Daily Archives: December 17, 2015

Smash Defence – The Block

The Net Block Defence.

The Net Block Defence.

Smashes are the vital weapons where the player uses against the opponent to gain points. However, smashes are the one which takes out more energy from your body as it needs an explosive power.

However, while Smashes are the weapons, defence is the guard to continue the rally and may be to even win a point. When a opponent smashes there are several ways to divert this force back to the opponent either to continue the rally in a different form or to win a point against the smash. There are several ways of doing so viz., The Block, Lift, Drive, The Push.

Let us see one by one each day in our organic post blog.

When your opponent smashes, you can easily reply to the shot by playing a block to the net. This is the most common response to a smash.

Blocks are the only shots that force your opponent to move into the forecourt after his smash, and they are also the easiest shots to play. If your opponent is very fast and reaches the net quick for your block, then he may attempt to play a tight spinning net shot. But if your block is played accurately, you have good chances of preventing this on the net.

You need to judge the speed of your block carefully. Don’t play the block so that the shuttle falls too close to the net but, instead aim for your block to land near the short service line.

Blocks can be categorized into two type they are the Straight blocks and angled ones. Most probably the cross-court blocks.

Straight blocks are the easiest shot, and the best choice when your opponent smashes cross-court because, after a straight block, he will be forced to travel the longest possible distance.

If you feel that your opponent is athletic and anticipates your straight block, then play the block in a different angle so that he has to share his time for changing the direction and have a chance of catching him off-balance.

Similarly, after a straight smash, the ideal reply would be a cross court block, because it forces your opponent to change direction and cover more distance.

However, the cross-court block is more difficult than the straight block and requires more skill to angle the shuttle that travels with such speed.

Meghalaya HC Stays Premier Badminton League, BAI Challenges Order In SC

Meghalaya High Court/PBL Logo.

Meghalaya High Court/PBL Logo.

NEW DELHI: The Meghalaya High Court has stayed the IPBL tournament scheduled to be held from January 2 to January 17. This decision has come hardly days before the tournament to start. .

Facing uncertainty, the Badminton Association of India on Tuesday rushed to the Supreme Court seeking immediate stay on the HC order and allowing it to hold the tournament which will feature six franchises and several international players.

Senior advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for the Association, pleaded a bench of Justices M Y Eqbal and C Nagappan to stay the HC order. He said that HC had no jurisdiction to entertain the petition and the court staying the tournament. The bench, after a brief hearing, posted the case for Wednesday.

The HC had passed the order on a petition filed by Sobhagaya Media Private Limited challenging the validity of the franchisee meet held in New Delhi on December 6. Claiming to be a franchisee of the League, it had alleged that the decision pertaining to tournament was taken allowing it to participate in the meeting.

The IPBL will have 18 matches, including two semifinals and one final match. The final match is scheduled for January 17.

IPBL To Have Trump Match, Best Of Three Games For 15 Points

PBL. (Image Courtesy: sportzwiki.com).

IPBL – Indian Premier Badminton League.
(Image Courtesy: sportzwiki.com).

NEW DELHI: The Premier Badminton League (PBL) will see the introduction of a ‘Trump Match’, a rule which could prove to be the game changer when the 16-day long event gets underway on January 2nd.

There will be five matches in a tie and every team will have the option of selecting one of these matches as their ‘Trump Match’, in which, a victory would give the team a bonus point and a loss a negative point.

In another minor rule modification, each match will take in consideration the best of three Games and each game will be played for 15 points and a sudden death at 14 all.

Speaking on the new format, Akhilesh Das Gupta, Badminton Association of India President & PBL Chairman said: “The idea behind introducing the new rules is to make the League more competitive.

“The new format will keep each team on the edge as each day will produce a new result and might put different teams on a better position vis-a-vis the positions that they were a day earlier. So no team can take any day lightly as one wrong move will prove tables changing for them.”

According to the ‘Trump Match’ rules, both teams will specify which of the five matches will be their respective Trump Match along with the list of players at least one hour before the start of the Tie with the Referee. It is fine that both the teams can have their Trumps in the same match.

