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Analysis of Badminton Performance and Recommendations

Lydia Powell is a 21-year-old female, who competitively competes in badminton singles; her world ranking within this sporting activity is 247. The match I am analysing is: Lydia Jane Powell vs Julie Dawall Jakobsen – Irish Open 2016, where Lydia is representing England and Julie is representing Denmark. Lydia has been playing Badminton since she was a young girl, however her ranking history started in December 13th, 2012 where her world ranking was 938. Although she’s now 21, she has 80 career wins to date along with reaching singles semi-finals and wins doubles at Wimbledon Senior Gold event at the age of 19, which made her fourth in national women’s singles rankings in 2015.

Area of Assessment 2: Weakness – Defensive Smash

I will now be analysing Lydia Powell’s defensive smash as shown in the video analysis attached. The first analysis I will be making is regarding the point of contact of the defensive smash. Her faults are consistently drawn attention to because, she doesn’t effectively calculate the time it takes her opponent to makes a clear, or calculate the time required for the shuttlecock to travel towards her along with not factoring her time to initiate a defensive smash. These faults can be seen at: 3:40 (0-2), 6:05 (4-7).

Akane Yamaguchi is a right-handed player, ranked number 1 in the women’s singles, with 232 career wins all at the age of 20. She is 5’11 and has Professional since she was 5 years old (2002) but has been a National Team Member since 2012 (14 years old). In order to allow Lydia to develop and execute an exceptional defensive smash, she should observe Akane’s performance and apply it to her own tactical thinking during game play because Akane has strong success in regards to winning and this means she has a strong foundation in basic biomechanics and court positioning. The defensive smash, is initiated in phases.


In order to perform the optimal defensive smash, Lydia should ensure her defensive stance is performed when she places herself slightly behind her footwork base (slightly behind the centre of the court). This gives her time to catch the flight direction of the smash, as enough time is available to react.

In Lydia’s actual performance she attempted to perform a defensive smash. Compared to the ‘perfect’ defensive smash positioning, which suggests that her stance should be allocated just behind mid court to allow for maximum view, she isn’t seen doing. She stablishes her position, directly underneath the flight of the shuttle. This implies that because Lydia was forced to the back of the court by her opponent, it resulted in her performance being negatively affected, resulting in the shuttle being played into the net, and concession of the point. The ineffective defensive smash shot resulted in, on numerous occasions unforced errors where the shuttle was played into the net or outside the lines of the court. In another occasions, a weak defensive smash gave an attacking opportunity to her opponent resulting it the loss of points.

This analysis identified that Lydia should follow the ‘perfect model’ positioning for the defensive smash, had she have been in the correct position when performing the movement, she could have had more success. Due to the positioning of her body on court she should have recalled her knowledge to know not to play the shot. This knowledge and positioning could have had a significant impact on the success of her game.


In the preparation phase, the body should be positioned sideways with the non- racket shoulder towards the net in line with the oncoming shuttle. The legs should be spread apart to widen the base of support with bent knees to lower Lydia’s centre of gravity. Having a supported centre of gravity allows all the particles of the body to be evenly distributed to maximize control of technique. As Lydia attempts the smash the shuttle with a poor centre of gravity, she becomes slightly off balance, which reduced the power and accuracy of the shot and disrupted the overall sequence of the skill. Furthermore, the overall posture should’ve been smaller and crouched using her upper and lower body, with her eyes horizontally level with the top of the badminton net. This will allow her to see the shuttle better and allow the weakness area the body (chest) to be covered by the racket. As the shuttle moves forward and downward, your shoulders will rotate.  As your shoulders rotate, you should simultaneously start to step forward and swing your forearm forward, so that your racket arm and racket leg are moving forward at the same time.

When the shuttle is in the air, the racket arm should be positioned in front of herself, around waist height, and pointing slightly forward, then she should raise her non-racket arm to allow for better balance. This is to ensure Lydia is ready to respond quickly (usually with underarm strokes) when her opponent smashes. Since it is impossible to tell whether Lydia’s opponent will smash to her forehand or backhand area; she shouldn’t grip the racket too tightly as this allows her to switch from a forehand to backhand grip easily. If opponent hits a clear, she’ll have time to respond. If drop shot is performed, she’ll have time to move forward. Her BOS isn’t very wide, with the two points of contact with the ground, as she doesn’t crouch down significantly to gather force to propel herself upward.

The momentum the legs generate will be passed to the smaller muscle groups until it gets to the shuttlecock. She stretches out this force arm, making it the longest possible 3rd class lever and moves it quickly through the full range of motion to generate a large force, so her force arm has maximum velocity and momentum on contact with the shuttlecock. Inertia is shown as Lydia sights the flight of the shuttlecock and lowers her centre of gravity in preparation of the smash, allowing for a slight contraction causing flexion in hamstrings, gluteal and gastrocnemius, consequently generating force. This ensures that the amount of force is directed downwards.

