Sunday, March 26, 2017

Back to Basics: Scrubbing the floor

This is a series inspired by the time I spent with a pal of mine, teaching him how to become a better player. I put together all my knowledge from the years in the sport, hoping that it'll work.

Instead of forgetting that it ever happened, I figured I make a series out of it and impart some more knowledge to visitors to the blog who want to know a little about how to become a better player.

Before we start, the obligatory copyright statement. Those who copy, shame on you.

Hey guys, found out some other site's been taking my article wholesale, so be a sport and bookmark the original site -


Ok here we go.

Back to Basics: Scrubbing the Floor

What we'll cover today is really rudimentary - bare essentials for any badminton player that I find most often neglected by players who are eager to get into the court and start hitting shuttles about.

It's not hard to smack the bird to and fro the court, but unless you get into a good position beforehand it's really hard to have the shuttle more to wherever you want it to.

So we will start with footwork.

Case in point - Chen Long or Lee Hyun Il. If you've seen those two move about the court you'll know what rock-solid footwork is like. Take moment after this article to watch those two in action and learn what you can.

My first time on court with my friend we didn't even have badminton rackets. A good player starts by knowing how to move about the court. When done right it's a dance; when untrained it's like a bull charging from one place to another, swinging wildly with all their might.

Be the matador, not the creature.

Running the 6's

The game of badminton singles is an elegant one - two opponents dancing around the court, placing the shuttle with accuracy in order to out maneuver each other. And like in any dance, footwork is key.

Shuttles are mainly placed in six points of the court - front left / right, left / right, and back left / right. In this footwork drill you'll want to reach each of the points in as stable a step as possible. Speed is not key. stability is. Remember - be the matador.

Get comfortable prancing from point to point, making sure as much as possible to run in opposite directions. That means you don't run in a straight line from front left to back right, or left to right. The best way to tire your opponents in a game is to send them in different directions, so the lateral movement has to be worked on during training.

And don't discount yourself either. Shuttles will be placed near the net during a drop shot, so move to a position where you can realistically reach the shuttle. For the back court, you have to make sure that both your feet cross the back service line. For the sides, your lunging foot should almost touch the side line.

For players with higher competencies, you can try and time your runs to make sure you get increasingly faster.

Side notes

  • If you notice yourself not reaching the ends of the court consistently, you can try touching a part of the court with your racket instead. That way you can be sure that you're moving as far as realistically possible. 
  • Beginner level players shouldn't worry about the stroke (I'll cover that in the next article), but instead focus on getting from point to point in as efficient a motion as possible.
  • It helps to visualize an opponent in the opposite court, hitting the shuttle at you and moving you about the court. They won't make the game easy for you, so get running.
  • Wear good indoor court shoes when performing the exercise on a badminton court. Using running shoes with black rubber soles will seriously scar the floor and make it dangerous for other players. Also make sure your laces are on tight. Lateral movement involves a lot of twisting and directional changes, so loose shoes may lend to a sprain. 
  • For a reasonably healthy person, you have to reach at least 10 points on the court to consider it a workout. 20 if you're fit. 
  • After running, don't rest. Pick up the shuttle and bounce it around, or do some service practice. 


Mark said...

Hi Arthur,

I am an intermediate badminton player and I found your site and articles that were written about your experiences with various badminton rackets very useful.

With a whole choice of rackets from Yonex, I need some advice. I have a very basic Yonex racket for beginners. I like pushing opponent to the back of the court and then playing a winning drop shot. My current racket struggles to keep the opponent to the back of the court if I am at the back of the court. I get my opponents to move around but the shuttle doesn't travel as fast as I want. So I am guessing I need more powerful racket. Should I buy a high end racket like Yonex Voltric Z force II or should I buy an racket meant for intermediate players for now like Yonex Voltric VT5 ? Or Should I be looking at the ArcSaber or Nanoray series instead ?

Arthur said...

Hey Mark, thanks for reading and glad you like the content!

Sounds like you can benefit from a new racket. Beginners' rackets are purposely made thicker and heavier so they can take the abuse of beginner players.

An intermediate level player like you will most certainly want to look for some of the higher range rackets from Yonex. They're probably the only makers who have not moved their production to China, and you will be getting top quality graphite from Japan.

Sad to say, I consider the Made in Taiwan rackets from Yonex (like the VT5 and 7) for beginners. The quality and the make of the rackets are primarily to withstand abuse, and do little to help your game.

Your choice of racket line from Yonex will depend on your game type. From what you described, the even balanced ArcSaber or Nanoray ZSpeed will be right up your alley. For added offense, I would pursue the ZForce in 4U.

Mark said...

Thanks Arthur. Much appreciated.

Mark said...

Out of Duora 10 and Arcsaber 11 which one would you suggest ?

Arthur said...

From what you described as your playing style, the ArcSaber would be a better bet.

Mark said...

Thanks for that.
Which string would best suit my style of play ?

Arthur said...

Hey there Mark,

Strings are a very personal thing, and I can't really make a recommendation on that. You should stick a string you like, and adjust accordingly if you don't feel that it's right for the racket.

An intermediate player like yourself wouldn't find it difficult to find a string that will suit the level of play you want.