[VIDEO] Singles Progression

Discussion in 'Techniques / Training' started by DarkHiatus, Feb 14, 2017.

  1. Cheung

    Cheung Moderator

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    Have a look at your left and right foot when you receive low serve.

    @DarkHiatus @Borkya @Rob3rt singles is much less forgiving of poor technique. At this level of opponent, you really need to be confident of playing good shots 7 or 8 times out of ten and being prepared to rally. In these tournament, one single good quality clear, drop or smash by yourself can be returned with quality so you have to be confident of playing another good shot and another and another off the opponent’s good shots. Confidence comes from having good technique.

    Against lower level opponents, I agree you can talk tactics but at this higher level, @DarkHiatus ’ technique at present does not let him play a good shot enough times when under pressure against the opponent’s good shot. You can even see some really simple errors on defence where he doesn’t even have to stretch and half court shots where he does an unnecessary big swing. How much can you talk on tactics when many points are given away or there are weak replies? If he had an umpire there, he would lose even more points by his foul high serves (lifting leg off ground when hitting shuttle).

    IMHO, there is still a lot to go with basics - footwork, body positioning and technique. A good start has been made by going back to overhead technique and low centre of gravity after split step.

    Once he has strong fundamentals, he can then hit a shuttle to three or four corners of the court with confidence. At the moment, he can only really has a choice of hitting to one or two areas. Once he tries a third area, quality and consistency go down and this allows the opponent in.
     
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  2. Charlie-SWUK

    Charlie-SWUK Regular Member

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    I'm of two minds, I think there's room to improve on both technique and tactics. Firstly though, I think he's right, this was one of the better performances I've seen from him; he was more controlled on the court. His shots from 3/4 court had good steepness, with preference for playing drops/clears from the baseline. He's more controlled on his feet, there's less almost falling over.

    I think he's still rushing a bit, as Borkya noted if you put a pedometer on them both, he would have taken more steps. I think there are a few parts at play here:
    1) Shot variety needs to improve a bit. There was some variation in drop shots, but not in clears. Placement was also fairly routine based on his body position.
    2) Need to add a bit more disguise to things. Your preparation can be a big give away to your shot choice right now.
    3) Need to begin to control the pace of the shuttle; you're taking control with pressure, but you aren't really setting the pace of rallies. That said, I think both of you in that first match were constantly trying to up the ante, so it wasn't like your opponent was controlling pace particularly well either.

    4) Tactically, you need to explore the open space a bit more. As I said in (1), the placement was somewhat routine; there are a few instances where you put yourself in trouble by playing the RTH straight smash while your opponent is on balance. They then feed off of the pace, block cross, and you struggle. Changing this up to a fast clear cross court, a good drop shot etc, can help to throw them off. You want to prevent your opponent from over committing to the shot you want to win with; in this case if it's your smash, you need to get them away from that side of the court, anticipating the shuttle could go to any corner.

    5) Arm carriage is hurting your net game at the moment, your arm needs to come up earlier, because the shuttle is allowed to drop. It's not too bad, you're often taking the shuttle at waist height. It's not preferable, but it's also not the worst. Try to get the initiative here. Take it early to apply net pressure. Your lifts are more effective if your opponent isn't anticipating them straight away.
    6) This in mind, I think net shots could use work in general. They're a bit high and loopy, and generally inconsistent. See if you can refine it a bit. Adding a spinning net shot to the mix would be a big improvement.

    7) Your step out shots aren't too bad, possibly a bit too much slice. I think what might be hurting your drops more, is the little China jump you're putting into the mix. I don't think you're really gaining anything from it if you're playing the drop. Rather, I think you'd be better off keeping your feet on the floor for an easier recovery.

    I think you've improved in that latest video, and hope you keep it up.
     
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  3. rulebavaria

    rulebavaria Regular Member

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    I have been following this thread for quite a while and I usually refrain myself from commenting since I'm a beginner but I can't help but feel that even though you are getting better in many aspects you still make lots of unforced errors on the return of serves especially.

    Maybe I have noticed it because it's an issue that I have myself but my coach says it's unforgivable to make a mistake on the return of serve. He says one should not try and score a point immediately and that keeping it in play with a neutral shot is good enough. So no tight net shots on the get go or trying to attack the serve.
     