If Lydia were to follow the ‘perfect’ guidelines of the perfect preparation, she would have been able to initiate the ideal angle of contact along with calculating the parabolic flight paths due to obtaining a rough understanding of velocity at impact on the court and using all court space by returning to the middle for her advantage. By minimising the opportunity to initiate hits, this allows her to compensate with her wrist, this is due to her reaction time and placement. As she observes the shuttle incoming, Lydia should confirm that the racket arm is positioned in front of herself, around waist height, and pointing slightly forward, to allow for better balance so correct mechanics of the swing phase is executed to allow for her body momentum to travel forwards not right. This understanding of observation and biomechanical movement could have had a significant impact on the success of her game.


In the execution phase, you should make contact with the shuttle further in front of your body (arm and racket should be fully extended at the point of impact). The optimum point of contact zone is located above the central area of your racket. During impact Lydia should flick her wrist, generating extra speed as the racket hits the shuttlecock. This ensures too much power isn’t used within the swing but adopt a smoother and more fluid motion as this will ensure faster and a consistent smash. Fluid motion is when something is able to move or changes easily.

If too much force is applied, the muscles in the arm will tighten. The shuttlecock should hit the centre of the racket, with the racket flat to the shuttlecock at the point of impact. The racket should face downward so that the shuttlecock flies at a steep downward angle over the net. Also, Lydia should ensure the grip of the racket handle is correct (there should be a V shape in between the thumb and the index finger and the racket handle should rest loosely in her fingers for greater flexibility). Keep your arm and racket outstretched so that you hit the shuttlecock as high in the air as possible without your arm being hyper-extended (there should still be a slight bend in your elbow to avoid possibility of injury). After contact with the shuttlecock, the racket should continue downward as though it had just hit through the shuttlecock and is continuing its trajectory.

From analysing Lydia’s technique, I can identify that in the execution phase, Lydia is not showing the correct stance and movements. Both feet aren’t on the ground, as she is on the ball of her left foot causing her stance to become narrower and reducing her overall base support. This means that force summation occurs as all body parts act simultaneously in practice, the strongest and lowest body parts are around the centre of gravity. In Lydia’s case, it is near right hand side because the weight is concentrated on her right leg.

Additionally, she is underneath the flight of the shuttle following an attacking long serve from her opponent, this means that at the point of contact from the extended arm isn’t in the best position because the angle to perform an effective defensive smash is 45 degrees. The angle of release was less than 45 degrees. It had to be high enough to clear the net, but low enough for the shuttlecock to have flight time and horizontal distance.  This is evident because her front arm is pointing at the shuttle meaning that the angle of the racket was too low to generate enough power across the anticipated downward trajectory along with the non-racket not being positioned at her waist, causing likelihood of being unbalanced whilst performing.

Moreover, Lydia was slightly tense, she was unable to perform anywhere near her strength for optimum capability as a tense body cannot move/hit as fast, or as powerfully compared to players that is free from tension. This shows that, her grip on the racket is too tight, as muscles are constantly under tension, which does not allow them to flow and carry instructions to move in the ‘perfect’ way to execute the shot (they are fighting to move in the right sequence). As her grip was tight, this restricted the amount of power available to the muscles, which only led to a poor result and disappointment for herself (shuttle not shot over the net). If she consistently grips the shuttle too tight, then Lydia is risking injuring her elbow and wrist.

Following this ‘perfect’ execution phase, the apprehension of observation and biomechanical movement could have had a significant impact on the success of her game. She should sure that she performs rotation of her torso, as much of the power that is generated from her shot comes from the abdominals. Turning the body and using that momentum will result in a much faster shot. This means that Lydia applies Newton’s second law: F=ma – Force is mass time’s acceleration. As she’ll extend her elbow which is a hinge joint that allows extension and flexion motions, applies the gathered force onto the mass (shuttlecock), then it accelerates in the direction in which the force was applied when executing the full sequence.

