17 April 2007

Stroke Practices

Eddie O Neill
WBU National and NHPC Coach.


Coaches spend many hours with their players doing stroke practices. If these are wrongly set up, players can develop habits, which can be detrimental to competition performance.

Note that the words Conference Demo inserted in the text indicates that the relevant practise was shown during the presentation

Stroke Practices.

Practices must to a large degree, eventually mimic the game; that is to say, there must be a large degree of uncertainty built into the practice.

The concept of chaining must be fully understood with the two terms relevant being:

Closed Chain

Open Chain

In essence the difference between the two is that in closed chain exercises there is complete certainty about what is to be done, whilst in open chain exercises there are varying degrees of uncertainty and hence, degrees of difficulty.

In a game of badminton there is, of course self evidently, a large degree of uncertainty.

This can range from about 80% - 100% depending upon the skill of the player

It follows then that there can be up to 20% certainty.

Practices should take this into account.

Learning a stroke.

During this phase, by necessity, practises must be closed chain and repetitious. Once the skill has been learned to the degree where it can be replicated to a high degree of competence, game like practices must be introduced.

In order to do this; of course, the coach must have a good knowledge of:

Action and consequence

E.g. if I play a soft drop from my forehand corner to my opponents backhand net area, after he/she has played a high serve, what are his/her replies likely to be?

This takes some thought, and this can only be successfully done following some lengthy observation of the player in game situations

After the 3rd stroke, what are

The low risk options for me

The high risk options

In the conference we look at a practise using the soft drop from the deep forehand corner.

We start by testing the players skill

What feed should we use?

Single shuttle continuous or single shuttle feed? (Conference Demo)

What movement if any?

Let’s assume that the player has achieved competence in playing the drop

We can now “ open up” the practise by introducing one element of uncertainty

In the early stages this can be game specific or added merely to move the player away from the deep forehand corner (Conference Demo).

To open up further we can add more than one element of uncertainty always heading towards making the practise game like

If the one element chosen is to bring the player into the forehand net area to play a net shot, the following must be decided:

  • What is the opponents most likely reply to a soft drop in a match?
  • Is it likely to be to the net or back to some corner of the rearcourt?

This will determine the practise strategy

Ultimately we can make the practise very demanding by using high intensity multi shuttle.

The final stage of practise would be to introduce the stroke into a conditioned real game of singles where the instruction would be:

“Every time the shuttle is played high into your deep forehand corner you must play a soft drop”

Finally the stroke can be used introduced into competition although this may take some time.

Other strokes

We can look at other strokes and how effective practise can be put together.

Forehand Smash. (Conference demo)

Again, the assumption is that the stroke has been learned to some degree of competence

This practise can be simpler than the soft drop because power is being applied which always restricts the opponents options

In the practise the player has an observation to make:
  • How good is my smash and what replies have I created from my opponent. ?
  • What do I do next?

Action and consequence.

We can also look at the Forehand cross Smash (Conference Demo)


I hope that you will have realised that a great deal of thought must go into planning stroke practises. Always with the concept of chaining in mind, always planning to progress from closed to high-pressure open drills

Shadow Badminton (Conference Demo)

This is an essential part of practise for an aspiring Badminton player - playing badminton without the shuttle.

Again we must be careful when using shadow in that the practise must have some purpose other than the player frantically speeding around the court in a demented fashion.

Shadow can be used for:
  • Learning a movement (closed to open chaining used)
  • Measuring speed (closed chaining)
  • Developing speed and lactic tolerance (Open or Closed chaining)
  • Mimicking a game. (open chaining)

Learning a movement.

Decide what elements of movement are to be used, the timings and the intensity.

Measuring Speed.

This involves a series of set routines which the player learns and which can be done on a weekly basis with timings taken. It is important to constantly measure technique and convince the player that good technique is faster than all out running
  • Developing speed / lactic work.
  • Very high intensity with accurate timings.

Mimicking the game

This is perhaps the most difficult session to plan.because the game has many changes of speed and direction.

We must decide:

  • How slow/ fast do we wish the player to move. ?
  • Do we wish to have fast injections of pace? ?
  • Do we wish to have split step in the work? ?
  • What strokes do we wish to be shadowed?
  • What are the timings?
  • Do we use deception as the coach?
  • What cues do we use?
Shadow is a very effective and motivating tool for player and coach, but only, as with all coaching, if the planning is relevant and effective

Good luck with your coaching

Seputar Bulutangkis

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