've mucked around in those games, but they wouldn't have had fun. I could've played nothing shots the entire time, but then they wouldn't have pushed themselves. Inspire the people you're playing with to play their best.
     
  16. Nine Tailed Fox

    Nine Tailed Fox Regular Member

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    One of the ugliest etiquettes I have seen is to hijack others booked session time, in some cases upto 10 minutes.

    Sort yourself out you petty humans.
     
  17. Borkya

    Borkya Regular Member

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    I've seen this too! My coach is the highest level of non-professional, but as a coach, and the owner of a court, he knows he needs people to have fun and be happy even if they lose. His is SO GOOD at throwing the game it took me a year and a half to even figure out how we does it. He can't make his footwork worse (that's too obvious) so instead he hits it into the net, or hits it out and acts all "mad."

    The other night he played singles with a guy and he started him off at 15 points because of the skill difference. My coach bet him 2 drinks from the cooler if the guy won. My coach would play a few "real" points and then mess one up. From my intimate knowledge of my coach I saw how he threw the game (very dramatically at 21-19) and the guy was SOOOOO elated. Talked about it for days on the chat group.

    Of course when I realized this I got sad because I too remember the first game I won against my coach (doubles, he would never dare let me win a singles game against him) and I was on cloud 9 for weeks because I beat him. Now I know there was no way that was a real win, haha. But at the time it did the trick! So there really is something to that.

    I think being a coach is being part actor. ;)
     
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  18. Charlie-SWUK

    Charlie-SWUK Regular Member

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    When you have pretty solid shuttle control, you can artfully throw points. Chances are if you're doing that, the opponent isn't going to be playing many shots you'll struggle with. When you're not struggling with the shots they're giving you, you can consider how you want to muck it up :D
     
  19. Cheung

    Cheung Moderator

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    Hehe. I went into China to play a friendly match. I hadn't played much because of plantar fasciitis but still enjoyed the occasion to meet some different people Because our team lacked players, I decided to play singles on the day itself. Despite being out for a long time, I still had too much experience for my opponent but you know, when in China, it is polite to give some 'face' I. E. Don't embarrass your opponent!

    As I had told them I only just came back from injury, this was a good excuse to become 'physically tired' during the second game, lose it, and make the score one set apiece. After a rest, the third game started and I move to a good lead. But, I get 'tired' and out of breath and cannot chase the shuttle too hard - the opponent chases back the score in an exciting game. Finally, I pull through the line with a win saving my 'pride' and congratulating my opponent for playing so well. Everyone is happy and the opposition team are lamenting that their best player is not there (he was busy) to make it really really exciting!
     
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  20. aussiebirdie

    aussiebirdie New Member

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    Thanks for the good replies everyone!
     

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