The short answer is that, to improve court coverage in badminton, you need to learn the perfect central base position and the perfect ready position depending on the location of the shuttle. Moreover, you need to learn how to move faster with your footwork. With these improvements in your skillset, you will improve court coverage in badminton.
Before we get into more detail and, just in case you are not familiar with the terms, we will clarify some technical words from the answer above.
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What is the central base position?
Base position or central base position in badminton is the position where you start all your shots from. It is one of the keys to improving your court coverage because it will be the point where you start the move from. Therefore, if the point is not optimal, your court coverage will not be optimal either.
If you would like to know a bit more about the central base position, we have written a full post answering this question on our site with the title: What is the central base position in badminton?
What is the ready position?
Ready position in badminton is the position in which you await the next shot from your opponent. It is the position you are in just before performing the split step. It is used because it helps you to react faster to the shot from your opponent, so your court coverage gets better.
If you would like to know a bit more about the ready position, we have also written a full post answering this question on our site with the title: What is the ready position in badminton?
What is footwork?
Footwork in badminton is how you move around the court and everything that is related to it.
If you would like to know a bit more about footwork, we have written a guide to footwork on our site with the title: Badminton Footwork Guide – Everything you need to know about how to move in the court.
Why does the central base position matter to improve court coverage?
The central base position matters to court coverage because it is the starting point of your movement, so it is critical that you are in the best location considering the location of the shuttle.
I am going to give you an example so you can understand a bit better what I mean. Imagine you are in the back of the court and you shoot a clear shot (click here to read our badminton clear shot post if you don’t know what a clear shot is). Instead of going back to the center of the court to where the standard central base position is, you decide to stay on the back of the court. What would happen if your opponent sent the shuttle to the net? You would have to move all the way from the back of the court to the front and you would probably not reach the shuttle.
This example will be seen as an exaggeration to intermediate players, but it does happen at the beginner’s level. In any case, I have used it only to explain the principle. The same holds true at an intermediate level, where you will certainly go back to the center of the court. But the exact location in the center of the court might not be the right one. We will discuss this later on in the post.
Why does the ready position matter to improve court coverage?
Although not as important to improve court coverage as the central base position, the ready position matters because you will start the movement towards the shuttle with the right posture. So your movement will be more fluid and you will hit the shuttle from a better posture.
To exemplify this point, let me also give you an example. If, for example, your tendency is to keep your racket low when in the ready position (I have to admit this is one of my bad habits), it will take you more time to put the racket in the correct position if your opponent is sending the shuttle flat with a drive shot (click here to read our post about the badminton drive shot post if you don’t know what it is). If you had had the racket at the right position thanks to a good ready position, you would have been able to hit the shuttle before, so improving how you covered your court.
Why does the speed of your footwork matter to improve court coverage?
This one is pretty straightforward, but I will answer it in any case. The speed of your footwork matters to improve court coverage because the faster you can move, the further away from the center of the court you can get to in the same amount of time.
To exemplify (and simplify) this point, if you could move from the center of the court to the back of the court in 2 seconds, you would be able to reach any shot that takes longer than 2 seconds to arrive at the back. If instead, it takes you 10 seconds, that means that in 2 seconds you will have only reached a fifth of the distance. Therefore, your court coverage would be much lower if your speed is lower.
How can you improve your central base position?
The key here is understanding the principles for where you should place yourself and then practicing them so it becomes second nature. The central base position is not a fixed point in the court. The exact location of the central base point varies depending on quite a few variables, the most important of them being as follows:
- The location of the shuttle
- Your strengths and weaknesses
- Your guess on where the shuttle will go next
The location of the shuttle
From here, the most important thing to remember is that the shuttle takes longer to go across the court than to go straight. Therefore, if your opponent is hitting the shuttle from one of the sides, then you should be placing yourself a bit towards that side. This way, you will be able to reach faster the straight shot, which is what you need since the straight shot would be faster.
It is also good to remember that, if you have played a good net shot, it is a good idea to bring the center position a bit closer to the net since the options for your opponent are to return a net shot, in which case you need to react very fast, or to send the shuttle to the back, in which case you will have plenty of time to move to the back.
The same holds true when we have played to the back. It is a good idea to keep yourself a bit further away from the net since you can receive smashes and clear shots and if you are too close to the net you might not be able to react fast enough to them.
Your strengths and weaknesses
In addition to that, it is also important to keep in mind your strengths and weaknesses.
If, for example, your clear backhand shot is weak, you might want to cover that side a bit more by placing yourself a bit more towards that side.
As another example, if your footwork towards the front is very good but your footwork towards the back is a bit slow, you might want to consider bringing your center position a bit back in order to compensate for that difference.
Your guess on where the shuttle will go next
Last, but not least, the center will also vary depending on where you expect the next shuttle to go. If, for example, you see that your opponent tends to play a straight drop shot whenever you have played an offensive clear shot, it might be a good idea to bring your central base position a bit closer to the net after shooting an offensive clear shot.
How can you improve your ready position?
In this case, the principles are much more straight forward, but, at least for me, they can be quite difficult to remember when playing, especially if you have already played for a few years and have built some bad habits.
If you have a coach, it might be a good idea to ask him or her to keep an eye on your ready position and correct it every time you make a mistake. If you don’t, it is a matter of reminding yourself often how you should place yourself every time.
How can you improve the speed of your footwork?
The first and most important fact to remember is that the speed of your footwork will be limited by how good your technique is, especially at the beginner’s level. Therefore, it is very important that you build a good foundation. The correct movements will feel a bit strange and counternatural at the beginning, but you have to break through that initial feeling and trust that the principles are sound.
Explaining the principles here would be way too long, but if you are not sure whether you are using them, then I urge you to check my badminton footwork guide, where I go through all the steps you need to know in order to perform the perfect footwork.
As long as the principles are correct, then the key to improving your speed is practice, practice, and practice. This is usually the case with most of the things I explain here, but it is especially true for the footwork. For example, when I was training seriously, we would do shadow drills in every session. If you want to get some ideas about drills, be sure to check my badminton drills post, where we explain 19 drills that will help you improve your game.
And with this, we have arrived at the end of this post. Do you still have doubts about the topic? Is there something from the post that you did not understand fully? Then let me know in the comments below!
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