Badminton is a complex and demanding sport. There is a lot of variables that come into play in order to improve your game. In this article, we will give you 19 useful badminton drills in order to become a better badminton player.
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Badminton drills for practicing shots
Being able to shoot consistently and to move your racket fast enough from one position to the other is a key element to badminton. Without good shots, you can be the fastest person on the court that all possibility of victory will be lost. The following exercises will help you in improving your shots.
Clear static drill
This drill is intended for two players, which will both perform the drill together. You should both place yourselves at a point in the backcourt. In order to have an easier time keeping a reference of where you have to be, it is recommended that you stay either in the intersection between the center service line and the backline or in the intersection between the side singles line and the backline.
The aim of this drill is to shoot your clear to the other person so neither of you has to move from your position. This drill aims at improving the accuracy of your clear shot.
Clear non-static drill
A variation of the above also includes some movement to make it more challenging and also more similar to real game situations. In this drill, you both move from one back corner of the court to the other back corner of the court. One of you will always shoot parallel clears, whilst the other will always shoot diagonal clears. After a bit, you can switch roles so however was first shooting parallel clears shoots diagonal clears and the other way around.
If you can’t really get your head around this drill, let me explain it a bit more. There are two players, player 1 and player 2. Each player has two corners, corner A and corner B. So, the starting point can be player 1 in corner 1A and player 2 in corner 2B. Player 1 would start with a parallel clear from corner 1A to corner 2B. Then player 2 will react by sending the clear from corner 2B to corner 1B. Player 1 will react shooting back from 1B to 2A. Finally, player 2 will hit the last shot of the round by hitting back from corner 2A to corner 1A. From there, the rally will repeat itself. 1A to 2B, 2B to 1B, 1B to 2A and 2A to 1A.
Drop static drill
This drill is very similar to the clear static drill, but with the difference that one of the players is in the net instead of in the backcourt. In this drill, one player performs drop shots, whereas the other player performs net lift shots. The idea, though, is that both have a defined location/corner of the court and that the shuttle has to travel from one to the other. This drill will be more useful to the person performing the drops, but the player on the net lifting the shuttles can also take advantage of it.
If you are not sure how to perform a drop shot, you can have a look at our badminton drop shot post, where we explain all the different types of drop shots and a step by step guide on how to perform them.
Drop drill with static net player
In this drill, the player in the net stays in the same position all the time. However, the player performing the drops move all around the back of the court, so the player lifting the shuttle can decide where he or she sends it. This drill approximates better real game situations as the player performing the drops will have to move around in order to catch the shuttle.
Drop and net drill with static net player
This is the same drill as the previous one, but an extra step is added. Instead of always lifting the shuttle to the end of the court, the static net player will combine lift shots with net shots. The player performing the drill will then have to move from the front of the court to the back of the court, always returning the shuttle to the position of the static net player. The net player can either do the shots alternatively (one lift, one net, one lift, one net…) or randomly, so more difficulty is added.
Drop and lift non-static drill
In this drill, the two players play an equally active role in the exercise. The drill is similar to the previous one, but both players will move from the front to the back of the court. The sequence will be as follows:
- Player 1 serves a high serve.
- Player 2 returns a drop shot.
- Player 1 returns a net shot.
- Player 2 returns a lift shot.
- Player 1 returns a drop shot.
- Player 2 returns a net shot.
After this, player 1 will return a lift shot, which will leave the drill in the same position as it was in the start with a high serve. The drill will continue onwards until somebody misses a shot.
Net static drill
In this drill, both players are nearby the net and try to do a continuous rally by sending the shuttle back and forth with net shots. The focus during this drill should be on proper net shot technique.
Serving challenge drill
This drill will help you become more accurate with your service. In The Badminton Guide, we have created a badminton service guide that explains to you how to serve in badminton, including some not so well known service faults that you can be committing without realizing.
This badminton drill is performed by locating boxes in different positions of the court. The aim should be to get as many shuttles in the boxes as possible. To make this more interesting, you can compete against other players and try to see who gets more shuttles inside the boxes. Another additional step to make it more interesting is to give a different value to the different boxes. For example, if you have boxes of different sizes, you can give the smallest size boxes more points as it is more difficult to hit the target with a smaller box.
Multiple shuttles – Overhead strokes
This drill requires the help of an additional person (the feeder) and as many shuttles as you can get your hands on. The feeder will feed you the shuttle in all the area of the backcourt. Your aim is to hit every shuttle correctly and with maximum intent. It is recommended to go back to the center of the court after each shot in order to bring real game situations into play. You can alternate between forehand and backhand shots, also combining clears, drops and smashes.
If you want to know all the options you have when performing overhead strokes, be sure to check our badminton shots list, where all the shots in badminton are described.
Multiple shuttles – Net play
This drill requires also the help of an additional person (the feeder) and as many shuttles as you can get your hands on. The feeder will feed you the shuttle in all the area of the net. Your aim is to hit every shuttle correctly and with maximum intent. It is recommended to go back to the center of the court after each shot in order to bring real game situations into play. You can alternate between forehand and backhand shots, also combining net shots, kill shots and lift shots.
Wall rally drill
To perform this drill, you only need your racket, an old shuttle, and a wall. The idea of this drill is to hit the shuttle against the wall and try to keep it in the air for as long as possible, while also combining different types of shots.
