Badminton Psychology

So what do I mean when I say I used psychology to improve my badminton ?

Indeed does psychology (ie what you think) have any place in badminton at all?

I once had an email from a subscriber – I’ve omitted the name to save any embarrassment:

“Listen…all this mental stuff is a waste of your free letters and quite frankly worthless for those with serious attitudes for the game…

So is that person right?

Does psychology have NO place in badminton ?

Or could it just be that the way you think is THE most crucial thing in determining how well you play?

In my experience of course, changing your thinking can have a massive effect on how well you play.

In fact I would go as far as to say that badminton is one of the most psychologically demanding sports in the world.

Everything that you do is ultimately controlled by your mind and what you are thinking, both consciously and unconsciously.

If you get that right, you can do anything.

For example, have you ever had times when something has caused you to play badly , and nothing seems to go right, however hard you try?

And how suddenly this loss of form can happen!

It’s as though something just happens that causes you to play badly, something in your mind that changes.

Well I was intrigued by this, and thought, well, if it can work that way, then there must be ways that you can suddenly reverse it, and play really well .

There MUST be things that you can do that will let you play your best game whenever you want to.

And on these pages you will get a taste of what I discovered – what worked for me, and what didn’t!

MVP CUP 2 to again feature Top Players from Asia and Europe

June 1, 2006, Manila, Philippines – IMG today announced that the second edition of the MVP Cup—which is a selection of top players from Europe taking on a selection from Asia—will take place in Manila from July 14 – 16, 2006. The Asian Badminton Confederation (ABC) and the European Badminton Union (EBU) will field All-Star teams to compete against each other for USD 100,000 in prize money—an increase from the USD 80,000 on offer last year. The event will feature an elite group of Asian players vs their compatriots from Europe in a unique format of matches over the 3-day period. The MVP Cup last year marked the first direct collaboration between 2 continental confederations in the sport of badminton; it is pitted to be an annual “Ryder Cup” type of event for the sport of badminton.

The MVP Cup will once again officially be called, “The MVP Cup presented by PLDT and Smart” and is jointly organized by the Asian Badminton Confederation (ABC), the European Badminton Union, the Philippine Badminton Association (PBA), and International Management Group (IMG). PBA President, Mrs. Amelita Ramos thanked the organizers for holding this prestigious new event to the Philippines. “The Philippine Badminton Association is proud to be the host venue of the MVP Cup. The event brings a tremendous opportunity for the PBA to gain experience in staging a major international badminton event. We also hope that in seeing and competing against the world’s top badminton players, our National players and future stars will be inspired to increase their level of competition in the future.” Kennivic and Kennie Asuncion will be participating for the Asian team in the Mixed Doubles category.

Similar to the IBF’s Sudirman Cup event, the MVP Cup is a mixed team competition featuring the top players from Asia playing against the top players from Europe. Each team will consist of the following players:

• 2 x Men’s Singles
• 2 x Ladies’ Singles
• 1 x Men’s Doubles Team
• 1 x Ladies’ Doubles Team
• 1 x Mixed Doubles Team

However, one major difference between this event and the Sudirman Cup is that the MVP Cup will provide prize money, whereas the Sudirman Cup does not. This year’s MVP Cup will offer USD 100,000 in total prize money with the top team being awarded the largest prize in badminton, USD 60,000. The losing team will receive USD 40,000. As each team will consist of a maximum of 10 players, this prize will be quite significant. “Last year’s event proved that we can compete with the best in the world. Following our performance at the 4* Philippine Open last weekend, we feel we can once again help Asia to keep the MVP Cup this year,” exclaimed Kennivic Asuncion upon receiving word that he and sister Kennie will be representing the Philippines as Asia’s Mixed Doubles pair.

In keeping with a Ryder Cup-style event, the format of the MVP Cup, also differs from any other badminton event in that there are points for each match which escalate in value as the event moves forward. There are a total of 9 matches, 3 on each day from July 14 – 16. Each match on the first day will be worth 1 point, second day 2 points and third day 3 points. This means that the 3 matches on the third day will be the key for each team in taking home the MVP Cup. On the 3rd day, there will be matches where the team captains can select players on that morning which will create major interest on the Final day. “We are allowed only 2 men’s and ladies’ singles players on the team, however there are 3 men’s/ladies’ singles matches; this means that we will have to carefully evaluate the play of our singles players over the first two days and field the one which we think is in better form for the all-important 3rd singles matches on the final day,” explained Team Captain of Asia, Bang Soo Hyun.

Datuk Punch Gunalan, Deputy President of the IBF indicated, “The player field of the MVP Cup will be of such a high-quality that every match will be just like the finals of any other event.” Both teams are undergoing the process of confirming their players; those confirmed so far are as follows:



Team Captain:

Martijn van Dooremalen

Bang Soo Hyun

Team Manager:

Brian Agerbak

Pullela Gopichand

Men’s Singles:

Kenneth Jonassen

Taufik Hidayat

Ladies’ Singles:

Mia Audina Tjiptawan

Wang Chen

Mixed Doubles:

Tomas Layborn/Kamilla Juhl

Kennie/Kennevic Asuncion

“We are happy that the Philippines is the host of the MVP Cup on an annual basis. Last year we were treated well and the crowd was great. We hope that the Philippine public will give the event and its stars the outstanding support it has given badminton in the past,” indicated European Team Manager, Brian Agerbak. He added, “Our team is complete, but we’ll announce the remainder of our members in a week or two when the ABC announces theirs.”

