The Philosophy of the Badminton Game
Badminton is one of the fastest sports in the world, and a smash by a Chinese player has been measured at 206 miles per hour, faster even than a golf ball. Just as badminton has grown in popularity around the world in the past 20 years, and has now been recognized as an Olympic Sport, the sport itself has also changed a great deal. Sports science and tactical and training innovations as well as industrial research in racket production have revolutionized the sport in recent years. This dynamic sport has long ceased to have anything in common with the birdie in the backyard or the genteel aristocratic sport of yesteryear. Nowadays, only pros who are completely dedicated to the sport can survive at world class level.
Better and better training methods and game analyses have led to extremely high level performances, which the lay observer hardly notices due to the speed of the movements involved. While until the mid-1980s, sweeping strokes and wrist movements were part of the standard repertoire, world-class badminton now features short backswings in order to considerably reduce the opponent’s reaction time.
A good example of this is the serve, which nowadays is almost always performed as a backhand in both singles and doubles matches by elite players, with a short backswing. The understanding of the biomechanics of the basic forearm twist revolutionized the thinking about training methods, as it is not the wrist that is fundamental for most strokes, but the twist of the forearm.
Badminton places demands on the whole body, from speed to concentration and conditions to sensitivity, coordination and finesse. The game is very complex, but nevertheless, beginners can make rapid progress in their game after just a few training sessions, which is one reason why badminton is such a popular high school sport.
In simple terms, the aim of the game is to place the shuttle where the opponent can no longer reach it or can only return it with difficulty. The corners of the opponents’ court are therefore tactically the most sensible points to aim for, as they are furthest away from the opponent. The following chapters present the different strokes, running techniques and tactical concepts available to the player. The book is especially aimed at beginners and club players who do not have a coach. The optimal execution of strokes exploiting the body’s full potential is the basic requirement for playing top class badminton.
It takes years of training to unlearn incorrect movement sequences, and players have a fatal tendency to revert to old patterns under the pressure of competition, hence the need to learn to play badminton systematically and correctly right from the start. The stroke techniques described in the pages that follow are intended for right-handed players and should be adapted for left-handers. When I refer to doubles, I include men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles.
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