My Anger: Strength or Weakness?
Ever wonder how it feels like to play at a national badminton tournament, knowing that you are not as good and skilled as all these other players, who have trained since they were young? Here is a piece of reflection from our very own Minnesota youth player, Zi Hern Wong:
Out of all the badminton tournaments I've been to, I've learned the most from my second nationals tournament in Texas. It wasn't the skill level that made this particular tournament a greater learning experience but rather my open mindedness. Going into the tournament, I knew I was more of a doubles player. This allowed me to accept the fact that I was going to lose very badly, and that was okay. One piece of advice I would give to other players would be to go into a tournament knowing your limits. This doesn’t mean to be pessimistic but rather to just have lower expectations while giving it your all. It is easier to achieve and exceed smaller goals than to face a stretch goal and fail. In a way, it hurts more to fail a big goal than it does to achieve small goals. Goals do not necessarily have to be placing first or second in the tournament-it could also be points, number of errors, and much more. Your personal growth is not measured by what you placed in a tournament but by comparing yourself before and after the event and reflecting.
Another lesson I learned was to not let emotions get in the way of playing your game. Given that a lot of my previous tournaments have resulted in me getting frustrated with myself due to my high expectations, this tournament was different. Emotions are very powerful as they can easily cloud your good judgement and performance. This was proven in the first doubles game we played this tournament. Everything I have worked on for the past year was not working in this important game which prompted me to be very frustrated. Then, my coach, Zoe Chan reminded me that although being angry is your easy instinct, it is only hurting you. After clearing my head and channeling my anger towards the game I played a lot better. There are many ways to clear your head such as, thinking about a good point you won previously, resetting and focusing on the next point, and talking casually to your partner or coach. It is crucial for young players like myself to learn how to channel your anger towards where you are planning to hit your next shot rather than to hit a smash as hard as you can.
These two lessons that I have learned will help me perform better in tournaments to come. Some lessons, such as these, cannot be taught in training. They must be learnt through many experiences. However, in order to learn these lessons, you must keep an open mind.