This drill will not only help you in practicing your shots, but it will also help your endurance and also your reflexes, as the shuttle will bounce very fast and sometimes in an unexpected direction from the wall.
Badminton drills for footwork
Footwork is one of the key elements that you need to focus on if you want to improve your badminton game. In our badminton footwork guide, we have explained all the basics you need to know in order to perform good footwork. But only knowing them intellectually is not enough. You need to build those basics into your muscle memory so you can perform the right footwork without having to think about it. And this is where the following exercise comes into play.
This is the most basic drills for footwork. There are many variations to it, but they all come from the same principles, so they are all explained here. Although no shuttle is involved, you should be moving as you were in the middle of a match. Intensity and focus are critical to making the drill meaningful. At first, you should focus more on proper form than on speed. The more you get used to moving in the proper manner, the faster you can then go.
To perform this drill, you basically move from the center of the court to all the six corners performing the proper footwork. Ideally, you want to perform this exercise with a partner. The partner stands in front of you and directs you to the next corner of his or her choice. This way you don’t need to decide by yourself where the next movement needs to be.
You can also make this drill more focused and only move from the center to one corner and back to the center. You can also combine two movements in one, for example, going first to your forehand front corner and then to the forehand side, mimicking what would happen if you first had to catch a drop shot and you decided to lift it and then had to react to a smash.
As we said at the beginning of the section, the possibilities for this are endless. You should always include footwork exercises into your training routine if you really want to become a good badminton player. Peter Gade, which we will quote in the next part, recommends the footwork to be done at the beginning of each training.
Badminton drills to build reflexes and agility
Reflexes and agility are a very important part of badminton because of the speed at which badminton is played. Being able to react to the shot of your opponent in a timely manner will give you an edge on your game. The following exercises, taken from a conference that Peter Gade did in 2013, will help you improve these skills.
Turn around and catch the ball
This drill goes a little away from a real game situation but can help a lot with reflexes. To perform this drill, you need an additional person that can feed you the balls.
You start with the waiting position but facing the back of the court instead of the net. The other person is on the net on your side of the court. You need to turn around with a jump. While performing this turn, the feeder will throw you the ball somewhere close to you. When landing after the turn, you should be doing what is called a split-step or split jump, and you need to move quickly and try to catch the ball with your hands.
This drill will help you to improve your reflexes so you move fast after the split step.
Catch the ball while it falls
Another similar drill is to, again, get into a waiting position. Your partner will then drop the ball from the top and you have to catch it before it touches the floor. The drill can be made more complicated by forcing the ball to be caught from the top or by starting with your hand on your back. In the video below you can find how this is performed and all the variations with the explanation of Peter Gade. The volume of the video is quite low but the advice is priceless.
Split step “dance”
This drill can improve your agility. Starting from the split step position, the idea is to move one of your two feet one step in front, while also crossing it in front of the other. It is a step forward but diagonally. Once that is done, you then move the foot back to the initial position. The trick here is doing this as fast as possible while still performing it properly, thus not moving the other foot from its position. In the following video, you will find the explanation and demonstration, plus some other smaller exercises to improve your agility.
Badminton drills to have fun
King of the Court
This drill is very useful if you are training with a lot of other players. Players will be able to practice real game situations but more than two people will be placed on each court. In this drill, one person starts as a king of the court, while all the others start a queue to become the challengers. The first challenger steps on the court and plays a normal rally with the king of the court.
If the king of the court wins the rally, he adds a point to his or her score, while the challenger has to leave the court and has his or her position taken by the next challenger.
If the challenger wins the rally, he becomes king of the court, moves to the other side of the court and adds a point to his or her score. The king of the court moves out from the court joining the queue of challengers, while the first new challenger moves into the court to challenge the new king of the court.
This can go on for a predefined set of time. At the end of the time, the person that has more points in his or her score is the winner of the game.
If you want to become the King of the Court every time you play, you can check our badminton tactics post, where you will find very useful strategies to improve your chances of winning.
This drill is also very useful if you are a bit short of space to train singles. Instead of having to use a full-court, you can do half-court singles. This drill will help with resistance because the rallies tend to be longer. It will also help with shot accuracy because you are playing on only half the surface and therefore you need to focus on the landing position of your shots.
2 versus 1
This is a great exercise if you are a better player than the people you are training with. In this drill, you play against two other players, both you and them playing within the singles court. Your two opponents will play in a front-back situation, which means that you will be very pressured and will not be able to do any lazy shots to recover.
This is a fun game to play in order to shake things and change a bit the rules of badminton. In this game, there are four players playing in a doubles court, but instead of playing in couples, you each own half of your court and you play by yourself. If a player misses the shot or if the shuttle lands on his part of the court, that player loses a point. Usually, there is a fifth player waiting outside of the court and that player would take the position of the player that has just lost the rally.
There are a lot of variations to this game. In one of them, for example, you are only allowed to kill/smash to the side of the court of the person that lifts the shuttle. This rules out the possibility of somebody doing a very easy shot, so the player that is on your side can get smashed and thus lose the rally.
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And with this, we have arrived at the end of this post. Are there any drills that you did not know about but that you found useful? Do you use any drills that you think are very important and have not been added to the post? Then let us know in the comments below!