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Looking after your mental health during lockdown

Lockdown life means our usual habits and activities are put on hold. However, we know how vital sport is to good mental health. All our horizons have changed but our love for badminton can still be at the centre of fitness routines at home. Exercise of all kinds can be a mood booster; it lowers stress and promotes a feeling of well-being. Many people discover their sleep improves after a workout.   

Now is the time to remind your muscles what you expect from them and enjoy the rewards. Lots of the foundation skills essential to a player at any level can be worked on without a court, without a partner and even without a racket. Get moving and try to focus your mind away from daily anxieties by concentrating on developing a particular skill for 20-30 minutes a day. There’s no need to overthink this – the main point is to enjoy whatever you chose to do – but it can be helpful to have a sequence to follow. Keep a record of what you do and chart your progress, you wont see improvement every day but committing to regular activity will have a positive effect on your mood. 

So just have fun and try to hit a shuttle into a glass…or whatever receptacle is right for your skill level. Skipping is excellent and it will improve your explosive power around the court, or put some music on (samba ALWAYS works well with badminton) and try to perfect a particular footwork pattern. Techniques in yoga can have a significant impact on your balance, core strength and mental alertness. Alternatively treat yourself to a hit against a wall, I guarantee it will feel fabulous to simply have your racket back in your hand.    

If you want some more suggestions, head over to the Badminton England social media channels. As part of their new campaign #BEatHome, they are encouraging us to keep badminton as much a part of our lives as before and will be sharing with us how our badminton community have been doing just that. A great way of sharing creative drills to practice in small spaces, or following along with some of the players in badminton focused workouts.  

One of the benefits from playing badminton is feeling part of a big family.  The companionship is very significant.  It’s important we reach out to our teammates for encouragement and a bit of healthy competition around our fitness regimes. Plenty of clubs have WhatsApp groups or similar & you will find a lot of mutual support is available through this.  Shared ideas for training, sympathy, and good friendship, is still possible in the virtual world.  Most clubs are a ready-made local network, a great community with useful resources at your fingertips.  Badminton England coaches attached to your club will be able to help with practical suggestions if you need them.  

Lastly remember that YouTube is your friend.  If you have a day when you don’t want to train just do some couch-training: watch an old match to inspire yourself.  Clips of the wonderful TAI Tzu Ying give me a daily dose of happiness.  If you need to reconnect with the joy of badminton then find an old game with her in it, put your feet up, have a cup of tea and unwind.  All our lives have been fundamentally changed but we will emerge from this.  In the meantime badminton can distract from day to day worries, it can still be the basis of your daily exercise and a welcome connection to the outside world. 

Copy - Amanda Bloss (@womensbadminton)