Are you one of those badminton players who push themselves to play every game better than the previous one?
Even after following multiple suggestions from various players, are you still waiting to see significant improvements?
Then it is time to go back to the first principles of badminton. READ, INTERNALIZE & FOLLOW THEM.
Improvement is guaranteed!
Here is how:
1. If you can’t reach, you can’t hit
First and foremost you have to reach the shuttle to receive it (except when you are serving) and if you can’t, nothing else will help. The only way you can is by improving your footwork. This definitely is the most important principle and the toughest to master. Work on specific body muscles: lower leg, upper leg, hip and the core through consistent exercises. There is no alternative to improving your footwork than working those muscles.
2. Time right to end right
Let us say you can now comfortably reach, the next step is to hit the shuttle at the right time. Most players miss it while attempting to hit. So, what you need at this point is a perfect hand-eye-co-ordination. The best way to improve that is by occasionally playing other sports which require even quicker coordination. You would have to train the brain enough to help you when it is needed on the court. Occasional Table Tennis games and ball catching practices are very effective.
3. Taste the sweetness of the sweet spot
Remember those instances where your timing was perfect but somehow you hit the shuttle by the racket frame? Hitting the shuttle with the sweet spot of the racket becomes really difficult. The only way to improve this is by learning the right racket grip techniques. Backhand and forehand shots like dribble, smash, drops etc. require slight variations in the gripping technique.
4. Access the right place with the right force
Now you have reached, timed it right and also have hit the shuttle by the sweet spot. But, you don’t want the shuttle to go in a place and position where your opponent can easily hit a smash to win the point. Hence, the next step is to give the right force so that shuttle takes the desired flight and lands at the right place on your opponent’s side of the court. Every shot e.g. net shot, clear shot to the box, smash etc. need force variations. Here practice is the most effective way of learning, typically tosses before a game, from various locations on the court, are very effective.
5. If you fall back, you will return stronger
All things are going good! Now, your opponent receives your shot and (assuming he/she is also an improvement freak) hits it back to your court. It will become really difficult to reach the shuttle again if you have not taken your position at the ‘home base’. It is very important to get back to the right position on the court (before your opponent hits the shuttle) and get ready to receive and hit the next shot effectively. Footwork again comes into play here.
There are multiple ways you can train and master these first principles apart from what has already been highlighted. Stay tuned to know the most effective ways in the coming posts.
It is almost impossible to practice and master all of the above first-principles without any support. Find that support in the form of a good opponent and/or a good coach and keep improving your game.