In a Trump Match, the team that has called for the Trump gets 2 points for win and -1 point for loss. However, the other team will play it as a normal match. If both the teams place the trump on the same match, then for both of them +2 or -1 scoring will apply for win or loss respectively.

According to the new format announced by PBL on Tuesday, each team plays five ties with the other five teams – hence 15 Ties during the league stage followed by Semi-finals & Finals.

Each tie will comprise of five matches – Men’s Singles, Men’s Doubles, Women’s Singles, Mixed Doubles and Men’s Singles.

Also, only after each team shares the list of players who will be playing the five matches and their choice of trump match, the order of play will be mutually decided by the Technical team of PBL and Star India before each tie to keep the schedule unpredictable.

The following criteria will be considered before scheduling the match:
(i) No player plays back to back matches.

(ii) In case the same is unavoidable, then there will be a five minute extra gap between consecutive matches if the same player is playing them. Prior to this, both the captains would have shared the names of the players who will be representing them in these five matches and which of these five matches will be Trump for the respective teams. It is fine that both the teams have placed the Trump on the same match.

(iii) A team cannot put the same player in the trump matches proposed by them more than twice in the league stage and once in the knock out stage i.e., if team A places 5 trump matches during the league stage, any player can take part in maximum two of those 5 matches. However, participation of a player in a trump match proposed by the opponent will not be counted in this maximum 2 criterion.

(iv) Scoring: Victory in a normal match gives 1 point, loss gives 0 points. In a Trump Match, the team that has called for the Trump gets 2 points for victory and -1 points for loss. However, the other team will play this match as a normal match and will either get 1 or 0 points for win or loss respectively. If both the teams place the trump on the same match, then for both of them +2 or -1 scoring will apply for win or loss respectively.

(v) Each team shall have a minimum and maximum of 10 players of which a minimum of 4 Indian players, and shall ensure that at least 2 matches out of 5 in a Tie shall have Indian participation. No player can play more than 2 matches in a tie. The two men’s singles will have different players participating from each team i.e., same men’s player cannot play both the men’s singles.

(vi) Each player will be allowed 1 unsuccessful challenge per Match – the successful challenges are not counted. (BAI to ensure faster turnaround for challenges, i.e., the challenges are to be played right after the challenge instead of how it is done in BWF tournaments). In addition, each team is allowed 1 challenge (successful or unsuccessful) across the course of the 5 matches in a tie.

(vii) Break pattern: There will be a maximum 1 minute break in each game whenever the lead scorer reaches 8 points, there will be a maximum of 1 minute break between games and there will be a maximum of 5 minute break between matches (from end of matchpoint of the previous match to start of the first point of the next match).

Academies Mandatory In Every State To Match China: Prakash


Prakash Padukone.
(Image Courtesy: luvpoemz.blogspot.com).

MUMBAI: India needs to set up a badminton academy in every state to tap the amount of talent the country has and to match with powerhouse China, feels shuttle legend Prakash Padukone.

India, currently, has less number of academies, the Prakash Padukone Academy in Bengaluru, Pullela Gopichand Academy, Chetan Anand Badminton Foundation (CABF), Vijayawada and the Nikhil Kanetkar Badminton Academy in Pune are some of the renowned academies in our country.

“But we need more. We need 30 academies in the long run in order to compete with China. That’s the sort of talent we have. Each state should have one academy, run by dedicated and properly qualified coaches who are prepared to put in the hard work,” the 60-year-old told PTI in an interview here.

“Players come from all over the country, but there’s no academy in the north barring the one in Lucknow. The government is also spending on foreign coaches.

“If each state cannot have an academy, SAI (Sports Authority of India) should have one in each of the six zones including north east. But the key is to find the right personnel to manage them. There are good SAI coaches. The need is to identify them and give support and recognition. That’s the key,”.

Prakash said that these zonal academies can act as feeder lines to his academy, the academy of national coach Gopichand and the one in Lucknow which can be treated as national academies.