Last year’s event was action packed with the Asian Team taking a 3 – 0 lead on day 1 with wins from Zhang Ning over Mia Audina Tjiptawan, Taufik Hidayat over Anders Boesen and the Malaysian Men’s Doubles Chan/Koo over Robertson/Robert Blair from England. Day 2 saw Europe coming back within 1 point even though German #1 player Bjoern Joppien lost to world #1 Lin Dan, they had victories from Pi Hongyan of France over Seo Yoon Hee of Korea, and Mia/Gail Emms over Saralee/Sathinee of Thailand in ladies’ doubles to pull within 5 – 4. Europe took the lead on the final day with a mixed doubles victory by world #1 pair of Nathan Robertson/Gail Emms over local favorites Kennie/Kennevic Asuncion, but Asia proved too strong in the 3rd singles with Zhang Ning taking out Yao Jie of the Netherlands and Lin Dan beating Anders Boesen for an 11 – 8 final score.

Badminton Strategies and Tactics for the Novice

Now that you have graduated from backyard badminton, you can no longer rely on physical ability alone to win games. It is time to develop tactics and strategies�a game plan�to out-think and beat your opponent. By identifying and focusing on his or her weaknesses, you are beginning to use your mental acumen to win. If you play without thinking you will lose without realizing why you lost.


In general

Study your opponents. Discover what shots they are prone to make errors on, which shots are their favorite ones, and which shots they are limited to in specific situations. You are looking for patterns and tendencies. Perhaps by their body language and movement they telegraph what shot they are going to execute. Correctly anticipating what the opponents will do with the shuttle will help your own game enormously. Even feeding the shuttle to an opponent’s favorite put-away shot will work to your advantage because you gain time: you will be ready for it and may return it before he has recovered.

Your opponent has other qualities that dictate how you play. I play quickly and aggressively against a player who has more stamina and patience than I do, likewise I play more conservatively against a player who has less stamina or is more inconsistent. One coach I knew classified players according to how they moved, and hit shots that he thought would upset their timing and rhythm. I, on the other hand, know only enough to hit fast, low shots against slow-footed players and try to fake more against quick players.


Use the length of the court and pin your opponent to the back line before trying a drop shot to the net. It is much easier to retrieve his shots when he is forced to hit from deep in his court. Move your opponent to all four corners to tire him. It is much easier to hit winning shots against a tired player, even a fresh player who is slightly tired from a long rally. Dart in and out of your own corners so that you can cover your court for his next shot.

Singles is a mental and physical battle. A lapse in concentration can easily lead to losing a run of points, which in turn is discouraging and may lead to losing even more points. To win in singles one must be fit, focused, and hit good clears and drops without errors. Smashes should only be used for ending the rally within the next two shots. The classic singles rally would use drops and clears until the shuttle is too far away from the opponent to him to effectively clear a return, and then with a smash win the rally outright.

Mens and womens doubles

Avoid lifting or clearing the shuttle, which is like punting in football. By clearing, you are giving the opponents a chance to win. If you do clear, your team should adopt a side-by-side defensive position. The whole point of the rally, starting with the service, is to hit shots that force the opponents to lift. This is why when you are serving your partner stands behind you because you hope to make the receivers lift with your good short serve. This is also why when you are receiving serve your partner stands behind you because you hope with your aggressive return you will make someone on the serving team lift to your partner.

If your opponents clear to your side, the person who will hit the shuttle must hit downwards (either smashing or dropping) while the partner must be moving to the front as soon as he realizes the shuttle is not his. This is the up and back offense position, the better to control the net. From now on the smasher gets all the deep ones, while the net man cuts off or puts away everything else.

If you have the offense, it is safest if you do not smash cross-court, since their down-the-line return will be directed at your undefended open space. Find out how your opponent directly across the net from you waits for your smash. If he waits on his backhand, smash wide to his forehand or close to his forehand hip or shoulder. If he waits on his forehand, smash to his body or his backhand. If he stands deep, hit drops or cut smashes. If he stands close and waits with his racket up, try a quick clear.

If you are on defense, try to flatten the smash out so that the smasher cannot smash again. You can return cross-court with the aim of tiring the smasher or forcing him to hit a laterally off-balanced shot, but the cross-court must avoid the net man.

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Mixed doubles

In the classic mixed formation, the woman stays in front of the man, playing along and just behind the short service line, while the man retrieves shots hit to his half-court or backcourt. In mixed it is even more imperative not to lift, since the woman is so close at the net and vulnerable to smashes. Classic mixed is a slower game with more finesse than in regular doubles, the better to bring both partners into the rally. Again, each team is trying to hit shots that make the other team lift. Avoid shots that your opponents can meet above the tape, unless you manage to get the shot behind the striker.

If you do lift, the woman should not stay at the T and duck, but run away cross-court from where the shuttle is on the other side and take a position about 2-3 feet behind the short service line, squatting down and keeping the racket head up. She is only responsible for smashes and drops directed at her; the man gets everything else, including the down-the-line drop.

Since you are playing in an up-and-back formation, hitting cross-court is risky since you are vulnerable to a down-the-line return. Hit cross-court only if both opponents are on the same side of their court as the shuttle is on your side, or if you know you can hit a winner through the opposing woman.

For more details on playing mixed doubles, see the winter and spring issues of 1996.

Source: Washington State Badminton Association Newsletter Newsletter, Fall 1996