Tips for Playing in a Badminton Tournament
Playing in your first badminton tournament can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. Luckily, you’ve come to the right place to learn everything you need to be fully prepared for tournament day. This guide will help give you an advantage over your opponents with tips for what to do before and during a tournament.
Play on a Consistent Basis
In the weeks and days leading up to the tournament, practice regularly to keep your level of play high. This might be an obvious strategy to some, but some players stop playing completely to ensure they’re well-rested.
While resting for injuries or health matters is an absolute must, you shouldn’t be worried about your energy level if you play often. Although the grind of a tournament can be brutal, how you maintain your body throughout will have a much greater effect than the rest you take a week before a tournament.
Day before the Tournament
The day before a tournament is really all about being in the right physical and mental state when the sun comes up. This means getting enough rest, having everything packed, and knowing when your matches start.
Badminton tournaments can start as early as 9:00 am, which may not be a time your body is typically used to playing. Check the schedule on the tournament’s website ahead of time to determine how early you need to be there. Normally, you should give yourself at least an hour to arrive, check-in, get changed, and warm up.
Here’s a checklist of essential items you’ll need for any badminton tournament:
- Rackets: If you can afford it, bring an extra racket or two in case the frame or strings of your racket breaks.
- Shuttlecocks: Tournaments will always require feather shuttlecocks for matches, so you should look into getting your own. One tube of a dozen feather shuttlecocks should be sufficient, since your opponents and your partner should also provide their own.
- Shoes: Having a pair of badminton shoes will help you move around the court a bit more easily, but tennis shoes will suffice if money is an issue.
- Racket Grip: This is only necessary if you feel like your racket grip is wearing thin.
- Money: Make sure to bring cash with you to pay for your tournament fees. Also, a badminton vendor may be present at the tournament for you to purchase any equipment you may need.
- Food and drinks: Playing in a tournament can be an exhausting affair. Bring plenty of fluids and light snacks to replenish your energy.
- Clothing and accessories: The lack of circulation for indoor sports can make players sweat excessively. Bring extra clothes and a towel to stave off the slickness. Also don’t forget to bring any braces or hair ties that you may need.
Warming up before a Match
Before each match, you’ll be given approximately five minutes to warm up. Your warm-up routine may just be a series of clears, drives, drops, and smashes with your opponent or partner. While those things do help, here are a few tips you can follow to improve your match readiness:
- Do warm-up exercises: Warm-up exercise will not only reduce the risk of injuries, it will get your muscles ready perform on the court. Be sure to loosen your joints in addition to your arms and legs. Never underestimate the value of getting warmed up.
- Start with drives: Drives require minimal movement, but still keep your arm and wrist active, so it’s a great stroke to begin with. Easing into your warm-ups is an effective way to reduce injuries.
- Cater to your needs: If a particular shot has been giving you trouble, allow more time to practice and tweak that stroke.
- Don’t forget your backhand: Probably the most common mistake players make is ignoring their backhand during warm-up time. You may not have time to practice each backhand stroke, but at least spend some time warming up those muscles and getting a feel for your backhand.
The biggest transition from playing badminton at a local gym to matches in a tournament is the long delays between matches. Tournaments usually span an entire day, so staying loose and limber will give you the best chance to perform at your peak. Whenever a match finishes on a court, there will usually be 5 to 10 minutes of downtime for you and a partner to hit around.
Hot Tip: Free Practice Shuttlecocks!
Badminton players go through a ton of shuttlecocks during a tournament. With hundreds of players in a typical tournament, there will be plenty of playable shuttlecocks lying around. Don’t be afraid to rifle through a pile of shuttlecocks and take a dozen or so to practice with. Save your money by using your new shuttlecocks strictly for matches.
Keep Your Cool
Staying calm during a tournament applies to your actions both on and off the court. The long delays between matches will likely make you anxious to get on the court. Temper your anxiety and be patient; keep your mind focused on executing your shots.
It’s easy to get frustrated with yourself during a match, but this only clouds your thinking and leads to more mistakes. Clear your head and calm yourself down when you find yourself in a funk. Remember, everyone makes mistakes. Only the great players learn from them.