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  4. DarkHiatus

    DarkHiatus Regular Member

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    Well spotted actually - i have briefly thought it before. One of those things that occur to me in a match, but then I forget about afterwards.

    My errors on serve return I feel are due to my lack of deception at the net. Unless I actively focus on it, I telegraph a net/lift quite obviously. Now, if I try to start a rally like this and my opponent anticipates correctly (which isn't hard to do against me), the serve return is effectively punished, which leads me to try harder and harder to keep it tighter to the lines/net. The natural consequence is more and more serve return errors.

    In the MS2 match above, I tried to focus on showing nothing and only grip tightening once I actually executed a net/lift serve return (after all, a lift off serve shouldn't require much more power than finger power, right? Given the newer learning, it's unsurprising I made errors, but I think it paid off in terms of getting me into a rally in general.

    Instead of trying to incorporate finger power after receiving a drop shot whilst I'm in the rearcourt (too hard at the moment), I'll try and simplify the drill to lifts/nets as serve returns, along with my focus on staying low and lunging forwards further to stay balanced.
     
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  5. Cheung

    Cheung Moderator

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    Receiving service feet position.

    What do you think of the foot positioning? Easy to step forward quickly with right foot if shuttle is hit at your body?

    Feet.jpg
     
  6. DarkHiatus

    DarkHiatus Regular Member

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    Would be running through my left foot. I noticed it is quite difficult for me to take serves on the right hand side receipt as a forehand stroke. I thought this was due to my preference for backhand over forehand net technique, but it's almost certainly because it's impossible to move forward whilst staying low if my left foot is in the way.

    I'll move my right foot over to the right, rather than behind my left foot, and turn my body accordingly.

    The reason for it being the way it is, is because I want to have my right foot more side on, to allow easier movement backwards in the case of flick. Should I have both feet facing forward?
     
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  7. DarkHiatus

    DarkHiatus Regular Member

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    I suppose this is where the tournaments can highlight gaps that wouldn't appear during 'normal' coaching.

    I'm a bit split on this one, because on one side I'm committed to long term progress, of which I need to worker hard to adjust my techniques, and on the other side, I know that better tactics can make the game so much easier. I won a match last year and someone remarked, "wow, you sure made that match hard!", implying that although the difference in technique was apparent, my tactics made the match harder than it should have been.

    My tactics have changed in the past half year for definite, but the understanding is not quite where it could be. I put this to my lack of actual singles games practice compared to the amount of time I generally practise technique/play doubles etc.

    In any case, I now have access to a singles games session every week which should hopefully improve my tactical understanding. I've already noticed that playing a variety of opponents in one session makes me more likely to probe different players' weaknesses which is good.

    I'll still focus on overhead technique and posture for now though, because I don't feel they are ingrained enough, and I can plainly see the difference in the last 3 tournaments.
     
  8. MSeeley

    MSeeley Regular Member

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    I've been thinking of responding for some time, so here are my thoughts:

    You're making good progress on movement and technique
    Your movement and posture in the most recent video was so much better. Keep it up. Your shot choice is often garbage, but thats just something else to work on. I still think the priority for you should be your movement and technique, not your tactics... even though tactics will make a huge improvement. So if I had one priority, it would be movement and technique overhead. Everything else is secondary for now. Secondary doesn't mean don't work on it, it just means keep your goals for improvement about your technique, not your tactics.

    Tactics are the obvious problem... but I don't think its as simple as "choose better shots"
    Having said that, I agree with others that if you were better tactically, you could probably play better or win more games even with your current level of technique. So from that sense, I would agree with the comments about tactics. Its easy when watching a game to see the odd choice of shots and conclude that tactics are the main problem.

    I would agree with this sentiment on whole, if I could also see gradual improvement in your technique. I haven't seen the improvement over time I would expect, hence why my priority is the technique.

    Our tactics are limited by two things: your choices of shot and your ability to play shots. In my view, you could make some drastic improvement to your shot choice... but I also believe against the players I have seen in the videos, you need to have some choices that you aren't currently capable of, and some of these are really really obvious. Imagine if you had a simple deep backhand clear and forehand clear from late in the rear corners or could play a simple attacking drive straight or cross from those positions, such that you could get yourself out of trouble when the whole rally goes wrong or you're deceived, or can choose to attack if necessary. If you work with your current level of ability, where these shots are not available to you, then you can definitely improve from where you are now... but you are missing the most important and basic strokes from your list of available options. From my view, that's a poor choice. I'd much rather that you focus your time and effort in training on expanding your skills list (of course you can do both at the same time, within the context of a technique focused drill...).

