Badminton requires a combination of physical, technical and tactical skills. Although there are countless of ways to improve your badminton level, here are perhaps some less-obvious tips that you may not have been told about.
Let's get started!
1. Hold your racket with a loose grip
Do you find it hard to generate power when other people make it look easy?
Much of the power that you generate is from your fingers, thumb and forearm - all of which cannot be utilised fully if you’re holding your grip too tightly. This is especially important for drives, flicks and pushes.
Having a loose grip also allows you to turn the face of the racket easily, smoothly and swiftly. This will improve your net play, touch and deceptive shots.
It's a very tough habit to break if you've been holding your grip too tightly for a long time. However, if you're not open to change, then you wont be able to reach your true potential.
Between each point, try to remind yourself to relax your grip and bring awareness to it as often as possible, so that you can make it a natural habit.
2. Where to grip your racket handle - it does matter!
Did you realise that badminton players change the position in which they hold their grip when playing different shots? Do you do it yourself?
We’re not talking about forehand and backhand grips here, although they are supremely important. We are talking about the where you hold on the grip – higher, so that you have a “shorter” grip, or lower, meaning that you have a “longer” grip.
Grip length variation is important to optimise the different types of shots you play and from where you play them on the court.
A longer grip length can be used for shots, which require more power – namely rear-court shorts like clears and smashes. It is also used to optimise the reach of your racket, so helps with defensive reach and improving the angle of which you can hit the shot – because you can strike the shuttle from a higher position.
A shorter grip length is used for shots where speed is more important than brute strength or power. This is why doubles players hold a shorter grip length when they are playing in the front-court, and when they need to defend shots coming towards their body.
If you’re not doing it already, give it a try. You will definitely notice a difference!
3. Use the correct tension of string
It's always very tempting to use particular string tensions because "better" players use it or your favourite badminton player uses it.
For most beginners to advanced players, expect to use a string tension between 20-28 pounds. Some of your favourite professional players will be using even higher string tensions and you may ultimately do so yourself.
Try out the various tensions and find one that's most suitable for your playing ability and you will find more consistent quality in the shots that you play. There are also many different types and thicknesses of string that are available and can be suited to the style of your play.
4. Turn side-on hitting when you’re playing overhead shots
Turning side on when moving back and playing your overhead shots is pivotal for power and momentum. This is because it allows you to rotate and turn your body towards the shuttle as you make contact with it, translating your body momentum into your shot.
Check out this photo of Lin Dan. His body is turned towards the sideline as he prepares for his jump smash – there’s no way that he could generate that kind of power in his smash if he did not use his body momentum.
Don’t be afraid to record yourself playing so that you can see if you’re using the full potential of your body momentum. Momentum is a law of physics, so make use of it to create more power!
5. Don’t watch your shot
You’re probably thinking “what?!” Seems pretty illogical, right? Of course you need to watch your shot!
But how many times have you hit a shot, admired it in all of its beauty, then realised that the point isn’t over, your opponent has returned it, and you’re not ready for the next one?
Although you do need to watch where your shot goes, make sure that you don’t forget to get ready for the next shot, immediately after you’ve hit the shot. This can be as simple as moving back to your base position or just holding your racket back up in a “ready” position.
If you always have a thought process of “what is the next shot I need to be ready for?” then your anticipation skills will improve and you will learn to read what shot your opponent will play, rather than just react to it.
Give it a go. Watch your shot after hitting, but don’t forget to be ready for the next one – because the point isn’t over until the shuttle hits the ground!
And that's all for this post! Click here for Part 2 to learn 5 more ways to improve your game!
We'd love to hear your comments, suggestions, trips and tricks so please feel free to comment below. If you would like us to write about something in particular, please let us know!
Main image source: Yonex
Body image source: Vysaga (Nelson). https://www.flickr.com/photos/nelsontyw/14967406357