This week I add more points to my argument from last week about how we as coaches over-emphasize “no mistakes”.
Leading on from this, in my opinion we are starting to create a lot of robotic, consistent badminton players in this country. Which is the product of the no mistakes culture. I am starting to see less and less creativity within our junior badminton circuit, with most players only being able to play basic shots. There are multiple reasons for this including a lack of free play and a fixation on the ‘correct technique’ (both of which will be discussed later), but also our high demand on less mistakes. It doesn’t surprise me that children and players are not trying new shots within training and especially matches because when they do, they are likely to make more mistakes, due to it being new and riskier. Hence when this happens a lot of coaches and even parents emphasize the importance of less mistakes and how if they had kept the shuttle in, they may have won the point. Children and players are being praised for making less mistakes at a young age which usually results in more wins at a young age which again results in more praise. This creates a mindset in which the player believes that the only way to get praise is by winning and succeeding. Hence, they will be scared to lose and make mistakes, which means they are unlikely to try new things in practice and matches which will severely hinder their long-term development.
Lastly on this, I believe that most/all our practices should be based around how to win the point. That doesn’t mean that every shot needs to be a winner, but it means that every shot should have a purpose in the rally. When we do practices, which focus on no mistakes, the players do not need to think about constructing a point as all they need to do is retrieve the shuttle. It also leads to players reducing the quality of their shots (as said previously) in order to meet the objective of less mistakes or no mistakes in 25 shots. We should be putting together practices in which players have to think tactically of how they win the point, whether that is with the next shot or the 13th shot.
We need to be creating athletes who are willing to try new things, willing to make new mistakes, willing to be creative as well as athletes who can think. I believe that by changing our language towards encouraging players to be creative, to try and win points rather than survive and not worry about errors we will start cultivating much more innovative and exciting players within this country.