    Balancing the improvement of technique and tactics
    If I were looking to strike a balance between better technique and shot choice, I would spend a lot of time working in training to produce high quality shots where you have chosen where to place the shot e.g. aiming at one of two targets and choosing which to hit, and improving your technique in this context along with your accuracy. Working on the movement, working on the technique, improving the accuracy AND learning how to choose a target. You can then shift your focus in tournaments (i.e. on the day itself) to only worry about tactics, and choose where to place your shots so that you can try to exploit an opponents weaknesses. I guess what I am saying is that your primary focus in training should be technique, whereas during matches you should think about tactics. Once you have completed your training, you should review your performance to understand how good you are doing compared to where you need to be. Once you have completed your match, you should review it at two different levels: technically, and separately tactically. This will allow you to understand whether the technical things you are working on are happening in the match (and if not, then you need to continue to work technically). This will also allow you to see which shot choices are causing you problems.

    How to improve tactics in the long term
    Improving tactics is best done using specific drills for singles against another singles player (e.g. lift drop net in full court, or one shot attacking, or front half only matches etc), or by playing lots of matches with a list of tactics that you try to implement i.e. create a list of common tactics, or tactics you've invented, and then playing 11 points trying to implement them against a friend - then review each tactic and decide whether it works for you or not, whether the opponent found it difficult to counter or not, and if you couldn't do it then write down why e.g. I don't have that shot consistently, or I don't move fast enough from X to Y to be able to do it yet. etc. Singles tactics can really be absorbed by watching professionals play, men and women. But don't watch someone who moves in an explosive way you can't emulate. If you are not viktor axelson, don't watch him constantly - find someone else who plays a similar way that you can emulate. Watch people of different styles to see how they manage to win etc. And convert that into a list of tactics to try. Some non extreme examples of singles players to watch:
    • Offensive badminton: simon santoso (watch him destroy LCW in 2014)
    • Fast player but no smash: tien minh nguyen (its painful how bad his smash is for a top player)
    • Stroke variety and deception: TTY
    • Speed of movement and big jumps: LCW
    • King of defence: Lee Hyun Il
    • Deception: Pullela Gopichand (All England semi final 2001)

    I would consider the above as easy to emulate for most players (except maybe LCW) as they don't have the biggest and craziest jump smash, and they use regular footwork to cover the court at an average kind of height... but they are all remarkable players.

    How to judge if your tactics are working (note: not the same as them being "correct")
    So some practical advice... I don't know if I've posted this before so apologies if I am repeating myself. Most badminton at a social and international level ends in a mistake. Its either a short lift (technical mistake) or you hit the shuttle out. Sometimes the opponent will play a great sequence of shots, but thats much less common. With this assumption, you can tell whether your tactics are working or not based on whether you or your opponent are making more or less mistakes at the end of each rally. So when playing the next 9 points or so, count how many mistakes you make or your opponent makes. This doesn't necessarily correlate with points won (e.g. you can hit a **** lift, and opponent misses a sitter... let's be conservative and assume that's your mistake, unless you are deliberately lifting short to make them miss... then that's their mistake). If your opponent is making more mistakes than you, then your tactics are working. If they are working keep doing them but keep track of the number of mistakes too, so you can change if necessary. If you are making more mistakes, you need to change tactics somehow. Use this trick to keep track of winning and losing tactics against a new opponent.

    Note: there are times where you play the correct way but the opponent still wins a lot. In this case you can forego my advice above and know that you are already doing the right thing. e.g. it may take a little while before you find your range... but it should be obvious you are in a strong position to contend the rally with few mistakes on either side. If you are playing the right tactics, but NOTHING is working for you today, then you must change tactics as an experiment. Many people don't like this, as they think they should stick at it. Obviously there is a judgement call, but if I keep playing the right way, but keep messing it up, it means I don't have the necessary tools to win today. Best to try something else!

    Good luck mate, and keep up the good work.
     
  9. Cheung

    Cheung Moderator

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    Just have a look at the top players.