Follow through and recovery:

After making contact with the shuttle, Lydia should follow through to where she hit the shuttle, this will help with control and placement and then follow by completing the full swing. She should pronate forearm and flex elbow to increase time of collision, between the racket and shuttle. In order to do this, you must contract the abdominals and lift racket foot forwards. Your body should face forward after you swing your racket as this is essential to maintain body balance. Then bring the non-racket addictively to the body for superior balance and allow the racket arm to return back down.  Alongside this, transfer the weight onto your front foot to again balance, then return to the middle of the court after executing the swing, in ‘ready’ position, waiting for the opponents next opposed shot. The longer the time of contact is, the greater the change in momentum (impulse) which results in an even larger change in the overall velocity. Newton’s 1st law suggests that at the follow through phase, the muscles have to work hard now to decrease the forces generated during preparation and execution to maintain control. The greater the forces that were generated, the greater the forces required to slow down and control the movement in the follow through. Whereas, in this phase the shuttle cock will travel in the direction the force is applied, therefore if the racket follow through is towards the target that is the direction the shuttle cock will travel in.

Lydia was not seen to do so as she did not execute the shot completely and correctly, however she does on regular occasion throughout the game return effectively to centre court after performing a range of shots. Her centre of gravity moves to the right after the racquet makes contact with the shuttlecock, as her body leans forward with the momentum. Her right leg then moves forward to re-establish her BOS and ensure her stability and balance is maintained. Lydia lands on one foot, meaning that there is more chance of the force going outside of the BOS compared to landing on two feet which increases her chance of a safer landing. She re-gathered her balance and stability despite the poor landing.

Area of Assessment 2: Causes – Biomechanical movement and Flight Paths

Through the analysis of Lydia, I have identified that a possible cause for her inconsistent defensive smash is due to the flight path she executes. As Lydia hits the shuttle in the air, it becomes a projectile. This is due to the badminton shuttle following a non-parabolic flight path. A projectile is an object that is only acted on by gravity. In math, a parabola is a curve that is the graphical representation of a quadratic equation.  A parabolic path is the path followed by a projectile. The Heavier an object is the more it will tend to have a parabolic flight path because the weight is the dominant force. As the air resistance is dominant, because the shuttle is very light, therefore its weight force is very small, the shuttle Is able to produce asymmetrical trajectory shape, which is referred to as a non-parabolic shape as both sides aren’t symmetrical. Due to the shuttle having a shortened flight path as air resistance is the dominant force, the shuttle trajectory is deviated from its parabolic predetermined flight path if the shuttle were to be heavier. As the weight force vector comes from the core of the shuttle due to it being the heaviest part, which is where the centre of mass is. Resulting in its asymmetrical nature.

There are three factors that affect projectile motion: horizontal distance, height of release and angle of release. Horizontal distance is how far something will travel. In this case with the shuttlecock, the velocity of release when the arm is extended above the head, with a high velocity (force) means it will travel further. Therefore, more velocity at the release point is followed by more distance (f = m x a). The height of release is when an athlete is able to elevate their arm slightly higher above their head without losing any force to release the shot, which means the horizontal distance of the shuttle should be greater. This is due to the law of conservation of momentum at the release point, the flight path is predetermined therefore raising the centre of mass of the shuttle means that it’ll travel further. Angle of release is the actual angle at which the shot will leave the release point. The release height is higher than the landing height and therefore it is expected that the optimal angle of release for the defensive smash will be less than 44 degrees.

Due to the shape of the shuttlecock, the area of contact (the heaviest part of the object) and its rear cone-like shape, the aerodynamics of the object is a factor that has an effect on the angle of release. This is because, during the final process of the projectile being in motion after it is hit (proceeding towards the opposing player), there is a significant drop in the object due to the pull of gravity on the heavy part of the shuttlecock, because of its aerodynamic structure. This means, the angle of release was lower in this circumstance in regards to the drop within the motion of the projectile. For example, during the defensive badminton smash, Lydia didn’t take in to consideration of how large the angle of her release was, due to the notable drop from the aerodynamics of the shuttle; this therefore, caused the angle to become an acute angle applied during the contact (where the racket arm was extended, with the triceps as the agonist and the antagonist as the bicep) as she underestimated the angle required when she used the flick of her wrist to generate the power to execute the serve and try to a return the shuttle over the net at such a low height but unfortunately the flight path was too low and resulted in the loss of points.

In regards to Lydia, when she makes contact with the shuttle, her angle of release is too far below 44 degrees, meaning that too much drag is occurring and in turn falls faster as a result. This is the reason her shuttle didn’t make it past the net because the cross-sectional area of the shuttle was altered at the point of contact, resulting in more air resistance or drag as the shuttlecock rotates away from the direction of airflow at a slight angle, which results in the forces on the shuttlecock to change. Air resistance is a frictional force which occurs when air passes over the surface of a body. This means that the resulted force will closely match the air resistance because that is the dominant force compared to the weight force. An aerofoil is a streamlined shape which minimises cross sectional area and drag of air passing around it. If the shuttlecock was hit harder by Lydia, the air resistance would increase but due to the lack of power in the initial shot the air resistance was reduced. The parallelogram rule is used to accurately illustrate the resultant force of a projectile. This is a rule for finding the resultant of two vectors by constructing a parallelogram with two adjacent sides representing the magnitudes and directions of the vectors, the diagonal through the point of intersection of the vectors representing their resultant (which gives the resultant force).

