Former French professional badminton player Arnaud Genin writes about his first year on the Racketlon World Tour as he breaks into the World’s Top-10.
I remember my first men’s racketlon singles tournament. It was in June 2018 during the French Open. I was playing in Men’s B and, thanks to my old badminton international experience, I was in good shape so I got a real advantage during the badminton sets.
But what was incredibly new for me was the huge fight I had to engage with myself. I understood how racketlon was complicated because it’s not four different sports, but one fully-fledged sport.
For instance, I could not play the same badminton game as I would have if it had been in a badminton tournament. Because winning is not enough. You have to win with the larger gap, which is absolutely not the same thing.
My fitness was enough to stay in the physical battle, but my head was totally full of many emotions, tactics and technicals. I’m almost sure I never experimented such a big loss with my mind before.
“There is really a fifth sport…”
I mean, when I was playing table-tennis, squash or tennis, I was not able to step back, to look at the court and say, “Ok Arnaud, get out of this spin and move forward point-by-point.”
Now, after 10 tournaments and some wins, I can understand a little bit more about how to play, how to be ready, and how to think about racketlon.
But there is really a fifth sport hidden, like an intelligence which drives you before taking your table-tennis racket, to think about your own technique. And then to imagine what kind of tactic you’re going to apply against your opponent. Bearing in mind that you can be forced to change if it doesn’t work of course.
Because I’m not able to think about all of these things yet I still have many notes in my bag. I read it before, and during matches to be sure not to forget things.
“That’s why I love racketlon…”
I also learnt a lot about profiles because it’s a big part of the mentality I was talking about above. If you play against a guy whose strength is your weakness or vice-versa, you will not get prepared the same than if you have the same strengths and weaknesses.
Because, in the first instance, it’s gonna be a “shot match”. This means trying to win easy points using more technique. Whereas, if it’s the second situation it’s going to be a “rally match”. This match will be much more physical and tactical.
I really like thinking about all of those things. I still have a lot to understand but I really enjoy the challenge.
That’s why I love racketlon and I’ll try to improve more and more to maybe be the best one day.
Arnaud Genin / World No. 10 Racketlon Player
Image Credit / Inge Omey