“mental skills are not exactly visible like other skills such as moving well on the court and hitting the shuttle well. But does that mean they are not equally needed? Have you noticed yourself getting distracted while on court? All players face moments when they do not feel like they are themselves. But more importantly, the question is, are we doing anything about it?”
To take your first step towards sharpening your mind, all that is needed is your will to learn. Until now, you may not have particularly thought about how your mind plays a role in badminton. So now that you are here, be sure to take away these simple tips to apply in your everyday life and on the court:
1. Create a routine
When you know what you have planned to do on a given day, you are sure to have a clear line of thought to work towards accomplishing your main tasks. Have you decided to do yoga everyday at 4 PM? Your mind will remind you to get ready as you near the time and get you into the ready zone. Creating routines comprising of 3-4 most important things to do are likely to help you build onto some helpful and fruitful habits that will aid you to play better badminton. Setting routines is the easy part. How do you actually follow your routine then? Write down your routine. And don’t forget to make it interesting! Would you want to read and actually do your routines if they were written like a shabby shopping list?
2. Journal your thoughts
Does this sound new? It probably seems new, for we keep getting thoughts throughout the day related to topics which are relevant and those which may seem fictitious. On some days, you may feel that you are floating in a sea of thoughts. Otherwise, your mind may seem like a quiet lane on a mid-week late night – a calm place to be. Inherently, we get far more negative thoughts as compared to positive ones. When you keep a track of your thoughts – the helpful and unhelpful ones, you start becoming aware of yourself. As our thoughts and feelings are interconnected, also noting down how you have been feeling will help you understand why you act the way you do in certain situations.
More importantly, be sure to write down three positives from your badminton training every day. Did you follow your coach’s guidance and execute a drill properly? How well did you concentrate in the session? Were you able to play a new stroke more fluently? Did you follow your routine today? These are only a few points which can make their way into your journal. While it could be hard to think of your positives on the first few days, don’t worry! As you go along, provided you have put in the effort to think what you did well every day, it will get simpler and thoughts will flow in your mind.
While going to practice, read the previous day’s good points just to keep them freshly imprinted in you. As you progress, you will have had a record of how you have thought and understood yourself a little more than before.
3. Practice a hobby
A hobby could be something you have enjoyed doing over the years, or an activity which you have always wanted to try but had not been able to do yet. Practicing a hobby regularly will remind you to relax mentally and defocus from badminton/hectic other schedules. Similar to how you will stretch and allow your body to get back to its pre-practice state, actively relaxing the mind is also equally necessary to play well.
So, when you are engaged in your favourite book, lost track of time while painting or not been able to stop listening to a podcast, your mind actually prefers focusing on your other interests. This supports you to feel replenished and eager to get back on to the court.
4. Set goals
As you keep practicing, you will notice that you are able to understand different aspects of the sport. Setting specific goals such as being able to play a new stroke will motivate you to take efforts towards reaching your aim. Beware though, we are often known for setting goals and not seeing them through. Write down what your goals are along with a timeline and you have already taken a big leap in the direction of your goal. Now, it’s time to get going!
From the comforts of your own space, begin the process of change and see yourself enjoying badminton more than before! What goal are you setting for yourself then?