The side that has moved to face the airflow has more drag than the other side. This occurred as she had over flexion at her wrist, which caused her tendons to elongate. The flexor tendons allow her to bend the fingers, which in turn allows Lydia to adjust her grip when initiating specific phases of her serve variation, as well as perform a defensive smash. This imbalance of forces on either side produces a torque, and therefore the shuttlecock is rotated to the back towards position. Torque is the twisting force that tends to cause rotation. The point where the object rotates is known as the axis of rotation. The position is a stable equilibrium, because any small deviation from this position produces a torque which rotates it back into the equilibrium position. Throughout the path of the projectile, the change occurs only in the vertical direction due to the influence of gravity, while the horizontal component of the velocity will not change.

Lydia should follow the ‘perfect’ model, this states that she should ensure that during impact phase, her elbow is extended during contact with the shuttle. This means the arm will generate higher shuttlecock velocities than a bent (shorter) arm. Thus, Lydia is directed to make contact with the shuttlecock with the arm fully extended (elbow should be straightened on contact with the shuttle), as high as possible on the racket, and slightly in front of the body to control the shuttlecock`s downward trajectory. The length of that kinematic chain determines the shuttles speed during the smash. Kinematic chain refers to an assembly of rigid bodies connected by joints to provide constrained (or desired) motion that is the mathematical model for a mechanical system. As a result, the steep angle of the shuttle’s trajectory makes it difficult for the opponent counter the attack. Chen et al (2009) looked at the effect of stroke angle and force on shuttlecock speed. They found the trajectory could be best expressed in terms of its terminal velocity. This meant the speed, time, direction and path could be more accurately predicted for sports training.

Bernoulli principle explains that an increase in the velocity of a fluid that is accompanied by a decrease of pressure. Bernoulli’s principle states that within a steady airflow of constant energy, when the air flows through a region of lower pressure, it speeds up and vice versa. Thus, there is a direct mathematical relationship between the pressure and the speed, so if one knows the speed at all points within the airflow one can calculate the pressure, and vice versa. For any aerofoil generating lift, there must be a pressure imbalance, i.e. lower average air pressure on the top than on the bottom. Bernoulli’s principle states that this pressure difference must be accompanied by a speed difference.

Another possible cause of Lydia’s inconsistent defensive smash that I have analysed is a lack of defensive stance and stand point position when the shuttlecock’s incoming to Lydia. The defensive stance is executed by facing your body to the front of the court, then place your racket in front of you, around waist height, and pointing slightly forward causing you to raise your non-racket arm to ensure better balance.

In regards to analysis of Lydia’s performance above, in the preparation phase Lydia line of gravity shifts to the right, that is caused by the movement of the racket arm. Line of gravity is the direction of the force of gravity through the body is downward, towards the centre of the earth and through the Centre of Gravity. The Centre of gravity is a point in the body, which is pivotal in balancing the entire body. If COG is at its optimum, the body will be in perfect balance without the need to change posture or rotate to keep it in balance.

In Lydia’s performance, the racket-side leg supports this shift by stepping in a posterior (further back in position), and slightly lateral direction (sideways).The right elbow is moved in posterior and lateral directions (primarily by shoulder extension and abduction), and the wrist is extended causing the racket-head to point upward. This causes her to not generate enough power to execute the defensive smash, because the transfer of weight wasn’t ideal which meant her body momentum wasn’t directed forward towards the incoming shuttle, but slightly to the right which altered the whole movement as a whole leading to overcompensating from the wrist to execute the preferred shot. This implies that her body momentum was off affecting her overall stability. Stability is the state of being stable.

During execution phase, Lydia slightly lifts her right leg in order to make contact with the shuttlecock. This is because she decided to execute the shot, however her judgement on the court was incorrect, which resulted in her left leg not transferring her weight efficiently. If the line of symmetry of the shuttlecock should rotate away from the direction of airflow by some angle, the forces on the shuttlecock change. The side that has moved to face the airflow now has more drag on it than the other side.

The 1st Newton law suggests that at preparation phase the body is positioned ready to overcome the inertia of the shuttle cock and changes its direction. The body is then prepared to move, greater forces will be required to overcome the inertia of the body compared to the shuttle cock because the player weighs more.

