I want to be a top Badminton player; I want to play at higher level and also to represent India in nationals.
How do I get there? How can I find training opportunities, or start improving my play?
I live in Odisha, India and I can't find any institution or coaching class for badminton. Please help me - I am ready to pay for it.
Congratulations! You've opted for one of the world's greatest sports, seething with potential, particularly in India. However, note that to become a world-class player, you must not only have an insurmantable will to train regularly, but also the talent, and maybe a little bit of luck. While it is great to have an end goal, you must set yourself smaller goals on the road to that. For instance, a first goal would be to win a local (and after that) tournament in order to be noticed by talent seekers and be able to join a proper Badminton school.
Fortunately, there are a multitude of pathways to become a good badminton player. I'll mention a few, but a major step in becoming a top athlete will be to find and/or organize your optimal training and competition setup.
First of all, look at the training your local Badminton association offers. For you, that's the Odisha Badminton association. Right now, they seem to be running a training camp. Contact them about requirements for their training regime - chances are the require a certain level. With a little bit of luck, you may be able to join it while it's running! Make sure to check their website regularly in order to sign up for future training camps. Sometimes, national associations offer training camps too. The only ones I can find are certainly restricted to athletes already playing at top levels, but you may be able to find more information on the national Badminton association's website.
Depending on the association's organization, they may only offer training to selected athletes, so if your level of play is not sufficient to win regional tournaments already, a great organizational form to train is a competive club. Search the Internet, contact your city's sports department and/or the local association for a list of clubs. Look for clubs that offer formalized training, if possible 5+ times a week. Since your goal is to play at the top level, clubs focussed on recreational play - especially if playing at lower levels - should be avoided unless you're just using the court time to practice.
While some clubs offer excellent training, individual training is even better. If you can afford it, find a coach, for example by asking the local association to put you in contact with one. There are also enthusiast forums, for example the India subforums on Badminton Central. You can also look at privately organized group training, for instance summer camps. Again, your local/national association should be happy to provide a list, but you can just search on your own for that.
Whatever route you choose, you should soon be in contact with experienced coaches and/or players. Ask them for advice; they will be happy to help you on the next step. As I wrote above, don't lose sights on your goal, but be realistic and take it step by step. A good way to make sure you're making progress is to write down specific goals for the next month and year at the start of every month.
This leads us to the final avenue you can take to improve your Badminton skills: Self-training. BWF (the international Badminton association) offers excellent training materials upon request. While they are geared towards coaches, they include very detailled explanations of correct technique, excercises, and supplementary training information. You can get Internet-based assistance on dedicated Badminton video analysis websites or enthusiast forums.
I believe it's impossible to get to any good level with only self-training, but it is extremely helpful, and necessary on top of regular training one form or another anyways. Self-training also requires extraordinary discipline, since it is only effective when done regularly (say, each day) over a long period of time. What you can do yourself is:
- Make sure you have sufficiently good equipment, i.e. a modern racket (no steel or the like), one or two backup rackets and fitting and suitable shoes. Badminton shoes are certainly suitable, other indoor shoes might. It is not necessary or (often) helpful to buy the top-end rackets which may be geared towards advanced players or be at the extreme sides of the spectrum in terms of stiffness, weight etc. . Most top players have little problem transitioning to another racket.
- Work on your general fitness and stamina (e.g. with 3-10 km runs)
- Start injury prevention excercises, namely standard body core training. It is not helpful to acquire lots of muscle mass; you want muscles to avoid injury, not to boast or lift rocks.
- Badminton-specific strength/technique exercises, for example shadow Badminton, where you play an imaginary game but run to all corners.
- Watch high-level badminton matches in person or on YouTube to get a feel for the general proceedings of tournament play, correct technique as well as basic tactics. For the latter, you can pause the video and evaluate the best shot, and see whether you were right. You may also be able to find like-minded athletes, coaches and officials that can help you on your way at Badminton tournaments, even if you do not play.
- Read descriptions of correct technique and tactics.
- Service consistency is also something that is possible to work on alone.
- Read up on rules on the laws of Badminton so you know the very basics and are not stumped by details during your competition.
It will be a long an ardous path, but every journey starts with the first steps, which I believe to have laid out above. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me. Best of luck!