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The Mental Game Of Badminton

A Case Study Of The #1-Ranked Player In The US


Bill Cole, MS, MA
The Mental Game Coach™
Silicon Valley, California


This article tells the story of how a badminton player undertook a mental game of badminton training program and achieved the #1 singles ranking in the United States. At the tournament levels of the sport, the mental game of badminton is critical. It separates the winners from the near-winners. It's that final edge that pushes a player into the finals so they can take home the big trophy. Having a strong mental game of badminton is a must for all serious tournament competitors. To succeed at these levels competitors need to build mental toughness, a deep will to win, sharp focus and the ability to make come-backs after challenging points and matches.

How is your mental game? How does your mental toughness and concentration stack up against your competitors? At the tournament levels of the sport, the mental game of badminton is critical. It separates the winners from the near-winners. It's that final edge that pushes a player into the finals so they can take home the big trophy.

In addition to being mental coach to badminton players, and having taught badminton in college, I have coached world champions, world record-holders, national champions and other athletes at every level, and in over 60 sports. Even before I began competing at the national level in badminton I knew having a strong mental game of badminton was critical to succeeding. I won some local and regional events and then was able to reach the quarterfinals of the NCAA National Badminton Championships. I was also very fortunate to practice weekly with numerous singles and doubles national champions, and I could see their mental toughness, dedication and level of focus.

It was a pleasure to receive a call from Hua Zhang, whose daughter Julie, was a competitor at the regional and national levels, asking how I could assist her in building a stronger mental game of badminton. She took my on-line mental game assessment, we reviewed it, made a plan and embarked on a mental system to improve Julie's mental game.

Specialized Mental Game Of Badminton Training Program

Julie needed help on sharpening her pre-point readiness, so I gave her special rituals and routines to do before every serve and return of serve. She needed help in handling set-backs in a match so I gave her a specific mind-clearing breathing and relaxing procedure. She needed assistance in keeping her focus on appropriate cues in a match, so I gave her attentional cues that guided her thinking and focus. She had a problem with maintaining focus in long points, so I developed special on-court games that helped her become more patient, tactical and to develop the points more. She used to rush and feel time was slipping away in a match, so I gave her various mental visualization protocols to slow her thinking down so she could stay in the moment. She had a tendency to hold her breath and get tight so we worked in my office on deep relaxation exercises she could transfer to the match court. She used to lose her touch due to trying too hard, and from tensing up, so I had her work on body awareness, body scanning, relaxation techniques and touch exercises. She never had a mental game plan before, so we developed a series of these, based on a variety of factors.

Her mental game of badminton training program had these elements:

  1. Mental Game Assessment
  2. Motivation And Goal-Setting
  3. Removing Self-Limiting Beliefs
  4. Non-Mental Factors In Sports Performance
  5. How Strategy And Tactics Affects The Mental Game
  6. Mental Readiness: Pre-Event Mental Readiness: In The Event
  7. Turning Stress Into Success
  8. Controlling Nerves In Competition
  9. Breathing For Peak Performance
  10. Stopping Choking
  11. Finding Ideal Effort Levels
  12. The Art Of Ball Watching
  13. Attention Control Training
  14. Building The Inner Time Clock
  15. Getting In The Zone
  16. Mental Game Match Management
  17. Self-Coaching Skills
  18. Controlling Emotions
  19. Eliminating Self-Sabotage And The Paradox Of Success


  1. Stopping The Fear Of Failure And The Fear Of Success
  2. Playing To Win Vs. Playing Not To Lose
  3. Handling Mental Warfare In Sports: Gamesmanship And Ethics
  4. Practicing The Mental Game
  5. Sharpening Mental Tools On The Practice Court
  6. The Mental Game Off-Court
  7. Visualizing Success
  8. Thinking Like A Winner: Developing A Championship Mind
  9. Building Self-Confidence
  10. The Mental Game In Lessons
  11. Avoiding Slumps, Staleness And Burnout
  12. Building Mental Toughness
  13. Becoming A Tougher Competitor: The Will To Win
  14. Building The Killer Instinct
  15. Creating A Philosophy Of Competition
  16. The Mental Game After The Match: Self-Review

As a result of undergoing this very focused mental game of badminton training program Julie achieved the #1 ranking in the United States for Girls Singles Badminton 13 and under.

Julie's mother said, "Bill helped our daughter Julie improve her mental approach to badminton, and we are very grateful to Bill for all his assistance and guidance. As a result of Bill's mental coaching, she is now ranked as the #1 player in Under 13 Girl's Singles in Northern California, and as a result of competitive play at the national level, she also earned the #9 ranking in the United States for Girls Singles Badminton 15 and under, and Julie achieved the #1 ranking in the United States for Girls Singles Badminton 13 and under."
Read the full testimonial.

Having a strong mental game of badminton is a must for all serious tournament competitors. To succeed at these levels competitors need to build mental toughness, a deep will to win, sharp focus and the ability to make come-backs after challenging points and matches. I encourage you to learn all you can about the mental game of badminton so you can reach your full potential as a tournament competitor.

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For a comprehensive overview of your mental abilities you need an assessment instrument that identifies your complete mental strengths and weaknesses. Here is a free, easy-to-take 65-item sport psychology assessment tool you can score right on the spot. This assessment gives you a quick snapshot of your strengths and weaknesses in your mental game. You can use this as a guide in creating your own mental training program, or as the basis for a program you undertake with mental coach Bill Cole, MS, MA to improve your mental game. This assessment would be an excellent first step to help you get the big picture about your mental game.


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Copyright © 2011 Bill Cole, MS, MA. All rights reserved.


Bill Cole, MS, MA, a leading authority on sports psychology, peak performance, mental toughness and coaching, is founder and CEO of William B. Cole Consultants, a consulting firm that helps sports teams and individuals achieve more success. He is also the Founder and President of the International Mental Game Coaching Association, an organization dedicated to advancing the research, development, professionalism and growth of mental game coaching worldwide. He is a multiple Hall-Of-Fame honoree as an athlete, coach and school alumnus, an award-winning scholar-athlete, published author of books and articles, and has coached at the highest levels of major-league pro sports and big-time college athletics.


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The Mental Game of Badminton


Bill Cole, MS, MA
Sports Psychology Coaching

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