Footwork is the most underrated yet the most valuable part for improving your badminton skills. Having good footwork allows you to maximize your movements, hit the shuttlecock in the most controlled manner and helps avoid wasting energy. The best badminton players are able to cover a lot of ground each time they play without expending a lot of energy through their proper footwork. Here are some drills to help improve yours.
6x 6 Direction Lateral Steps
Standing on the center of the court, squat to bend your knees about 45 degrees and hold your arms with your swing arm holding the racket in ready position. From here, there are three main variations, whether you are going to your forehand side or your backhand side.
- Forehand Side
- Forehand Front Corner When going to your forehand side, take a lateral step, starting with the lead leg same as your forehand (right hand – right leg/ left hand- left leg) going 45 degrees to the front towards the corner near the net. Keep your lead leg ahead and take one or two lateral steps depending on when you’re able to reach the corner near the net with your racket. Take a small swing as if you’ve returned the shuttlecock from that point. With your lag leg, take lateral steps to get back to the center position. Do this 6 times.
- Forehand Sideline Do the same drill, this time, moving lateral steps horizontally towards the lead leg and swinging once the racket is near the side line. Go back to the center with lateral steps. Do this 6 times.
- Forehand Back Corner Do the same drill, this time moving lateral steps 45 degrees to the back, starting with the lead leg, until you’re able to hit the racket with a forehand swing. Go back to the center with lateral steps. Do this 6 times.
- Backhand Side
- Backhand Front Corner When going to your backhand side, pivot your lag foot to face the corner and take a large step with your lead leg towards the direction of the backhand front corner towards the net. Take lateral steps until the racket reaches the end and perform a backhand swing. Right after, take your lead leg and bring it back to position and start with the lead leg to take steps going back to center position. Do this 6 times.
- Backhand Side Corner Do the same drills, this time moving lateral steps horizontally towards the sideline. Do this 6 times
- Backhand Back Corner Do the same drills, this time moving lateral steps at a 45-degree angle towards the back. Do this 6 times
Practicing these moves often will allow you to improve your ability to cover ground on the court faster. If this is easy for you, have a partner throw or serve the shuttle cock to these 6 corners so you can also practice hitting the shuttlecock while maintaining your footwork.
Diagonal Shuffles (3 x 4 Directions)
Having fast feet can help in terms of boosting reaction time to wherever your opponent directs the shuttle to. Practice shuffles by taking a ready stance (feet shoulder width apart with slightly bended knees), push through your feet and run in place with your feet not going higher than 3 inches off the ground. Shuffle in place for 10 seconds then shuffle your feet while moving towards the four corners of the court. Shuffle towards one corner, going back to center and to the next corner. Do this until you’ve completed all four corners. Do this exercise 3 times.
In order to play full best of 3 sets of badminton games, you must have strong cardio. Exercise this by running for 20-30 minutes or do several variations such as skip rope, high knees and butt kicks so you can workout in place.
Shuttle runs are a good exercise to practice your speed, endurance and change direction. Start from the bottom left corner of the court and run towards the right corner, touching the floor once you hit the corner. You then back pedal going back towards the left corner, touch the floor then run back. Do this 10 times
Squat Jumps (3 x 10)
Squat Jumps help strengthen your legs for maximum jump height. First, take a ready stance with feet shoulder width apart with slightly bended knees. Squat downwards until your thighs are parallel to the floor and jump up as high as you can while swinging both arms upward. Repeat 9 times. Do this exercise 3 times.
Do these drills regularly before you play and apply these footwork drills to your badminton skills by being aware of your footwork whenever you play.