If she were to position herself directly in the centre or closer, the speed of the smash would be significantly faster and this allows for the Julie’s smash to come towards Lydia’s body and floor; therefore, she will have to defend much wider range. However, standing slightly back from this position, will allow for Lydia to view the shuttlecock better and also the distance between Lydia and her opponent, will allow for shuttlecock to stay in the air slightly longer in order to defend against it. Additionally, If the smash from Julie were to have a downward trajectory from her chest upwards, she won’t have to hit because the shuttlecock would go out of court, therefore she won’t need to worry about the upper region of her body because the area to prepare for defence will be much narrower compared to positioning closer to the net. This means that she can position her shuttle lower proportion of her body to perform a return comfortably. Regardless, if a drop shot were to be performed, it will not land next to the net. Majority of the net shots will land around the service line, and from the optimal position it’s not too far away from the service line, therefore a lunge can be performed to reach the shuttle. If racket is positioned near the head, the opponent performs smash, Lydia will not have time to respond to the smash due to trajectory and speed of the shuttle and overall response time.

Finally, the final possible cause of Lydia’s inconsistent defensive smash that I have analysed is her exaggerated wrist snap (palmar flexion) when executing the defensive smash. There are 3 wrist movements which are composed of: neutral, flexion and extension. When executing the defensive smash, the wrist should start at a flexed position, with the correct grip. Then, you rotate the wrist allowing it to pronate and extend (extension to neutral), which will increase the gear ratio. The gear ratio is the number of turns the output shaft makes when the input shaft turns once. An increase in gear ratio of the limb extensor muscles during joint extension has been suggested to be a mechanism that facilitates optimal power production by skeletal muscles.

During Lydia’s performance, the face of the racket was facing the side and the edge of the racket was very perpendicular to her back. However, the movement analysed was too unnatural, due to too much emphasis on the wrist extension part. In Badminton, the wrist doesn’t allow much flexion or extension. Most of the motion comes from pronation/supination and the wrist angle isn’t controlled efficiently with ulnar/radial deviation. Both pronation and supination of the wrists generate power.  It isn’t possible to generate an effective direction path by a contraction at the wrist joint alone, and consequently energy must be transferred from more proximal segments.

The wrist angle affects the moment arm between the racket head and the wrist and how it loads your pronators/supinator. The wrist is made up of the articulation between the Radius and Ulnar, and the carpal bones. The wrist depends on the shoulder for stability, combined with the elbow to allow movement to and from the body and enable the forearm to adjust position of the wrist and hand. The wrist functions to maintain and adjust overall grip and adjust optimal length for the muscles that crossover the wrist. This means that the position of the wrist ultimately alters the function of the hand. If any loss of function at the wrist, due to either injury or improper technique, this would result in being unable to use the shoulder or elbow to compensate in order to adjust this movement. Besides, gripping your racket too tightly minimises your wrist action.

The wrist complex is composed of radiocarpal joint, metacarpal joint and interarpial joint. These joints work together to allow for increased range of motion at the wrist along with less exposure to tibial surface (less pinch of the tendons at the end range). The amount of range of motion at the wrist in flexion ranges between 65 – 85 degrees; extension is 55 – 70 degrees; radial deviation is 0 – 15 degrees and ulnar deviation is 0 – 30 degrees due to ulnar tilt of radius. In radial and ulnar deviation, at an anatomical position, radial deviation is when the hand moves towards the radius and ulnar deviation is when the hand moves more towards the ulnar. Typically, in order to perform regular activities from daily living, we require at least 45 degrees of sagittal motion (flexion and extension of the wrist).

Wrist flexion is predominantly used when trying to achieve the shuttle greater than 90 degrees down as the angle. During swing phase, a fast flexion (increased angular velocity) of the wrist is invoked immediately before the point of impact, providing the stroke with extra power (racket velocity) and helping to control the downward flight direction. In Lydia’s scenario, she’s demonstrating at low speed however the technique used should be at high speed. Alongside this factor, Lydia constantly disregards her arm movements within the match. This means she is potentially constantly straining her wrist. At the flexed wrist, slippage occurs. Slippage is the action or process of slipping or subsiding. Therefore, Lydia is further losing more power in order to compensate by gaining more angle to initiate a smash close to the net line.

