Author: Martin Andrew - BA of E Coaching Manager
Sunday 16 March 2003
A badminton player requires high levels of speed, power stamina and skill to succeed at the highest level. The nature of the game is such that a player has to constantly move a short distance (normally up to 3 metres) play a shot and then return to a suitable court position before their opponent has played their next shot.
A rally can vary in length from a couple of seconds to minutes, it is important for a player to be able to keep their movement speed throughout each rally. A good player always appears to have a lot of time; this is because h/she is often in position to play their shot. In badminton you need to start, stop and change direction rapidly in order to compete. When considering on-court speed it must be remembered that the first step taken is the most important. Many coaches and players believe that the 'first step' is in the mind, this statement is correct in that the body's nervous systems has to be stimulated in such a manner to develop specific limb movements to propel the body towards the desired area.
In order to develop fast movements around a badminton court the following areas need to be examined: Movement off the mark Stopping Posture - Centre of Gravity, balance and control Recovery It is important to attain minimum foot and floor contact time in order to develop speed. [b]Movement off the Mark[/b] First initial movement is the most important, this is the role of the 'split jump', for which people tend to use a number of names.
The timing of a 'split jump' is of paramount importance; a player should land immediately after their opponent has hit the shuttle, therefore their brain knows in which direction to move. The 'split jump' should place the feet in such a manner that the player can move anywhere on the court in as short a time as possible. Following the 'split jump', the first steps are crucial. In most cases to move somewhere fast, the player may take a small step in the wrong direction in order to widen the base and enable a wider angle of push against the body's centre of gravity. A player needs good posture, especially in the upper legs and lower trunk areas. Control of these posture muscles is important to ensure that the body can move efficiently.
Due to the short distances moved on a court a player needs to rapidly reach their peak speed. Once achieved the next problem for the body is playing the shot and stopping. To play the shot successfully the players body needs to be well balanced, this relies on good position and body control.
Stopping is a case of applying a 'brake', bring the body to a stop and then being able to recover. In the forecourt the 'brake' is developed by lunging. The front foot (normally racket leg) takes the player's weight; the player's knee must act as a shock absorber to soften the sudden stop. The foot needs to be pointing in the direction the player is travelling with the knee moving directly in line with it. The lunging foot needs to be placed heel first on the floor, followed by the forefoot.
The player's non-racket leg also assists in braking. The back foot rolls on to the big toe area whilst remaining in contract with the floor, the foot should slide a little but not the extent that the feet move together. The end position should be balanced so a controlled shot can be played and immediate recovery commended.
In the rearcourt the back 'brake' foot should be placed at almost right angles to the direction of travel to enhance push off the floor and decrease the chance of injury to the calf muscle and Achilles tendon. The foot should be placed flat on to the floor; the knee should be placed directly over it and in line with the foot. If his braking action is done well, it can be pushed off from strongly to start recovery back to a suitable position.
A player should be in a position to use the power from both legs to recover to a suitable court position. Using both legs to power back into position is not only quicker but it should also mean that the players dominant racket leg is not getting tired through doing all the work. Once recovery is happening the player should be aware of when their opponent is going to make contract with the shuttle in order for them to start their next movement with the split jump.
The following routines can be done to train a player's speed.
Basic plyometric training
- Jumping, feet shoulder width apart, over low objects.
- Jumping on the spot with a sudden sprint up to 5 steps.
- Fast jumping on the spot with short lunge movements to the side and in front, (shadow shots can be played).
- Multi feeding - fast feed, low number of shots, e.g. 5 shots, fed very fast, continue with a number of sets.
- Forecourt very fast feed.
- Hand feed for site to side movement.
- The advantage of being above to move fast are clear. The quicker a player can move, the earlier they may be able to play their shot, thereby giving their opponent less time for their reply.
- Taking the shuttle early is of paramount importance.
- Minimum foot and floor contract time is required.
- Posture needs to be balanced and controlled and able to move in all directions.
- First steps need to be fast and short. The first step is in the mind!