Self-improvement in Badminton is a big topic for me. You need to do a lot of work on the court with technique, tactical and physical training. But there is a lot you can do off the court to improve yourself both as a Badminton player and as a well-rounded person. I read a lot of books and make great use of Audible on my commutes to work. I’ve learnt a lot from just reading books from various authors and industries.
These are the nine books I recommend Badminton players have to help them improve at Badminton:
- Bounce by Matthew Syed
- The Chimp Paradox by Steve Peters
- Thrive by Arianna Huffington
- The Art of War by Sun Tzu
- The World’s Fittest Book by Ross Edgley
- The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
- Lean in 15 by Joe Wicks
- Dare to be a Champion by Lee Chong Wei
- Atomic Habits by James Clear
On this list, there is only one Badminton specific book and it’s not a “how to play Badminton” or “Badminton for Dummies” kind of book. I’ve searched and bought a few books that are specific to Badminton and most of the information in them is either out of date or freely available elsewhere.
These nine books are the top books I’d recommend to anyone and not just Badminton players. The lessons, knowledge and wisdom you gain from these books are invaluable and eye-opening. Let’s have a look at them and how they can help you improve.
Matthew Syed, a former England table tennis player and England number one for almost a decade, knows a little bit about success in sport. He was the English national champion four times, competed at two Olympic games and was part of the team that won Gold in the men’s team event in the Commonwealth Games 2002. He’s since gone onto be an established journalist, author and commentator.
His best selling book called Bounce is about dispelling the myths around innate talent and becoming the best. He believes and proves that talent is the result of thousands of hours or purposeful and deliberate practice. Talent is not something you’re born with and anybody can attain it if you work for it. He dives into the mindset of high performers and how you can learn from them to improve. He highlights that you must be able to embrace failure so that you can grow and overcome new obstacles.
It’s a great read, he’s a fantastic author. It’s not all theory either, he gives examples and samples from research that validates his points. If you want to believe that hard work pays off this book confirms it. Practice with purpose and you’ll trump those “naturally talented” every time. The book can be found in various formats here on Amazon.
The Chimp Paradox: The Mind Management Programme to Help You Achieve Success, Confidence and Happiness
The Chimp Paradox is a book that teaches you how to handle your emotions. It uses the analogy of the chimp to rationalise how our brain works. The chimp is the emotional, flight or fight response part of our brain, the one that reacts the fastest to any danger or situation we encounter. The human part of our brain makes rational, calculated, long term decisions. These two personas clash with each other quite often and for most people, the chimp is the one in control. This book helps readers to understand when we’re letting our chimp make bad decisions.
Playing Badminton competitively, we get into high-pressure situations like being 20-19 up in the third game of a match and just about to serve. Or we can be getting pressured and scared by a really good player that makes us feel like we can’t win. Our immediate responses are controlled by the chimp and we need to be able to spot that and turn it around. If you can learn to control your emotions on the court you will become a much better player overall. Here’s the link to buy it on Amazon.
Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder
Measuring success, it’s not talked about enough. How can we call ourselves successful? How do we feel successful? If you asked people if they felt successful I bet a lot of people would say they don’t know. It’s not something people think about. Thrive was written by Arianna Huffington, the founder of the Huffington Post, and in the book, she talks about our perception of success.
She teaches readers to ask themselves; “are you thriving?” Are you looking after your well-being? Looking after your physical and mental health. Are you gaining wisdom? Learning on a deeper level. Do you experience wonder? Reflection on the beauty of the world and the people in it. And are you giving? Being generous to others?
These aspects help people to thrive. If you’re thriving then all aspects of your life improve. I know this because I’ve been through periods where I wasn’t thriving and I wasn’t enjoying Badminton because of it. I started to measure success with Badminton, work and family to be my measure of success. This book showed me how I could show myself I am successful already. Part of my reason for building BadmintonsBest is to give back to others who want to enjoy, improve and get into Badminton. It’s a life-changing book. Get it here on Amazon.
A classic read that’s been lapped up by businesses, athletes and entrepreneurs worldwide. Written by Sun Tzu, a Chinese general from around 500 BC, the book is hailed as one of the best texts on military strategy ever. Filled with wisdom and tactics this book has so much you can put into practice on the Badminton court.
