Exercises to really improve Badminton Footwork

Exercises to really improve Badminton Footwork

Here is how to improve your badminton footwork.

I am sure everyone can agree that if we cannot reach the shuttlecock, then there is no way we can win the point, period. You may be a technical genius but if you are not in the right position at the right time, then even with amazing hand skills, it will not be of any use.

One of the best badminton players in the world Lin Dan, has most probably the best footwork in the business, his ability to cover the court so well, and from difficult positions, makes him super good and a terrifying opponent to face.

Badminton exercises for recovery footwork

Not many private badminton coaches focus on this aspect of the footwork, however if you go to serious training centers or academies, this is something they work on and spend more time in compared to normal badminton athletes.

Here are the standard few exercises that will help you with your movement.

1)      Shuttle runs

2)      Shadow badminton

3)      Pattern drills on court with and without a shuttle

4)      Fast feet exercises

5) Plyometric exercises

A different way of training

Training for pace intensity

Training for pace intensity requires completely different processes.

1)      Training your eyes – if you don’t see the shuttle quick enough, then you’re already “late” in your movement.

2)      Training your reflexes – this involves the reflex of getting started from wherever you may be on court.

3)      Conditioning your muscles to perform faster.

4)      Testing new tensions in your racquet once your skill has improved.

5)      Consideration to food intake in relation to what you eat and when you eat it.

Eye Training

1)      Cover the net with a non see-through cloth such as a black bin liner or lightweight material. Ask the player to take up a base position on the front service line in one half of the court. The feeder throws shuttles just over the net in the same half of the court for the player to step forward and play a net shot reply (1 set is 1 dozen shuttles). The player is therefore scanning continuously for the shuttle to appear and then has to quickly respond with a net shot.

2)      Increase the speed of your feed so that the player then has little time to recover to base before they are moving again. Vary the feed along the half court net area and make sure the feed is intermittent. We are not developing a new rhythm here, but pushing the eyes to scan. Take a break after 2 sets as this can be hard on the eyes and concentration.

3)      Feeder throws from just below tape height so the shuttle is approximately 3-5cm above the tape. Player steps in to hit shuttle to the floor. Note: feeders must not be facing the player but standing just off court. The shuttle should be aimed straight up near tramlines and the player should be able to kill straight or into court.

4)      As exercise no 3 but multi-feed with speed

Reflex Training

Player 1 metre from T piece (near mid court) facing rear court.

1)      On a set command player turns to face feeder and adopts ready position. Feeder is stood on opposing T piece. Feeder throws the shuttle over the net once they shout a command such as “turn”. The shuttle can be aimed in specific areas  (begin with 1 area and add more as you go along) such as forehand net, backhand net, mid court, at the player. Player has to immediately go to shuttle and play a shot aimed away from feeder.

This is a huge exercise which should be developed over time. Increase the degree of difficulty by adding another target area for the feeder and/or add a target area the player must play the shuttle to.

Conditioning Your Muscles To Perform Faster

As this article is already getting long, I’ll list a few ideas here and would also advise adding specific exercises in the gym to train explosive power – not muscle mass.

1)      Playing to music

2)      Skipping to music

3)      1 v 2 half court, 1 v 2 full court, 1 v 3 full court, 1 v4 full court


OK, I’m skimping on writing more detail on some of the latter exercises because I’d like to see what kind of response I get to this article first. If you like what I’m saying and want more information, then email me or comment below.

I really believe that these exercises in total will significantly improve your footwork and overall badminton too. Developing an ability to play a faster-paced game increases your tactical options against any opponent. To do this, you need to improve your speed at which you see the shuttle, reaction time to commence moving to the shuttle, actual movement to the shuttle, and recovery to base.

Written by Paul Stewart

Recommended book

Skills, Drills & Strategies for Badminton (The Teach, Coach, Play Series) 

This book illustrates correct techniques and demonstrates how to achieve optimal results in Badminton. It focuses on skills and drills or program design, and addresses a broad range of strategies specifically designed to improve performance now and in the future.

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