    I don't think it's the full answer for playing receiving low serves because there are few other technique issues that you have in the forecourt to develop but I don't think it's going to do any harm to optimise your receiving serve feet position.

    BTW, if it was doubles, I probably wouldn't have raised the issue.
     
  10. Cheung

    Cheung Moderator

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    I feel vindicated LOL .
     
  11. LenaicM

    LenaicM Regular Member

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    I feel like these are the best advices at this point in OP’s progression. I too feel like his technique level, while probably still requiring some works, is not anymore the top priority to make significant progresses.

    @DarkHiatus did you try to play more “freely” and by that I mean without overthinking your technique or dissecting your game when playing. I’m not saying not playing seriously but may be trying to add more flow in your game. I think in 580 posts so far you had so much information in so little time on the end and I can’t help but feel like you have more information regarding technique than one needs at this level of play and may be just playing freely to improve feelings and ease of play could help you unlock more skills including analyzing your opponent and focus on your game from a strategic point of view a bit more. Do you think of all those technical information you gathered when playing those matches or you only focus on the opponent and your game such as the choice of strokes, etc?

    I don’t like to write that because I don’t feel that it is right to criticize someone who plays better than I do yet I follow this thread closely as it helps me improve too thanks to others’ advices and I’ve read it lately from @Cheung and I feel too like through all those posts since 2 years the improvement is not what is expected. Not like we have to expect or anything right... but yes in short there are pages of advices and two years later I just think all that analysis of your game is not making you progress as much as it could and may be even block you as you focus too much on those specific points and forget the essential, most simple aspects of one’s progession at this level. Also you have to digest a lot of different advices from different point of views. Not easy... Like @Borkya pointed out, focus more on the actual game. May be your lift is not perfectly played with finger power and it won’t deceive your opponent but may be playing the right shot at this point is just sufficient enough to help you improve your game, win matches, gain confidence, while working on technique during practice for sure but may be more “freely”. Keep up the good work though, those last two videos show some good progress. :)

    EDIT: the improvement is not what expected considering the amount of analysis and advices being given is what I meant... It’s may be the thread who build up the excitement and have us readers expect too much. Because may be it’s simply too much to take and correct in two years only. There are obviously a lot of improvements in two years!
     
    #591 LenaicM, Jan 18, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2019
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  12. DarkHiatus

    DarkHiatus Regular Member

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    Latest tournament video. 3 set loss - opponent really ramped up after the 1st set and I couldn't keep up. I am playing in black.



    This is as bad as tournament preparation could go, as I had just come back from a week abroad, as well as having relocated to London in the past month. That said, I feel this is actually an average performance from me.

    I feel like:
    - my footwork/racquet technique is limiting me when the pace increases
    - I need to get lower (and this has gotten worse since last tournament)
    - I need to improve my finger power (a lot of the contact felt like 'smooshing' the shuttle rather than hitting them
    - I need more PURPOSE to my strokes

    In the 2nd game, I actually ran out of ideas. When my opponent stopped hitting things out/making mistakes, I became unconfortable about how to construct the rally. I even became hesitant after smashing because I just ..forgot what I was trying to accomplish? First time I've had such a loss of focus before.

    One thing I seem to be struggling with is 1) drop shot retrieval and 2) smash follow up. I feel like when I'm at the net for decent drops/blocks, the straight net is too slow, the cross net is too risky, and therefore I can only lift straight/crosscourt which becomes predictable.

    Perhaps learning better finger power can make lifts less predictable, or I need a better way of playing net shots?

    On the training programme side, I'm starting from scratch, due to change of coach/club/location etc. It's definitely not ideal but unfortunately life does throw a curveballs every now and then. Such is the life of an amateur player :s

    As usual, any of your comments are appreciated!
     
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  13. LenaicM

    LenaicM Regular Member

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    I guess relocating to London isn’t all bad (at least on the badminton side) as I can only imagine it also means more players, tournaments, coaches and clubs to choose from. Good luck settling down!
     
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  14. DarkHiatus

    DarkHiatus Regular Member

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    Exactly this - London is a bit of a work hard play hard place. Lots of opportunity and lots to do, but also lots more work and a higher pace of life.

    Finding the people/time to arrange a good training schedule that isn't just MD 4 times a week is the challenging part, but i have already sourced some coaching, and hopefully that might lead to a regular MS training partner that I can do drills with.

