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11 Pro Badminton Tips (Become a Better Badminton Player)

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"File:Kento Momota from Japan.jpg" by Nardisoero is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Professional Badminton players are professionals for a reason. They build and maintain successful routines, habits, skills and mindsets to reach the level they’re at. I’ve been studying top players for years and learned so much from watching and following them.

Here are 11 Badminton tips taken straight from the pros to become a better player.

So you want to become a better Badminton player, right? Great! Make sure to read and use these tips to give you that extra boost.

Have a consistent warmup and cooldown routine

Having a consistent warmup gets you ready physically and mentally. The simple act of doing a warmup consistently gets your brain into the mindset of “it’s game time!” Like people have their morning rituals the ritual of doing your warmup will tell your brain that it’s time to focus now.

Just watch some of this video below. This video shows the backstage warmup court at the All England Badminton Championship 2020. Skip through and watch the pros doing their warmups.

They’re getting in the zone, they’re practising footwork, they’re doing dynamic stretches. The minute they hit the court they’re 100% awake and ready.

Similarly, after the game, they focus on their rest and recover. Most pros will get some physio and cold therapy treatment, you don’t need all that to get the benefits. Doing a full set of simple stretches and slowing your body down gradually will help in avoiding sore muscles the next day.

If you want some ideas of what to include in your warmup and cooldown then check out our article on Badminton warmup and cooldown or watch this great video from Coach Kennie Asuncion.

Master the basics

Very cliche tip but needs iterating nonetheless. There’s always room for improvement and the pros know this, you see them practising their basics again and again. They’re always honing and refining their core skills.

The basics skills you should always be practising are:

  • Footwork patterns
  • The basic shots; drop shot, clear, net, lift, smash etc
  • The different grips
  • Your serve

You can’t expect to go much further in Badminton without getting all of these into reasonable shape. Hard to play a cross-court jump smash if you can’t even get behind the shuttle.

The video below shows World Champion Kento Momota training. As the title says, he has 600 shuttles lined up, he limits himself to practising just two shots from the same side. The backhand straight and cross lift. He’s focusing on mastering just two shots.

Your serve is your best friend

Many years ago, I had the pleasure of attending a training session run by Olympic silver medalists Nathan Robertson and Gail Emms. In the session, Gail Emms highlighted just how important having a good consistent serve is.

She used to practice with 1000 each day just doing her low backhand serve. A great serve, especially in doubles, will save you so many points. A bad serve will either result in a lost point or getting put under pressure straight from the off.

Gail Emms features in the video below. This match is the All England Mixed Doubles Final from 2005. At the start of the match, Thomas Laybourn (the man on the far side) is able to win 7 points in a row just because he was serving so well.

Nathan Robertson and Gail Emms (the pair on the near side) make 4 mistakes in that 7 point run. Two return of serves in the net and two mistakes during the rally after a good serve.

The match carries on in this fashion with both sides serving well. This is a prime example of why you should master this basic skill.

Great footwork is the key to getting the rest right

If you watch any top-level Badminton you’ll notice the professionals make covering the court look easy. Lee Chong Wei is the best example of this, he seems to glide around the court barely missing a beat.

You need to have good footwork before you can get much else right. If you can’t get to the shuttle in time and in a good position then all the technique in the world won’t be able to help you.

You get your feet right, the rest becomes a lot easier. Just watch this video featuring Lee Chong Wei below. He makes it look effortless but it’s far from that. He’s able to get to every shot and plenty of time to do what he likes.

Don’t neglect flexibility and mobility training

This is a big one and often overlooked. Just watch the video below.

In this video Beiwen Zhang (the player on the near side) is able to do the splits and still get to the next shot! This is an exaggerated case but it goes to show that you need to be flexible to play Badminton well.

Top players are always working on their flexibility and mobility training. There’s a lot of lunging, jumping and stretching in Badminton so you need to be flexible in order to use these motions in play.

Viktor Axelsen is another great example. He’s a tall man, 1.94m, it’s very hard for a person that tall to keep their centre of gravity low if they’re not flexible. He shows off his favourite stretching exercises in this video below.

Look after your equipment

A good craftsman never blames his tools, especially if he takes good care of them. You should always take care of your Badminton equipment. This will make them last longer and serve you more consistently, especially when it comes to Badminton shoes and racquets.

Here are a bunch of tips for looking after your Badminton shoes:

  • Have a bag to keep them in, this will protect them from dirt and dust
  • Use odour eaters and sprays to keep them bacteria-free
  • Only wear them on court
  • Wipe them down regularly to keep them clean

Here are a bunch of tips to keep your racquets in pristine condition:

  • Keep them in your Badminton bag
    • Even keep their original racquets covers to stop them from scraping against each other
  • Change your grip regularly to prevent overly sweaty grips seeping moisture into the wooden racquet handle
  • When restringing your racquet make sure to check the grommets

For a full guide on looking after your Badminton racquet see our Badminton racquet maintenance guide.