Corrective Measures

In order for Lydia to improve her overall performance to improve her technique, she should incorporate drills into her routine. The drills Lydia should be involved in, along with her coach would be drill and practice, which executes the importance maintenance rehearsal. Drill and practice is one way to help you remember information better. In drill and practice, you go over the information you want to remember over and over. You follow the repetition until you remember it or transfer the information from your short-term memory to your long-term memory (this type of transfer is called maintenance rehearsal). In Lydia’s situation, she should position herself in mid court and receive incoming shots from a cannon coming from different areas of the court so she can learn how to swing in different locations as well as adapt specific swing variations to perform a variety of shots effectively in competition. This enables her muscles to memorise which muscles contract/relax in motion which allows fluency within a game situation because she’s able to recall positions and her muscles can execute the shot. As for precision, it just comes down to how much muscle memory you have when playing. By practice hitting to a specific side of the court (hitting 1000 shots to the left side line, then hit 1000 shots to the right-side line). Once you’ve done that you’ll have much more muscle memory and the next time you’re trying to smash to a specific location she’ll be able to do it since her muscles already know the right angle and timing to perform that shot.

Spatial reasoning tests, assess your ability to think spatially and mentally manipulate images, and perceive patterns between them. These are important skills as we position and orientate ourselves in the world. People with highly developed spatial skills are able to remember shapes and objects in their mind and mentally ‘see’ them from different perspectives and in different formats. During spatial reasoning test, you encounter a number of questions that will require you to manipulate 2D and 3D images. Typical question types involve mirror images, three-dimensional cubes and matching similar types of shapes Spatial awareness tests aim to assess your maximum spatial reasoning ability; they intentionally place you under pressure, either through tight time periods or increasing difficulty, to see what the most complex spatial reasoning you are capable of is. Your performance on the spatial reasoning test will then be compared to a norm group (this is a group of people with similar attributes to yourself) to understand how you perform compared to other people. There will typically be a pre-defined level of ability that you will need to demonstrate in order to continue with the selection process.

Additionally, Lydia’s coach should ensure she uses video analysis, during competition time as well as training (drills). This is because Video motion analysis is a technique used to monitor information about moving objects from video. For example, Lydia would be able to use this to use gait analysis, sport replays, speed and acceleration calculations and task performance analysis. One application predominantly used for athletes is Dartfish. Dartfish would be beneficial to Lydia as she can be filmed in competition, which would then be able to analyse angles of shots, movement speed towards incoming shuttles, extraneous variables which could be the cause of her frequent over use of her wrists to generate power for trajectory of the shuttle. Also, in training so she can see visual feedback not just verbal and record the movements of the upper limbs in the sagittal plane. Visual feedback is a method of coaching which an athlete is presented with visual and verbal cues. Whereas, verbal feedback employs readily understood spoken words, as well as ensuring that the enunciation, stress and tone of voice with which the words are expressed is appropriate to allow the athlete to understand the biomechanical movement associated with the action. When Lydia sees her actions via video analysis she can understand the basis of her performance in order to alter her technique rather than listening to her coach and trying to form a visual image in the brain to recall from in situations where this is needed.

Furthermore, the use of whole part whole to target Lydia’s constant errors in her serve would be beneficial. The whole skill is first demonstrated and practised, before being broken down into the constituent parts to practice the individual elements and improve on these, before putting the whole skill back together. This can be very effective in skills which have easily distinguished parts, where the whole skill together is complex. For example, when performing badminton, Lydia would practise the whole swing motion, then isolate the weak muscle, such as in the execution phase where the muscles are adjusted incorrectly due to transitioning between the preparation to execution later followed by the follow through phase; before putting the whole stroke back together. This gives the performer a sense of the whole skill before they break it down and improve on the weak aspects of the performance. As with the part method this may affect the transfer of the skill from parts to the whole.

Furthermore, Lydia could do SAQ training (Speed, Agility and Quickness). This type of training is beneficial as it helps to improve your power in Lateral, linear, horizontal movement, ground force reaction time, spatial awareness and motor skills. SAQ is speed training which predominantly involves the skill of interval training. Interval training is physical training consisting of alternating periods of high and low intensity activity. In order to help aid Lydia correction with her placement on the court, she should incorporate ladder activities, starting off with being fast with one foot in each box then both feet in, followed by laterally walking in each box as this improves her speed and agility.

Area of Assessment 3: Weakness – Variation of serve / Decision making on serve

Through analysis of Lydia’s performance, I have identified that she often makes simple errors through bad decisions. This is often observed throughout the match because Lydia regularly loses out on points due to unenforced errors. For example, she would have the access to an open court on her opponent side but instead, would initiate a weak smash which would result in numerous opportunities for her opponent to retaliate or a missed shot. An illustration of this is at, 3:40 on the video, Lydia is positioned on the court, where her racket placement makes her shot prone to be a drive shot, this meant that she had to compensate by overpowering her wrist flexion to direct the shuttle downwards to get as close to the net as possible.

