Rebounding from injury

When you’re recovering from an injury, the isolation and frustration can make it seem like nobody cares. But rest assured, you’re not alone.   Emotional coping is part of the recovery process. In the past year I’ve been through a rollercoaster of feelings including: Frustration Anger Envy and resentment Changes in appetite and sleep Apathy…

Mind your language: sports writing

You may jokingly refer to your racquet as a ‘weapon’ or ‘sword.’  But beneath the humour is respect and appreciation for the extraordinary feats that individuals can achieve if they possess enough determination and resilience. The language of sports is rich in idioms, allusions and metaphors and it touches our inner yearning for stories of…

Why longevity matters

    It’s a public holiday in NSW and I’ve celebrated Spring by coming back to badminton and having a hit with friends. Many social players I spoke with have experienced breaks from badminton due to shifting priorities. Being out of the game hasn’t necessarily been bad for any of them and playing sport throughout…

Writing personally

I was touched when a follower reached out to me this week asking how I’d been. The short answer is negligent, alas! The school holidays are approaching, the weather is getting warmer in Sydney, and I’m still out of badminton due to injury. But I’m keen to examine sports writing because I tend to analyse, and…

What’s your sports personality?

Sports can reveal a lot about somebody’s personality. Famous tennis coach Vic Braden came up with a way to analyse the “brain types” of his players, based loosely on the Myers Briggs Type Indicator. He identified that Roger Federer is an “NT,” an Intuitive Thinker. This enabled him to tailor his coaching style to suit the type who likes solutions,…

Winners and losers in a tournament

  What makes a good tournament? Organisational management has a big impact on the final outcome. Consistent rules and scoring system, as well as fair play, are important in determining who wins the trophy.   There have been weekly badminton competitions in Sydney over the last month, hosted by different organisers for different purposes. They’re…

The coach-player relationship

Finding the right coach is a bit like striking gold. A good relationship between coach and a player makes it easy to communicate, identify problems and find good solutions.  I was introduced to my first coach, a former Malaysian national player, through my dad’s work mate. When I first showed up to training, I was the classic…

The line between gamesmanship and cheating

Competition in sports often involves deception, manoeuvring and exploiting an opponent’s weaknesses. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the desire to win drives players to use whatever means possible. It’s perhaps understandable that pressure and a win-at-all-costs mentality motivates competitors to use gamesmanship tactics.   What is gamesmanship? Gamesmanship can be broadly defined as “the practice of winning games without actually violating rules“. Gamesmanship includes practices used in a…

Wasting time and delays in a match

Delays and time-wasting in a competition happens in sports like football, hockey and tennis. There are legitimate reasons for players to stop playing, but at other times it’s a strategic ploy to disrupt the flow and tempo of a game. Undue delays can be used as a psychological tactic to break an opponent’s rhythm.  Although there are times when acute injuries require medical assistance (such…

Shouting during play is unfair and a bad image for badminton

  Players who shout or grunt when they hit the shuttlecock can gain an unfair advantage. Their shouts can interfere with their opponent’s game, either masking the sound of the shuttlecock being hit by the racquet or distracting their opponent. At least two studies of grunting have found that players who grunt or shriek gain a few advantages over their quieter opponents: They hit…

Facing those inevitable off days

Everybody has good and bad days. When you’re in good form, play feels natural and the game is awesome. But even pros admit they don’t always play their best every time. The strongest players overcome this adversity well. Here are are a few simple suggestions to salvage a match when your performance isn’t 100%. Check your timing. Much of the time it’s down to poor timing. Watch the…