Monthly Tip - June 2013

Badminton – a game of two halves

In many instances in the UK a young player turns up to learn Badminton, is immediately given a racket and then off he / she goes with grips, clears/smashes, drops etc, etc, etc.

Is this right?

There has always been a “rumour” that in China (the best nation in the world!!!!) young players don’t hit shuttles for quite a while instead hitting shapes are learned along with footwork patterns.

I’m sure we know better though, we know that the best time to learn footwork is when it’s not very good, usually at age about 16 !!!!

The truth is that there are facts about the two halves of Badminton which seem obvious, that is that the bottom half (from waist down) needs to be learned early whilst the top half (hitting) can be developed throughout a lifetime of playing.

I think this is true.

There is the case of Steve Butler (former top English player) who under the guidance of Lee Jae Bok was told that his movement was not as good as it could be. Steve was an established senior player at the time so this would not have been great news, however such was Steve's determination that he took considerable time out to correct it and then came back and won the Scottish Open. Not many players are as keen as Steve though, conversely I doubt that he would have had to take much time off at all to learn a new stroke or a variation on an existing one.

If you believe this, then the implications for coaching young players is simple, coach movement first. We now have an U15 European Championships, this means that to do well in that, any player will need to be very competent in all sorts of areas and at a much younger age than 20 years ago, certainly in movement. The thing about movement of course is that it must be automatic, no player can be thinking as they go to the rear court “I mustn’t forget to do my scissor jump “ it will either happen or it won’t.

If it doesn’t then that’s not good and it will make no difference how good the player is with the racket if they can’t travel efficiently.

So there we are

  • Train the bottom half first
  • Learn some correct hitting shapes (without the shuttle)
  • Plenty of time to train the top half