Author: Benjamin Chua
National tournaments are not only a great opportunity to compete at one of the highest levels of badminton available in the United States, they are also a crucial part of growing a good mentality for sports and life. Last year nationals I went into the tournament not knowing what to expect and to see at such a highly ranked tournament, but this year was different. Thanks to coaches Zoe Chan and Reuben Tan, I was able to better prepare physically and mentally this year. This year's tournament was in Texas and being completely unfamiliar to that area, I began to experience myself falling back into the mindset I was at, at my first national level tournament. Thankfully for me, I was able to bring some of the training to clear my mind and play the best I could. While playing in this year's nationals in Texas, I was able to pull a couple important things that are essential for growth in badminton and life.
One important point that many people forget is to take a step back from the game and really analyze the situation that your placed in. Zoe wished for my partner (Hern) and I to self coach and analyze the game at every break that we were allowed. This lesson alone allowed us to not only just listen to what the coach has to say about the game but enabled for us to decide the best course of action. Another important takeaway is to aim for certain “Checkpoints” in a game. In other words, the player should set point goals rather than playing with tunnel vision aiming for 21. In addition to this I also learned more about where my mind set should be during the game, may that be losing a point or winning the point. For example, when you are down in a game to focus on each individual point, playing point by point, rather than overthinking and panicking. If you find yourself leading in the game your mindset should also be somewhat similar to when you find yourself losing. When you are winning by a good amount in a game continue to stay patient and remain in control of the game.
Since going to nationals I have been able to implement these lessons in tournaments and I can say that just implementing these things I learned from nationals has really improved how I play.