The court is the battlefield and the players on the other side are the enemy. You can learn to win the battle before it has begun. How to draw up a game plan by playing to your strengths and exploiting your opponent’s weaknesses. Deception, so you can make your opponent do what you want them to do. There is so much more this book offers and it’s a compelling read to boot. If you want to win the mind game in Badminton then you need this book. Available here on Amazon.
Weight training, endurance training, agility training, these are all vitally important things that are needed to become a great player. Badminton is an extremely physical sport. It requires strength, power, agility and speed in abundance. The better you get the more you need of each. There are a lot of myths around training for all of these aspects and this book, The World’s Fittest Book looks to dispel a lot of those myths.
Written by Ross Edgley, he was the first person in history to swim around the whole of Great Britain. A swim of 2000 miles that took over 157 days to do. This man knows a thing or two about fitness. Ross gained insights from Olympic and World Champions, world record holders and some of the greatest athletes in the world to make this book. The book is filled with workouts tried and tested by the best. Whether you want to lose more fat, gain muscle, boost your speed or learn how to eat better then this book has you covered in spades. Get this must-have book here on Amazon, worth every penny.
Anxiety and depression are two of the biggest challenges that current generations are facing right now. In the age of the internet, smartphones and social media more and more people are getting lost in their phones. Spending hours a day swiping and scrolling through never-ending content, we forget how to live in the here and now.
The Power of Now, written by Eckhart Tolle, teaches you how to live in the now. It gives you actions and strategies to help you stay focused on here and now to make the most of your life. How does this help with Badminton? It helps you to learn how to focus, how to really focus. The last point you just lost in gone and lingering on it won’t change it or the proceeding points. Regretting not going to training and choosing instead to stay at home to watch more Netflix. Worrying about that big match coming up which is going to be really tough. This book teaches you to deal with the present, the now. You can only control what you do now and you cannot control everything else.
Free yourself from the pain you suffer from judging your own thoughts and instead merely observing them. Get the book on Amazon here and learn to enjoy Badminton and life to the fullest.
Everybody knows that to stay fit and healthy we have to exercise more and eat a well-balanced diet. We get our exercise from training and playing Badminton. It’s an easy and fun way to get the exercise we need. Our diet and eating habits are harder to correct. Sometimes we don’t know what we should be eating or how much. Sometimes we know what we should and shouldn’t be eating but just don’t know where to start. We don’t have time to cook healthy meals as it takes too long. Step in Mr Joe Wicks.
It’s imperative to have a good diet if you want to improve at Badminton. You need to fuel and nourish your body in order to grow and recover. Joe Wick’s series of books called “Lean in 15” are great cookbooks filled with amazingly healthy and tasty recipes to suit everyone. He covers different meals including breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. He also covers recipes by diet type such as low carb.
His meals are based around the idea of having them cooked in 15 minutes or less. If you’re an experienced cook or not and whatever your taste buds are like there is something in there for you. You can buy any of his three books on Amazon. I like this one, one of my favourite recipes is the … give it a try, it’s amazing!
I couldn’t make this list of books without including Lee Chong Wei’s autobiography. It’s not particularly long and doesn’t go into as much depth as you’d hope but it gives you a glance into the legends life so far. His story is inspiring and that’s exactly why I included it in this list. There are no tips or tricks only the lesson of knowing what it took for a legend to become a legend.
Knowing how the best got to where they are can highlight what you could change to try and help you improve at Badminton. It’s a nice little book and every Badminton fan who knows the Malaysians name should have one. Get inside the mind of the champion and have a read.
Whether it’s getting to the gym more, or choosing the fruit over the chocolate, or getting rid of that bad habit of getting caught flat-footed on court, habits are powerful. Atomic Habits is a definitive guide on how to break bad behaviours and adopt new and good ones. By making small and incremental improvements through everyday routines you can make a big difference over the long run.
Some researchers state that about 40% of our behaviour is driven by habit. So there’s no denying how powerful habits are. I used the book’s guidelines and developed several habits that have helped me produce this website, improve significantly in Badminton over the last few years and generally improve my life. Buy this book on Amazon here, it’s a great price for knowledge on how to make a positive change that sticks.
Written by Liam Walsh who lives in Manchester, England. Working as a Software Engineer but moonlighting as a dad, Badminton player/coach and creator of BadmintonsBest.