Issue 2

Updated: Jul 18, 2019

4 essential Singles strategy

1. Run your opponent on the diagonal. A drop shot to your opponent’s forehand followed by a return shot to the diagonal backcourt will often force your opponent to switch to a backhand shot which will be much less powerful. This will put you in a favourable position to set up your shot or go for a straight kill.

2. Utilise the six corners of the court. The proper use of a cross court net shot, straight/cross drive will effectively break the momentum of your opponent and add an element of variety to your game. Both of these shot patterns are often overlooked by many casual single players.

3. Run your opponent on a broken line. The distance of a broken line is similar to that of a diagonal and this strategy should be applied together with the diagonal line strategy so as to force your opponent to move back to the center of the court after every move. This strategy works best for tall players who put extra emphasis on diagonal shots. Implementing this strategy will break their momentum and create favourable shot opportunities at your end.

4. Casual players have the tendency to return straight when receiving a cross shot (70%-80% of the time). In these instances, allocate more attention to the side where you hit the shuttle towards.

Plato’s search for soul through sport

The development of the link between philosophy and sport was brought to completion in ancient Greece. In his time, Plato was not reconciled to one but both disciplines. He is famous for his doctrine of state(soul) theory, where he divides the state into three classes - the lowest economic class, followed by the military class and lastly, the governing class of philosophers which he deemed to be the most noble of the three. According to his theory, every class appears in different parts of the soul, which is appetite, emotion & reasoning respectively. Among each class and part of the soul, there lies virtue. To the lowest class of the lowest part of the soul, there is the virtue of temperance, and to the next is fortitude followed by wisdom. Now we’ve arrived at the last layer of Plato’s expression of the soul which is pleasures. Pleasures associated with material things and riches (belonging to the appetite soul), pleasures associated with honor and victory (belonging to the emotional soul) and pleasures of cognition (belonging to the reasonable soul) all correspond to the three parts of the soul.

Plato believes that sport is a means of education in the second stage, the reason being that it relates to the emotional part of the soul and to the military class in the state. This part of the soul corresponds to fortitude and is fulfilled by honor and victory. In the era Plato lived in, there did not exist materialistic prizes for sport, thus athletes were only competing for honor and fame. The materialization of sport in modern society is deemed to be negative in Plato’s perspective, because the appetite segment of the soul is emphasized. This adds no value to the development of souls and its capability of philosophy and eventually, community leadership. However, Plato did not simply negate the lower part of the state, class or soul. Instead, he believed in the harmonization of all these parts.

Following this train of thought, athletes may face uncertainty in electing leaders in a team, because one’s performance may no longer be the only judging criteria anymore, Instead, the selection of souls that can withstand the rigors of mathematical and philosophical education aimed at an understanding of the Good becomes a more significant criteria in the selection of a prolific leader. Furthermore, Plato hopes to redirect personal pleasure and individual wealth towards a mindset that is more centered around public service. From the perspective of a modern athlete, the struggling of souls as represented in Plato’s theories might not seem fully applicable.

However, when we talk about winning, we often find ourselves returning to Plato and his philosophies. While winning can be seen as important in sports, it should not be regarded with higher value than other aspects of the sport, such as fun, fitness and character development. Unfortunately, some individuals place such a high value on winning that they develop a mindset where they have to “beat” everyone during their training, which does not create the ideal learning environment for their personal growth in the sport.


Heather L. Reid (2009) Sport, Philosophy, and the Quest for Knowledge, Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, 36:1, 40-49, DOI: 10.1080/00948705.2009.9714744

Jernej Pisk (2005) What is good sport: Plato’s View

Plato: The Republic


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