Tips on how to improve my mindset and get the maximum out of training sessions?

Discussion in 'General Forum' started by AreYouEvenMad, May 26, 2022.

  1. AreYouEvenMad

    AreYouEvenMad Regular Member

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    This is probably gonna be a very long and very broad one, but maybe someone can relate to this.. (TW: mental health, self harm)

    So I've been playing badminton for about 8 years. I'd definitely consider myself an advanced player, but I'm nowhere close to where I want to be. In fact, I'm one of the worst players in my club. Right now I play two times per week (4 hours total). I'd love to play and train more, but with university, my job etc. its just not possible. So therefore I need to get the maximum out of these two training sessions. I definitely know which things I need to do better and in which areas I need to improve. However I feel somewhat stuck and I think, a lot of this has to do with my mindset. I've been struggling with mental health for years (low self esteem, self harm etc.) and badminton is pretty much the only thing that really helps me forget those things at least for a few hours. Therefore the whole topic is super important to me, I'm extremely competitive and desperately want to improve, because badminton's really means a lot to me. So on the one hand, I'm really motivated and competetive which is actually a good thing I guess. On the other hand, this probably leads me to taking things too seriously and focusing too much on winning instead of improving and doing things differently. When I have a bad match, I often get really frustrated and angry at myself, which obviously only makes me play even worse and I get into this negative downward spiral, sometimes up to a point where I really want to hurt myself because I feel like I'm the worst player in the world, a burden to my doubles partner and overall just a worthless piece of sh*t.

    Do you guys have any ideas on how to get out of this? I know random people on the internet won't solve my mental health issues and I need to get professional help (I'm on it, unfortunately you have to wait a long time because waiting lists are super full), but maybe you guys have some advice on how to specifically improve my badminton mindset: What do you do to stay calm and confident during a match after losing several points? How do you allow yourself to make mistakes, especially when you are trying to do things differently and implement new techniques? Often I actually know what I need to do better. However I find myself always going back to my old bad technique habits, which feel more comfortable to me, because I focus too much on short term winning instead of long term improvement. So how do you remind yourself to implement new techniques during a match? And how can I stop myself from taking things too seriously and tying my whole self esteem to my performance on court? I feel like I have so much motivation and willingness to improve and win in me, but right now I'm using it in a really destructive and negative way. How can I turn that into positive energy?

    This is a very broad question, so I'm really really thankful for any kind of advice. And even if you dont have any advice, but read this far, thank you for listening.
     
  2. Cheung

    Cheung Moderator

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    What’s the routine when you play in the sessions? Is it just games? Any practice? Any technique changes?

    What’s your training background in the past? Learn mainly through playing games?
     
    #2 Cheung, May 26, 2022
    Last edited: May 26, 2022
  3. UkPlayer

    UkPlayer Regular Member

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    The fact you can even go on court and play badminton is more than a lot of people can do, maybe appreciate the life gift that you can even play the sport would be a good start, and what a wonderful sport it is.

    My suggestion would be to try to balance your thoughts by also looking at the things you do well, and the fact that you're doing good for your body and mind by playing, rather than just the result or the things you don't do well. All players have weaknesses they'd like to improve on and would like more time to work on them.

    4 hours a week is a limited amount of time to significantly improve and you're only human, we all have these sorts of limitation, it's just life. Realistically you have to be doing lots of training with a coach to get technique improved and implemented in matches. I'd like to be 20 years younger and play 3 hours a day, and competitions, but those days are gone.

    Also you don't need to be zen, nobody likes losing, everyone gets frustrated and angry and wants to do better. You are only doing your best like the rest of us. Trying to get short term wins at long term expense is normal and we all do it, even the pros do it.

    The question was how to get most out of sessions, I realise I haven't answered that question directly from a badminton perspective, I always found it was just about working with a good coach or training partner. But from a general perspective, accepting your own limitations is probably the best way to get the most out of the sport. Easier said than done.
     
    #3 UkPlayer, May 26, 2022
    Last edited: May 26, 2022
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  4. SnowWhite

    SnowWhite Regular Member

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    Playing with better players can often be good to improve. And for most being the weakest player at a club can be a good situation, as long as they can be competitive in games. But there are merits to being the better player, or in the middle of the pack. When you always play with better players, you can find yourself only playing reactive badminton. You can be under so much pressure that you don't get the chance to try and play active badminton, or try to use different techniques or shots. And when the margins of error are so small, any shot that would be an alright shot at a lower level gets punished.

    I think it wouldn't be a bad idea to play with weaker players, or players at your level. 1) to learn to play more actively and dominantly. 2) to appreciate the qualities that make you the better player. 3) to enjoy winning :D

    Then, when you play better players, you can remind yourself of those qualities. What are your strengths? Show the opponent.

