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What is Footwork in Badminton and How to Practice in the Right Way

What is Footwork in Badminton?

The badminton footwork is a method of moving on the court. It consists of stepping, crossover, stride, dogtrot, and jumping. Each set of footwork is generally started from the center of the court.

Badminton footwork is a critical basic technology for playing the game. It complements the playing technique and is inseparable for you to master the skill of badminton. Without the correct footwork, it will inevitably affect the completion of various hitting techniques.

If there is no fast and accurate footwork in the game, the playing technique will lose its sharpness and threat. Therefore, learning and mastering fast and accurate footwork is an important part for you to play badminton. You need to focus on this part to improve your level of playing in this sport.

Even though training badminton footwork is not as fun as smashing the shuttlecock into the opponent’s field, but you need to win the game.
Badminton is a high-tempo game, and you have to keep up with the pace, or you will probably lose the match. When playing in a tournament, even a delay of one second can make a big difference.

Why is Footwork Important in Playing Badminton?

Footwork is the basis for badminton attacks and defense, and it is also the key for a player to win in a match. Those who have played badminton should have heard such a word that “badminton is about 30% on playing a stroke and 70% on footwork”. This shows how important the role of footwork play on the court.

A fierce attack and a solid defense must rely on reasonable footwork. The footwork is important to mobilize the opponent and consume their physical strength. As for how to train the footwork, the method is similar. There is nothing exceptional. What you need to do is to strengthen your daily training and find the feeling.

Structure of badminton footwork

The structure of the footwork is divided into four parts: starting, moving, hitting, and returning.

Classification

The badminton footwork is divided into the close to the net method, the back step method, and the moving step on both sides.

Depending on the player’s central position on the court and the distance of the incoming shuttlecock, you can determine to use either one-step, two-step, or three-step motion to hit the shuttle.

For the right-handed player, the last step in the shot is with the right foot in front, and the left foot is always close to the center position. The following will explain the footwork step by step.

Different Types of Steps

The close to the net footwork is a step to complete the shuttle’s push, hook, throw, and pick. It includes wide stepping, hop step & lunging, front crossover, back crossover, and jump stepping.

No matter which step is used to hit the shuttle on the court, the position and ready position before your shot are basically the same. That is, the two feet stand about the same as your shoulder width. Generally, the right foot is at the front and the left foot slightly at the back. The two knees are slightly flexed.

The forefoot of the two feet is on the ground, and the rear heel is slightly lifted. The upper body leans forward slightly. It would be best if you gripped the racket in front of the body. Pay your attention to your opponent and observe how your opponent going to serve.

Two-step shot

The left foot takes a step forward in the shuttle’s direction, and then the right foot takes a big step forward to hit the shuttle.

Three-step shot

The right foot first takes a small step forward in the direction where the shuttle coming. Then the left foot goes forward. Finally, the right foot takes a big step to hit the shuttle.

Hop step & Lunging

The right foot takes a step forward in the shuttle’s direction, followed by a small step of the foot lunge outward on the floor. While the right foot is lifted, using the force of the left foot to take a big step and hit the shuttle.

Front crossover

The right foot first takes a small side step forward. Then the right foot is lifted. Using the force of the left foot to take a big step and hit the shuttle.

Back crossover

The right foot first takes a small side step forward. Then the left foot takes a second sidestep to the right foot. Finally, the right foot is lifted, using the left foot’s force to take a big stride and hit the shuttle.

Jumping step

The standing position is slightly lean forward, judging if the opponent repeatedly wants to hit the shuttle before the net. Use the feet to squat, quickly jump to the front of the net, and use the bounce technique to hit the shuttle.

Be careful to prevent the racket from hitting the net or passing the center line due to excessive forward momentum.

What You need to pay attention to:

  1. When stepping forward and get close to the net, you should pay attention to control your momentum to avoid the body losing balance.
  2. When hitting the shuttle, the toe of the forefoot should be in the direction of the sideline and should not be facing inward. By doing so, you will get benefits to the forward stroke by the front impulse.
  3. After hitting the shuttle, you should use the back step or cross-step to return to the center position as soon as possible.

