Balance is a vital aspect of the match because it enables swiftness – allowing you to receive more shots, move across the court faster, and to be more accurate in your game. Not only that but perfecting the balance you need allows you to remain more flexible, and also reduces the risk of injury. That’s why balance is important in badminton.
Here’s how – explained in greater detail further along in the article:
A lowered center of gravity will allow your reaction time to greatly improve. Better balance accentuates your movements and steers your body precisely towards the shuttle in order to land the perfect shot. You’ll notice a visible improvement in your game once you work on your balance.
Secondly, a more balanced posture will aid you when it comes to being more accurate. When rightly balanced, you can ensure you’ll hit the shuttle to the best of your abilities. Further along, you will find that balance has a startlingly multi-dimensional effect on your game.
As a sport, badminton is pretty much an all-rounder. It engages your full body, utilizing mainly your calf muscles, arm strength, glutes, and hamstrings. So, the sport requires a full-body equilibrium, which is why it can be harder to obtain and can truly lend you a leaner, far more toned figure if played regularly, at a higher level.
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Here are some important tips for you to note down when it comes to improving your balance:
Don’t slack on the warm-up
Now here’s something people tend to readily neglect. Think of it as revving up your car and getting the engine ready before you begin to drive out on a cold, winter day. A warm-up precedes each and every sport and is essential to the game.
It prepares the body, gradually amplifies the heart rate, and increases blood flow to the muscles. You’re going to need to work up that sweat before you really start sweating! A good warm-up session is proven to reduce the risk of injury, gear up your muscles in shape and to meet you halfway there when it comes to the balance you’re looking to achieve.
Now, let’s talk about some of the factors that determine your balance in badminton.
The two factors balance depends on
Mainly, there are two aspects to working on that body balance in badminton. They are the primary functions of balance, necessary during every game. The first and foremost is the center of gravity of the body, and secondly, the right use of the non-racket arm. Let’s examine these factors in a bit more detail:
Why is the center of gravity important for balance?
Here’s a basic principle you need to keep in mind – lowering your center of gravity will increase your body balance, and make you more stable. For instance, if you stand with your two feet further apart, your balance will subsequently increase.
Let’s take the apt example of a sumo wrestler. A sumo wrestler will stand with both his feet wide apart, and his body slightly lowered. It is not a stance to scare the enemy – rather, it lowers his center of gravity, making him unmovable. He won’t budge. Hence, much like any other sport, your stance will support your game, and polish your skill. You can draw strength and power from your stance.
In badminton, you should stand with your feet wide apart and evenly spaced while you swing or hit the birdie. There are specific stances your body can assume to find the right balance for every kind of shot and position.
In our badminton footwork guide, you will find even more information about the lower center of gravity and a much more comprehensive answer to the role that balance plays in your footwork.
Why is the non-racket arm important for balance?
Now, it is not merely your racket hand that you need to take into perspective when playing badminton, but your non-racket arm is just as essential and must be put to good use.
Focusing on two key movements – the extension and contraction of the non-racket arm help balance the body when you are using your racket arm in the game.
It’s not just you who is paying attention to the balance you need, but your body is inclined to aid you in the process instinctively. Notice this – when you swing your racket arm for a shot, your other, non-racket arm, too, will extend upwards, naturally. Unexpectantly, this is your body reacting to the shift in balance and helping you regain it. This is a subconscious phenomenon, and you probably won’t even know you’re acting upon the mechanism. However, once you’re aware of it, as you are now, you can further work on your balance by improving the posture, and practice it of your own accord.
This will most definitely improve your game!
How to maintain your balance in different circumstances
Now, we will proceed to break down the essentials of the game in terms of balance for different circumstances during the game.
Maintaining your balance when receiving shots
In the process of receiving shots, you may sometimes be so centered on making it, that you plunge forward, and look up instead of figuring out the proper placement of the feet. Your foot movement is essential. While hitting the birdie, pay attention to your footwork till it becomes muscle memory. Ensure that your feet are spaced apart and the knees bent to lower your center of gravity. Remember – don’t forget the non-racket arm!
Maintaining your balance while performing a jump smash
A smash is one of the most difficult tricks to master as a novice badminton player. The action itself calls upon you jumping as high as possible, meeting the birdie mid-air and hitting it with an overhead swing motion. Once you jump, you may inevitably lose your balance upon landing.
So how will you maintain your balance? Again, keep your non-racket arm extended when you take the shot, and ensure you’re landing on both your feet! Keep your knees bent to absorb the initial shock of landing.
If you want to know a bit more about how to perform a jump smash, be sure to check our badminton jump smash post, where we give you all the keys in order to succeed with this spectacular but challenging shot.
Maintaining your balance during a lunge
Upon lunging to hit the shuttlecock, you shift all your weight to one leg. Pay attention to your footwork because if improperly placed, you can fall! Remember to bend the knee of the foot that you’re placing forward. This places emphasis on lowering the center of gravity.
Maintaining your balance during a backhand shot
Backhand shots can prove to be tricky, especially while hitting them while running. This shot requires you to pull back your arm and twist the wrist so that the racquet is turned for hitting the shuttle.
For the most part of this shot, some players tend to keep their feet parallel. That isn’t the way to go!
The correct way is to move your racquet leg a step towards the rear court resembling a lunge. Now, before hitting the shuttlecock, you will turn your body so that the back is slightly parallel to the net.
Maintaining your balance during the swing
While focusing on so many other parts of the body, players tend to sideline the most important bit – their wrist movement! Firstly, in order to ensure the balance, place your feet wide apart. Then, once your posture has been stabilized, swing your arm and flick your wrist in the appropriate direction. This offers you greater control over the direction as well as the angle of the shot.
Improving your body balance
Now, let’s review some key points to work on that can help you with your balance.
Strengthen the leg muscles
Since you have to move around a lot in badminton, you really need to focus on the legs. Employ methods like weight training, so you can strengthen the leg muscles. Run more, and just perform more leg exercises in general.
Place extra emphasis on the muscles of the calves, thighs, and feet. Also exercise your knees, since they play a key role in badminton. These are some of the more important aspects of badminton and require extra focus as well as greater care. You can also go to the gym, and do squats, lunges, cycling to further strengthen your legs.
Let your shoulders and wrists do more work
While focusing on your legs, also make sure you pay adequate attention to the shoulders and the wrists – the real performers in badminton. The shoulder muscles and the wrists can take most of the pressure off the leg muscles, hence making it easier to achieve that full-body balance. This will also prevent the legs from becoming fatigued soon.
Consider doing Tai Chi or Yoga
Both Tai chi and Yoga can prove to be super helpful, and allow you to achieve excellent postures and movements, over time, that can improve your balance during the game. Various yoga exercises allow you to be more flexible. Not only that – yoga can truly preserve your mental strength and peace. The mind needs to be invigorated to support the body.
Tai chi is, essentially, a Chinese art that people of all ages can do. This discipline uses simple flowing movements along with breathing techniques and focuses on both your inner as well as outer sanctity.
And with this, we have arrived at the end of the post. We hope you learned why is balance important in badminton and how to go about improving it. If you have any questions, let us know in the comments below.