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Old 9th June 2011, 16:02   #1
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Default The right way to play Badminton

Well, here it is. I have been thinking about starting this thread for sometime and had been postponing (Scared of being roughed up on and outside the court).

A little bit of background, i have been playing badminton for last close to over 20 years. Earlier in school days and in MPEB colony in Korba (If some one is from there) and later in Pune, and now in bangalore. Since last 2 years i have taken it more seriously and have tried to improve my game to a level that is satisfactory (Well no level is satisfactory actually).

Had the privilege to interact with "Peter Rasmussen" over the internet and video chat and discussed finer points of the game. He actually published a video tutorial (DVD) of badminton techniques and there is a new one launched which talks about preparation and fitness.

PS : I am no way marketing or endorsing the product . Few assumptions
  • I will not talk about rules i.e. singles/doubles old/new/new new, line rules, all that info can be gathered from other web-sites.
  • I dont consider myself an expert, although i do consider myself decently good at it to train some folks which i occasionally do, and hope to do formally someday.
  • I will talk about my experiences in getting better, choice or rackets, style of play, how to improve, how to spot a weakness in oneself and work on it etc etc.
  • In no way i aim to have a final say, there can be differing opinions and one is free to choose what one prefers (Like for example European, Asian style of play or mix of both).
  • The choice and selection of rackets i will talk about will be restricted to Yonex, again i am neither endorsing the product its just that i have maximum exposure to Yonex line of rackets and know them slightly better than the rest. I have used other brands like "Lining" which Chinese love, Wilson and Ashaway.
  • I will also talk about body pains Elbow, Knee, Wrist, Shoulder, etc etc and what is probably wrong in the game that is causing it, and what should one do when it happens, before going to the doctor.
  • Last but not the least, this is a journey and i am a fellow traveler sharing notes.

So here we go, what exactly i am going to talk about.
  • Style of play
  • Choosing the right rackets (Knowing which rackets suits your style of play (Believe me this takes longer to understand)
  • Holding the racket, movement of wrists, importance of wrists, thumb.
  • Working on movement in the court, court coverage.
  • Working on backhand, alternatives to backhand
  • Working on efficient usage of available stamina and what to fix if you are running out of energy.

For now i will finish this first, and if someone has suggestions to have some additions, editing they are welcome. Folks who are already good at it are welcome to add value to the thread.

Last edited by mayankjha1806 : 10th June 2011 at 11:21. Reason: W.I.P
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Old 9th June 2011, 16:48   #2
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Default Getting better with Badminton

Style of play

Basically there are two styles of play, European and Asian. One might ask whats the difference.

Asian style focuses on using less of backhand and rather convert backhand to forehand by moving further to left and returning it with overhead forehand. Advantages of this is you get more power into your returns, more choice of returns (Like you could smash as well, which is difficult with backhand), more attacking in nature. Disadvantages are you exert more on your body by having extra movement on the court to receive and recoil. Asian style has had a strong focus on physical aspects of badminton. Generally in Asian style you would see more jump smashes.

Europe style traditionally focuses towards tactics and playing creatively. European style is "Take the backhand as backhand" and not to convert it into forehand, you would find lesser of jump smashes in European style.

The other way to classify playing style is "Aggressive and Attacking style" and "Defensive Style". Aggressive style focuses more on getting the opponent in corners and forcing him/her in making mistakes while defensive style focuses more on letting the opponent take the chances and lob the shuttle back to the opponent. In general Aggressive style needs more agility, speed and stamina, whereas defensive style needs more eye hand co-ordination, sharper reflexes.

One might ask what style of play suits me, well usually you wont know until you have played enough, you have figured out how your body moves on the court, how is the stamina level holding up, how quick is your recoil (Return to the center position). Your style of play also depends on your opponent (i.e. you could change your style of play depending on situation) like for example you generally play aggressive style but suddenly find your opponent is much much faster than you and is more agile in this situation you might choose to let him/her take the chances and focus more on defense and tiring him out, once he/she is tired enough you might want to switch back to aggressive style.

The other way to look at it most players play mixed style (European+Asian) "Peter Gade" is more European and "Lin Dan" is more Asian.

