Raj Ouseph ()Raj Ouseph () © Copyright

22 Hours until "cocks out"

UK number one badminton player Raj Ouseph tells us how he gets psyched up to smash the shuttlecock to victory.

The Day Before

4:15pm

Because of the nature of our competitions, I would probably have completed a match the day before, which would last around an hour and 15 minutes, so straight after, while I’m putting my rackets away, I’ll have a snack bar or banana to get a bit of energy in right away.

4:30pm

I’ll then warm down for about 45 minutes at the venue. If I’m feeling really tired, I’ll sometimes stay a little longer and get a massage off the Team GB physiotherapists or get any treatment that I might need on a particular area – then I’ll head back to the hotel.

6pm

The first thing I’ll do when I get back to the hotel is head straight to my room, dump my equipment bag and have a shower just to get clean and refreshed. Then I’ll sit down for a bit, get changed and I’ll probably be ravenous by now so I’ll be thinking about dinner.

7pm

I’ll head down to the hotel restaurant, or somewhere nearby, for dinner. It’s never too adventurous – it’ll be something pasta based with some chargrilled chicken, because I’ll need to get in some energy and set up for the next day.

7:45pm

After dinner, I’ll go straight back to my room and do a bit of video study of my opponent if I can. We’ll try to get a video beforehand but if not, there is usually footage on YouTube from a previous tournament. I don’t like to overdo it – the last thing I want is to start over-thinking it the night before – so it’ll just be a little overview.

8:30pm

After I’ve finished my homework, I’ll want to switch off entirely from badminton, so that means chilling out in the room for the rest of the night. I’m quite into my American TV shows. At the moment, I’m really into Arrow and The Flash, so I’ll watch a few episodes of one of those. If my fiancée, who is also in the team, is with me though, we’ll watch a movie on the laptop together instead, and we’ll try not to stay up too late.

11pm

If I’m playing the next day, I’ll try to get to sleep by 11pm. I’m not one of those people who needs a huge amount of sleep, so I’ll set my alarm for 7.30 and drift off.

Raj Ouseph play ()

 

Competition Day

7:30am

My alarm will go off and I’ll spend some time dozing and looking at my phone before jumping out of bed and heading straight for the shower. Then I’ll change into my tracksuit and go down for breakfast.

9am

I’ll head down for breakfast and usually have two pieces of toast with two fried eggs, some yoghurt and a bit of fruit. I make sure I go down around 9am because
if I’m scheduled for an early afternoon match, I’ll still be able to get something in before I play. The timing can be a little bit awkward sometimes because you can be scheduled for two o’clock but not actually get playing until 4pm, so you have to be prepared.

10am

I’ll go back up to my room and I’ll get my bags all ready – six or so rackets, two sets of kit just in case I’m clashing in colour with my opponent, shoes, drinks, recovery snacks, energy gels, towels, and then I’ll have a few other bits and bobs like tape and stringing equipment. After that, I’ll sit down and chill out watching a TV show if I have time before I head to the venue.

11:40am

I like to get to the venue about two hours before my match is scheduled so I have a bit of time to watch the other matches if I’m not the first one up. The first thing I’ll do is go up to the stands, watch the other matches and talk to my coach about what I need to watch out for and what I need to stay focused on.

1pm

I’ll start warming up about an hour before my scheduled match, and I’ll warm up for about 45 minutes. I’m a little older now so it takes a little longer for me to warm up. I’ll start with a little stretching and then a little light running for five minutes, before sitting down again for five minutes just so I’m not using up too much energy. Then I’ll ramp it up a bit and do a few regular badminton movements to loosen up my muscles.

1:45pm

My opponent and I will head out onto the court and knock the shuttle about, practising serving and shots. This is the point where we get rid of any nerves and get used to our surroundings.

1:53pm

After our on-court warm up, I’ll go back to my seat by the side of the court and I’ll have another quick chat with my coach about one or two key points – we don’t want to overload with information so we tend to keep it to two minutes so it stays fresh in the mind.

1:55pm

I have a little routine that after I have a chat to my coach, I have to re-tie my shoelaces and have a drink just before walking out. It’s become a kind of superstition in a way now, and I just do it automatically even if I have just tied them.

2pm

I go to my end of the court and it’s “play”.

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