On 13th November, 15 Wisconsin players attended a four-hour mixed doubles workshop led by Mohan Subramaniam at the University of Wisconsin multi-sports gym, Madison. The workshop started with Mohan sharing his view that mixed doubles is a ‘game of partnership’ whereby each player has specific roles and responsibilities in different situations. Mohan also stressed that the key to better performance is to ensure that the female player’s role is respected as an equal competing-partner. Hence, it is important that both the male and female players work to complement each other.
Mohan introduced the skills through a tactical approach. Although to most of us it was a variety of drills, Mohan preferred to refer to the drills as ‘exercises’ and encouraged us to look at ‘training as play with fun and purpose.’
The workshop focused on the basics of mixed doubles. We were reminded that to keep the game going a pair has to be able to play back the shuttle consistently and with purpose. The workshop started with a lot of Mid Court Control and Front Court Control exercises. From the Front Court we did a lot of attack into specific zones. At the Mid Court, we tried to solve the ‘attacks’ by playing into specific areas. The exercises were fun because they always led to a ‘play element’ where we had goals to finish rallies. We rotated partners, taking into consideration tournament partnerships and comparable abilities. We also focused on positioning, working on partnerships using multi-feeding and net control where we played a lot of cross net shots and also the brush shot. Some of us enjoyed doing the net ‘brush” because we had never tried the shot before.
The workshop cost was inexpensive and all of us were eager to be trained. The time was brief, but it gave everyone a chance to think about improvements while actually doing the exercises repetitively, consistently and with purpose. We were very pleased to have the time to learn and practice together with a high-quality coach. Mohan was also extremely pleased with the cooperation among the workshop attendees. He would also like to thank Don Johnson and Steve Rader for assisting him with the training.
Hsuan-Yun Claire Pi (Claire), Jean Breen, Karen Jerg, Smitha Holla, Mary Blandino, Ashley Lepcin, Jill Chang, Holly Jorgenson, Steve Rader, Peter Sidorczuk, Hsin-Yu, Don Johnson, Don Moynihan, Mohindra Pranshu and Victor Hirano