How on earth do the professional players float around the court?!?

By Katie Garner

Watching the mens doubles quarter final of the All England Championships

After recording the matches from the Yonex All England Championships on the V+ box, I finally got around to catching up on some of the quarter final games this evening – and I must say it makes me feel incredibly wistful, jealous and inspired all in one shuttle-filled moment.

Firstly, the movement of the professional players is simply staggering, with this amazing ability to literally float around the court. Their movements bear no resemblance to the humble run, jog or sprint, and are definitely nothing like the reckless flings that regularly feature on club nights! One stride seems to take them anywhere they want to go, without a duck, or back-crunching lean in sight. The speed of the game is naturally invisible to the eye – like club night on permanent fast forward. No shot is too far, no smash too deep.

Also regarding movement, in the doubles games, the rotation is brilliant to watch and their court coverage is definitely something to be envied. The couples have often been working for years together, so communication is often at a minimum, with the circling a completely natural movement born out of understanding and tactics. This would be great to develop in our own matches, by using the same pairs in the league games.

The Danish defending champs have a killer flick serve

Jumping is another skill that the pros have mastered with ease, and that I still struggle with. Not being very tall, clears can pose a problem at times and this usually results in my attempts at a jump. Usually I don’t even get very far, and I even seem to manage a strange one-legged kick which has even sometimes meant hitting my chin with my knee which is rather baffling, and doesn’t mean I get any more height, which is my aim in the first place! However, the pros do this dramatic spring up into the air, leaping at least a metre in the air, smashing the shot down with unnatural poise and composure for one floating in mid-air.

Even though watching the pros can make you feel that you still have miles of progression ahead of you, it’s interesting that I seem to adopt the role of commentator as soon as I hit the sofa, despite being no-where near their level of skill. I often turn to Jess and claim that there was no drive there, it was far too defensive, or that a net shot would have worked so much better than that clear. Jess in turn will explain that the flick serve worked rather well, although the resulting return should have been deeper.

I would whole heartedly recommend that you watch live badminton. Jess and I went to watch the World Championships at Wembley Arena last summer, and we got to see Asian hero Lee Chong Wei and many of amazing Chinese players. It’s the speed that hits you first – it’s jaw-dropping, with wrist action so fast, it adds extra deception to every shot. Even catching the games on TV gives you a glimpse at the techniques, shots and tactics used by the pros. It’s inspiring on every level.