“SAI has centres. Some are doing well and some are not. Once they produce results it’s important to give recognition. From there (the zonal or state academies) we can pick up talent to be further trained Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Lucknow which are like national academies. That’s the right way (to go about),” he said.

Prakash said there was a number of talented juniors now in the country, especially in the boys, who can rise up to the world level in the near future with proper grooming.

“There are a lot of juniors, especially among boys, with a lot of potential to do well at the world level in, may be 5-8 years. Siril Verma is doing well and reached the final in World Juniors (in Lima, Peru, in November).

“Then there are Lakshya Sen and Chirag Sen. There are also others from Hyderabad or Bangalore. They have a fairly good potential. There are a few girls too. Ruthvika Shivani Gadde is one who has the height, but needs to work hard.”

He welcomed the revival of the badminton league in its new avatar – Premier Badminton League – and hoped it’s held regularly and at a specific period during the year.

“It’s good for the game. I hope it happens and happens every year and there is no break in between. In the initial year it was a grand success – marketing and popularity-wise – and also helped the game a lot.

“I don’t know why for two years it did not happen. There were some issues between the (previous) organisers and the federation (Badminton Association of India). I hope such issues do not come up and even if they come up they are sorted out.

“International players were asking when it’s coming up, if there is a break — it got postponed 5-6 times – players lose interest. Most of the foreign players plan their calendar well in advance, especially in an Olympic year. They (PBL organisers) should have a fixed slot, like in IPL. If they can convince BWF (Badminton World Federation), that will be a great help.”

Asked why an Olympic sport like badminton has not really prospered around the world and has been largely confined to the Asian continent and some parts of Europe, Prakash felt it could be because of lack of funds.

“There’s a need to popularise the sport. It’s slowly happening. There may not be enough funds. Being an Olympic sport a lot more countries are playing badminton, like Uzbekistan.”

“The standards may not have gone up or are going up slowly. There may not be a bunch of players coming up from say Spain, France, Germany, Nertherlands etc. These countries’ federations need more funds,” said the former badminton great.

“In USA they are trying (to popularise) by holding World Championships. In Australia, tournaments have been upgraded but players have not come up. Lack of funds is one of the major reasons for not able to develop the sport the way they want.”

Asked about the point-rally system, “Stroke-play has come down to a great extent. Now they only smash. They like to be on the attack most of the time as they are not confident. If you clear (toss high) or play a defensive stroke you may lose the point.

“To some extent it’s true and taken some sheen off the game. But it’s evolution of the game, like in cricket where you have T20 now. You have to adapt and players are doing so.”

Engaging Sports Psychologist Will Help Saina In Rio: Prakash Padukone

Saina. (Image Courtesy: timesofindia.indiatimes.com).

Saina Nehwal.
(Image Courtesy: timesofindia.indiatimes.com).

MUMBAI: Badminton legend Prakash Padukone lended a helping hand for two of the top shuttlers Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu to improve on the mental aspect by engaging the services of a sports psychologist at the earliest which he feels will play a vital role in clinching the gold at 2016 Rio Olympics.

“I think Olympics is a test of mental character. Whoever is mentally strong will probably win the gold, not just in women’s singles but in any sport. Olympics is a different ball game. You can win all the other tournaments, but if you are mentally not strong you can never win the Olympics,” said Prakash in an interview to PTI here.

“It’s important that you prepare well mentally. I would advise Sindhu and Saina to focus a little more on the mental aspect and, if required, take the help of some sports psychologist, if they feel comfortable. But they should start right now because one month or so (before the Games) won’t help. It would need six to eight months.

“If I was in their place I would probably take the help of a sports psychologist as all other aspects like specialist trainer, physio and coach are being taken care of. Some people believe, some don’t that it might help. I believe so. Ultimately Olympics is a test of character.

“It does not matter how well you perform the week before or the week after, (but) you have to make sure you reach the peak during the week when the badminton event is happening. It’s extremely difficult to predict who will win. The difference is so little at that level. Whoever is strong mentally will win the title”.

“We have a good chance, specially in the ladies singles. The top two – Saina and Sindhu – have beaten all the top players at one time or the other. It may not be necessarily in the same tournament; that should happen now,” said the Bengaluru-based Prakash.

