Badminton Footwork - Work on Footwork Rhythm for Smooth Defensive Footwork in Badminton

Good running or footwork technique is the most important yet most overlooked part in Badminton training. Especially in defensive situations it is not only important for moving well and economically but to survive the pressure from the opponent.

If we look think about good defensive Badminton footwork most Badminton coaches and enthusiast think immediately about Lin Dan’s footwork or smash returns from Lee Chong Wei. Having good role models for this situation is equally important as understanding the principles behind optimal defensive footwork and rhythm.

As in the defensive situation the opponent has a variety of stroke solutions with the drop and smash being the most difficult ones with a the most time pressure, the base defensive position should be with a lower center of mass depending on the position of the opponent on court and the feet wider then shoulder width apart and almost parallel to the net for being able to move the all four corners. The spilt step - as flat as possible - should move the feet into a wider position to prepare for a good start. Depending on the position of the opponent and the anticipated stroke the body position can be either very low or more erect and the hip can turn to place the feet into a better starting position. Besides a good start towards the shuttle, an often overlooked key point is the movement of the arm or racquet towards the shuttle (see this article for more insight).

Besides these technical point, the right footwork rhythm is essential - right before the impact of the shuttle on the opponents Badminton racket one has to perform the split step with the contact of the feet - not to early and not to late. If anticipation goes wrong, a correction step or further split step with hip turn has to be taken.

The following video shows an exercise where mentioned points can be practiced in a very pressuring situation: the opponent (here: coach or feeder) is at the net. It is very important here for the player to follow up immediately to prepare for the next coming shuttle. An advantage of this exercise set up to other for example multi shuttle exercises is the real world anticipated that is possible with live shuttle exercises. This is very important because working on anticipation skills is a key point when practicing on footwork rhythm.

The exercises can be done coach with player but of course also player with player - exercise timing could last from 3 up to 10 minutes. Muscle endurance will be a limiting factor here, but exercise duration should not be under 3 minutes to also work on economization - an equally important point when it comes to good Badminton footwork.

Enjoy,

Diemo Ruhnow

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