Last edited by mayankjha1806 : 10th June 2011 at 06:42. Reason: W.I.P
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Old 10th June 2011, 06:41   #3
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Default Getting better with Badminton

Choosing the right rackets

In this section i will focus mostly with Yonex brands as i have most experience with them. Choosing the right racket is a evolving process. You might want to start with something basic and then graduate to something that suits your style of play. So lets see what are the types of rackets.

Rackets are differentiated by Weight, Weight distribution, Head shape, Shaft being "Flex" or "Stiff".

4U - 80-85 gms
3U - 85-90 gms
2U - 90-95 gms

"So what is this with weight of the racket", one might ask. Well most companies follow the same naming convention like this "2U", "3U" and "4U" for weights. Weight of the racket is very important in your game. For example a heavier "2U" racket might stress your elbow and shoulder out (believe me 5gms is huge when you swing the racket with very high speed) and can start paining, on the other hand very light "4U" rackets can transfer all the jerks from the head hitting the shuttle to the shaft and than to your arm, which in turn will strain your elbow. Later i will show you as an example where to look at these figures in the rackets that i own.

Weight distribution is also very important in improving your game and matching your general style of play. Now weight is distributed either Evenly or Head Heavy or Head Light rackets. Generally Head light rackets are more suited for faster reflexes, easier to move, more suitable for doubles whereas Head heavy are more power generation (for baseline game) more suited for singles games.

Similarly the shaft being Flex or Stiff also adds to the game, stiff usually more suited for more power play in singles and flex more suited for doubles for precision and control.

So lets talk about some range of rackets (Restricting to Yonex).
  • ArcSaber Series - Head heavy racket, more suitable for singles. The Z Slash (New release) is more slimmer and faster for high speed smashes has isometric head. Taufik Hidayat uses this one.
  • Carbonex Series - Balanced racket, can be good for starters. Has oval head.
  • Armortec Series - Again a Head heavy racket, more suitable for singles has isometric head, comes in T (For Technique) and P (For power). Technique more suited for net player and Power more suitable for base line player, But in general both can be used in singles and doubles.
  • Nanospeed Series - High end Head Light racket, more suitable for Doubles.
  • Muscle Power Series - Again low end Head light racket more suitable for Doubles and control/technique player.
  • Voltric Series - Very newly launched, stated to replace the aging Armortec series. Hence Head heavy racket more suitable for power player.

Now if you are new to badminton and want to choose the question might come is which one to use. Well i guess if i was you i would start with Carbonex (Which is balanced) and see how game develops and evolves and then move to another racket depending on the game and body adaptability.

As an example i started with a Carbonex (and that to 2U) racket, in few months my game developed to a stage that my elbow started paining. Went to doctor as usual advise was to rest and use ice pack and some pain killers. Soon i realized this needs my own research as the doctor wouldn't understand badminton. Moved to a 4U racket (Armortec 900 T) the pain persisted as i figured out that it was because of my backhand jerks and a 4U racket was transferring all the jerks to my elbow. Now i have settled with ArcSaber Z Slash (A 3U weight) and the elbow pain is no longer there. In this journey i also figured out that the string tension also adds to the jerk to the elbow hence you might have to try a few strings tension. I tried 24lb to start with then moved to 22lb which is now what suits me.

On what else you should buy and use, always prefer using badminton specific shoes as the grip that they provide on wooden courts is very good, another point to note is always choose Wooden court to play on concrete courts it might hurt you knee and you wont be able to stretch your body to fullest extent.

Another point that needs mentioning is the grip of the racket, choose the right size (G4, G5) which is easier to hold and twist around, also the thickness of the grip is also important folks sometime put overgrip on the racket (Either towel one or synthetic) without realizing that it will increase the thickness and also add to the weight of the racket. I prefer using replacement grip instead of overgrip as it does not add to to the thickness and does not add too much weight.

