Excerpt from the Journal of Badminton Association of England, by Nora Perry.

Badminton can be learned by watching carefully how the top players play. So here I’ve listed some very important points to look for:

  1. Positioning before playing the shot
    Body assignment
  2. Shot produced
  3. Knowledge of their opportunity
    Anticipation of shot
    The serve
    Strength of formation

When you are able to watch the top players, is there any one thing that stands out? Yes, they are all physically fit but what is it that makes the game look so easy!

Mental toughness and the ability to read my opponents’ game was one of my strengths. This is not something you are born with, it takes time, perseverance and the need to be the best. You have to study the opposition, group any information which may be useful and never go on court without some kind of game plan.

The 11 point plan on how to win

Try and make a mental note of your opponents and how they like to play for future reference. I had a notebook which I took everywhere which had useful information on all the partnerships I had ever played in both doubles and mixed. The following pointers are all the things I would think about before making a summary:

  1. What are their strengths individually and as a partnership?
  2. Do they return serves better on the forehand than the backhand?
  3. What is their strongest formation i.e. who is stronger at the net and vice-versa?
  4. Are they stronger on the backhand or the forehand?
  5. The net can win or lose a match – is this a strength or a weakness?
  6. How do they serve, where to and where will you return to?
  7. Where do they like you to serve?
  8. Pool all your knowledge together with your partner – even at the top level some still had to be stereotyped.
  9. Be flexible in changing your tactics if things are not working.
  10. Be positive! If you think you have ‘no chance’, you won’t win.
  11. Enjoy yourself, and look like you want to be on court. I absolutely love playing Badminton even now. So should you.

About Nora Perry

Nora Perry reigned supreme on the English and international badminton courts for over a decade. She excelled in both women’s and mixed doubles with over 75 international titles in individual competition. She is mostly remembered for being the only British player to have won two World Championships titles.

In 1999, she was inducted into the IBF Hall of Fame and given a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire award by the Queen of England in 1984 for her services in badminton. She was elected as a BWF Council member in 2009.

With over 42 titles in mixed doubles alone, Nora Perry and her net play is regarded as one of the very best in the history of the game. Years later, Nora shared her secret to success. “Even at the net, I use a lot of deception. To that end, I do a lot of wrist-roll exercises so I can now hold shots and play fast attacking lobs and clears as well as split-second deflections,” confided Perry.

After her playing career, Nora Perry continued to contribute to her sport. She first took up coaching for England at the Uber Cup campaign and then acted as a selector for the English Badminton Association.

At the height of her career, Queen Elizabeth II honoured Nora Perry with a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) award for services to badminton. Nora Perry was elected in 2009 to the Badminton World Federation Council and has actively participated in the creation of the BWF Women in Badminton Commission. She was elected Vice President of Badminton England in 2014 and is currently in charge of the Badminton Development Programme at the Davenant Foundation School in Essex, England.