“Of course, it won’t be easy as everyone will be trying to peak during that period. It will be a draw of 32 and a lot would depend on the draw too,” added Prakash.

While not ruling out the chances of men, including senior shuttler Parupalli Kashyap who reached the quarterfinals in London, the former great said that the first priority for them was to qualify for the Rio Games, unlike Saina and Sindhu.

“They have the potential, but whether it happens will depend on them remaining injury-free, trying to reach the peak during that period and having a lot of self-belief. In men’s singles, compared to women’s, it’s a little tougher as they have not beaten all the players.

“It does not mean they don’t have a chance, but it will be tough. This is (also) the best chance we have. Initially for men, at least, the key for them would be to make sure they qualify before the April 30 cut-off. May be one or two may qualify. For women that issue is not there. For men, it’s still open.

“It could be a toss up between K Srikanth, P Kashyap, who is injured now, (H S) Prannoy and Ajay Jayaram, two (among these) have a good chance to qualify (for Rio Games),” added Prakash.

Asked about the women’s doubles combination of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa, who have in the past won a bronze medal in the World Championship, Prakash said, “I would say (they have an) outside chance, unless there is drastic improvement. They need to put in a lot more effort in these last eight months. They have a lot more support now. OGQ’s (Olympic Gold Quest, of which he is a co-founder with billiards ace Geet Sethi) support, TOP (Target Olympic Podium) scheme support, a specialist doubles coach etc,.

“It’s now entirely up to the players. Specially Jwala needs to concentrate a bit more on physical training. On her day she can make a big difference. If she is physically fit it will make a big difference with her height,” said Prakash.

“They have beaten good players but in the past and not recently. It may be tough, but they have an outside chance. These are the three medals (we can look for). If we can get in others (men’s and mixed doubles), then it will be a bonus, but it’s not being realistic,” he explained further.

“If I was in charge I will send them a week to 10 days before their respective events. At least a week before, for sure. Just to be there in the time zone, recover from the long flight. Just go to the hall, or shooting range, or hockey field or whatever else, five-six times.

“Weather (in August in the southern hemisphere) is not an issue as they have played in winter in other places but time difference and long flight would take one day to recover.

“I hope they just don’t go only 2-3 days before. This event comes once in four years and I don’t want the government to be miserly after spending so much. Compared to what they already have spent over the last four years (in preparations), may be 5 to 600 crore, may be 4 or 5 crore extra will have to be spent as only a handful will qualify.

“They should send them one week before their event. It’s about giving them, not only badminton but all others, a realistic chance to perform to potential. That should be the aim.

“Whether it happens or not is a different issue but the aim should be to rule out uncertainty, provide the best playing facility and prepare properly. And then hope for the best. The chances of getting a medal gets better.

“If they want OGQ will support for the extra 3-4 days’ (stay), but I hope it does not come to that and someone in the (Sports) Ministry will take a call. I would prefer that everyone reaches one week before their event.”

Asked about the year 2015, Prakash commented, “It’s been a satisfying year. I don’t think one can complain. Still it could have been a little bit better, (though) that’s being a little greedy. Overall they played well.

“Some of the players, especially men, could have been probably a little bit more consistent. They had good victories followed by bad losses which could have been reduced. In that sense things could have been better.

“But on the whole, it was a satisfying year, especially in both men’s and women’s singles. Women – 2 in top ten – Sindhu would be around that. Men – 6 in top 50 – which is a good achievement, but they should not be satisfied and look to better it in the new year.”

when Saina became the first from the country to become the world no 1, Prakash said with better planning she could have won the All England and World Championship titles, instead of finishing second-best to Spain’s Carolina Marin.

“I think she has done better than before, reached the All England final for the first time and got silver in the World Championship for the first time. But I still feel she is capable of doing better.

“She’s capable of winning the big tournaments if she can plan her tournaments and focus a little more on the bigger events and prepare for them properly, by not worrying too much about her ranking. That will be the icing on the cake.