Badminton Footwork and Position on the Court

Badminton is a quick and complex sport to master. There are a lot of aspects you should pay attention to.

Among these aspects is movement.

It’s so to speak one of the key elements in this, as well as in other sports. Generally, badminton players tend to make lots of sprints and runs.

While it may seem that they are only running on a small rectangle shaped court, which is true, in reality, the amount of distance they cover is extraordinary.

Without proper footwork and positioning, you are bound to have difficulties winning a match. You have to be constantly ready because your opponent can strike or change up the game at any given second.

Position Matters

There are several ways to react to each shot or smash, and that’s why you have to memorize these movements and have them ready for use when such situation comes. Quick feet can be the difference between losing and winning a point.

The basic idea is to always play the birdie from the highest point possible. What does it mean? Well, don’t let the birdie fall from the air because it’s very difficult to impose a threatening shot from a downward falling position. Since it’s already heading towards the ground you need to get it up in the air again to maintain the exchange. This gives your adversary less to worry about and a comfortable position to plan the next move. This applies especially on the net.

If you succeed and position yourself in time to get to the birdie you can prepare yourself for a nice smashing position or a net kill and potentially end the exchange in a quick way.

On the other hand, when you need to get to the backcourt your footwork is as important as in the previous case, if not more. A late arrival here could result into losing a point and it’s generally known that if the birdie falls below the net level it’s extremely difficult, even for experienced players, to play a decent shot.

In other words, it’s quite probable that if you don’t make it in time to the baseline you might lose a point. It’s also pretty helpful to get behind the birdie since it grants you more stability and options. If you aren’t quick enough you might end up playing the birdie from a position behind your body. You can, of course, play all the shots, but they will probably be less effective.

A good position in court can grant you stability and oversight which are both great assets to a badminton player. The basic badminton footwork should be most of all organized. If you take a moment before the match a think about the best badminton movement strategy you could use, you are already making a great step towards success.

You can have a great smash technique with the most powerful shot of all, but it’s useless if you can’t return your opponent’s shot back to him, to maintain the game in progress.

Base Position

Your base starting point, so the point to which you should always return after hitting the birdie, should be in the middle of the court. Why? The approximate center of the court gives you the best position to react to whichever side your adversary chooses to place the birdie on. It’s of great importance to always return to the starting point because you re-acquire the position from which you can swiftly react to all sides of the court.

Now let’s take a look at some techniques that might improve your badminton footwork. We will focus on step distribution, so in less technical terms: How many steps should you make? The key to these is that you should always have a good balance and shouldn’t trip or fall down when moving.

If you are just starting out with badminton don’t be bound by these rules, feel free to take some extra steps and with time and practice, you will eventually come to these numbers.

It will be easier to distinguish the court into three parts:

  • Back
  • Side
  • Front

Badminton Base Position

You should take 2-3 steps to get from the starting position to the backcourt. It should be manageable and enable you to get behind the birdie.

For the side part of the court, approximately 1 step should be enough to react properly to your opponent’s shots.

And finally, use up to 3 steps to get to the frontcourt to get that quick reaction and decisive smash.

Maintain Balance

All these badminton steps and badminton movements should be done while maintaining balance. One thing that may help you with this is your other free hand. Use the hand in which you don’t hold the racket to navigate and help you keep balance.

Keep it wide open to prevent falls and injuries.

Another useful tip is to have one of your legs slightly in front and the other one in the back when awaiting your adversary’s serve. This way, when the service is heading to the front part you can use your back leg to react and vise versa. Employ your front leg when the serve is flying closer to the baseline.

However, be careful because poor footwork can lead to injuries and consequently to bigger issues.

Also keep in mind that this should be a guide not a strict rule book, so the best way to determine whether these tips are the right ones for you is to go out and try them in a match.

These insights should help you get better in your badminton movement, but the most important thing is that you feel comfortable with your footwork and that it doesn’t negatively affect your overall performance.

Daniel Wright

I'm a former professional badminton player from Belgium. I have won multiple local tournaments and have gained many experiences during my career. Badminton has remained my passion, and therefore I have decided to create this website, where I can post various tips from the badminton world. Read more...

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