PV Sindhu: Golden Olympic Hopes

Who will be the next Indian badminton player to win a medal at the Olympics? The current World Champion, and Silver medallist from Rio 2016, Pusarla Venkata Sindhu must have high hopes. Sindhu has a reputation as a ‘big tournament player’; the bigger the stage, the bigger the prize. This is a player who motivates herself by focussing on the major titles, the ones that everyone wants to win. 

Photo by Karunesh Johri courtesy Shutterstock

When she is performing to the best of her ability, she is unstoppable.  There are times when her attacking power is breath-taking.  Nevertheless, her erratic form can be very frustrating for her supporters. Playing singles can be a lonely game.  It requires strong self-belief.  Sometimes when she plays her confidence seems a little unsteady.  She can look quite vulnerable, but this should be an area that her coach will help with.  Even when playing alone on the court there should always be someone at her side during the mid-game break offering encouragement and suggestions. 

We all know by now that Tokyo 2020 has become Tokyo 2021. Coach Agus Dwi Santoso was appointed to the national coaching team in February and the unexpected extra months could give him and the players chance to build their training routines rather than be drawn into increasingly desperate firefighting. The Indonesian has a great pedigree and has recently been working in Thailand with players like Busanan and Kantaphon. It is a key moment for Indian badminton. Since Coach Kim left, Sindhu’s form has been inconsistent and the other top players seem to be drifting with time running out for qualification. With a fresh approach and a clear vision they may still be able to turn things around.

Sindhu is a fantastic player; no-one flukes winning a World Championship final.  The fundamental strategy in singles is about movement.  At her best, Sindhu’s aggression has its foundation in her ability to control the rally by moving her foe around the court and provoking a weak shot.  Her technique and strength mean that she already hits the shuttle fiercely; her stature allows her to find steep angles.  This gives less time to the opponent on the other side of the net.  Sindhu follows up her smash very swiftly – often with a net kill to bury any weak return.  This is a wonderful way to keep pressure high and provoke mistakes. 

Her offensive game is not simply based on smashes.  Her fast, flat clears (very different to the loopy kind we all see at local club nights), and punched drives are a good way to keep the momentum of the match on her side.  It’s dangerous to attempt to gain recovery time by clearing over her head; a slight misjudgement and a savage riposte is the result.

Her long stride and reach give her good court coverage but she can look a little susceptible when the tables are turned and she is forced to defend the corners.  Getting trapped by a sequence of ‘over’ reaching can undermine her poise.  The disadvantage of a high centre of gravity is the risk to stability.  I think this is a weakness that has been exploited in the past but has improved.  People often claim that tall players lack agility and balance but this is a skill that can be developed in the gym and it’s obvious this is an area that has been worked upon. 

If Sindhu plays with conviction, she has no-one to fear.  Her precision and power make her invincible since her attacking game is so hard to defuse.  She has extra time now to prepare for Tokyo and must use it to her advantage. She has a great chance of getting on that Olympic podium and upgrading her 2016 Silver to a 2021 Gold.

If you enjoyed this you may like the article I wrote following Sindhu’s triumph at the World Championships https://womensbadminton.co.uk/2019/08/25/p-v-sindhu-world-champion/

©2022 Amanda Bloss All Rights Reserved

5 thoughts on “PV Sindhu: Golden Olympic Hopes

  1. Hi Amanda,
    Nice article. Got to know a few things about Sindhu’s game.
    … flat clears(very different to the loopy kind we all see at local club nights)..LOL!!
    No doubt Sindhu is a ‘fantastic player'(as you say) but she’s no way a GREAT player yet and definitely not in the league of Tai Tzu Ying or Carolina Marin.

    Just read an article about Foreign coaches with the Indian Badminton Team resigning well before their tenure is over. Obviously something’s missing in the Indian players which is needed to make the transition from GOOD to GREAT!!

    Thanks and Regards,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, I’m glad you enjoyed it & thanks for taking the time to comment. My thoughts really turn to the role of coaching staff in her development- all great players need to work within a talented support network. It’s this that can dissect her game and give her tactical advice. Let’s hope she gets the help she needs for her game to improve.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are bang on when you say “…all great players need to work with a talented support network.”
        This is exactly what the great American Tennis coach, Nick Bollettieri has said about Champions.
        I am sharing the link of the video in which he says this(time from 4:20 to 4:50)

        You don’t know how happy I am with your observation here!!

        Just curious to know the following
        a) Are you a professional full-time sports writer/journalist or a blogger?
        b) Of course, you told me that you are also a volunteer coach. Are you a certified coach?
        c)How long have you been
        1) following and
        2) writing
        about Badminton?

        Thanks and Regards,

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That Bollettieri speech is great – ‘don’t judge people by the scoreboard, judge by the effort they put in” yes, spot on.
        No, I’m not a full-time journalist. I write my blog for love of sport & it’s been up and running for about a year. I’m a level 1 coach (qualification certified with Badminton England)& I volunteer at a club that has a level 2 & level 3 coach so I assist them and learn.
        I’ve been following the BWF tour closely for only about 18 months but before that I used to casually dip in and out depending what tv coverage was available. Of course CWG & OG is televised well in UK so I watched badminton at those competitions. In UK my experience is that people are interested in their own club or UK players but less in the worldwide scene. Which is a shame because they are really missing out on some stupendous players.


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