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I'm a badminton player, not a very good one though (D-C2 level). Currently I'm having mostly temper-related issues on progressing in my game/winning matches (both friendly and competitive). I'm just too "eager". I was wondering if you guys have any tips/tricks to keep your mind calm and focused on the game so you don't make any "stupid"/faulty moves just because you're going too hard.

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I'd say you need to distract yourself from the bigger picture. Don't worry about the score or your performance or whether you're "better" than your opponent.

Instead focus on

  • Playing each point in isolation
  • Making near-perfect movements
  • Knowing where your opponent is moving on the court

If you can concentrate on those things, the rest of the game will look after itself.

Finally, remember it's only a game, so have fun!

  • Not discrediting your advice in any way, but wouldn't focusing on "making near-perfect movements" during competition further exacerbate the OP's issue? It sounds "paralysis by analysis," but I could be wrong. At least in my experience, focusing on technique during competition has been detrimental. I wouldn't mind that piece of advice if we're sitting here talking about practice, not a game. – user527 Mar 13 '14 at 14:50
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You should have a look at some professional sports psychologist. In particular Greg Dale from Duke University is particularly good. There is no shortage of research done on this topic. A couple of the most powerful tools are:

  • Visualization: if you want to stay cool in a match imagine yourself doing so before the game. There is a story that Michael Jordan would visualize games so vividly that he could smell the gum of his opponents. There are many studies showing the effectiveness in visualization.

  • The three second rule: after making a mistake allow yourself three seconds to reflect on that mistake. Imagine what the correct action would have been in three seconds and then remove that mistake from your memory.

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    +1 for visualisation. It has helped my serve immensely to a) look at the net b) imagine the shuttle going over in a nice low arc c) look at the shuttle d) make it happen – roblogic Mar 24 '15 at 2:00
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I think this really depends on your ambitions. What is the purpose of you playing the game. I mean, really think about WHY you are playing.

I don't know why you are playing, but for most players (i think?) it's about doing something that makes you feel good. It's probably a mix of getting exercise, playing a game (games are fun), having fun with friends or improving yourself. You should sit down and figure out why you play.

Try and focus on achieving whatever the reason is you are playing. Getting mad, loosing temper/focus is probably not it. I know it's not as easy as saying "Don't do that". Focus on the right things then you will have less time to rage.

I play because i like the exercise, playing games and like to improve at just about anything.

I keep focus on working hard (giving me excellent exercise), trying to win gracefully - like i would in a board game or whatever (having fun) and finally trying out stuff, accepting if it fails - as long as i think it will improve my game in the long run.

When i did my best but still failed i try to look back at it. It can be in the middle of a game (between points) or after a set or whole match. Even when i get home after practice or team tournaments. I try not to regret it - we all make mistakes - and really making mistakes is what helps us improve. I try and take what i can and try not to make same mistake again. It can really also help sometimes, even when stuff does not work out, to try and find ONE thing that did work. It could be one good stroke or placement after a stroke or even after loosing a ball - knowing why it happened and thinking up a strategy for next time. That is a win in itself.

I actually do the same when i'm having success. I try and figure out why it worked but also what could be improved.

You can almost always give yourself small wins. It doesn't have to be about the end result of the match - loosing to a better opponent is probably OK and loosing to someone not as good should give you stuff for thought. Analyze it in your head or ask someone after the match if they saw what the other guy did to mess you up and what you did wrong.

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Reading your post, made me think of my younger years !!

It's very difficult to give a conclusive answer, but here's what I have to say about that:

  1. Remember, it's a game you love playing. It's shouldn't be giving you negative energy
  2. The more you practice, the better you will be, at whatever you're practicing. The less frustrated you will be.
  3. There's only you to blame (not shoes, racket, shuttle or opponent)
  4. Try using a personal (funny) word in order to express your frustration, in stead of yelling/cursing.

Watch the following video's from Mr. Jae Bok Lee about: Poor Badminton Player's Behaviour

Part 7, 12 and 13 are particularly of interest. His perception could give you some further leads or inspiration.

Note: I'm not affiliated to the creator of the video's

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Badminton can be a very frustrating game, full of minor skills that take time to acquire. The elements of accuracy speed and deception are part of its charm.

When I was at your level I frequently became angry or flustered. If you really want to improve, it will just take a lot of practice. Learn the rules, learn to serve consistently, learn good court positioning, learn all of the basic strokes. Your opponent will always try to disturb your calm, you should be aware of the tricks people use.

Try to see each game as a contest against yourself, and make it your mission to improve every day. There is no point getting angry, you are not playing in the Olympics (are you?). Play hard and play to win, but remember it is a game, try to keep your ego out of it.

Perhaps pay for some coaching, try to be realistic about where you are at and don't expect to become Lin Dan overnight.

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Based on my experience with my tennis career.

During crucial points like breakpoints and set points, this is the most fun part. I enjoy being in this situation because honestly during badminton/tennis games, in my opinion 70% mental - 30% physical, if you have strong mental, you are more likely to win games.

During this situation I tend to think of my strategy against my opponent and how I should outplay him, but my mentality is to stay calm and positive as much as possible. I don't rush things, well depends on the situation, I tend to hit his weaknesses or play defensively and force him to commit error. And when I'm in bad shape like many unforced errors and quite disappointed, my mentality on that issue in order for me to control my temper is to take a deep breath and think what can I possibly do to make my gameplay effective.

All in all, it's on the mental side, try to think positive as much as possible and this never say die attitude, and the most important thing is to have fun. Even though you lose a close match, there may be regrets during that phase but I can assure you, you're having fun on that game.

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