[Video] Singles - Critique?

Discussion in 'Techniques / Training' started by DarkHiatus, Jun 11, 2016.

  1. DarkHiatus

    DarkHiatus Regular Member

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    I've finally got round to taking a video of singles play. I'd really appreciate any comments as to where I could potentially improve!

    For background, I lost the game 13-21. I was tired after playing 2 other singles games, and my opponent was more fresh, but I feel that your physical breaking point is where your flaws are highlighted anyway! :)

    Edit: I'm the one in black

    Edit 2: Current list of things to correct:
    1) Increase contact point height
    2) Lower/widen split step
    3) Use left arm better
    4) Focus on aiming my shots (over the net, deep clears/lifts)
    5) Higher racquet carriage, pull racquet straight back
    6) Avoid twirling racquet



    Some points I've noticed myself:

    1) Split Step
    I do seem to split step mostly except for serve return (which I think is okay?). However, my split step timing is god-awful and sometimes even slows me down as I'm in the air when the shuttle is moving towards me (obvious when opponent sideline smashes and I can even make a sideways move). It's especially obvious as my opponent has a perfect split step timing.

    2) Drop consistency
    I feel my drop shots are generally not moving my opponent and I need to improve these much more.

    3) Energy Efficiency
    I feel like I'm using much more energy than my opponent (I was leading the first 5 points until the tiredness hit me). My form is noticeably better in the first few points, then it collapses to the point where I don't even chase the shuttle. I think this could be due to the mistimed split step causing me to having to use more explosive lunging.

    4) Rear backhand footwork
    My rear backhand footwork pulls me too close to the corner (and restricts my stroke), and I stop taking a billion steps into that corner. I think this is just due to my lack of confidence in the backhand corner. I have a couple of okay backhand clears when I have plenty time, so I think I have the technique, I just need to do it more naturally. This makes sense since I haven't been practising the backhand footwork, as I was under the (false) impression that I could just get every shot on round the head instead.

    Overall, I am actually quite pleased with my footwork patterns and recovery, apart from the backhand footwork and the split step. I am more disappointed about my shot quality and consistency.
     
    #1 DarkHiatus, Jun 11, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2016
  2. MSeeley

    MSeeley Regular Member

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    Hey - thanks for sharing your video. As per usual, I will give you some feedback as if I were your coach. I am going to mention what I consider to be the headline things - the most important areas. There is lots to like and lots to improve.

    On the things you mentioned:
    1. Split step - absolutely fine in terms of timing. I repeat - there is NOTHING wrong with the timing, at any point in the video. Sometimes you are too slow to return to the middle and don't move for the next shot. That happens to everyone sometimes - don't dwell on it. However, your split step is quite ineffective - it doesn't do what its supposed to do. I have mentioned why down below :) Bottom line? Don't worry about the timing, focus instead on your overall stance!

    2. Your drops have several issues - every single fast drop shot round the head went into the net. Make sure when you are tired that you actually aim your shots - I know it sounds trivial but its amazing how people forget to put the shuttle at least 1 foot about the net and one foot inside the line. Badminton is much easier when all your shots go over the net and into the court.

    3. I disagree with you - your opponent is actually using much more energy than you - you do not appear to be using much energy at all. This is linked to my advice below about movement/split step efficiency.

    4. Your backhand footwork is fine - it does get you too close to the shuttle, but thats because you take the shuttle so late all the time - if you just hit the shuttle, with the current footwork, as soon as you are able to reach the shot, then you would be much more effective and find it much easier. Your problem is your backhand overhead technique, not your footwork to the corner!

    So, I will now forget about your list, and focus on mine. If I were your coach, the following things are on my priority list:

    1. Overhead forehand: Your contact point is very very low, on every shot. This includes dropshots, smashes and clears. This includes when you have plenty of time, and when you are late. You always take the shuttle low, and the quality of your shots is affected by this. Strive to reach the shuttle higher - it will benefit you greatly :) You can make this change instantly -so give it a go next time you are on court :)

    2. Overhead backhand: Your contact point is very very low (deja vu???). You wait for the shuttle to drop down low and go past you, and hence end up in the wrong position. Don't worry about the footwork, just make sure you take the shuttle at full arms reach out to the side of you. Your racket should be around head height. PM me if you need more advice on backhand technique. But suffice to say the main problem is where you are CHOOSING to play the shuttle (not where you are forced to take it). Once again - an easy thing to fix! Just try to take the shuttle earlier.

    3. Stance/movement: The big one for me (behind overhead forehand). You are nearly always stood completely upright at all times. You do not bend your knees, you do not load your legs, and you do not bend at the waist. It gives the illusion of being a little stiff, and may just be tiredness. However, even when tired, moving better will HELP, not hinder :) Try to bend 90 degrees at the knees at all times (including whilst moving and just being ready) and bend forwards at the waist. This may feel like crouching lower. A good image of someone doing it right is Zhao Jianhua (1985 all england). I have attached a screenshot.

