I don’t think this has been mentioned before.
About three years ago, my kid was in an important tournament. She did all the normal training, follow a private coach. On the day, she was a bit nervous and kept hitting the shuttle out. It’s was difficult for her to control the shuttle and suffered a close loss to someone who odds on who would not beat her. There was also a significant draught in the hall and this affects faster shuttles more than slower shuttles.
As it was an important tournament in the junior calendar, we were both disappointed. However, the result doesn’t change and really, because I manage the training arrangements, I need to take some responsibility.
Every player suffers nerves at some point or another. I can’t change that easily. But I did go back to thinking about the shuttles and difficulties controlling the shuttle.
You see we normally use old shuttles which can be quite slow due the feathers getting ruffled or a bit beat up. So although we used the same speed shuttles in practice, because they were old, they were much slower than the tournament ones.
I figured this was something that I could do something about. I went and bought 25 tubes and then a box of fifty tubes of shuttles at a fast speed just for training. Victor Master made of duck feather. I got a good price at the time coming to about 105hkd or just over ten pounds sterling for a tube of 12 shuttles. It just so happened to be one of our covid lockdowns so there was plenty of stock. Never mind. At least I had my supply sorted out for when the courts woul reopen.
It sounds really expensive and overkill to buy new shuttles for training but I am your hard core badminton addict. I also persuaded to myself that I didn’t have much time to decide as there were crucial assessments coming up in her training pathway. If I didn’t try to use faster shuttles in training, and a similar loss happened again in an important match, I would bitterly regret not buying faster shuttles for training. I would take these shuttles to the private training session, the coaches first went “wow”. For group training, she would use the shuttles that the group used.
Honestly, it went really really well. One of the best decisions I’ve made for training. Badminton is a game where you need to keep the shuttle in and she got used to trying to control her strength better. When kids transition upwards and get stronger, they have to learn to use smaller strokes compared to those big swings at 7 or 8 years in order to control the shuttle. It’s not easy.
When it came to matches, yes, the shuttle might still go out but she had far less propensity to get anxious about that and know what she needed to do.
How about the costs? I bought a total of seventy five tubes and still using some of them now.
Expensive? Yes about the same as buying 6 new high end racquets. Worth it? Totally. An even more satisfying outcome than buying and using a new racquet.
If it was me training, I would be happy with old club shuttles but then again, I am not as competitive as before so it’s unnecessary to go to that expense. Secondly, I have played a lot before and my experience helps adjust to different speeds. It’s harder for young players to adjust to faster speeds. Adjusting to a slightly lower speed is much easier.