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.

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