A surprising FMS result in Badminton athletes

Last year I get the honor to write an article for Michael Boyle and his site (see the banner on the right side). One of my best articles tells some surprises when taking the FMS with Badminton athletes.

For some years now I have been working as Badminton coach with different groups, from recreational players of every age group to national team athletes. Using the Functional Movement Screen is giving me numerous information about the athletes’ weaknesses and performance potentials. Some of the results of the FMS are individual by nature but some results are not only seen often in Badminton players but are similar to other overhead sports. This seems natural as we are not only living in the same „modern“ society with its problems for posture and fundamental movement and also playing a game sport with similar demands and impact on the athlete’s body.

Badminton is highly quadriceps dominant throughout numerous lunges to every corner of the court, combined with permant starting and stopping movement as well as double leg take offs but single leg landings. This leads to a number of problems and recruitment changes in the lower body typical for quad dominant sports. Beside the impact on the lower quarter Badminton puts a lot of stress on the pelvis and shoulder region through a lot of upper body rotation and flexion while performing overhead hitting movements. So typical corrective exercises include activation exercises for hip rotators and shoulder blade stabilizers as well as strengthening and stabilization exercises for core complex and the shoulder-upper arm complex especially in sport specific positions. Examples are mini band hip exercises, overhead stabilization exercises and core stabilization exercises in squat, split squat and single leg positions.

However, some of the results seen in the group of Badminton players surprised me and also other coaches, when discussing FMS results. In this article, I want to discuss on of these results and show possible solutions as well.

As winning the net is an important tactical component in the game of Badminton, executing precise strokes at the net in wide lunge position and a quick recovery from the front corners is critical. I was surprised when I see a lot of athletes struggle with the FMS screening exercises in split squat and single leg position. Most of the time a lot of movement in the ground foot was seen and even the trunk showed a lot of instability. But how these athletes where able to perform net shots and quick returns from corners with such an unstable base? In fact, there were not. Concerning the shots itself, most of the time they are hit just before or in the moment when the foot strikes the ground. So there is little impact on the shot itself. Only when it comes to deceptive and feint shots, which are commonly used from world class athletes, these deficits come into play: they are hit a few moments after the foot stroke the ground or even when stepping out of the corner. If an athlete is unstable then the shot itself cannot be performed, is not precise and effective enough or even leads to a direct error. When we look at recovery times from the corners, these leaks in stability become not only injury potentials but also performance leaks. They are slower because stabilization as in stopping the forward movement and momentum takes longer and efficient return is only possible with a stable base and core. Here the world class differentiates a lot from recreational, juniors and also national competing players. There is no scientific evidence, but in singles I suspect a somehow linear relation between world ranking and court corner return times. However even world class athletes show sometimes difficulties and too much foot movement in one leg or split stance position – the fact that they still seem to work efficient on court is just mainly due to the high speed on court and the fact, that the better the athlete the better they are in compensating a faulty movement pattern. The good thing for a coach – even in top athletes working on the fundamentals can improve them a lot (and sustain career longevity).

A deeper look at this leads to the following fields that need to be addressed:

1) Foot strengthening for a strong and stable base of support

2) Ankle mobilization for creating the possible angles between the foot and lover limb to give the foot a stable full contact in different position in front or lateral of the body

3) Stabilization in lunge, split squat and single leg position

4) Core stabilization as movement in the core affects lower quarter stabilization

Possible corrective exercises could be the following:

1) Foot strengthening exercises (e.g. lifting object with the toes, flexion and extension of the toes) as well as barefoot closed chain exercises (squat variation, barefoot walking)

2) Foam rolling calf, ankle mobilization exercises in different planes (e.g. 3-point-mobilisation, leg swings)

3) Strength training and plyometric training exercises (e.g. split squats, split squat jumps, lunge with stabilization, lunge with return)

4) Anti-Rotation-Exercises in squat, split squat and single leg positions, Medball stabilization exercises in squat, split squat and single leg positions



Diemo Ruhnow

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About the author:

Diemo Ruhnow is currently working as Head National Coach Doubles for the German Badminton Federation. In his free time he writes for his websites http://www.badminton-training.com (English), http://www.badminton-training.de (German) and other Badminton journals.

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