In this blog post, I'd like to discuss something that, in my opinion, is supremely important in badminton. Something that, if you improve this one thing, it will have a ripple effect on so many other parts of your game and inherently improve them also.
Sounds magical, right?
Work on one thing and all of a sudden, your whole gameplay steps up a level! Well, you're probably going to be excited until I tell you what that one thing is...
I've been told that I'm a Nazi about footwork on numerous occasions and it's probably one of the least exciting and most tedious things in the game of badminton. Most people just want to get out there, play some matches, do some jump smashes and trick shots, then go home.
And because of that, you've provably got the urge to close this page and browse Facebook or YouTube instead but please persist and read on! There's lots of invaluable information below, and on our upcoming post about the ultimate goals for your footwork.
Mastering your badminton footwork can improve and mask a lot of deficiencies in your game from:
Let me break it down.
Having footwork that's energy-efficient can allow you to conserve more energy while will retrieving all of the shots, and can somewhat 'cover up' for a lack in overall fitness. You'll also find that when you train your footwork and it improves over time, your cardiovascular fitness will inherently get better regardless. It's a win-win situation!
Speed & Agility
When your footwork improves, you'll find that you're much faster on the court and more agile to retrieve and hit your shots. When your footwork is correct and natural, your court coverage improves immensely and you'll be able to put more pressure on your opponents because you'll be getting to the shuttle earlier, which will give them less time to recover from their previous shots.
Even if you're not a very fast runner, having good footwork can help to mask a lack of speed.
When your footwork technique improves, you'll also find that it's much easier to jump and use powerful/explosive movements (eg: a jump smash) because the effort that you exert will be directed effectively.
We all know the feeling when you're putting so much effort to hit hard or jump high, but it doesn't pay off because it's misdirected - and often puts us even more out of balance!
When you practice your footwork correctly, you'll develop your footwork technique. But what you'll also find, is that because your body and feet are moving correctly, you will be able to swing your racket more fluidly and thus your shots/stroke will also improve because badminton is a whole-body sport!
The movements of your upper and lower body complements each other - they're not separate!
Low and behold, when you can actually get to the shots faster, have more time and take the shuttle earlier, the quality of your shots improve immensely.
To put it into perspective, even if someone had the best technique in the world, they would still find it difficult to play high-quality shots if they're always scrambling and playing their shots low to the ground or in a full-lunge position.
Once you're able to more faster and more efficiently, you'll find that it's so much easier to play shots of higher quality - even if your technique isn't great.
Having better footwork allows you more time during points, so that you can use your badminton-smarts to play tactically. If you're always behind the 8-ball, and chasing down all of the shuttles that your opponent plays, it's very hard to think about anything tactically other than "just get the shuttle back"!
When you become more advanced, you can also change your footwork depending on where you anticipate the shuttle to be coming - so that you can inject speed and set up attacking or winning shots.
I hope by now that you can understand how footwork can immensely impact on so many aspects of your game.
But now that you know why you need to improve your footwork, the next question is: "what does good footwork look like"? Click here for the answer!
Something that you've probably spent a lot of your childhood, teenage and adult lives thinking about it. It's what you're judged on, who you're identified as and what provides you with the money to live. It's what you do for many hours per day, many days per week, many weeks per year and many years in your life.