Also, Lydia constantly gives her opponent the chance to return the shot by not observing the shuttle after she performs, in this case a drop shot. At 3:23, this gave her opponent an advantage over Lydia’s drop shot because Lydia goes into flight, taking off on her left foot where it was in plantar flexion position (ball of foot) causing lack of force to be generated to initiate power in order to return the birdie as she’s unbalanced.

At 5:01 Lydia strikes a smash, her body momentum is directed to the left-hand side, causing her to compensate again by over flexing at her wrist. This meant that she couldn’t direct the shuttle effectively across the court and her positioning due to this was altered. She wasn’t able to return to mid court fast enough as her opponent already took Lydia’s unstable recovery into consideration. This left her at an advantage to execute a forehand shot as she knew she wouldn’t be able to react in enough time.

Additionally, her shots are consistently executed from the sides of the court, which constantly makes Lydia have to compensate by over flexing her wrist in order to generate power. This hindered her performance because she isn’t placed in the right position in court and therefore loses pints against her opponent.

Furthermore, on several occasion when she should have initiated a drop shot she performs an overhead clear, this means her opponent gains the control and power as they can initiate a smash or drop meaning she loses the points. This was occurring off of a serve which Lydia had started with, when Lydia’s serving this should be an advantage to her however these poor shot choices were becoming a hindrance and resulted in her loosing points and the shot.

Area of Assessment 3: Causes

Having identified that Lydia’s psychological weakness is decision making on serve and variation of serve, I believe this is due to her levels of anxiety and a lack of confidence against her opponent.  Lydia shows traits of anxiety within this inability to make decisions and accompanied by feelings of nervousness and apprehension. Anxiety, is defined as a negative reaction of a performer to stress, often leading to over arousal. Anxiety is categorised into categories, which include: State anxiety, which states that the athlete’s emotional state at any given time differs in the extent to which they find particular situations or events threatening (this is variable from situation to situation). This type of anxiety is composed of cognitive and somatic. Somatic anxiety is when the athlete has awareness of arousal in the body; for example, heart rate and sweaty palms. Whereas, cognitive anxiety is feelings of nervousness apprehension and worry along with loss of concentration. This is evident in Lydia’s performance because she is shown to have a lack of concentration when she selects her variation of serves as she doesn’t analyse the situation and this gives her opponent an advantage as it shows she isn’t aware of her surroundings or tactics in gameplay.

Also, Trait anxiety, which is when an athlete’s disposition to interpret a situation as threatening and responding with an increase in state anxiety. If an athlete has high trait anxiety, they view more situations as more threatening than those with lower trait anxiety and so respond with a higher state anxiety. This is known as competitive trait anxiety. Competition can cause athletes to react both physically (somatic) and mentally (cognitive) in a manner which can negatively affect their performance abilities. This applies to Lydia because, the umpire is making bad calls regarding her performance which is causing her to become paranoid of her performance and in turn makes her shot variation and overall technique of serves to deteriorate.

Furthermore a theory that closely links with Lydia’s overall performance is Self- confidence. This is A person’s belief in their own ability to achieve success in an activity. This is interlinked with bandura’s self-efficacy theory as this relates to a person’s perception of their ability to achieve a goal. Albert Bandura, views this theory as the mind regulatory function where it tells us when to try and when to stop. If you don’t believe something is possible, you are less likely to try and likely to give up early. Self-Confidence is a feeling of trust in one’s abilities, qualities, and judgement. This applies to Lydia because she is aware of her strengths, however, this causes her to become predictable with her shot variation.

Albert Bandura identified a specific form of confidence, known as self-efficacy. This is not an overall self-confidence but varies within each situation were in. majority participate in sports at which they have a high self-efficacy, or belief in their ability at the task in hand. Self-efficacy is one’s belief in one’s ability to succeed in specific situations or accomplish a task. This model can be affected by 4 categories: performance experiences, observational learning, emotional arousal and verbal persuasion. These categories and model combined, apply to Lydia because, during the match Lydia has had numerous of failed attempts regarding performing the defensive smash which explains performance experience as she has previous failure within this action. Also, emotional arousal is shown as her arousal levels can be interpreted as enthusiasm and/or arousal after achieving points from the opposing player (as she is able to control arousal level it in turn provides greater self-efficacy). Additionally, Verbal persuasion as she has encouragement and positive words from the coach which installs a sense of confidence during training and she can apply that to a game situation. A long with that, Vicarious experiences is linked as she previously observes her opponents, the same or lower standard to herself, and can frequently complete the task well which provides confidence that she can achieve the same result similarly.