    ZhaoJianhua.png

    4. Net technique: quite often you did not even bother to go for the shot, even though it was less than one step away. When you did go for them, its apparent you are more comfortable taking net shots high on the net rather than lower down. I recommend you learn how to play safe net shots and pushes from below the net and from further away from the net. In singles you will rarely be able to take the shuttle high or have the opportunity to hit it with spin. As such, I recommend you go back to the basics - how to play a pushed net shot/neutral net shot.

    5. Lift quality: most of your lifts and clears and quite short. Try to learn a high and deep clear/lift and make use of it in singles - its worth it. I know it sounds basic, but its just so important.

    Aside from these, the last point I will say is - when your opponent stands to receive serve with his racket foot forwards, make sure you do a drive/flick serve! They are so vulnerable when they put the wrong foot forwards - make sure you take advantage.

    Anyways - that will do for now from me. Hopefully you understood the points I was trying to make. I do not think it would take more than a couple of weeks to make these changes if you focus hard when you play. The summary is:
    - take overhead shots approximately 1 metre higher than you do now
    - crouch lower
    - go and learn how to take a late net shot or push from further away from the net
    - make sure your lifts are high and deep

    Good luck to you :)
     
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  3. DarkHiatus

    DarkHiatus Regular Member

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    Actually very interesting feedback. I was convinced my split step was timed badly, as it seems like my opponent was able to move much quicker after a shot than I could. The efficacy of the split step I never questioned and it does make sense that having my legs too straight/together would affect that.

    I did actually make an effort to stand more upright in this game - the reason is that I've had trouble moving backwards to take attacking clears, and in a more crouching position, it feels even worse. Perhaps this is a mind of matter thing, so I will try to widen my stance and put a bit of bend in my legs like ZJH :)

    The contact point is definitely something I've actively been aware of and trying to improve. I changed from a 4U VT70 to a 3U ZF2 and the racquet was just too heavy and stuff, leading to my timing being absolutely wrecked. I've now moved back to a 4U VT80 to correct the problem, but it's only been a week (though it's much improved already)! It feeds into your last point about deep lifts/clears, as I'm lacking a lot of power compared to when I used to hit it high. Quite frustrating since I know what it feels like and sounds like to hit it cleanly, with a high contact point, but my brain won't let me hit it higher! It explains completely the drop in quality and consistency of all of my shots.

    On the backhand side it's more ingrained, but I'll certainly push myself to hit it earlier! I think there is 1 backhand clear when I take it correctly, and I noticed it in the game as well - it just feels much better, and is easier to recover from.

    The round the head crosscourt drops i missed is the result of lack of practice to be honest. I'm not confident in the shot (I haven't 'calibrated' my stroke with the resulting landing position), and it lands closer to the middle than the sideline. It's probably a shot I wouldn't be using in a serious game, but I felt like trying it out this time.

    I never even noticed my opponents receiving stance. I definitely will now :)

    Thanks again for watching my video and giving some really sound and thought out advice. I really appreciate it and will definitely try to incorporate your suggestions!
     
  4. MSeeley

    MSeeley Regular Member

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    You have it exactly right - your opponent IS quicker off the spot than you, but its a matter of efficiency, rather than timing.

    I understand what you mean about the crouching stance. However, take my advice, there is a more crouching stance (look at Zhao) that is natural to you (and every other player) that will make you feel fast, compact, and balanced. Rather than bending knees and leaning forwards etc etc, try to stand in such a way that you feel those things. In order to feel fast off the spot, and balanced, you probably need to be a little more compact (not standing up straight) and being lower to the ground will help. My main point - your current stance is not going to enable you to be fast and efficient. So take a few moments to experiment with how you stand. Once you find a stance that feels good, try to maintain that feeling at all times, even when moving and hitting the shuttle.

    Regarding your overhead - you are lacking power because you are taking the shuttle late. The change in rackets will not have that big an impact on your game - this is within your control and will not be a difficult change to make. Next time you get on court, just take the shuttle earlier - you will be fine :)

    Regarding quality - pay close attention to your shots at the net. Your lifts are putting you under a lot of pressure. Just being aware of it will probably be enough for you to fix it... and to be honest the more confidence you get from your overheads, the more the rest of your game will improve too :) Its funny how fixing one thing tends to improve the others!

    The round the head drop is a very important shot - just remember to AIM :) it doesn't matter how little you practice, aim and the shuttle will go over the net. Your shots shouldn't be too tight - none of us do enough training on a daily basis to develop perfect shots. The best we can do is make sure we actually put each shot where we want it to go - over the net safely and into the court safely!

    Good luck :)
     
  5. s_mair

    s_mair Regular Member

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    Since Matt has covered all the complicated badminton stuff perfectly (again...), there's only one small thing I would like to add:



    I couldn't see most of your forehand overhead shots at all.

    Oh, and I hope to see my trusted VT80 in your next (horizontal) clip.

    And nice to see that more and more fellow BCers have the guts to share their video footage. I hope this trend continues.
     
  6. DarkHiatus

    DarkHiatus Regular Member

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    Whaaaat? I politely disagree, the vertical video's acceptable for things where height is important...like a lift/clear. Also, I shoved my phone half into a shuttlecock tube to get it to stand still and have the angle :D

    I admit I should move the camera further back to see where my forehand shots land. Might also be useful to see where my opponent is too.

