Ideal Body Types For Badminton

Ideal Body Types For Badminton

There isn’t one ideal body type for badminton, there are many. However, you need to adapt the way you play to the way you’re built. This is a challenge for many coaches, as they tend to teach students to play the way they know how to play badminton, and that assumes that their students have the same body they do. It is of course rarely the case that a player will have the same body type as their coach. Badminton players come in all shapes and sizes, and while there are certain body types that will excel more often in certain events, you can adapt ways to play even if you aren’t built like Lin Dan or Lee Chong Wei.

Something you may notice is that very few professional mens singles players are much taller than 6 feet. This seems to be the height at which you start finding fewer and fewer players. Each inch taller seems to be something of a disadvantage on the whole. There are of course some advantages to that extra height like the extra reach it provides, but in a sport that demands so much agility, it proves to be more of a burden. Going the other direction you find very few mens singles players that are much shorter than 5 foot 6 inches, or perhaps even 5 foot 8 inches. At this point your court coverage is going to start being hindered compared to the other players. There are of course examples of players who have been outside this range, like Ong Ewe Hock who was 5 foot 3 or 4 inches tall, and Thomas Stuer Lauridsen who was 6 foot 3 (I thought he was much taller, but wikipedia argues otherwise). Thomas Stuer was a great player, but he also battled with injuries that were no doubt caused by his size.

If you go into the other events you start to see a lot more variation is the heights of players. In mens doubles you see small players like Yap Kim Hock player with a much taller partner, Cheah Soon Kit. Yap was a lefty, and Cheah was a righty. While Cheah was the big gun from the back, Yap was a force at the net.

In mixed doubles Zhang Jun won the Olympics in 2004, and if you were to see him outside of badminton with no knowledge of his sporting success, you would assume he was terribly out of shape. He is a very stocky guy, and while he will never cover the court like Lin Dan does, he is ridiculously strong. I’m sure nobody looks forward to returning a smash from Zhang Jun.

So with these professional players in mind, what should an aspiring badminton player such as yourself do? How should you adapt your style to your build?

Well if you’re like me, short stocky, you probably need to rely more on defense. You should focus on deflecting and absorbing your opponents attack in order to tire them out, and seek opportunities later in the rallies. To go too aggressively at your opponent will tire you out quicker than them most likely. Playing flat will eliminate their reach advantage over you, and since you’re shorter, you’re more likely to be able to steal the attack during flat play.

If you’re tall and lanky you want to take advantage of the extreme angles you can produce. Push the play deep to all four corners of the court, your opponent who is shorter than you won’t appreciate the extra steps they have to take. Also, from the back court your drops and slices will be a source of frustration for your opponent who’s standing too far back because they’re afraid of your smash.

These are just a couple of examples of how you can develop your game around your build, do you have any suggestions?…

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To Stick With One Coach, or To Roam Free

To Stick With One Coach, or To Roam Free

The player coach relationship is an interesting one.  In many cases it’s similar to a parent-child relationship, with many of the same ups and downs.  As a player you want to be loyal to your coach, especially if you have a good relationship with them, and if you have produced some good results under their guidance.  However, there comes a time where every player needs to make the decision whether the need to go elsewhere in order to grow further as a player.  This can be a touchy situation, and many coaches can feel slighted when their players move on.

As a junior I had a few different coaches at my club, but the one I spent the majority of my time with was Wang Wen.  Like many of my peers that played with my during my junior years Wang is like a second father to me.  We spent a lot of time traveling to tournaments across the country, talking about badminton, and about life.  It’s fair to say that he was one of the biggest influences in my life.  So much of my badminton game has come from his teachings.  When I was 14 he took me from losing first round at the nationals to being a contender for national titles the following year, and many of our club’s players have had similar experiences as countless numbers of our players have won national titles under his guidance.  However, when I was in my last years of juniors Wang told me that in order for me to take my game to the next level I would need to go elsewhere, that he had taught me all that he could.  At that point I had planned to move to the national training center, but was sidelined with a knee injury which ended those plans.

