In any sport, preparation is vital. Physically, you should practise until you are confident of having a strong game. You should walk on to the court having stretched and being fully fit. If you have any injuries, make sure they are bandaged and supported if you choose to play at all. However, be wary of playing if you have any niggling injuries, as they may turn into long-term issues - always get them looked at by a doctor and follow medical advice.
You should also be mentally prepared. Make sure you know your opponent’s game - strengths, weaknesses, and favourite moves and shots. Shortly before you face your opponent, run through your ideal game in your head. Prepare some shots you know will highlight your opponent’s weaknesses. Make every point count. Attack constantly, no matter what the score is. Defensive tactics rarely win games.
Although badminton is a physical game, mental attitude can mean the difference between winning and losing. Have a look at Badminton Secrets to find advice on the importance of your commitment, composure, concentration, confidence and consistency
If you are struggling, and it is practical, try to take a breather. A quick drink of water or comfort break can help you regroup and a break in the game can change the pace to your advantage.
Hitting the bird properly The earlier you can strike the shuttlecock, the further it will be from the floor and the more space you will have. Hitting it early also means your opponent has less time to recover from the previous shot and react to your response. That said, avoid rash shots - always make sure you are in the optimal position to get the most from the shuttlecock.
Stick to basics
Strong shots can be difficult to play with a backhand, especially for players new to the sport. If possible, and practical, use a forehand - this is likely to give you more control over the power and direction of the shot.
Whichever shot you select, an overhead smash or a well executed backhand, stick with it. Wavering half way through the strike will leave you open to a strong and dangerous response.
Consider technical issues
If you find you are struggling to get enough power behind the shuttlecock, reassess your whole technique. If you alter your position, move your feet slightly wider apart, improve your grip or turn your body, you are likely to get more power than if you simply take a bigger swing. You will also be able to control the shuttlecock and where it lands with greater success.
Patience is a useful virtue in badminton players. Practise long rallies and your stamina will not let you down when you are faced with a long rally in a competition. It is a useful trick to have up your sleeve to tire out your opponent, physically and mentally. Loss of concentration means the opposition will make mistakes.
Control. We were playing with an imaginary net. The street lines served as our boundaries, so we had to control the shuttle to keep it in.
Drives. In an open space, sometimes we played against the wind. So we had to hit the bird hard.
Lift. Aiming to hit higher than the coconut trees strengthened our wrists.
Smash. To be able to hit our opponents, we had to smash them hard and in the area where their defense was weak. We usually target the backhand side.
Defense. To defend ourselves from those killer drives and smashes, we had to be on the proper stance and racket position. I knew what it is to be hit on the eye.
Footwork. We kept on running in our imaginary court. The right footwork made it easy for us to cover all corners