VIDEO Moving Better on Court – Part 1: Starting to the Shuttle

Starting is a natural movement. However in Badminton there are different situations and also different types of players who might require different patters of starting or pushing to the shuttle. This article shows how to teach them.

First, we start with a little (mind) experiment. Put 10 players in line with feet narrow and parallel. Tell them they have to sprint 20 m and tell them go! When you look at the feet before they will move their center of mass they will take a step back with either the right or left foot. Why this? With the feet narrow and parallel, the base of support is right under the center of mass – pushing from here makes no sense as the force produced by the legs is only used in fractions to create movement of the body. The step back is putting the body in a better (biomechanical) starting position, the base of support is now broader, the point of force application farther away the center of mass and an explosive first push can take place.

The difference to Badminton (as in many game sports) is that there is no defined way to go until the player recognized where the shuttles is going to and also the timing is not clear – as delay and deception is common in Badminton strokes. The Badminton player so has different scenarios with different (and individual) solutions. What all different possible patters should have in common is the principle from above: the player should be in an anatomical and biomechanical optimal position for a good start towards the shuttle.

There are three main situations that could occur. A: the player knows where to go before the opponents meets the shuttle (e.g. through good anticipation) – here it makes sense to place the feet in a diagonal pattern towards to point where the player can meet the shuttle. B: the player thinks he knows but is wrong (through speculation or bad anticipation) and puts his feet as in “A” - to start effectively he must change his feet to get in a better starting position – this is what we call “corrective steps”. C: The player knows nothing, e.g. after a high clear has the opponents many options to every corner. Here it makes sense to have a more neutral (but broad) placement of the feet – to cover each possible corner in the same way and covering the smash as this could be the most dangerous option.

These are the three main principles of the first push of – everything you see on court is a mixture of these. This is often done in an individual way as it depends a lot on good or bad anticipation (and so on the players individual experience) but also done different in different nations. I will not go in here deeply as this could be an 8 part article – but give you one more key or question: what happens if I as a coach have a single (individual) way how to start but my players are individual different (smaller / taller, better / worse anticipation, quick / slow reaction times, slow / fast hip turn) … maybe we are sorting players out or loosing individual strength. But this is a different topic. 

How to teach or practice these different situations? First. It is all about principles. See the three points above. Also: movement is naturally and individually. So, let the players try different ways first, put it into more gamelike situations and then let them or their body decide. First the video for the exercise set up: 

Now the progression:

1) Landing right foot first (and back) and push to left corner 2) Landing left foot first and back, than take correction right foot (and back) and push to left corner 3) Landing both feet at same time feet almost parallel and push to left corner (through right foot)

Now to the same progression the other way around:

1) Landing left foot first (and back) and push to right corner 2) Landing right foot first and back, than take correction left foot (and back) and push to right corner 3) Landing both feet at same time feet almost parallel and push to right corner (through left foot)

Do these only a few times. Than, do it more game like. This could look the following way. Put the player on a box and let them fall towards the ground – while in the air, the coach throws a shuttle left or right. The player should push towards the shuttle as fast as possible. What you will see in different players is different ways. Taking this statement and only allow one typ of “how to start” and you will not give everybody what they need or even worse sort out players. While doing this exercise every player will find their individual and situation specific starting style depending on how well the read the game, how their individual strengths are and maybe how their heroes and role models are doing it.


Diemo Ruhnow


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About the author:

Diemo Ruhnow is currently working as National Coach for the German Badminton Federation, responsible for Women’s Double and Strength and Conditioning Training for the Women’s Team. In his free time he writes for his websites (English), (German) and other Badminton journals.




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