    Finally, you put pressure on yourself to win, or keep up with the better players, as if you have the level required to do that. But you are by your own admission the weaker player. Your opponents and partners know that. They do not expect you to outperform your own level, but you are expecting it of yourself. I think this is the main aspect that restricts your mindset. You maybe feel ashamed even, when you are not playing well, or like you are not worthy to play with them. When playing with this much pressure it is difficult to play freely, and difficult to enjoy the game.

    They have at some point been at the level you are now. Even at their current level, they likely know what it's like to play against players that are better than them, and that show them their weaknesses. At every level its the same story. There will always be players worse then you. There will always be players better than you. There will always be players that are so unbelievably good that they will make you question why you're even holding a racket. There isn't an imaginary line where suddenly you become worthy of the title 'good badminton player'. No one on this forum is a good badminton player compared to the top 10 in the world. Everyone sucks:D

    Everyone is just trying to play as well as they can, and trying to enjoy the game. And that is all you have to do. It's all you can do.

    Playing with stronger opponents is the best thing in the world, because 1) they likely elevate your game, and 2) you can't lose, so there is no pressure. If you win, you proved they need to take your seriously, you showed that you can be a threat. If you lose, well, that was expected since they are the better players. As long as you didn't give up and played as best as you could in that moment (even if it was terrible), it is a respectable showing.

    Don't step on court dreading to disappoint your partner once again. He knows how good you are and decided to play with you. If you play to your level, then there is nothing to be disappointed about. Don't apologize for your mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone knows that you are likely more frustrated by the mistake than they are, because they know what its like to make mistakes as well.

    Step on court with the knowledge that while you might not win this game, you definitely could win it. Whether the chance is 1 out of 3, or 1 out of 10 or 1 out of 100, step on court with the conviction that this could be the one. Not that it definitely will be, but that it could be. Nothing wrong with losing to better players, but what if you could win this one?

    It's definitely a weird balancing act to care enough to try to win, and not settle for a respectable loss, but not to care so much that the pressure is suffocating. It's ok to lose, but what if you could win?

    I think that's the mindset that strikes the balance. Alleviating yourself of all the pressure while pursuing a fun goal.

    I know it's easier said then done, but try to enjoy the games you play. If you enjoy it, even when you're not playing great, most things will fall into place.


    As for improving technique. You need structured training to develop the right habits, not just playing games. In fact I would say most of the time on court should be structured training, to prevent developing bad habits. If you are training, it might help to show the coach your ambition. I've seen too many sessions where a coach sees a player's technique, tries half-heartedly to improve it before giving up and just putting them through the motions. Ask your coach what exactly you need to do better and how. And be open to their suggestions. Nothing turns off a coach faster than someone unwilling to take their advice, or arguing with them. If you are unable to implement their suggestion, let them know. Most coaches are willing to work with lack of talent as long as there is determination*. They can try different ways of teaching and approach it from another angle. But the player needs to be willing and eager, or the coach won't bother. Make sure you find a coach you respect, because if you don't respect their ability as a player and their ability to teach you, then you will be less likely to take their suggestions seriously.

    *And lack of talent is nothing to be ashamed of either. You don't control how talented you are, but talent is just a multiplier of effort and determination. There were players more talented than me when growing up, but now I am better than many of them, because I trained better and harder than they did.

    Everyone is the hero of their own story. You are the hero. Your frustrations and the pressure you put on yourself burn like a wildfire, the intent is to burn bright, show everyone how good you are, to improve and get better, but it will eventually burn out and leave nothing but destruction. It's no way to play badminton. Or you can burn bright with the fire of competitiveness and ambition, like a phoenix. Knowing that no matter how often you fail, you can rise from the ashes, and burn brighter. A phoenix doesn't care about death, about failure. It is inconsequential in the pursuit of better badminton.

    I know it sounds a bit over the top. But the analogies can definitely help your mindset. You are the hero. So be the hero. Be how the hero would be. Do what the hero would do. When the hero gets frustrated, what does he do? Whatever you think the hero would do, do it, because you're the hero.
     
    #4 SnowWhite, May 27, 2022
    Last edited: May 27, 2022
  5. AreYouEvenMad

    AreYouEvenMad Regular Member

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    On one day we have practice with a coach. The other day is just playing. So about 50:50

    I've also had practice with another coach back when I was younger
     
  6. Cheung

    Cheung Moderator

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    Thanks for the background information.

    Your mindset is to win.

    Compare yourself to a pro. Can you achieve the same with four hours a week compared to a pro who practices 25 hours a week with time in the gym because this is exactly what you are trying to do.

    Unfortunately, you are not a pro. But you can analyse what areas you can target in training. For example, I once played a few sessions with some very good players - internationals. It was embarrassing and I was definitely frustrated. With a limited training time available, I decided rhythm was the biggest deficient. All my formal training has been singles style and the rhythm is different from doubles. The coach I asked for prioritised doubles rhythm training in the shots that I was learning. There is really no point in trying to be perfect at everything or training things that I was already good at.

