Team Singapore Athlete Gu Juan (Photo Credit: SportSG)
By Nicole Lee
When we pick up a sport, it is easy to just stagnate at a certain level and resign yourself to the fact that we will never be amazing at it. Why? Because most people do not know how to become better so inertia just takes over.
Don't let that happen to you!
If you are able to master the fundamentals, you will be able to master the more advanced skills too. Here are some straightforward exercises you can start to add to your training regime to take your game to the next level.
Because badminton footwork is such an essential part of badminton and it directly affects your strokes, the first half of these exercises are dedicated to improving your footwork.
4 Helpful footwork exercises
Badminton is one of the sports which require the most endurance. These exercises are aimed at helping to improve your fitness levels.
Try to jog at least 3 days a week for 30 minutes on end. Endurance is a key factor in badminton and the more stamina you have, the better you more you are to constantly retrieve shots without tiring out.
Skip for at least 10 minutes a day. This will train you to be more comfortable on your toes, helping to keep your feet light and nimble.
3. Shadow Playing
Practice shadow playing to allow yourself to visualize how to move till it becomes instinctual. If you can master this, you won't have to consciously worry about the footwork needed in real game situations.
4. Silent Footwork
You can measure your quality of footwork by observing how little noise your feet make when you move and land. The lesser the sound, the better you are at absorbing the pressure, weight of your body and keeping your balance.
4 Easy stroke exercises
1. Play Half-Court Singles
This is a common type of exercise among badminton players allowing you to focus on your technique instead of footwork or endurance. Both of you should only make use of the first half of the court while rallying to each other.
Since half the court is removed, it limits the types of strokes you can use and it reduces the movement required. It is a face paced exercise in a confined space that trains you to have quicker reflexes while focusing on particular strokes.
2. Play Rear-Court Singles
Instead of standing at the front half of the court, both of you will stand in the second half of the court just before the last rear line. Start a rally hitting the shuttle to each other as high into the air as possible.
This is a basic exercise which allows you to improve your drive and clear strokes, getting you familiar with right technique used when contacting the shuttle and the power required to hit the shuttle high in the air to the back of the court.
3. Work on your weak strokes
Have a friend or trainer consistently serving shuttles to you till you are able to recover and switch between strokes effortlessly. The trainer or friend must take note to serve the shuttle to you at all sides of your body, forcing you to use different types of strokes to return the shuttle.
After which, he can focus on the strokes you have most difficulty with. Many new players tend to have weak backhands so if you notice you have difficulty in that area, spend the entire session returning shuttles solely with your backhand.
4. Train Your Smashes and Lifts
Being able to execute a proper smash and smash defence are the abilities that separate the serious and the casual players. For this advanced exercise, one player initially acts as the lifter, constantly lifting (and subsequently defending) the shuttle cock high in the air into a smashing position for the other. The other player constantly attempts to smash the shuttlecock back downwards.
This training allows players to practise two very specific strokes - their smashes and their lifts. After a while, swap positions.
At the end of the day, badminton is not just an exercise but a sport that you may want to play competitively or even teach your children one day. Perhaps they can end up being the next Singapore local player to look out for!
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