Last edited by mayankjha1806 : 10th June 2011 at 11:23.
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Old 10th June 2011, 10:50   #4
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Default Re: The right way to play Badminton

A look at stuff that i have

My Z Slash
The right way to play Badminton-img_0532l.jpg

The weight of racket 3U and Grip Size G4
The right way to play Badminton-img_0533l.jpg

Armortec 900T
The right way to play Badminton-img_0535l.jpg
The right way to play Badminton-img_0536l.jpg

Weight 4U and Grip G4
The right way to play Badminton-img_0537l.jpg

Carbonex my oldest racket
The right way to play Badminton-img_0539l.jpg

Weight 2U (Heaviest of all)
The right way to play Badminton-img_0541l.jpg

For my wrist and elbow strengthening
The right way to play Badminton-img_0542l.jpg
Attached Thumbnails
The right way to play Badminton-img_0534l.jpg  

The right way to play Badminton-img_0538l.jpg  

The right way to play Badminton-img_0540l.jpg  


Last edited by mayankjha1806 : 10th June 2011 at 11:07.
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Old 10th June 2011, 11:26   #5
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Default Re: The right way to play Badminton

Holding the racket, movement of wrists, importance of wrists, thumb

and

Working on movement in the court, court coverage.

These two put together are heart of badminton. Most folks that help are stuck here and believe me this takes longest time to change mostly because of mental block of Don't want to loose the game

One should hold the racket like a Shake-Hand with the grip slightly loose so as you can twist the racket when needed. Initially you will generate most of the power through your shoulders and later learn to generate the same using less arm swing by only using wrist and elbow, and at this time one would need to twist the racket (especially for backhand) and hence learning to hold it loose would help in graduating to this state. The thumb plays a very-very important role in backhand (We will talk more about this later) in short the thumb needs to move to the side of the grip while returning backhand and into its normal position when returning forehand.

You should be comfortable to move the wrist 360 degrees, if there is any pain in the wrist its better to work on strengthening it first before trying out backhand. A good wrist movement also adds to variety of stroke play and deception.

Movement in badminton court is like organised rhythmical dancing, its never hurried, in most of the cases i can safely say one shouldn't be running while playing badminton, if ever need to run to receive a return it means the problem is not in speed (or stamina) while reaching the shuttle but the problem could be (There are other cases as well) with the speed of recoiling to the center position. So it may be that in the earlier return one did not recoil well hence needed to run in the next one.

Before one starts playing it is recommended to practice reach and recoil. Start with the front left of the court stretch the legs and arms as if returning a net placement, recoil back to the center, then do the same on the right side of the net, recoil, then baseline left side, recoil and then baseline right side of the court and recoil back to the center. This way you are always returning to the center of the court after every return.

Also what i have noticed is folks stamp their feet on the court, this is not needed and in fact it will only harm your legs and knees. While returning the shuttle stretch the legs and hands to the safe-maximum and then return the shuttle, there is no need to get very close to the shuttle as long as you can reach it with hands and legs stretched. This helps in covering distance in very few steps and easy recoil. Rather then running to one end of the court and then back to the center one would find this more efficient.

The other mistake i see folks make is they don't use their complete body to generate power and get either tired very soon or have pains in Shoulders and Arms (as most of the power is generated by hand). Like a fast bowler one should twist ones shoulders (Assuming a right hand player) the shoulders should be in line with the court, the left one pointing at the opponent and the right one towards the baseline, similarly the left leg needs to ahead and the right leg behind. The hand then moves and the body twists making racket contacting the shuttle, the right leg in the process moves and lands ahead of the left leg - body bending forward and already in the process of recoil.

Talking about backhand needs more preparation, need to take a few pictures especially with grip etc. So until then here we go, please fire in your experiences, questions, comments and additional info (if it isn't already there).

Last edited by mayankjha1806 : 10th June 2011 at 13:37.
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Old 10th June 2011, 13:56   #6
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Default Re: The right way to play Badminton

Note from Support: Thread moved to Public domain from Assembly line section. Thanks for sharing
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Old 10th June 2011, 14:34   #7
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Default Re: The right way to play Badminton

Thank you for sharing this. I like playing a game of badminton once in a while, but I was not at all aware of the different kind of rackets.

Very detailed explanation and it sure made a very interesting read.

Curious to know what the rubber thinge with 5 holes are called and how do you use it? Please excuse my question if it is a foolish one as I am complete noob when it comes to badminton.

Marking this thread a well deserved 5 stars.
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Old 10th June 2011, 15:10   #8
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Default Re: The right way to play Badminton

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Originally Posted by theexperthand View Post
Thank you for sharing this. I like playing a game of badminton once in a while, but I was not at all aware of the different kind of rackets.

Very detailed explanation and it sure made a very interesting read.

Curious to know what the rubber thinge with 5 holes are called and how do you use it? Please excuse my question if it is a foolish one as I am complete noob when it comes to badminton.

