Badminton Footwork: Optimal Starting Timing in Badminton (Korean Exercise)

Starting in Badminton has not only to do with the right footwork technique, foot quickness or explosiv power but a lot with an efficient footwork rhythm. A small piece of that is the optimal timing for the start.

I lectured a lot the past years in different countries about developement of youth players with Badminton footwork beeing an important, if not the most important part of it. A thing that many coaches and even more young players get wrong is the answer to the question "at what moment you have to start?"

The most players will say "when the racquet meets the shuttle" - which is as wrong as it could be. If I teach my players to do like this, what will happen? Of course: too much movement which equals less efficiency. Why? In the moment the shuttle meets the racquet - what do I know, and what not? Exactly - most of the time at that moment, I do not know, where to go. So the exact answer to my question would be "I start, when I know where to go" - sound pretty easy and locigal, doesn't it? But still, most players don't act like this. Most of them start - or at least they try to - far too early. So the right starting point - timewise - would be slightly after point of impact. Of course, there might be situations where I know where to go right at the impact or even before - we call this anticipation or sometimes knowledge if I know the opponents and his strokes very well. 

Having said that the main problem is, that players react often to early, we have to come up with an exercise that solvest excatly this problem. An exercise that a Korean coach once showed in a German U19 trainings camp looks like this:

The players has to learn "not to move" until the shuttle travels to a front court corner. The aim here is to be relaxed until the shuttle travels to the corner and then showed good explosive starting technique. Progression would be to start in one corner, and if the athlete showed good efficiency here, move to an other corner and then open up the exercise with two or even more possible corners. The goal stays to move only when the shuttle is travelling and to use best starting technique every single time (not taking one false or correcting step).

Enjoy,

Diemo Ruhnow

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