After watching the professionals play badminton or even after playing on your own at the starting you may think that smashing gets you points and you can win with smashing only. If you are thinking the same, let me rectify you that you are wrong. Smashing is important but the most effective skill is footwork.
Many people neglect badminton footwork because it might not seem important at all. But I would like to say footwork is the MOST IMPORTANT and EFFECTIVE skill that a badminton player requires. Footwork is the skill that makes a professional stand out than beginners or learners.
In this article, we will be discussing footwork, different types of footwork, how to master footwork in badminton, and its benefits and impact on performing better in badminton.
What is Footwork?
Good footwork makes them look effortless and graceful. Proper footwork eases your body movement and helps you reach the shuttle in the fastest possible time. Footwork answers two very basic questions.
- Where do you position yourself on the court?
- How do you position your feet?
The concept of footwork is agility with balance. The idea is to move quickly from the base and return to the base keeping the rally going and try to get an advantage to score points. There is nothing called the BEST way to expertize on footwork. You can improve with practice only. Here I have discussed some tips, benefits, and how to practice to master the skill.
Why is Footwork Important in Badminton?
If we name Badminton as a game of moves, it won’t be wrong as it consists of moves like shuffling, jumping, gliding, lunging among others. Your success in the game depends on how accurately you can do these moves maintaining proper balance and control over your body. Effective footwork will ease your moves. Besides, effective footwork allows you to move around the court without falling and slipping, which reduces the chances of injury. Without proper footwork it is quite challenging to perform better and the chances of losing balance and getting injured raises.
Different Types of Steps
We have split the steps into categories based on feet position, shot difference, jump, and lunges.
- Basic stance: Your feet should point toward the net, and your body should be lowered with your knees slightly bent to increase stability.
- Shuffle: It’s a side by side moving technique. It’s a quick and efficient way to move around the court.
- Two-step shot: reach the shuttle using two steps only.
- Three-step shot: reach the shuttle using three steps only.
- Jumping step: Jump high while playing a shot to gain more power and accurate direction.
How to Master the Skill
There are 3 points to work on in quest of expertizing the footwork skills. Position on the court, stable posture balance, and jump.
- The point of the court from where you will be able to cover the overall court with 2-3 steps is termed as the base point. Basepoint is different for singles and doubles. A competitive partner will always try to play a variety of shots in different directions to score. When you are too far away from the center, there will be a huge gap on the other side. Your opponent will place the shuttlecock into that gap, and you won’t be able to reach it. One of the common mistakes committed by most players is they stuck to one position after playing their shot. Always return to base.
- Balance is the next point to focus on footwork. As the game demands fast-moving and reaction many of you may fall over losing balance. For a stable posture and balance, put your body weight on your stronger leg and make it your anchoring foot to the ground. Keep the other foot nimble so that you can stretch and reach the shuttle wherever it goes. With this method, you will find it easy to return to the base position without losing your balance and expending too much energy.
- For better smashing, jump plays a crucial role and for a proper jump, footwork is a must. You will jump better when you are light and nimble on your feet. The best way to perform a jump is to take off with either one or two feet and try to land on both to spread the impact to your knees. We have attached a video for a better understanding.
Things to Keep in Mind
There are certain facts you should avoid making these footwork mistakes. They are as follows:
- Avoid pointing the foot away from the direction you are headed towards; this can cause ankle injuries and loss of balance.
- Pay attention to every shot. Not putting attention to the proper speed and timing of your footwork can make it challenging to maintain balance.
- Efficient footwork is as important as hitting the shuttlecock. Practice it like you practice hitting the shuttlecock.
Benefits of Effective Footwork
Why are we putting so much importance on footwork? Well, the benefits are worth a mention. The three main benefits of mastering proper footwork are as follows:
- Proper footwork reduces unnecessary steps and helps conserve strength.
- It allows more time to react and visualize the upcoming rally.
- Your speed will be enhanced.
Moreover, Ineffective will result in less skillful and powerful strokes and smashes.
Tips on Effective Footwork
As I have already said there is no hard and fast rule to follow for effective footwork. Comfort comes first but here are a few tips that might help you get better results.
- Minimize your steps, stretch only 1 step towards the sides, and 2-3 steps towards front and back. If you find it difficult with few steps at the beginning, start with more steps and then minimize it day by day.
- Maintain your balance with both legs and hands. Spread the other hand while holding the racket.
- Be on ready stance and on-base point. Return to base always.
Balance is the key to success in footwork. Always return to base to visualize each shot and have proper reach. Proper footwork reduces unnecessary steps and helps conserve strength. Ineffective footwork will result in less skillful and power-less strokes and smashes.
The lesser your step count the better strength and stamina you preserve. Footwork is the most effective skill that a badminton player requires. With Footwork, professionals look apart from beginners or learners. Good footwork makes them look effortless and graceful.