The difference in thinking

The difference in thinking

I have now been playing, living and coaching in Denmark for more than one year and start to understand more and more about the difference in working, training and thinking.

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I never met a player in training or game in Europe that has the focus. Not on winning, don't get me wrong, I also like to win but my focus is not on winning. Winning is a result of the right focus and not a focus point itself. If you only change the focus from winning to not loosing you have the same thought but with a total different way to get there.

When the focus is on winning, you almost automatically take more risk. You want to get the opportunity and not just wait for or create it. Wanting to win is a whole game focus, because that is what you are working on to win the game. There are no smaller focus points to work with and every time you lose a rally your opponent breaks down your focus. The focus on winning is a very general one and very easy to break down for the opponent.

To not lose focus is a very small focus point. It has been broken down into the very detail of your play. Not losing is many things. You can say to yourself: whatever happens, I will just bring every shuttle back and will just wait on the mistake from the other side. The focus is then on letting them lose the game themselves. Then I don't have to do so much. This tactic is very often what Asian players do when they play against players from Europe. They know they have better racket skills, maybe they are not so creative but the simple things they do are done very well and almost without mistakes.

Asian players have much more patience and they know they can just wait until the Europeans start to make mistakes.

Not losing is also giving your opponent the feeling they can win, because then they start to take even more risk and therefor more mistakes again. You almost never see an Asian player win a game with 21-7 or so. Even when the difference on the World Ranking is very big then the low player get more points than what you think would be possible. This is very much Asian style thinking: never do more than what you have to do. The only rule of focus is: do not lose this game; the way it is done in not important.

The only difference between winning with 21-7 21-5 and 21-18 21-16 is energy. With the low numbers you have to be sharp and run for every shuttle, so you're wasting energy. Why would you do that, just let the shuttles that you have to work hard for go. That is a lot more clever because you don't get tired and your opponent won't get into his game.

Not losing the game is also in footwork. Almost every player from Europe is doing too much and is running on court. They run from every corner back into the middle and to the next corner again. Not losing the game is also not losing energy unnecessarily. People may say: look how hard she is working but Asian players say: she is not working very smart. You can see how this economical footwork fits into the tactic of just letting a difficult shuttle go. Save your energy in not losing. Don't waste your energy to win.

I always thought the players in Europe were smarter but now I know there is a different thing that I have to think about. Playing badminton in Asia is very hard because the temperature is so high in the hall. We have to learn to save energy and in Europe you have to move to keep warm, so maybe we play with this tactic because of our background and not because we are smarter.

It is not only in the game Asian players do this. You also see it in the training when you play with someone that is not as good as yourself: you take it easy. Try out new things and don't care about the score of the game. Here in Denmark they always want to know the score even in a training game. That's not good to develop your game. So sometimes you have to let them see that if your focus is the way I just have been writing about you can win very easily. But then they get angry and especially when you yourself don't show any emotion at all. Just the Asian smile.

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Huynh Nhut Duong

Huynh Nhut Duong

Huynh Nhut Duong is een Vietnamese badmintonspeelster die de opleiding tot elitecoach volgt in Denemarken. Ze verblijft daarvoor op het eiland Oro.

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