Many of the best players have had similar paths.  They reach a point towards the end of their junior careers where they have maxed out what their current coach can offer them.  The best coaches recognize this, they leave their own egos out of the equation and allow their players to go out and explore what other coaches have to offer.  Unfortunately a lot of coaches are more interested in their own results, and building their reputation, rather than allowing their players to grow.

My opinion as you can probably tell is that a player should eventually move on, but there are arguments for both sides.  If you stay with the same coach through your career you know you’re with someone who knows your game well, and perhaps they have a good idea of where they want to bring you for the long term.  They also probably know how to motivate you, what your limits are and so forth.  However, they bring only one perspective to the table.  When you bring a new coach into the mix you get a whole new perspective on your game.  They see things in a different way which is the most valuable thing you can do.  This goes hand in hand with sparring with new players as well, but I’ll get into that in another article some time later.

An ideal situation is if you are moving from your home club, to a place with a high performance coach of some kind.  Someone who deals almost exclusively with high level players.  This ties in with the environment that you’re going to be in as well.  A high performance training environment means that everyone there is serious about being a really good player.  However, if that option is not available to you, there still is some advantage of working with a new coach simply for the fact that they have knowledge and opinions that your previous coach does not, and that always has value.

What do you think?  Should you stay with one coach?  Will working with another coach mess up your game?  Or is it better to go off and bring your game in a new direction, with a new coach?…

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Fighting For Gold

Fighting For Gold

Lee Chong Wei was the overall best player of 2011; winning almost every event he entered and claimed his first All England title against Kenichi Tago in March. The last three months have seen him lose to China’s Chen Long no less than three times which is the only real worry for the Malaysian going into 2012. He will undoubtedly play a full schedule going into the Olympics, with the chance of a second All England title looming large.

Lin Dan goes into 2012 in top form, winning his last three events including the Super Series Finals earlier in December. He won the opening Super Series Premier in Korea in January and followed it up with Asian Games gold, an event that Lee Chong Wei did not play. The top two in the world played each other 5 times in ranking events, with Lin Dan winning four of the five meetings with Lin Dan holding a 18-8 advantage in their 26 meetings to date.

Gade’s Last Chance

Peter Gade celebrated his 35th birthday this month but there was little to celebrate on the court for the Dane as he failed to claim a single title in 2011 as Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei proved too strong throughout the year in a recurring theme for Europe’s number 1. In his 12 meetings with the top two players, he won just three games and failed to win a single match.

His record against the top two is 32-4, with his last victory over Lin Dan over 18 months ago and almost three years since his last win over Lee Chong Wei. His chances of a stunning upset and a Danish gold in London look grim whilst in the Super Series events he will be a perennial contender and will reach the latter stages of most of the events he participates in, but his chances of gold in London are slim.…

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The Asian Contingent

The Asian Contingent

The rarely spoken about Tien Minh Nguyen has been inside the top 10 in the world for almost two years without any major runs in the Super Series, the Vietnamese player earns his ranking points from the GP Gold series of events but did put have a good run at the world championships, eventually losing out to Peter Gade in three games at the quarter final stage. Defeats to Sho Sasaki and Jan O Jorgensen in the latter part of 2011 still raise question marks over Nguyen’s true ability and significance within the rankings.

Park Sung Hwan’s year was cut short with an injury after the world championships. After surgery on his knee in September there was further complications after it was revealed that the Korean had circulation problems in his shoulder but is expected to return to action in the opening months of 2012. He was ranked inside the top 10 before his lay off due to injury.

Boonsak Ponsana is another player in the Tien Minh Nguyen mould in that he was almost discounted as a threat in the opening half of 2011 when he was ranked 6th in the world, mostly due to ranking points gained through the GP Gold series. His quarter final defeat to Lee Chong Wei is the highlight of a poor year for the Thai player that has seen him crash out of the top 10 but surgery has sidelined Ponsana for most of the second half of 2011, with 2012 seeing the Thai player hopefully return to the court.…

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