HAVING closely followed the progress and performance of our current crop of national badminton players, I am compelled to pen some comments which I hope will draw awareness of the players themselves to further improve on their game.
Congratulations to Lee Zii Jia and Soh Wooi Yik for having reached the current level of play in singles and doubles respectively.
However, there are finer points which can be perfected to correct the flaws that I see as follows.
In the case of Zii Jia, his wrist-flick lift from the net to the baseline is flawed.
Employing only a wrist-flick is weak in two aspects.
A strong flick at that angle will send the shuttle out as can be seen in many of his matches.
A not so strong flick will prevent the shuttle from going out but will be half court and easily intercepted by a leaping powerful smashing opponent either down the line or cross-court and will be difficult to defend.
A good lift is one that combines wrist curled flick and follow-up arm upswing.
This will send the shuttle deep to the baseline at a greater angle and height preventing it from going out.
The height and deep baseline shot will also make it difficult for the opponent to kill.
The test of a good lift is determined by the foot print position of the opponent in returning the shuttle.
This skill ability is best demonstrated by the great Lin Dan (of China) where the returning opponent will have at least one leg outside the baseline.
Another area of improvement required is to develop a good net wrist spin to tumble the shuttle to ensure that the opponent cannot return a full court shot which you can kill with your powerful smash.
This shuttle-spinning ability is best demonstrated by the great Luan Jin (China), arguably the strongest single smasher of all time.
In the All-England final in 1982, he demolished another great Prakash Padukone of India using this technique alone.
His smashes sounded like rifle shots and each time the shuttle is broken flat.
I was fortunate to witness this live in the hall.
Also deploy more cross court netplay from right to left when you reach the net early.
So far, I have only seen one Malaysian singles player in the past who did a good net spin – Ong Beng Tiong.
In the case of Wooi Yik, holding your racquet below the waist in defense most of the time results in weaker returns until the shuttle is finally killed.
Hold the racquet higher, move a step forward and do a parallel defense above the waistline, instead of lifting most times. Other aspects of your game are fine.
Keep up the hard work, discipline, strive for excellence as the whole nation is behind both of you. I apologize for my harsh comments if any, but the attention is to draw awareness.
Heng Kok Chew
77-year-old player of the game