Why does the world No. 2 need a mental coach to help him compete on the court? Badminton court is like a battlefield, the slightest advantage can make all the difference.
Who is Viktor Axelsen’s greatest opponent? Probably himself.
Mentality has always been pointed out by many as Axelsen’s main weakness. His state of mind can fluctuate a lot during matches. He can often be seen with a frustrated face, cursing at himself.
The 2015 Japan Open final was a prime example. He lost to Lin Dan after throwing away an 11-3 advantage in the final.
More recently, his clashes against Kento Momota have been more a battle of mental strength than just normal badminton.
But Axelsen is continuously improving on this front. He is more stable, more focused and calmer on the court these days. The secret behind this positive change in the Dane might be his new super mental coach.
B. S. Christiansen is the guy who is tweaking the mind of the defending All England Champion. He has a pretty impressive resume. The guy is an ex-military, a forest ranger, a TV presenter, a writer, an expedition leader, a lecturer, an electrician, a diver, a pilot and a photographer. He is best known for motivational autobiography, Et liv på kanten (A Life on the Edge). He is what you call an “expert-generalist”, like Elon Musk.
Many top athletes, nowadays, regularly work with mental coaches to stay motivated and give them an extra edge in the sport they play. Three-time-world champion and Olympic champion Carolina Marin has a mental coach who she meets when she is in Spain and video conferences when she is abroad competing in tournaments.
Axelsen has also been working with mental coaches for a long time now. But his new coach seems to be doing wonders for Axelsen.
He drops Axelsen to the airport whenever he leaves for tournaments and works on many small things to help the athlete maintain a strong mentality.
Axelsen wrote on his social media: “ I’m really fortunate to be working together with BS (Christiansen) who is not only helping me maintain a strong mindset, but more importantly inspiring me to become a better person outside the court. I really enjoy our short trip to the airport as it helps me get into the right state of mind before competing.”