Backstep Footwork

The backstep is the footwork that you need to perform after you complete hitting the high shuttle, throwing, smashing, or clear the shuttle at the backcourt.

The backstep includes the forehand backstep, head backstep, backhand backstep, forehand backstep plus jump step, and jump step on the sideline of the head.

No matter which back steps you used to hit the shuttle, the position and ready position before the retreat are the same as hitting the shuttle over the net.

Forehand back step

For the forehand back step method, you can use the chasse and cross back step method. Or you can use the front step plus the jump step back method.

Chasse back step

The right foot is stepped back to the right side, and the hip is turned right, then the left foot is stepped closer to the right foot. The right foot is turned back to the position, and the left heel follows suit with a small step. The left foot will be in front of the right foot, and the posture is ready to hit the shuttle.

Cross back step

The right foot is stepped back to the right side, and the hip is turned right. Then the left foot is crossed back from the right foot, the left foot is in front, and the right foot is at the back. The body is switching aside in a ready position to hit the shuttle.

Chasse and jumping back step

It is similar to the first and second steps of the chasse back step. The third step is to use the sideways and jump with both feet to hit the shuttle. The feet will land on the court afterward.

Head back step

The head back step method can use the chasse step and the cross back steps footwork.

When the hip joint and upper body rotate rapidly to the right rear, the right foot is stepped back. Then the left foot is used, the step is close to the right foot, the right foot is moved back to the position, and the left heel is moved in. In a small step, the left foot is in front of the right foot, and the side is facing the net to get ready to hit the shuttle.

Head cross back step

The hip joint and the upper body rotate back to the right, and the right foot moves back one step. Then the left foot crosses back from the right foot and one step back. The right foot moves back to the position, and the left foot goes one step forward. The left foot is in front, and the right foot is at the back. And the body is positioned at the side to get ready to hit the shuttle.

Head side step plus back step

This is a step-back method with a swift attack. When the hip joint and the upper body rotate rapidly to the right rear, the right foot moves back one step. Then the right foot jumps backward to the rear, the upper body leans back.

The required angle is larger, and the hitting motion is completed in the air. After the left foot makes a cross action in the air, it will land first, and the upper body will subtract so that the right foot will land on the right foot when the right foot touches the ground so that the left foot can quickly move back.

When practicing this type of footwork, you should pay attention to the following:

First, the upper body and the hip need to turn faster, and the right foot needs to step backward to the rear position of the left foot. This is the first stage.

Secondly, the jumping direction should be to the left rear so that the upper body can lean back. At the same time, the left foot makes a cross and move to the back.

How can I Improve My Footwork in Badminton?

Standing posture

In different situations, the posture of standing is also different. The posture and footwork of the standing are mutually influential (take the right-hand grip as an example).

  1. The left foot is in front, and the right foot is at the back when the shuttle is served.
  2. When stepping forward, the right foot is in front, the left foot is in the back, and the left foot is the pivot.
  3. The right foot is at the back when stepping back, and the left foot is pulled back.
  4. When defending, the two feet is parallel.

This kind of position will be more conducive to the footwork. It will make your offense and defense to be more active. Besides, it also saves time, and there are more choices when returning the shuttle.

Return to the center court

In the footwork training, the regular route is 8-angles training. It is back from the court center to the backcourts. After hitting the shuttle, most coaches will tell you to return to the center court to prepare for the next shot.

8 angles training
8-angles training

However, at some point, rushing back to the court center is a waste of physical strength and easier to be mobilized by the opponent when they shot the shuttle to the same drop point.

  1. You don’t have to rush back to the center court when you are in front of the net.
  2. If you can predict the opponent’s shot, you do not have to go back to the center court.
  3. After making a smash, you can determine whether to go on the net or back to the center court, depending on the quality of your smash.
  4. The quality of the return shot determines the position after you back to the center court.