Professionals use all these tips and more. They treat their equipment like royalty, always keeping them in the best shape.

Study the pros on and off the court

I’ve learned a lot over the years just by studying pro players. Players like Lin Dan, Lee Chong Wei, Taufik Hidayat, Peter Gade the list goes on and on. Watching their matches and try and understand how they do things, why they choose certain shots, what tactics do they use?

There are so many great matches on Badminton World TV to watch. Pick any of them and there is so much you can learn.

But what is just as important as studying the pros on-court is studying what they do off-court as well. Top players have a different mindset and different ways of thinking compared to everyone else. Study what they do when they’re not on-court. How often do they train? What’s their diet like?

Viktor Axelsen is famously known for being a fluent Mandarin speaker. This has won him many fans across Asia and just goes to show that he’s learning new skills. It’s important to train your mind as well as your body.

Focus on the process, embrace learning

Top Badminton players embrace the growth mindset. They’re life long learners, there is always something else they can gain.

You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.

— Richard Branson

When you focus on the process of learning and embracing new experiences you’re going to experience difficulty and failures. The only true failure is not learning from our mistakes.

If you’re always focused on the outcome you’ll never see how much progress you’ve already made, that you’re improving. The fact that you’re not good now at a particular thing now doesn’t mean that you won’t eventually be good at it.

Best selling author James Clear talks about focusing on goal systems. Create the habits and routines that allow you to make progress.

You hear Badminton players say all the time in post-match interviews that they’re taking everything one match at a time. Focusing on their training and their results become a by-product of their efforts.

Let muscle memory do its job

When you’re training your practising new and existing skills. Your aim is to stretch yourself and experiment to get techniques right. You should be thinking about how you’re executing a shot or using a piece of footwork.

When you play a match you need to forget all of this. Your mind needs to be focused on the game plan, on staying focused and being present. You don’t have the mental capacity of thinking how you’re going to execute it you just need to do it the way your muscles know-how.

Badminton Soul has a great video talking through the mindset of Kento Momota in the 2019 World Championship final.

You’ve done your practice you just need to go out there and play. You can’t be thinking about changing anything technical during the match just focusing on the mental aspect.

A lot of professional athletes talk about getting in the zone. This is when you’re solely focused on the task at hand. Headspace has a great article about how to get in the zone and tips on staying in the zone.

Maximise your strengths

The best players in the world always have top-notch skills. Their level of mastery across these skills is always very high but even then top players have a few shots or a few attributes that really make them shine.

Take Fu Hai Feng for example. A legend of the game well-known for his incredibly powerful smash. He held the record for the worlds fastest smash for years. Players feared to play against his unbelievable power play.

If you watch him and his partner, Cai Yun, they always play to each other’s strengths. Fu is always looking to get to the back to get on the attack and Cai is always looking to come forward and force the opponents to lift to Fu.

We can’t master everything there is in Badminton, not even the top players are perfect. Don’t neglect your clear weaknesses but look to amplify your strengths. 80% of your points will come from 20% of your game so keep working on your strengths.

Enjoy yourself!

As much as we want to get better and do well, we need to enjoy our time on-court. There’s no point struggling and striving if you don’t enjoy the process of learning and playing Badminton.

It’s not all about winning. It’s not all about the big medals. It’s about being healthy, meeting lots of great people, expressing yourself and challenging yourself.

The truth is most people play their best when they’re enjoying themselves. Free from pressure, free from negative emotion and are just fully focused on the present moment.

This is also Viktor Axelsen’s number one piece of advice for players. It’s great to challenge ourselves with big goals and to really push ourselves. But reaching the goal is only a small moment in time compared to the entire journey to get there. So please, enjoy the journey.

Badminton Tips for Beginners, Doubles and Singles

We’ve covered some great tips from professional players in this article. Now if you’re looking for more specific tips to help your game, whether you’re a beginner or an advanced player, looking for doubles or singles tips, we have content coming soon to help you.

  • Badminton Tips for Beginners
  • Badminton Tips for Doubles
  • Badminton Tips for Singles

How can I get better at badminton?

Watch top players, breakdown the movement and technique. Find a reputable coach to teach you the basics. Most of all, practice, practice, practice. Practice with the purpose to improve a certain skill.

What makes a good badminton player?

A good Badminton player needs fast footwork, good technical racquet skills, speed, agility and athleticism to name just a few. There are a lot of elements that make up a good Badminton player. Just watch any top Badminton player and they have a variety of skills at a world-class level.

If you found this article helpful return the favour and share it with a friend. If you feel I’ve missed anything out or have other advice, please leave feedback and share your help with others below. Thanks again for reading.

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Written by Liam Walsh who lives in Manchester, England. Working as a Software Engineer but moonlighting as a dad, Badminton player/coach and creator of BadmintonsBest.

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