    The other mentality change I would offer is to switch focus from winning into learning. It’s ok to lose so long as you can analyse where and why you lost the points - then you can try and focus on that during the time that you are able to train.

    If you are trying to change a technique or a set play, it takes roughly a minimum of four weeks to start to see it work in a game. I agree with a previous suggestion of playing some weaker players which you can use to try and use the new technique or strategy that you have been working on. That provides a useful intermediate step to try things out when the pace of the game is a bit slower.

    Although your time on court is limited, another alternative improvement strategy is off court practice. So some strength and conditioning is definitely easier to fit in. Another one is to draw a line on the wall with the height at net height. Then practice low doubles serve again and again. With your internal motivation, aim for the shuttle 18 times out of 20 to hit the wall just above the line. That’s a great way to be constructive and work at least one badminton skill to be near national or international level.

    Lastly, try to accept these are strategies to help you improve (albeit slowly) until a time when, in your life, you can fit more sessions in. Winning is an end result of a process of learning and practice. If the process has limitations, then the winning will also be limited so focus on the process. Professionals, as a percentage of the time, spend more time on training than games. Why should it be different for you?
     
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  7. UkPlayer

    UkPlayer Regular Member

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    Having spent years in therapy for a destructive competitive mindset AYEM, and suffered many life consequences for it, I doubt the answer to your actual question is going to come from a badminton player, or any random stranger on a forum for that matter. The obvious has already been stated that you're only doing 4 hours a week, even if you compressed this into the most efficient 4 hours possible and improved to a point where you're winning more games you're still most likely to end up in the same place mentally.

    You can learn how to improve your badminton training here which is useful. But it's completely separate from everything else.

    Getting to grips with all the crap that lead you to a place that made you feel this worthless isn't an easy journey for many people that experience it, and the answers to how to get out of that don't necessarily lie outside of yourself. Everyone will quite willingly tell you how they go about things but they're not you are they, secondly, who is anyone to give advice on your mindset. You don't find counsellors dishing out generic advice without even finding out anything about you for good reason.
     
    #7 UkPlayer, May 29, 2022
    Last edited: May 29, 2022
  8. UkPlayer

    UkPlayer Regular Member

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    Where did this come from exactly? Some proven strategy for improving mindset? Did you write a book on the subject? Study it for years?

    If this doesn't help the OP's mindset, but makes it worse, and they end up harming themselves further are you going to take personal responsibility?
     
    #8 UkPlayer, May 29, 2022
    Last edited: May 29, 2022
  9. SnowWhite

    SnowWhite Regular Member

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    Answers to the questions in order:

    -The combination of my interests in badminton, high fantasy, and the experience of developing from a mentally weak youth player to mentally strong player compared to my peers.
    -No
    -No
    -No
    -No
     
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  10. Budi

    Budi Regular Member

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    1. Why you play badminton?
    For works like the Pros? Or just fun games as a hobby? If it just makes you even more frustated, why do thing that end up frustate you even more. Enjoy your life, not all good thing we hope for become reality. Thats the hard part of life but behind the hardness we find goodness. You wont know beauty if there is no ugly.

    2. Planning vs Reality.
    You could dream so big, but for that be ready, the higher your dream the harder it hurt when you fail. Doesnt mean you dont make plan in your life so it wont hurt, but makes big target & then break it down into small step/target to go after little by little.

    3. Failure
    What is failure. Everybody fail & its not the end. Successfull people are not someone who are just the best of the best but they who on every fall will keep rising & learn from their mistake. Every time they fall they rise again & get stronger & stronger & stronger till they are just to good to be fall again.

    4. Being the weakest
    So... Nobody perfect. Pretty sure you had something good that i myself cant do better. How many Rudi name in this world? Here at least i know some famous Rudi. A chef, a makeup artist, an old badminton players. Which of them are the best? They good at their own area of expertise.

    Simply accept yourself as a whole. You are you, me are me. You & me are different. I had my good so does you had your own good. I had my weakness & so do you weakness. Accept it, enjoy the crazy life challange & keep growing everyday.
     
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  11. ralphz

    ralphz Regular Member

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    So let's get this straight, you play two times a week, totalling 4 hours.

    So how long do you train? 0 seconds?

    And you consider yourself an advanced player.

    In Badminton, advanced is considered like county level!

    Even many people that have had years of coaching are still intermediate.

    You could have a few people suggest you get a coaching qualification, and still you could be just intermediate.

    You only need to be competitive enough to at most, get into good matches and take them seriously. Being more competitive than that won't make you a better player. Maybe tournaments too.

    Also in most clubs even ones that reject beginners, the level often isn't that high and partners can be rubbish, and being competitive then is just pointless. So one has to choose when to be competitive.

    You are in a club where most players are better than you, so that's lucky. Just be competitive enough to play those games and take them seriously. And competitive enough to get coaching (time/money/situation permitting).
     

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