Moreover, past performances along with experiences will influence an athlete’s confidence. The last performance will affect the way the athlete approaches the next performance. There is a 2D model that was adapted by Roberts and Pascuzzi in 1979. The attribution theory of achievement states that successes are often attributed to internal causes whereas failure is often blamed on external factors such as equipment and officials. This is called a self-serving bias. This can be applied to Lydia because Lydia is a young performer and therefore has had previous losses during competitions, but it has been identified that in some of her previous matches she has repetitively used the same serve variation and defensive weaknesses which make her performance predictable to her opponents that observe her tactics. Repeated failures or disappointments often lead to the belief that failure is inevitable in certain situations, leading to feelings that the outcome is uncontrollable. This is known as learned helplessness, which could be highlighted in some points of the match.

Furthermore, Stress effects Lydia’s performance greatly. Stress is defined as a stimulus resulting in arousal or a response to a specific situation. Around half time, Lydia is seen to show signs of eustress. Entress is a positive reaction of a performer to stress, leading to optimal arousal. However, during the beginning of the match Lydia shows that Stressors have affected her performance negatively. This is the situation that causes the stressful response. For example, competition; frustration; injury; conflict. Cognitive stress is defined as the inability to think rationally, due to failing to cope with the pressure of the environment or competition. This may result in the performer failing to make the correct decisions. For example, a failure to execute the appropriate shot or serve. Such as lack of concentration occurs when there are increased levels of arousal and anxiety which subsequently lead to the inability to read the environment. Furthermore, such levels of high stress can also be as attentional narrowing. If a performer experiences attentional narrowing their performance level may show signs of decreased as they are fearful of disappointing their coach or themselves.

The Stress response is the way in which we cope with stress. The Style developed model called the General Adaptation Syndrome to explain this: Alarm Reaction. This states that Fight or flight is causing an adrenaline rush, rise in heart rate and increase in blood sugar level, ready for activity. The body can only cope with this state for a certain period if the stressful situation is not rectified the body begins to fail to cope. This leads to Stress Experience As well as the physiological symptoms because the athlete experiences psychological symptoms which include: Indecisiveness, decreased concentration, worry and decrease in attention span, which is an evident cause for the majority of her losses during the match. This than causes a vicious cycle resulting in increased levels of stress.

In order to improve Lydia’s Anxiety during game play she should complete a questionnaire called the Sports Competition Anxiety Test (SCAT). This is a reliable predictor of an athlete’s levels of anxiety. The SCAT questionnaire by martens (1977) is a self-reporting questionnaire about anxiety. The SCAT analyses an athlete’s responses to a series of statements about how they feel in a competitive situation. From the results it is possible to determine a measure of their level of anxiety. Once the athlete is aware of their faults regarding their anxiety level, they are conscious of monitoring this to ensure their performance is at optimal level consistently. Other similar tests include the sport anxiety scale. The SCAT contains 15 items, 10 of which measure symptoms associated with anxiety, with five others that are not scored included to reduce the likelihood of an internal response-set bias. The scores for the 10 items are summed to provide an overall measure, with a high score reflecting a greater tendency to experience competitive anxiety.

Additionally, as Lydia lacks confidence during game play she could improve this by improving her self-efficacy. The factors that can help her with her low self-efficacy in order to boost her overall confidence and perform better is by: setting achievable goals and highlighting successes, using a peer to demonstrate new techniques, promoting support and encouragement from the as athlete’s family and friends and using stress management techniques to aid relaxation. For example, Physical Relaxation.

Physical relaxation can be used to ensure Lydia is conformable with the overall movement of serves and is able to adapt to gaming situation changes allowing her confidence to grow. She can perform a variety of techniques which involve: The progressive Muscle Relaxation as it involves the deliberate contraction of muscles followed by a greater relaxation; self-Directed Relaxation which relies on the athlete’s ability to isolate and relax individual muscle groups, this can be improved through practice. Deep Breathing which has calming effects on the mind as well as physiological effects such as reducing heart rate and biofeedback as you can observe physiological measurements such as heart rate and breathing rate allow the athlete to focus their attention on reducing these measures.

Shot variation and decision making

In order to improve shot variation and making decision making by lessoning stress levels, it would be recommended to embark on stress management techniques such as cue utilisation. In order for Lydia to prevent attentional wastage, she needs to ensure that she is performing at a moderate arousal level. By doing so, she should be able to process the relevant information gathered on the court and apply it. Based on the 4 styles of attentional control, it would be recommended that Lydia exploit styles of broad, external and narrow external. An elite performer may learn to alternate between styles in order to make correct choices regarding serving and shot selection. For example, during a badminton match Lydia could use a broad style, to select the best type of serve or shot based on her opponent’s position, then switch to a narrow external style to focus on executing the shot to its desired flight path. By doing so, stress levels will be lowered and performance will be enhanced.

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