Thursday, August 9, 2007


This can be a very frustrating area for a coach. You've done everything you can to prepare your players for a tournament, and then they get too nervous to play, or get carried away with the moment.There are two things that you need to concentrate on.Obviously, one is what you do and say during the tournament, and I'll come onto that later.The other is when the tournament is finished, and the time before the tournament.Emotions such as nerves, tension or excitement get out of control when players internalise feelings that they get naturally. Your job as a coach is to get the players to talk about what they are feeling in as honest a way as possible.When they know that there is a safe, non-judgemental, non-critical person that they can openly describe how they are feeling to, they are a lot less likely to get the same feelings next time.It is important that they do say how they are feeling, but not see it as a problem, merely a hurdle to be overcome. The negative feelings spiral out of control when they feel a problem, then worry ABOUT the problem, and then worry about that, and so on. By cutting off the spiral at the top, you can prevent a number of problems.Often, just by admitting what is happening, this will open the way for it not to happen next time. If you can get them just to say "yes, I get over-excited and miss the shuttle" and LAUGH about it (but still want to fix it), you are already half way there.So what do you say DURING a tournament?Of course with all the exercises that you get in the Badminton Secrets Audio Course, hopefully they will be well prepared, because being prepared is key to banishing worries and nerves.But on the day, it is important that you do a number of things:1) Praise your players. If a player is getting worried or nervous, they are focussing on the negatives of their game. By reminding them of the good things that they are doing, you will bring their mind back to what they need to be concentrating on.2) Get them to concentrate on one point at a time.It's a cliché, but if you can remind them to take each game point by point, instead of thinking of whether they are going to win the game, or the fact that everyone is watching them. Repetitively say 'point at a time' to them, again to keep them focussed. Many's a time I've come back from scores like 7-14 down, or 12-20 down by doing this (and saying it to my partner after EVERY point!).3) Remind them to breathe.This is true for both sides of the coin - if they have too much adrenalin, or too many nerves! It has been proven that just by taking a couple of long, deep breaths in and out, your body slows down and is more in control of its actions. And this will only help their badminton.4) Don't criticise, or complain!The worst thing that someone who is in a less-than-perfect state of mind wants to hear is criticism, or someone telling them off about something. This is often like a red rag to a bull, however well-intentioned the comments may be. So even though you may be despairing, don't let it show!5) Remind them to focus.'Focus' is an important word in badminton. It is like a telescope, we focus in on what we want to look at, then see something else and go onto that, then something else in the corner of our eye. By having someone there simply saying the word 'focus', we jolt out of this random thinking, back to the job in hand, remembering what we are there to do. So even if you feel you are saying this to your kids and they aren't taking any notice, the message will be getting across and being implanted into their brains so that it comes naturally while they are playing.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Vaughan the Last Man Standing for Worlds

Wales’s Richard Vaughan heads out as the sole Welsh competitor for the Proton BWF World Badminton Championships in KL, Malaysia 13th-19th August. Despite 5 Welsh players qualifying, Martyn Lewis, Matthew Hughes, Joe Morgan and James Phillips namely the other 4, a funding crisis has seen all support withdrawn for all 5 with only Richard deciding to take on the ominous task of self funding to Asia for badminton’s most prestigious event.

In the draw Richard has been drawn to meet in the first round French No1 Erwin Kehlhoffner . World No48 Kehlhoffner last week’s winner of the North Shore City International in New Zealand has been in good form of late and will be looking to carry forward this momentum into next weeks World Championships.

Vaughan said “Erwin will be a tough game; I have a played two, won two record with him this year, but I am well aware of his recent good results and will be taking nothing for granted. He’s a proven dangerous opponent.”

Richard has recently been drawn into a personal dilemma over the funding crisis which has struck WelshBadminton, a situation that has seen the Sports Council for Wales freeze all financial support towards the Welsh Badminton Team and could effect Richard critically as he sets his aim on a third successive Olympic Games in Beijing next year.

“The funding situation is disappointing and the decision making seems to lack logic especially when I am compared to other players within the GB structure who are receiving support. The timing of it all couldn’t be worse. The situation has never been an easy one as an athlete coming from Wales, and I am used to having to compete through difficult financial circumstances. I have done well in the past and I remain committed to qualification for Beijing 2008 for which I see no reason that I could not qualify for. One would think that Government directed money should be better aimed at Olympic athletes who are proven medal winners at major championships.”

“Additionally there seems to be parties within WelshBadminton who are unrelenting in their efforts to submit destructive comments in regards to my situation. Criticism is always something I have openly welcomed if it comes from a source that can be respected, but when it’s made with no constructive intent and from persons who really hold no position to comment, it can only ever serve a negative purpose not least to me but to Badminton in Wales as a whole. “

“At the moment Badminton in Wales seems to be reaching a desperate meltdown structurally and financially. There has been no National coach for the past year, funding has dried up, and the senior team are struggling for results. I would like to help find the answers as we work together for a long term solution for the future of Welsh Badminton”

“Thankfully there are those who remain strong and committed to me on the road to Beijing. My sponsors Memory Lane Cakes, and Head are the main financial contributors but there are numerous people and parties from all round the UK that continue to help me immensely on a daily basis.”

Good Philippines effort from Smith

Andrew Smith beat Korea's Lee Hyun-ll to reach the last 16 of the Philippines Open before losing to Malaysian second seed Lee Chong Wei.

Smith beat the Korean 22-24 21-19 21-13 in the second round before going down to Lee 21-12 21-16. Smith (Hants) was the only English player in the tournament.

The Malaysian took the title by beating top seed Chen Hong of China 21-19 21-15 having benefited from a semi-final walkover.

Other winners:

Women's singles: Zhou Mi (Chn)

Men's doubles Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong (Mas)

Women's doubles: Yu Chin Chien & Wen Hsing Cheng (Tpe)

Mixed doubles: Nova Widianto & Lilyana Natsir (Ina)