Footwork in badminton is one of the most important skills to have and one of the most difficult to master. Proper footwork will allow you to reach the shuttle faster and in a better position, which will make your shots more accurate because you can perform them from a more comfortable position.
In this article, we will go through 12 badminton footwork tips that will improve your speed and help you move faster and with less effort through the court.
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Tip 1 – Always return to the center
The first of the badminton footwork tips is to always return to the center. As we discussed in our article “What Is the Central Base Position in Badminton?“, having a base point to always return to is critical to speedy and efficient footwork. By being always in the center, you make sure that you can arrive at all the corners of the court in the same amount of time. That makes it harder for your opponent to find a weak spot.
So, your main goal should be to always return to the center after performing a shot. If you make a shot and stay in the position where you have hit the shuttle (very common in beginners), you will leave a huge gap in the court and it will be easy for your opponent to win the rally.
Tip 2 – Adapt your central base position to the circumstance
Even though you should always be returning to the center, this center is not a fixed dot in the court. As we also explained in our post “What Is the Central Base Position in Badminton?“, the central base position will vary depending on the specific circumstances of the moment.
So if, for example, you perform a net shot and you think your opponent will perform a net shot in return, your central base position should be not in the center of the court, but close to the service line. This way, you can react to the most likely shot as fast as possible.
Tip 3 – Perform a split step
In our Badminton Footwork Guide, we explain at length the importance of the split step. For beginners that may be unfamiliar with the word, a split step is the movement you do just before your opponent hits the shuttle so that you can react faster to the shot. It is a sort of a jump down.
By performing the split step as a standard practice, you will improve your reaction time and you will be less likely to get stuck in the center. While performing the split step, you will also bring the weight of your body more towards your toes that towards your heels, and that will help you react faster.
Tip 4 – Push hard with your foot after performing the split step
The fourth of the badminton footwork tips is to push hard with your foot after performing the split step. Once you start moving, the first step is the most important one. To ensure you create maximum power and get the inertia going, it is very important to push hard with your foot.
The foot you need to push hard with will depend on where in the court you are moving to, whether you are right or left-handed and which type of movement you are doing (two steps or three steps).
As a general rule, you will rise a foot first when you start moving. That is the foot you do not push hard with. You push hard with the other foot in order to get the foot you have risen moving faster.
Tip 5 – Keep your center of gravity low
The lower your center of gravity is, the easier it is for you to stop the inertia of going towards one direction and change it to another direction. This is not very important when running, but becomes critical in badminton where you go maximum three steps in one direction before you need to go back to the central position.
Why is that? Because the closer your center of gravity is to the floor, the weaker the horizontal force it is.
To understand that, think about sumo wrestlers. The key is to stay as close to the floor as possible so it is more difficult for them to be moved.
The same holds true for badminton. Keep your center of gravity as low as possible so that stopping your movement and going back to the center becomes less demanding.
Tip 6 – Keep your trunk straight
Another important tip is to keep your trunk straight. Why is this important? Because, by keeping your trunk straight, you are keeping your center of gravity in the middle of the body.
If you don’t keep your trunk straight, you will be out of balance much easier. You can try it out if you want and you will feel the difference straight away. By keeping it straight, you are reducing the inertia you need to fight against in order to move towards or return from a specific point of the court.
Tip 7 – Use your non-racket arm to balance your movements
Another tip towards keeping your center of gravity low and centered is to use your non-racket arm to balance your movements. This is mostly because you will have your racket arm moving around, so it is important that the other arm balances that.
If you don’t use it, you will be off-balance much faster. You can also try this out on the court to feel the difference. First, try moving around the court with your non-racket arm stuck to your body and see how easy it is to lose your balance. After, try extending the non-racket arm so that it balances the racket arm and the body in general.
Tip 8 – Work on your deep lunges
One position where players tend to get stuck is when lunging towards the front of the court to perform a net shot or a net lift shot. If you are not trained enough, it is quite easy to become trapped in a deep lunge and not be able to recover the position.
If you struggle with this movement, it is easy to improve it by doing lunges. It is a very natural movement and it is mandatory that you master it and practice it often. In the video below you can see this exercise for beginners.
Tip 9 – Work on your hips
Another important part of your body that will help you improve your footwork is your hips. By strengthening your hips and making them more flexible, you will be able to move faster and with more ease around the court.
Tip 10 – Work on the speed of your feet
Another physical skill you need to work on is the speed of your feet. Having quick feet will help you react to the shots faster, start your movement faster and get to the shuttle faster.
There are quite a few exercises you can do in order to improve the speed of your feet. The idea of all these exercises is to move your feet as fast as possible while staying in position, so the movements are very fast and very short.
Tip 11 – Slide the back foot forward during the lunge to help with recovery
One more tip is to slide the back foot forward during the lung to help with recovery. This is also a great tip if you want to avoid deep lunges because it brings both feet closer and you don’t need to recover from such a low position.
The main idea here is that, after you have lunged and have hit the shuttle, but you are still in movement, you use the inertia to bring the back foot a bit towards the front so the distance between both feet is smaller. By doing this, you make your recovery easier.
Tip 12 – Keep the flow of your movement as much as possible
The last tip to improve your badminton footwork is to try to keep the flow of the movement as much as possible. You should see your movement through the court as a dance, or even as if you were running.
Is it easier if you can dance in one continuous movement or if you start and stop all the time? The answer is straight forward. It is much easier if you dance in one continuous movement.
The same holds for badminton footwork. By making it as much a continuous flow as possible, you will not need to stop the inertia and have to fight against it, but you will use it in your favor to help you recover faster.
The previous tip goes in line of this more general tip. By sliding your back foot forward, you are using the inertia to do that and then you make it easier to go back to the center.
And with this, we have arrived at the end of this post. If you liked this post and you are looking for more tips to improve your game, be sure to check our Badminton Tips post, where I give 9 tips to improve your badminton game.
Do you have any tips that you think will be useful to fellow readers? Do you have any doubts about the tips I have explained here? Then let me know in the comments below!
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