Badminton footwork drills…. not something many of us bothered with as beginners. Who has time for footwork when we need to practice smashing and drives or perfect our serve. It turns out you should make time!
Badminton footwork drills are an incredibly important aspect of badminton practice and should be one of the first things drilled in beginner training. These drills will make you faster allowing you to move across the court with more speed, less energy and set your body in the correct positions to allow quick and powerful shots. This area is often overlooked by beginners and recreational players meaning even small improvements in this area can lead to a huge competitive advantage for those players and even experienced players will benefit from revisiting footwork drills.
The standard ready position for receiving a shot is with your lead foot ( side you hold your racquet) half a step in front of the other foot, with knees slightly bent, weight on the balls of your feet and relaxed body.
Badminton Footwork Drills for Increasing Speed
The first drills to be looked at are focused on increasing the speed at which you move your legs. They are commonly used as warm up movements so you will most likely be familiar with them.
high knees – running on the spot while lifting the knees above waist height aiming for 3 footfalls per second. Can be timed to music at 180 bpm.
butt kicks – running on the spot while kicking the butt aiming for 3 footfalls per second. Can be timed to music at 180 bpm
running – as with the previous two drills we will be aiming for 3 footfalls per second as this is the most efficient rate at which to take steps at speed, this can be observed by watching elite athletes at any running distance. Speed should be increased and decreased by altering stride length.
Badminton Footwork Drills for Increasing Acceleration
These following drills are are aimed at increasing your speed and acceleration from the ready position. Many beginners are slow at pushing off because they don’t use their strength correctly.
Pushing off should use your ankle and calf strength by starting with your heels slightly off the ground and making a small jump to use the energy stored in your tendons. The jump should be small and fast keeping your feet close to the ground as lifting your legs up high wastes valuable time. Your acceleration relies on the explosiveness in pushing off against the ground. Most professional players make this small jump to increase the power of their push off against the ground.
One of the best ways to drill this small jump is by skipping, you should only lift your feet high enough to let the rope pass just beneath in order to closely match the movement you will be performing on the court. Skipping also helps build strength and endurance in your calves and is also very good for improving your cardiovascular endurance making it one of the best exerciese to perform for improving your badminton.
This can also be drilled on a court with a partner by picking 6 points from around court, an example of this would be, the 4 corners and one on each side, your partner then points with their racket at one of the points. As soon as they move their racket you should do a small jump and take the first step towards where they point. You should then return to your starting point and go again switching with your partner after a set number of times.
Badminton Footwork Drills for Moving Around the Court
In badminton, the way you move around the court may be a little different to what you are used to. Generally speaking, you should step when moving forwards and shuffle when moving backwards. At first learning not to step backwards may be difficult for some newbies to grasp but it is well worth drilling as it will make moving around the court much faster. This is not set in stone and the exceptions to this rule will become evident when you play and get more experienced. Also when moving backwards in badminton your body should be turned to side of court not front. This means you are ready to return a shot as soon as you get to the position you were moving towards rather than moving to the position and then setting yourself for the shot.
To practice this you should repeat the drill above but choose 2-3 points at the back of the court and move all the way to that point, when your partner signals, rather than just taking the first step. One point to note would be to remember not to turn too far, you should aim to be as efficient as possible in your movements. Videos showing the correct movement patterns can be found here.
If practiced often these badminton footwork drills will greatly improve your performance and enjoyment of the sport. I hope this article gave you the information you were looking for and while you are here why not check out some badminton drills which are related to other aspects of the sport.
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