By remembering and practicing these five core rules, you will vastly improve your game and will start building a solid foundation towards being an elite badminton player.
1. Racket up
This is the biggest mistake most people make. Badminton is a very fast sport. Your racket needs to be up and in front of you ready to return the shuttle. Think of the center of your body as the center of a circle (your “badminton circle”) encompassing your entire body.
The shortest distance to any point on your badminton circle is when you start from the center. So in order to reach the majority of shots in the shortest amount of time, you need to keep your racket up and in front of you.
2. Get back into position
Being able to return anything hit at you is great, but of course during a match, the point is to keep the shuttle away from you, thus, you need to be positioned correctly after each shot you make in order to be ready for wherever the next shot may go.
In singles, this almost always means that after your shot, you should be returning to the center of the court.
Transitioning a variety of shots into fluid body movements to get you back to the center of the court takes practice but it is possible and we will go over them during practice.
The only time during singles when you do not want to make the transition to the center of the court is after you make a net drop. You need to take one step back toward the center of the court and react to the opposing player’s next shot.
This is to prevent the opposing player from simply re-dropping and causing you to needlessly move around the court.
In doubles, positioning can be very confusing but once mastered, it is the skill that separates the pros from the amateurs. Doubles rotation will be covered during practice, as the concepts cannot easily be understood through writing.
3. Knees bent
Your knees should never be locked; they should always be bent and ready to spring. Not only does this ready you for movement on the court but it also allows you to lower your center of gravity when on defense, thus giving you more stability during quick defensive shots.
Then after you transition a defensive attack into an offensive opportunity, keeping your knees bent prepares you to quickly attack the shuttle.
4. On your toes
This one goes hand-in-hand with keeping your knees bent. You should never be caught flat-footed. If you have ever watched a boxing match, you will notice that the boxers are always on their toes and their feet are always moving.
This is because they need absolute split second reactions to keep from getting hit. Take a lesson from them and whenever you are on the court (yes, even between points, matches, and during practice) always keep on your toes and keep your feet moving.
This keeps you agile and ready to react quickly.
5. Watch the shuttle
You would think this was an obvious one but a lot of people end up watching either their opponent’s racket or their body in hope of figuring out where the shuttle is going to be hit.
Experienced badminton players know that deception is the name of the game, especially when their opponent is of comparable skill to themselves.
Always watch and react to only the shuttle. Do not make a move until the shuttle is contacted and you know where it is headed.
Of course there are many more strategies, skills, and fundamentals that we will cover during practice, but these core principals are what you need to know before you can even begin to elevate your badminton game.