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The Importance of Balance in Badminton (Footwork, Stand,…)

Recently, my friend had a fall while playing badminton, and he was laid up in bed for 3 weeks with an ankle injury. He had lost his balance while doing a jump smash. Badminton is usually a safe sport, but if you do not have good balance, injuries can happen.

Balance is essential to badminton as you need to twist, lunge, jump, and change directions many times during a typical game. All this requires balance, as well as good footwork so that you can move quickly and place the birdie accurately. Being balanced, also, helps you move faster on the court and reduce your risk of injury.

Here is a closer look at the importance of balance and how to improve it while playing badminton.

Factors that Determine your Balance while Playing Badminton

There are mainly two aspects to good body balance while playing badminton. These are the primary factors determining our balance during any game. The first one is the center of gravity of the body, and the proper use of the non-racket arm. Let’s examine these factors in a bit more detail:

Center of gravity

As you may have noticed, lowering your center of gravity can increase body balance. For example, if you stand with your feet set farther apart, your balance increases. If you observe sumo wrestlers, they initially take on a posture where they are standing with feet wide apart and body lowered. This helps them lower their center of gravity, and as a result, they become practically unmovable. This, also, applies to badminton; your strength and power come from your stance.

You will find that it is important to stand with feet wide apart and evenly placed while swinging and hitting the birdie. Similarly, there are proper stances for serving, returning a shot, or doing a jump smash. The lower you keep your center of gravity, the better will be your stability on the court.

Non-racket arm movements

Another secret to better balance is to know how to use your non-racket arm. The extension and contraction of the non-racket arm help to balance the body when the hitting arm is being used.

You will notice that while you swing your racquet for a shot, your non-racket arm may naturally extend upwards. This is, in fact, a common mechanism to balance the body when you play badminton. Most people do this unconsciously. But it is important to be aware of it, and deliberately practice it to improve your balance while on the badminton court. You will find that it not only increases your stability but also greatly enhances your game as well.

How to Keep your Balance while Playing Badminton.

1. Receiving shots.

While receiving shots, we usually run, looking up and ahead, and may tend to forget the proper placement of the feet. While hitting the birdie, the footwork is vital. Usually, ensuring that the feet are not too close to each other, and the knees are bent to lower the body will ensure better balance when you place shots. It would be good to ensure that the non-racket arm is upwards and extended.

2. Doing a jump smash.

When doing a jump smash, you will need to a jump up high and hit the birdie in mid-air with an overhead swing motion. This leads to possibly losing balance while you land back on your feet. The way to maintain balance is to ensure that you keep your non-racquet arm extended while making the shot and when landing making sure that you land on both feet. Also, keeping your knees bent will help absorb the initial impact of landing.

3. Doing lunges.

When you lunge to hit the shuttlecock, you, primarily, tend to shift the weight onto one leg. If that foot is not properly placed, you can lose your balance and fall. So, while lunging and placing a shot, it is important to bend the knee of the foot that you place forward. This will ensure that the center of gravity is lowered and that you maintain good balance during the lunge.

4. Doing a smash.

Smash is a powerful and explosive shot which is done quickly. This can be a cause of losing balance and possibly falling during the game. To ensure that you have the right balance, you need to have your feet spread evenly apart. When you extend your body high to smash, extend your non-racquet arm forward as you swing your racquet arm back. This will help you maintain balance for this shot.

5. Doing a backhand shot.

Backhand shots are tricky, especially while hitting them on the run. This shot requires you to pull back your arm and twist the wrist so that the racquet is turned for hitting the shuttle.

For this shot, some players tend to keep their feet parallel. This is a mistake. The correct way is to move your racquet leg a step towards the rear court resembling a lunge. Now, before hitting the shuttlecock, you will turn your body so that the back is slightly parallel to the net. This will help you maintain balance as well as to place a powerful shot.

6. How to master the swing.

What most people overlook is that the effectiveness of each shot is primarily decided by the wrist action. For ensuring good balance during your swings, place your feet fairly wide apart (about shoulder length). Once your stance is stable, swing your arm and at the end, flick your wrist to control the direction and angle of the shot.

Tips to Improve your Body Balance in Badminton

1. Follow proper technique.

It is necessary that you follow proper technique while playing. This, combined with correct footwork, will ensure that you keep adequate body balance. If you are a self-taught player, then you may be suffering from poor form and technique that you developed due to improper training.

It would be advisable to get help from teaching professionals so that you learn the proper technique. If that’s not feasible, just go online and go through some instructional videos. There are great free resources out there.

2. Strengthen the leg muscles.

Since most of the intense movements in badminton rely a great deal on the legs, it is wise to focus on strengthening the leg muscles. Weight training can do wonders in increasing balance as the legs become stronger. The muscles of the calves, thighs, and feet need some extra focus, as they have an important role during intense movements.

Also, exercises such as squats, lunges, cycling, among others can help you strengthen your legs.

3. Become conscious of your body’s center of gravity.

Being aware of your body’s center of gravity and reminding yourself to hold to proper form can improve your balance. Initially, you’ll probably have to deliberately practice in lowering your center of gravity during jumps and lunges. The most comfortable and correct stances will need to be practiced before it becomes a habit. It can certainly be a valuable advantage while on the court.

4. Always return to the middle of the court.

Although for some, this might be obvious, for others, not so much. After you hit the shuttle, remind yourself to return to the center of the court. This will ensure that you are ready for the next shot, as it is easier and efficient to move to any place from the center of the court.

Otherwise, if you stay at the place where your opponent hit the shuttle, then you will probably have to do more running to reach the next shots. It’ll be, especially, difficult to reach the shuttle if it lands in the corners.

5. Let your shoulder and wrists do more work.

Instead of, primarily, focusing on your legs, pay attention to using your shoulders, as well as arms more. The shoulder muscles and wrist movements can take the pressure off of the leg muscles, thereby distributing the effect equally between the leg and the shoulder. This will also prevent the legs from becoming fatigued soon. This also helps you improve the balance as being fatigued leads to loss of balance.

6. Consider doing Tai chi or Yoga.

Both Tai chi and Yoga involve excellent postures and movements that can improve your balance. Also, this will help you develop greater flexibility, as well as increase your range of motion.

Tai chi is, essentially, a Chinese art which people of all ages can do. This discipline uses simple flowing movements along with breathing techniques. On the other hand, Yoga is more about stationary postures and breathing exercises. In overall, both of these disciplines can help you improve your physical balance, as well as mental focus.

Last word

Finally, it is just a sport… so relax! Some people see everything as a competition and about proving oneself. However, It doesn’t need to be always like this! So, relax and enjoy the game! Being less hurried will make your movements smoother and give you better balance.