    The other difficulty is a lack of space at home (and the unwillingness to drive my downstairs neighbour mad!), so I need to go to the local park to do any footwork practice, which 1) is weather dependent 2) does not offer as good a surface.
     
  15. amleto

    amleto Regular Member

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    Haha! I tried doing footwork in the garden once... it doesn't work unless you're ok with using studs
     
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  16. Signature

    Signature Regular Member

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    I like the points you brought up but I'd like some more detail to the "strokes need purpose" answer. Because I agree with that point but what is the purpose you are trying to achieve? What do you consider your strengths and what do you consider your opponents strengths/weaknesses?

    The main thing I would work is controlling the pace of the rally. It seems like you are always almost waiting for the shuttle to reach you and then do your stroke, rather than getting to the shuttle early and control the pace. This is the case on almost all net shots you do where you give your opponent either a high straight lift or an easy net shot to the middle of the court. Same goes for when you recieve a shot on the backhand side, you almost always wait for the shuttle and play a backhand rather than going round the head.

    You've done a serious progressions in these 2 years and you should be proud!
     
  17. DarkHiatus

    DarkHiatus Regular Member

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    A match worth analysing this time! 3 set loss: 20-22 21-15 19-21. I am in dark green.



    This is by far the longest match I have played at 17 mins highlights vs. 13 mins before, 40 mins on court. It's partly not smashing as much, partly both of being reasonably even I think.

    I have been working hard on my overhead technique - getting my elbow up high both on preparation, and bringing it through before my shoulder when executing a stroke. Unfortunately this hasn't quite made it into my matches, but there are glimpses. Most of the time my shoulder is still coming through first which throws my arm out to the side, and I get less power and a lower contact point.

    One of the big things is I came back from 12-20 to 19-20 before losing. This opponent was particularly strong in defence and against slow drops/nets; to win points, I really had to avoid playing to the net and make use of his rearcourt by playing out rallies.

    I'm getting more comfortable actually playing out rallies, but my inconsistency is showing up more when such rallies happen. I've noted quite a few straight clears from the FH rearcourt went out - my coach said this is initially expected if I get my elbow to go straight up, rather than out to the side, because my racquet face with my old swing pointed outwards slightly with the out-to-in arc (which is why I slice all of my smashes/clears)

    I'm going to keep working on overhead technique for a while - in training I can see the results it brings, but I can't couple it with my footwork under pressure yet. Bringing up the elbow and being relying that final grip tightening for control/power is a bit of a leap of faith it seems!
     
    #597 DarkHiatus, Apr 7, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2019
  18. DarkHiatus

    DarkHiatus Regular Member

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    It is worth saying that this is the first match where I REALLY saw how the wrong tactic directly translated into making more mistakes than my opponent.

    In the third game, it was only when the score hit 12-20 that I thought, "I need to do everything in my power to keep the shuttle in, and to keep my side of the court protected. I need to wait for him to make the mistake first, and the safest way to do that is to push him to the back until he makes a mistake. I can't smash as a building shot as it is too risky, given my technique does not allow it to function effectively against this opponent".

    The next 7 points I took, working with this in mind. A shame I didn't play this way from the beginning, but next time I shall! :)
     
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  19. s_mair

    s_mair Regular Member

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    1) an entertaining match to watch, thanks for sharing!

    2) I really like your long serves. It seriously takes the edge off the early shots in the rally

    3) I haven't counted the points, but nevertheless I'm sure that those magical 7 points you were talking about are starting around the 15:30 mark, right? And I do 100% agree that these might have been the best phase in all the matches you showed so far. Even if your playing safe, each shot has a certain bite that applies a subtle pressure on your opponent. And on top of that, he had already finished the match mentally, so it took him a while until he realised what's going on and that he's about to lose the match. And for sure, if you played like that throughout the whole match, the end most certainly would have been the other way round. Now focus on those points and try to recreate the exact feeling you had on court during that phase. Cause that was definitely the right way to go imo.
     
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  20. LenaicM

    LenaicM Regular Member

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    I'm sure the more you play like that the more consistent your game will become. I already said it before but I don't see those opponents of yours always being technically so much better than you are. In terms of general level of play and building up rallies you improved and I like the last points of the third set where it's your opponent who made the faults instead of you, you didn't rush your points. You will win next time!
     
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