    (I too hate vertical video syndrome, but I think badminton/fireworks/bungee jumping are acceptable reasons to film in vertical :p)
     
  7. s_mair

    s_mair Regular Member

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    Thou shalt not question the puppets!
     
  8. bridgestone

    bridgestone Regular Member

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    Sorry for my ignorance but how is the contact point has to do with racquet?
    I always thought the contact point timing is based on your "habit" and it takes time to change it.
     
  9. craigandy

    craigandy Regular Member

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    One thing that will help you a lot that wasn't mentioned is start using your left arm!
    It is either down by your side or wrapped around the front of your chest.
    Using your left arm effectively will help with balance and therefore accuracy, timing, power and recovering from shots.
     
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  10. MSeeley

    MSeeley Regular Member

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    Great advice!
     
  11. MSeeley

    MSeeley Regular Member

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    Some people feel that a heavier racket makes them swing slower. This could lead to them hitting the shuttle a bit later, i.e. a bit lower. But I'm with you - it doesn't affect your contact point really!
     
  12. DarkHiatus

    DarkHiatus Regular Member

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    This is exactly it. As I as playing mostly MD (because that's how clubs tend to work), when I switched from the much lighter VT70 to the heavy ZF2, I was trying to swing in the same time I swung my VT70 which started to give me wrist/arm pain. As a natural reaction, my body decided that instead of adjusting the start of my swing or injuring me further, it let the contact point lower so I naturally put less power into it and strained my arm/wrist less. I think in MD there just wasn't enough time to swing a heavy racquet that quickly without already being adjusted to it.

    Initially when using the ZF2 it was fine and played great. It was only until my wrist/arm started becoming sore that my contact point started lowering. Since I've grabbed the lighter VT80, my contact point has improved (it's low now, but it was even lower before!)
     
  13. DarkHiatus

    DarkHiatus Regular Member

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    This is good advice - to be completely honest, a lot of the time I don't know what to do with it. When I remember, I 'point' at the shuttle when I intend to clear/smash it. Otherwise, it hangs...probably contributing to the upright 'stick man' image MSeeley talks about :D
     
    #13 DarkHiatus, Jun 12, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2016
  14. craigandy

    craigandy Regular Member

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    Yeah it is definitely contributing to the stiffness, often your left arm is not only not helping but loaded against you so you have to hit through that position. I think a lot of good players would struggle to hit good shots using your left arm position so I think you play quite well considering. The first backhand clear you fresh aired I think it was your initial left arm movement that totally knocked you of balance.
    The general theory of the left arm is to oppose what the right arm is doing with similar mirrored movement is the most basic explanation but a good start.
    Can't think of any good videos explaining but have a look at the pros.
     
  15. s_mair

    s_mair Regular Member

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    Just watch any random match of Viktor Axelsen. I think he's the one that uses his left arm the most of all current pros.

    Here's the only show motion video I have found (not perfect, but you can see how much he is using his left arm):



    Using it to balance out the movements of the right arm helps tremendously to get a better overall balance and to recover more quickly from big lunges. Definitely worth trying.
     
  16. DarkHiatus

    DarkHiatus Regular Member

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    Haha, perfect! I was just watching Axelsen vs. Chen Long before you posted, because Axelsen is who springs to mind on the left arm. Comparing and contrasting, I can definitely see the left arm can be seen as potentially hampering my play (it seems to get in the way, not just hang there being useless).

    That is incredible footage you found btw. Really shows how far forward they are leaning, yet have plenty of time to move back for a clear.

    Also watching his split step, my timing doesn't seem to different, with him being in mid hop as the shuttle is struck too.

    I had a go at lowering my split step position (and leaning forward a bit) but it felt really tiring and unnatural. However, it was faster (I did a direct comparison). On reviewing that footage, my stance seems quite narrow and my knees look forcibly bent. In the original footage, do you think my split step is possibly too narrow? If it's as simple as widening my split step stance, I think I could much more easily incorporate that!

    Looks like I have plenty to work on which is always fun :)
     
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  17. Alex_Xu

    Alex_Xu Regular Member

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    there is one thing that annoyed me in this vid not sure if it is right to or not but

    you keep on twirling your racket before the shot like rolling the grip had like a little ocd over it ...
    but yh nice vid anyways
     
  18. DarkHiatus

    DarkHiatus Regular Member

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    Yeah, it's a terrible habit. I should probably stop doing that since I sometimes catch myself doing it even during a rally :s
     
  19. Alex_Xu

    Alex_Xu Regular Member

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    i guess its a bad habit yet a good habit
    as it shows that you are keeping the grip quite flexible and not holding it tight
     
  20. DarkHiatus

    DarkHiatus Regular Member

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    Yeah, I started doing it a while ago and saw a video with Zhao Jianhua and Xiao Jie where they ZJH recommends a spinning/gripping drill to practise changing between different grips easily (I can go hunt for the video if anyone is interested).

    I think I took it a bit too far and now it's become a habit where sometimes I'll spin the racquet mid-rally, which can lead to me having completely the wrong grip if my opponent takes a shuttle early when I'm not expecting it for example.
     

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