[This is one of the original emails from my Badminton Secrets Newsletter, now freely available on badmintonsecrets.com!]
I recently received a question from another subscriber of
the Badminton Secrets Mini-course, and I think the answer
is worth sharing with you (my reply is below).
It’s from Von, who is 13 and from Singapore:
Dear Robert G. Johns,
I believe in the things that you have said, and I agree
However, something that keeps bothering me is my
I lose confidence easily and always miss my shots. Sometimes
I lose my temper and throw my racket and want to break it.
What should I do to get back my confidence?
Von, 13, Singapore
Thanks for your question!
This is a very common problem in badminton, when one or two
shots go wrong, causing someone to start playing badly and
get angry with themselves.
Remember that you ALWAYS have lots of confidence within you.
It never actually goes away, all that happens is that
something comes along (like a bad shot) that triggers an
emotional response, such as anger, that then takes over.
What we need to do is to stop that response from causing us
to play badly.
The way to do this is to follow this 4 step process:
1) When you feel like you are going to lose your temper,
stop, take a couple of deep breaths and count to 5.
2) Resist the urge to SAY anything out loud.
3) Try to replay the bad shot in your mind, imagining it
4) Actually physically do the action of the shot going
The reason for each step is…
By breathing deeply we are slowing down the negative
emotions, so that they are less pronounced and won’t
interfere with the next shots.
Counting to 5 uses a different part of the brain (the left,
logical side) to the one that causes the anger (the right,
where emotions come from). So again, it stops you from
feeling the anger as much, because the brain can only do
one of these at once.
By not saying anything out loud, you will be stopping the
little voice that is in your mind and keeps ‘reminding’
you of all your bad shots, and how it went wrong last
time, and how you’ll miss the next shot.
Replaying the shot first in your mind (which may take a
bit of practice!) and then physically, causes your mind
to associate the correct actions to the bad shot that
you actually played.
So next time you do a bad shot, your mind will start to
automatically think about how it should have been played,
instead of focussing on what went wrong.
This stops the self doubt from coming back, and hopefully
stop you from wanting to break your racket!
But above all else, remember that it isn’t a bad thing to
make a mistake. If you can treat all mistakes or bad shots
as neither a good or a bad thing, just another step along
the learning process, you’ll find yourself not losing
confidence when they happen.
I hope that helps, and the best of luck!
Regards in badminton,
In fact confidence is such an important part of badminton,
that the next part of the Newsletter is devoted to ways of
improving your confidence, and where it really comes from.
I’ll speak to you next time!