Learning and practicing proper badminton footwork is perhaps the best way to improve your game. Novice players usually go after a more powerful smash, a prettier drop shot, or a stronger backhand. After all, these techniques are flashier than boring old footwork drills. However, in order to perfectly execute those shots, you have to get to the birdie first, wherever your opponent may hit it. If you can't get to the birdie comfortably, your shot will definitely suffer. Here are some advantages to having good footwork:
- You can get to the birdie quickly, so that you'll have more time; which equates to less pressure for yourself.
- More time also allows you to see where your opponent is, so that you can decide what shot to use and where to place it.
- You will expend less energy by eliminating unnecessary steps. You may even outlast your opponent.
- Good footwork helps prevent injuries to your ankles, knees, hips, and back.
Complete Badminton Training by Zhao Jianhua & Xiao Jie
The Complete Badminton Training series, hosted by former world champion Zhao Jianhua and badminton coach Xiao Jie, is one of the best and most entertaining series of training videos out there. The videos cover many aspects of badminton and have great tips and well-explained information for recreational players of any level. Due to the fact that it is so difficult to explain in words how to perform badminton techniques, watching these training videos may just be the next best thing to having your very own coach.
Badminton footwork is a foundational skill. If you pay special attention, you'll notice that almost every episode touches upon it, whether the main topic is on smash defense, net play, or doubles tactics. For example, the guest in episode 1 has problems hitting rear corner shots: his returns are weak and non-threatening to his opponent. Coach Xiao Jie shows him how to cut down the number of steps to reach the rear corner and turn his passive shot into an offensive shot. (A passive shot is one that is played defensively and has little to no threat to your opponent. Usually, a passive shot is played under pressure and the direction of the birdie is going upwards or flat. An offensive shot is one that poses threat to your opponent. Usually, the direction of the birdies is downwards, but not always.) In the next section, I have highlighted the episodes that specifically instructs on footwork fundamentals.
Learn Badminton Footwork Fundamentals
In episode 3, Coach Xiao Jie shows how to reach the 4 corners of the badminton court safely i.e. taking the stress off the knees. She emphasizes on how to achieve stability on the final step and how to recover and return to neutral position without strenuous effort.
In episode 4, Coach Zhao Jianhua shows how adding "bounce" to your footwork can increase your speed. Like any other sport, being light on your feet adds to your quickness. In episode 7, Coach Xiao Jie further expands on this topic by showing how to gain explosive speed by pushing off on the initial step.
In episode 11, Coach Xiao Jie breaks down step by step, literally, how to get from one corner of the court to the opposite corner. She also takes into account shorter players; players, whose stride may not be as wide as tall players, thus may require more steps to cover the same distance.
As you watch the videos, takes notes on the instructions and practice them on your next visit to the badminton gym. Once you have mastered badminton footwork, you will play games much more comfortably. You other badminton skills will be enhanced. You may even be steps ahead of your opponent.
As more episodes are uploaded, I will continue to add badminton footwork skills to this page.