Tuesday, May 21, 2024
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Badminton shadow practice for beginners

How effective is shadow practice for beginner players
A coach and I had different opinions
I want to share some of the discussion with you
What will be your opinion?
The background to our discussion

Badminton Coaching TipsWe were both very interested in how each of us viewed the use of badminton shadow practice and specifically shadow for beginner places in the first 12 months..  We both agreed it was useful, at times.

However, it soon became clear that we had a different opinion concerning –

  • The reasons why we used it
  • The amount of time spent doing shadow with beginners
  • What constituted a shadow practice (doing what, for how long, etc)
We found common ground and similar thoughts
but we also had core differences
Shadow practice for beginners –  what did we talk about

These questions/ topics came into the discussion

Do you have an instant opinion on the questions above?  Hopefully, you do!  Please keep in mind that we discussed shadow practice specifically for beginner players in the first 12 months.

You may feel that some of the questions could be answered in different ways depending on context.  If that’s the case, then I recommend that you consider how much time you’d allocate to the shadow practice and the importance you’d place on it when considering other learning experiences the player would have.

Please form your own opinion on the questions above before reading below
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What if any prior knowledge/experience is required in order to visualise (imagine) the movement

Probably the most important question.  It was certainly the one that divided our opinions.  We discussed what level of prior experience/knowledge a player needed before the shadow practice could be thought of as effective learning.

I think that beginner players need some knowledge and experience of game context and striking before they can use shadow practices effectively.  Certainly, shadow practice cannot replace moving and striking practices.  Therefore skiing would be in the majority and I’d use shadow sparingly.

My friend thought that they could develop and experience from a low base knowledge.  They believed that the players could copy the coach and that would be sufficient.

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Striking the shuttle gives so much more information, therefore should striking be in the majority

I just think that players should be striking shuttles!  Coaches should select practices where striking enhances learning in all different ways.  If it means that you have to design lots of different practices then do that 🙂

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Do the stroke types and distance moved make a difference?

I favour short distances and a reduced number of rally ‘parts’ when working with beginners.  Some people call these ‘points’ or strokes in the rally.  However, even then I use this sparingly.

Movements over 10 seconds can become problematic as well as those that don’t replicate real game-like rallies for that playing standard.  Remember we are talking about very early beginners.

You may have an alternative view that players can easily move to many places on the court and the longer rallies (20 -30 seconds)  do not cause any issues with the movement types created.  Or that you could easily ‘correct’ any issues later.

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How much time should be allocated?

Doing sometimes for a short period of time (total time of say 5 – 10 mins) with beginners is plenty in my view.  We both agreed on this point.  When shadow practice is used for beginners shorter durations of say 10-15 seconds and a total of 5 -10 minutes are sufficient.

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Should you always shadow with a racket?

I thought this was a must.  However, the coach had a different view and said that there was value in a ‘no racket shadow’ practice.

I’ve watched players experience shadow movements both, with and without a racket.  Generally holding a shuttle and then throwing was ok, but it did concern me when I watched players trying to replicate a backhand net flick by throwing a shuttle.

Also picking shuttles off the court and then moving can create some very storage lunging shapes, it’s clearly not realistic as the game requires a racket.

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It’s an important practice for later in their development, so start it when they are a beginner

I can’t disagree with this concept but that could be applied to every stroke/tactic/movement/training type.  I would rather introduce and develop things in a more selective progressive way.

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As always, I’m very grateful if you have read this far 🙂

Do you agree with all the points above, or do you have a different opinion when it comes to badminton shadow practice for beginners?

It would be great to hear what conversations you have with your coaching friends.

Why not send me an email  contact@badmintonandy.com

This is part of a series of conversation starters. 

Although not in detail, the posts are written to get you thinking and talking with others.

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