Marking this thread a well deserved 5 stars.
Thank you theexperthand.

The rubber thingy is to be put in all five fingers (including thumb) and then stretched. It's for exercising wrist and elbow muscles.
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Old 10th June 2011, 16:19   #9
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Default Re: The right way to play Badminton

Hi,

Thanks for sharing!. mayankjha1806, Everytime I start my game, after about 2 or three days of regular play, I experience severe pain in my arm (tennis elbow) and that forces me to change my style of game. Is there a way/exercise/warm up to get around this?. Apart from physiotherapy and consulting a doctor of course.

I use a 2U G5 Carbonex racket. May be because of that?. If so, how much does the ArcSaber Z Slash cost?

Thanks.

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Old 10th June 2011, 16:32   #10
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HI Mayank,

I used to play a lot of badminton during my school days b ut never have been able to revive my passion for the game. I used to play with the Yonex rackets and in those days the shuttle cocks used to be brought by individuals and hence some time contributions by fellow school mates for the pack of shuttlecocks.

Thanks for putting so much about the sport. Your posts brought back some old memories.
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Old 10th June 2011, 16:35   #11
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Originally Posted by dhanushs View Post
Hi,

Thanks for sharing!. mayankjha1806, Everytime I start my game, after about 2 or three days of regular play, I experience severe pain in my arm (tennis elbow) and that forces me to change my style of game. Is there a way/exercise/warm up to get around this?. Apart from physiotherapy and consulting a doctor of course.

Thanks.
Hummm, let me try, i will share what i did, but if the pain is unbearable please see a doctor. In no way i am trying to take any business away from Doc

First Buy following items
  • Dumbles (Weights 2/3 Kg)
  • Rubber thingy that is shown in pictures
  • Tennis elbow strap (You get decent ones in MK Retail) can show pictures of that tomorrow.
  • Ice Pack, will again post pictures tomorrow.

Now first we need to figure out where is the problem. I cant see how old/healthy you are so will guess. The problem could be in racket, string tension or the elbow muscles. Usually elbow muscles pain if you are jerking your arm a lot and they are unable to bear the jerk.
  • Put the ice pack in the freezer overnight and then take it along when you go play. Put the ice pack after every game this should provide immediate relief from pain
  • Put the Tennis elbow strap while playing this would prevent further damage to the muscles
  • Work on getting the muscles stronger by exercise. Use the rubber thingy (do 20/40/60 times every morning). Use weights/Dumbles on a stool edge keep your arm on the stool and hold the weight and move the wrist up/down (10/20/30 times)
  • The pain should go away, but it still persists than maybe we need to look at your racket weight, try using a different racket or different tension string.

Now as i said earlier i am assuming that generally you are healthy its just that the elbow isn't used to such strain and needs some strength building. I might be wrong (meaning elbow is really weak and just cant be improved to take the strain - Usually this isn't the case) in this senerio you will have to always wear the elbow strap and change the game slightly so as not to excessively strain the elbow.

Ahhh, sorry i did not read your full message, please first change the racket to 3U one, please. That should solve it. Apologies.


I bought ArcSaber Z Slash from UK for pounds 150, but look at Yonex Voltric (its a new launch from Yonex) and i am sure that should suit you, i am also planning to upgrade to Voltric. The isometric has a much larger sweet spot hence will help.

Maybe you could PM me and we can talk to provide more help.

Last edited by mayankjha1806 : 10th June 2011 at 17:01.
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Old 10th June 2011, 16:36   #12
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@mayankjha1806 - Thanks for sharing these finer points related to this wonderful game. I have been playing on and off for over the last 20 years and IMO this game provides one of the best physical workouts possible.

During college and initial professional life, I was fortunate enough to have a close friend who played at state level. It is a treat to watch such people play. How shots are placed, how to conserve energy and the right stance to ensure maximum court coverage.

