Thursday, September 08, 2011

Back to Basics: The Walk

It all began like most stories began - a guy with his love for the sport just plays, not worrying about the technicalities of hows and whys. But then he gets his ass handed to him and it sparks a need for improvement.

So he takes to his best friend, the internet. So much to learn, yet so many different ways to do it; I was getting advise from websites and videos and blogs (touche) all over the world.

Trial-and-error, and he finds himself getting better at it, catching up to the "expert" and eventually beating him. Then along came a spider, and we're back to the drawing board.

This is my story, and it has to do with footwork.

Do you see yourself struggling to catch the shuttle at a good angle?
You win badminton games by placing shots where your opponents can't reach, and the best way to do that is to reach the shuttle early. Like the early bird catches the worm, the early shuttler gets to hunt more birds with higher success.

What you have to do to reach the shuttle early is to be faster, and since most of us are already fully grown and almost to the limit (or worse still, decline!) of our muscle growth, gaining that speed all comes down to proper footwork.

The Shuffle
We all started out crawling on the ground until we found out that walking's pretty neat; Once we know how to walk, we learn to run; once we start running, we want to learn to do triple somersaults.

Wrong approach! Let's learn how to run (correctly) first shall we?

Here's THE basic step in badminton - the chasse. That's a nice way to reach the shuttle fast and at a good position to do something threatening to the opponent. It's sort of like a triple step - your feet hardly lift off the ground and you catch a good burst of speed by moving your feet in succession.

Problem is you can't get good distance to it.

For a little distance boost, you'll need a little jump to your steps - push off and land on the balls of your feet for the first one or two steps and then resume the chasse when you're closer to the shuttle's path.

That there's the basis of movement. I'm no enthusiast so I'm not going to keep typing and tell you all the different footwork you have to learn (besides I'm still only a third of the way learning them!), but trust me when I say they're all variations of the chasse.

It's a dance move to begin with, and how apt its use in badminton. I liken a game of badminton to a dance-off where two dancers throw moves at each other until one of them can't keep up.

So dance away, my fellow badminton fanatics!

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