My inspiration to play badminton stems from when I was younger. My dad played club badminton and he took me and my two older sisters to play with him and it really started my interest from there. When I was very young I really only watched badminton at the Olympics so it was only after I started playing that I got more into watching the sport.
In our sport, video is crucial, we can watch ourselves and our opponents’ past matches. We always go to tournaments with a team video camera so we can get up to date footage as the matches are not always available to watch online. It also gives people who are interested in us as players a chance to watch or keep up to date with all of our matches.
The use of video has certainly developed during my playing career. When I first started out, it wasn’t always the norm to have access to your own games, let alone access to our opponents. Nowadays, every major team travels with a video analyst or at least brings cameras with them to film theirs or their opponents’ games to give themselves the best chance of winning the matches they play in. The video analysis software is very advanced, we can tag certain things that happen within a match and can watch that thing every time it has happened in the game.
Video is an important training/review method, for our sport repetition is key and improving our skills is critical. If we are having certain issues with any footwork or particular shots, we will analyse ourselves using video and then once we see the issue we can try and correct it accordingly.
We are very lucky in badminton as we have a video analyst who gives us access to all matches that we want and any of our opponents matches too, so we can evaluate and prepare for upcoming tournaments. It means we can go into a match with some knowledge of how our competitors play and their areas of strength and weakness. It’s also good if you can watch them play different types of players to see how their game style adapts.
As badminton players we are not always filmed for TV unless we get to latter stages of tournaments or compete in major events like the Olympics or Commonwealth Games. For me a few clips of my Olympic matches were made available on the BBC Sport website which can really help with raising the profile of yourself but also badminton and for our regular season tournaments its more readily accessible to clips via YouTube which I can promote through my social media pages, so it gives any people wanting to watch me ways of keeping up with my progress.
I think having access to those winning moments of sports or crucial moments (i.e. a goal in football or a wicket/6 in cricket) is a great way of introducing not only youngsters but also anyone new into that particular sport, I know I like to go online and watch highlights of sports that I haven’t managed to watch live. It gives you a great insight into an important moment of the game and can maybe create an interest in something that wasn’t already there.
I frequently look back on legacy games of badminton. However, they’re probably not as readily available as they should be – it would be great to see a dedicated resource for all the badminton players and fans out there – to see the game being played at its best by the champions – from today and from the past. For the moment though there are a few clips and compilations on YouTube which I like to watch – it’s also interesting to see if I have ever made it into those clips!