A few additional points that I try and follow religiously
1. A warm up is essential to get your eyes adjusted to the moving s'cock and the artificial lighting inside.
2. Alway try and hit the s'cock when it is at an elevation of about 45 degrees. This places the least amount of strain on your neck as you look upwards, and physics will tell us that max distance can be achieved with this trajectory
3. Use your non playing hand to kind of 'center' the s'cock before you hit it. This to ensure you get a good hit from the racquets' center rather than a frame hit.
4. The grip is an essential part of the racquet and it should be just thick enough that your finger curl comfortably without touching the palm.
5. Practice with the plastic shuttles. Carlton or Yonex are best. Feather ones will require more energy to hit and it's good to switch once you have a good control over the game.
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Old 10th June 2011, 17:04   #13
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Default Re: The right way to play Badminton

Excellent thread! I recently started reading about correct way of playing badminton and was watching some videos on youtube. Good to see this topic being discussed in TBHP.
Mayank,
I have started playing regular badminton since last six months. I never was a regular player in school. Cricket always took precedence over badminton at school.
After playing for a couple of months my ankles started paining. It's not an unbearable pain, but increases when I play daily for more than 1.5hrs. However it is severe when I wake up early in the morning. But subsides within 10-15 min with some casual walking and then I'm normal. If I give one week gap, then this problem disappears but again appears when I start playing daily. Thought of visiting doctor, but again I'm not sure how much doctor would understand problem because I suspect it could be problem with my technique of finishing the smashes and landing after a jump. Or it could be because I'm overweight by 15kg than the normal weight range. Do share if your thoughts on this.

Regarding the posture on the court, I somewhere read that my right leg should be forward (I'm a right hander) when I'm receiving or serving so that I'm prepared for backhand. Indeed what I read was that right leg should always move in conjunction with right hand. For example, if I strech towards left corner near the net I should keep my right leg forward rather than left leg. I was trying to bring this change in my movements forcefully. Before I go further, it wold be better if an expert like you confirms whether this is the right way!

Again, appreciate bringing up this topic in this forum.

Cheers
CSR
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Old 10th June 2011, 17:14   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmxylorider View Post
A few additional points that I try and follow religiously
1. A warm up is essential to get your eyes adjusted to the moving s'cock and the artificial lighting inside.
2. Alway try and hit the s'cock when it is at an elevation of about 45 degrees. This places the least amount of strain on your neck as you look upwards, and physics will tell us that max distance can be achieved with this trajectory
3. Use your non playing hand to kind of 'center' the s'cock before you hit it. This to ensure you get a good hit from the racquets' center rather than a frame hit.
4. The grip is an essential part of the racquet and it should be just thick enough that your finger curl comfortably without touching the palm.
5. Practice with the plastic shuttles. Carlton or Yonex are best. Feather ones will require more energy to hit and it's good to switch once you have a good control over the game.
Very rightly said mmxylorider

Quote:
Originally Posted by csr View Post
After playing for a couple of months my ankles started paining. It's not an unbearable pain, but increases when I play daily for more than 1.5hrs. However it is severe when I wake up early in the morning. But subsides within 10-15 min with some casual walking and then I'm normal. If I give one week gap, then this problem disappears but again appears when I start playing daily. Thought of visiting doctor, but again I'm not sure how much doctor would understand problem because I suspect it could be problem with my technique of finishing the smashes and landing after a jump. Or it could be because I'm overweight by 15kg than the normal weight range. Do share if your thoughts on this.

Regarding the posture on the court, I somewhere read that my right leg should be forward (I'm a right hander) when I'm receiving or serving so that I'm prepared for backhand. Indeed what I read was that right leg should always move in conjunction with right hand. For example, if I strech towards left corner near the net I should keep my right leg forward rather than left leg. I was trying to bring this change in my movements forcefully. Before I go further, it wold be better if an expert like you confirms whether this is the right way!

Again, appreciate bringing up this topic in this forum.

Cheers
CSR
Hello CSR, thank you for posting. Are you stamping your feet, or are you gently moving around the court (I am assuming its a wooden court).

The right leg thingy needs more explanation. In general "For the right hand player" right leg should be behind the left leg, while returning shuttles on the net the right leg moves ahead hands stretched to reach the shuttle. While returning from baseline you "Kick" with your right leg from behind causing a mild/massive jump and then hit the shuttle and land with right leg ahead of left with body bent forward. This way you are already in recovery mode as you land. Hope this helps.
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Old 10th June 2011, 17:23   #15
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Default Re: The right way to play Badminton

Quote:
Originally Posted by mayankjha1806 View Post
Very rightly said mmxylorider



Hello CSR, thank you for posting. Are you stamping your feet, or are you gently moving around the court (I am assuming its a wooden court).
I think I'm stamping on the court more often than not.
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