The cooperation of footwork

The footwork of getting close to the net is relatively simple. To put it bluntly, it is to get to the front of the net as fast as possible. But the back step footwork is more complicated for many people to learn.

Some players will only do the chasse step while stepping back. This step is slow and not smooth, incoherent, and will greatly impact the next return.

Most of the famous badminton players will practice such backstep methods:

  • Cross step back
  • Small step running back
  • Chasse + dogtrot running back

Therefore, it is necessary to be proficient in all kinds of footwork and to use them in combination to maintain the consistency of the footwork. Like that only you can move freely on the court and have strong offensive and defensive capabilities.

Badminton Shadow Footwork

Because the badminton court is huge, footwork training is critical.

You can actually practice your footwork without the need for a partner. You can perform badminton shadow footwork by yourself. Shadow footwork is meant practicing the footwork without anyone playing with you. You are playing by yourself by running around the badminton court to master the skill of footwork.

The badminton shadow footwork is generally divided into the frontcourt step method, the backcourt step method, the mid-court step method, and the start.

Starting action:
Standing in the center court, half-bending the knee joint, the pivot is on the forefoot, and the heel is slightly raised.
Note: Do not put the entire pivot on your feet. You need to make sure that your body is in the position and getting an instant reaction at any time.

Footwork for the right frontcourt:
Start jumping and focus on the left foot. The right foot strides outward while the left heel follows suit. The right foot lunge outward. Try to lean forward as much as possible.

Left front court footwork:
When jumping, you should focus the pivot on the right foot. The left foot is stride outward, and the right foot is lunge forward. The toe of the right foot is pointing forward.

Footwork for the right rear court:
When jumping, the pivot should focus on the left foot. The right foot turn side wide with a crossover. When you step to the rear court, you can jump and shoot the shuttle.

Rear head of the backcourt:
The left foot takes a small step toward the backside, and the left foot takes a small step backward, turning, jumping, and swinging the racket.

Backcourt backhand footwork:
Stand in the center of the court. Take a hop step on the left foot, turn, stride, swing the racket.

Receive smash on the right side:
Well prepared in the center of the court. Start with the left foot and stride outward with the right foot.

Receive smash on the left side:
Well prepared in the center of the court. Start with the left foot, stride outward with the right foot, and turn.

Badminton shadow footwork practice

Method One

  • Put shuttlecocks at the 4 corners of the court. You can then playing shadow by touching the shuttlecocks at each corner with your hands.
  • If you are using right-handed when practicing, the right foot is lunging forward, and you should touch the shuttle with your right hand.
  • If you are left-handed, then you should touch the shuttle with your left hand.

This method can practice fast turning and fast return to the center court.

Method Two

  • Step forward and backward with a straight line.
  • Standing at the backside of the court, after taking off and swinging, run forward with a racket to hit the net, hit the net, and then step back, turn around and step back with a side step.

This method can improve the speed of the straight line and the ability to retreat sideways.

Footwork Drill

As you see, there is a huge difference between poor and good footwork. Badminton footwork is such an important thing in the game that it has to be trained a lot! There are drills for you to train by yourself and drills that you can train with a partner.

3 Videos about Badminton Footwork That Will Take Your Game to The Next Level!

These three videos below show you three different Badminton Footwork Drill that is tried, tested, and used by professionals!

This first video is all about neutralizing the posture after the shot.

Two different timings or options depending on the situation.

The first one is for the situation where you have to be ready as quick as possible.

The second one is when you have, for example, hit the shuttlecock high, and you have a bit more time to react.

This video is all about speed. When you are fast enough, your timing will be much better. By doing this drill, your strength and push-off will improve a lot.

This third video combines the drills from the videos above and takes it to the next level. It is all about timing, speed, and the ability to react.

After reading this article and watching the videos, I hope you understand how badminton footwork will affect your game.

You know the drills now it is on you. Will you increase your speed and power in the court, or will your badminton footwork level stay where it is at the moment!

Read also: Improve Your Badminton Skill With Your Experimentation

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