Badminton is a quick sport and challenging to master. There are many aspects to which you need to pay attention to. Movement on the court is one of these aspects. You need to get to your shuttle quickly in order to hit your stroke. Getting a little slow will lead you to make your shot less efficient. Not being behind a smash, for example, will significantly reduce your shot's downward angle and may cause your shuttle to go too high or too long.
You should be able to move fast from your ready position as soon as your opponent strikes the shuttle. You need to watch the shuttle as it leaves the racket from your opponent's side and push off hard with the foot that is away from where you want to move. For example, your left foot if you have to move to the right.
To prevent wasted movements, you have to keep your feet low to the floor. For deep shots, you need to turn your body sideways so your chest is facing the sideline close to the shuttle. Your final move will be with your racket side foot for shots close to the net.
Shadow exercise is the best way to enhance footwork. What is it? You just need to have someone on the other side of the net point to a place where the imaginary shuttle will be flying. Move to that position quickly and swing as if you are hitting the shuttle. Return quickly to the base position in the center of the court after every shot.
Good Footwork Will Provide You With:
Opportunity to play different varieties of shots.
Chance to hit the shuttle early while it is still above net height
Ability to recover quickly and narrow gaps
Chance to deprive opponents in time
There are several methods to respond to each shot or smash, and that's why you need to memorize these motions and get them ready to use when such a situation occurs. You would be amazed to know that the difference can be made between losing and winning a point by your quick feet.
The basic concept is to play birdie from the highest possible point at all times. It means that you don’t have to let the shuttlecock drop from the air because from a downward position it's very hard to impose a threatening shot. Since it is already heading to the ground, to maintain the exchange, you need to get it in the air again. You can prepare yourself for a good smashing position or a net kill if you succeed and position yourself in time to get to the shuttlecock and possibly end the exchange quickly.
On the other hand, your footwork is as important when you need to get to the backcourt. A late arrival could lead to a point loss for you and it is usually known that if the shuttlecock drops below the net level, it usually gets highly difficult to play a good shot even for skilled players. Getting behind the shuttlecock is also very helpful as it gives you more stability and options. You may end up playing the shot from a position behind your body if you're not fast enough. You will be able to play most of the shots even if you compromise on your footwork and speed, but they are likely to be less effective.
A good court position can give you stability and oversight, both of which are great assets while playing. Most of all, the basic badminton footwork should be structured. If you are able to think about your best badminton movement strategy before the match, you're already making a big step towards success. With the most powerful shot of all, you can have a great smash technique, but it's useless if you can't return the shot of your opponent back to keep the game in progress.
Now let’s talk about what should your base position be on court and also about different footwork techniques!
Your base starting point should be in the center of the field, so after hitting the birdie, this is the point you should always return to. This is because the approximate court center provides you the best position and enables you to react to any side of the birdie that your opponent chooses to strike. It is of great importance to return to the starting point as you re-acquire the position from which you can react quickly to all sides of the court.
Now let's look at some techniques that might improve your badminton footwork.
It will be easier for you to understand if we distinguish the court into three parts:
The fastest way to move forward is by running after your starting phase has been done. If you're tall or have a long step, you'll only need to take one or two steps before reaching the center of the court; i.e., your base position and two more steps would take you to the forecourt if required. Whatever be the number of steps that you need, always move forward with good posture and hold your racket in the ready position. Don’t forget in too much excitement of game that when you are dealing with a shuttle in the forecourt, it is the racket head that needs to make contact and not you! Therefore, you don't have to bring your entire body into the forecourt area. You should estimate when to stop so that one final step in the hitting position will take you forward.
You will have a choice over here. Running, skipping or a chasse motion can help you achieve moving backwards away from the net efficiently. Running backwards is done by moving the feet in turn behind each other. You need to keep the upper part of your body and head as still as possible as you move backwards in order to maintain good posture and balance.
The non-racket leg should stay well in front of the other leg at all times when skipping backwards and the racket leg kicks backwards to start each step. The chasse movement is similar to skipping but is achieved by putting the non-racket leg back into line on the side of the racket leg before the latter is then shifted backwards to begin the next step.
It is recommended that you practice moving sideways in parts like the racket side, to the non-racket side and then as a continuous movement from one side to the other. Stand in line with the center line with slightly bent knees and feet shoulder width apart. Now move to your racket side to reach an imaginary shuttle in track with your racket.
The footwork will be a chasse on the side and the sequence will be left foot into the right before the right foot is taken out sideways away from the left. The final step with the racket leg should allow you with your extended arm and racket to reach the shuttle. Keep your upper body still and try not to drop the head. Now reverse the process back to return to the starting position.
Moving to the non-racket side needs the same series of footwork except of the opposite foot leads. You can take your final step either by expanding the non-racket leg to the side, or by pivoting on that foot to allow you to swing the racket leg across and in front of you to the tramlines.
As you move towards the net, there will be chances to change the direction in which you're moving from running in a straight line to moving diagonally to a specific corner of the forecourt. Such motions, referred to as transitions, can be easily applied if you move forward with balance.
To change course to the right, you use your left leg to provide the energy to push off in the new direction, and the right leg gives the strength when changing course to the left. Keep your head and upper body upright as you turn your body towards the new direction.
The Lunge and Recovery
Even though these actions are generally related with strokes played from the forecourt, you will have to lunge and recover from all court areas. With very few exceptions it is the racket leg that leads in what is no more than an extension to take you into the hitting area.
All these steps of badminton and badminton movements should be performed while maintaining the balance. Your other free hand is one thing that can help you with this. Use the hand in which the racket is not held to navigate and help you maintain balance. You should keep it wide open to avoid falls and injuries.
Some important points to remember…
Never stand with your legs completely straight and rigid. By keeping your knees flexible you can improve your speed. Before explaining the concerned body skills, it is worth considering that wider the lunge the more demanding the recovery is.
Therefore, if you can move fast enough with a half to lunge to reach the shuttle, it will be much better. Before the lunge is done, you should take a lower step with the non-racket leg to slow down at the end of your travel phase.
It is essential to bend the non-racket foot's heel inwards before expanding the racket arm toward the shuttle for balancing reasons. If you need a complete lunge to reach a shuttle that falls close to the floor, stretch the final step and lower yourself down without bending at the waist.
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