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How a Broken Racket Changed My Game Forever!!


Pradeep Chankarachan, PMP
Few years back, I used to play badminton regularly, took it very seriously from a fitness perspective as well as on the skills of the game. Though I had a sporty bone from my childhood, playing cricket for hours in the backyard, it was tough to get that rhythm back in my body. When we started, I and my colleague Diwaker Sharma used to give way to the experienced players in the court. PMArticle2Img1
We were astonished to see some folks with brilliant rhythm and a sense of professional approach to the game. Some of them were not ready to play with us when we started. They balanced the team skills by mixing the team with us to play doubles and kept up the level of game. Slowly we graduated to play singles with them and at the end the other duo became irregular and withdrew from the game as they couldn't keep up or saw us in better rhythm. More than enjoying this small achievement, the journey to reach this stage taught me a great lesson to enjoy the moment without worrying the end result. I always wondered how the Nadals, Federers and Tendulkars of the world are able to focus and enjoy the game one ball or a shot at a time. What goes on in their mind while chasing a huge target or defending multiple match points. Just worry about this moment not the end result-easier said than done. This true experience helped me realize and practice it to a certain extent. It was one of the days, when we played a rather long match, completed three games (I lost 2 of the games). As a sort of compensation, in order for me to come back with some winning moments, I suggested to play half games (10 pointers). Even in those games, I was making repeated unforced mistakes and my colleague was exploiting it to the best. In a weak moment, I lost my calm and threw my Yonex racket, which I was passionately attached to, that was the end of it. I had lost to myself, to my frustration, to my anxiety, to my lack of patience and game plan. It was at this juncture, that we realized that too much concern with winning was making us vulnerable. We were making poor selection of shots and were not able to enjoy a quality game. We shared this feeling and came up with a new way of practicing the game. No more 21 games, no more winning or losing. We planned an unconventional way of tracking points. We would start the point-games from 100 and then would countdown to zero, every point following the normal badminton rules, but with no ultimate goal. The goal was to play for 45 minutes with high quality 100 points. We further complicated the point system to allow re-serve, and randomly changed the serving pattern to confuse our own mind and to keep from worrying about how many I won or the other won. This helped drastically improve the quality of the game, there were more rallies than ever before, and we were excited on the last 10 points, put across the best skills to that. I call it countdown 100, a live-themoment- game-plan, teaching us not to worry about shadow but follow sun; can we extend it as our plan for life to be successful yet not getting worried about it?