Whenever I’m asked to visit a club for a coaching evening, I ask the organiser to canvass the club members and give me a list of the areas they would like me to work on.

Overall, I’m met with similar responses, which are:

Men – smash and backhand

Women – clearing to the back and returning a man’s smash.

Seriously. I get very few requests for anything else!

So here’s a challenge for you. Ask your club members this question…

“if we were to hire a coach for the night, what would you want to work on?”

I would love to hear from you with your answers.

When I arrive at the club and begin talking to the players I then get bombarded with questions, which is great. But, rarely do I get the players saying to me “we want to win more games!” Is that strange or am I expecting too much?

You see, surely the objective for me being there in the first place is to help the players achieve something. They are all playing league badminton and they all tell me they want to get better.

But, they don’t really know what it means to get better. They haven’t really defined what result they wish to achieve. This is a common fault with many sportspeople. What you will find is that the top sportspeople have clearly defined goals and that is one of the reasons why they are achievers.

So What Should These Players Be Focussing On In Order to Improve Their Scores? Here’s My Top 3.


In my opinion, if players in clubs focussed on these key areas, they would see significant results, very quickly.

1)      Serve – improve the quality of serves and also understand the tactics behind every serve. By doing this, each serve has a mission – it’s a mission to accomplish a certain result. Serving well, with purpose and skill will add a minimum 5 points to your game.

2)      Receiving serve – working out where to return a low serve is a good start. Just learning how to keep the return low will add more points to your score. By keeping the shuttle down, this pressurizes your opponents into lifting the shuttle and gives you the attack.

3)      Grip changing. Believe it or not, there are many players who still do not use the correct grips. This means they gift points to the opposition as they are unable to return the shuttle well in given situations. This basic, foundational and yet vital skill is sadly lacking in league badminton. When you do have this skill, it’s amazing how many shots you can play and the number of returns you can call upon to outwit or outplay your opponent.

So there you go, that’s my top 3. Other coaches may differ, however I’d be amazed if they differed by much. Coaches and badminton commentators alike will tell you how vital the serve and return of serve are in deciding the outcome of a game.

No matter which scoring system you’re playing to, you’ve got to serve well in order to win the game. I sincerely believe that if players at clubs focussed on these three key areas and practiced at club nights, then they would soon see significant results in their overall scores and level of play. Opponents won’t understand what’s changed, and they certainly won’t like the score!

I always invite you the reader to share your thoughts and experiences on my blog – that’s what it’s for.

To your success