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    Default Foot on the line

    When receiving serve, I've seen that all the pros, no matter how short they are, have their left foot (if they're right-handed) as close to the front service line as possible.

    I'm 5'8'' and even with a pretty strong jump smash, if I stand right on the line, I find it's too easy for opponents to flick serve or drive serve over my head so that the only thing I can do is jump back and hit a high clear. I can't get behind the shuttle quickly enough to jump smash like the pros. Is there some technique I'm missing?

    I was watching the Olympic match between Denmark v Korea and Yoo who's like 5'6'' was playing Erikssen who's got to be at least 6'2'', and Yoo was standing right at the line, and still hitting the good smashes when flick served. Is there something more than just quick footwork?

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    Anticipation, reflex, coordination, leg strength and the list goes on.

    very good observation. an untrained eye would normally not natice such detail. and not only do these pros pull-off this 'foot near the line' but they make it look damn easy. that the diff between most of us and them i suppose

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    You just need to work on your footwork and legs.. need to have that extra power to leap and jump. Anticipation does takes part.. just need practice more on the footwork..

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    it has a lot to do with the power on the legs. Yoo has pretty big quads and calves. also, as he has a very good partner on his side, he can go as fast and far back as he wants and the empty court left can be covered by his partner.

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    1) correct footwork
    2) fast feet - they train for the acceleration.

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    Default Reaction time & Muscle type

    Quote Originally Posted by david14700
    When receiving serve, I've seen that all the pros, no matter how short they are, have their left foot (if they're right-handed) as close to the front service line as possible.

    ...I can't get behind the shuttle quickly enough to jump smash like the pros. Is there some technique I'm missing?

    ...Is there something more than just quick footwork?
    Do you start with most of your weight on your forward foot and push off this foot (pushing back as well as up) as quickly as possible when you detect a flick serve?

    I would think that superior visual skills and exceptional reaction time are important factors that allow these guys pull off these smash returns against flick serves. I'm sure that these athletes can pick up visual clues that a flick serve is being delivered much quicker than the average person.

    They undoubtedly possess world-class reaction times. The averge person (non-athlete) might have a reaction time (RT) somewhere between 250 to 300ms (milliseconds). An RT in the 200 to 250 ms range would be considered fairly decent. World-class athletes often possess RTs under 200ms, possibly as low as 150ms. I believe that 150ms is close to some theoretical limit for nerve impulses traveling from the eye to the brain & then from the brain to other muscles in the body. The fastest signals (for nerves with myelin sheaths) in our body travel something on the order or 200 or 300 MPH (I don't recall which it is).

    Lastly, these athletes were born with a high percentage of type IIb (fast- twitch) muscle fibers in their legs (and probably in their shoulders & arms as well). Accleration training (such as plyometrics) can possibly improve your jumping & footwork speed but you are ultimately limited by the type of muscle fibers predominant in your body. If you possess a high percentage of type I fibers (slow-twitch) in your legs than you might be better of running marathons.

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    Do you start with most of your weight on your forward foot and push off this foot (pushing back as well as up) as quickly as possible when you detect a flick serve?
    Without fastidiousness, probably pushing forward as well as down would make Newton a happy camper.

    Possibly more interesting is why it would be more effective to push off of the one foot rather than both?

    then from the brain to other muscles in the body. The fastest signals (for nerves with myelin sheaths) in our body travel something on the order or 200 or 300 MPH (I don't recall which it is).
    Sadly, the extremities so crucial for most sports are sorely lacking in this department. Perhaps the human race during its initial inception did not see it as a necessity. But let us be confident that advances in medical science over the next twenty years will allow individuals to customize the level of myelin surrounding the various neural pathways allowing us once more (now that WADA seems to be taking itself rather seriously) to strive higher, faster.... whatever-- I must not have watched enough of the Olympics to properly recall the motto or more likely a degenerative disease of the hippocampus.

    Lastly, these athletes were born with a high percentage of type IIb (fast- twitch) muscle fibers in their legs (and probably in their shoulders & arms as well). Accleration training (such as plyometrics) can possibly improve your jumping & footwork speed but you are ultimately limited by the type of muscle fibers predominant in your body. If you possess a high percentage of type I fibers (slow-twitch) in your legs than you might be better of running marathons.
    This may be a slightly overused argument.

    The convertibility between different muscle fibres is likely achievable to a sufficient degree that for the purposes of a sport like badminton, where one type of muscle fibre is neither needed nor beneficial in exclusivity, the genetic predisposition of the dispersion of muscle fibre types is likely to be low in relevance.

    If the goal is to obtain a larger proportion of IIb fibres than running marathons would indeed be a good idea if followed by months of inactivity.

    What may be a more relevant argument is the number of muscle fibres each individual is given at birth and/or the ability of the brain to recruit the use of a larger number of them.

    In any case, I pretty much agree with all of the comments in this thread.

    Interesting that you have a (good?) clear during your jump-smash but can't seem to smash it. In addition to the feet, the height, etc. as potential problems, maybe the arm/rotation/swing speed could be increased and/or reduce the windup-- go for a jump-90%-smash rather than your accustomed all-out jump-smash.

    Also for sufficiently flat drive/flick serves you could consider spending the little time you have to prepare a less aerial net return rather than a jump-clear if you find the latter to be monotonous.

    A final note-- anticipation, as mentioned by our erudite colleagues earlier, may play a large part for many of the top athletes. Quite a few of them have been made to look very pedestrian; e.g. Emms seemed to "like" being flicked in Athens. So solace-- at least you're making decent contact.

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    Not sure if this will be helpful to you, but I was taught this little thing..."lean forward, think backwards."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph
    Not sure if this will be helpful to you, but I was taught this little thing..."lean forward, think backwards."
    I like that, it's a good little phrase

    Sometimes, I do find I concentrate so intensely on shooting forward and trying to knock the shuttle off the top of the tape, I'm taken a bit by surprise by a flick serve.

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    My Opinion:

    -The flick serves' effectivness is reduced when you stan further forward with your racket in front of you, because from a standard serve/recieve serve position then the shuttle is most likely to simply hit the racket and over the net. If you stand further back, the shuttle may not go even close to the racket, as the distance the shuttle has travelled at an angle away from the racket face is longer.

    -Muscles and speed do have a large part to play. The pros cannot serve the shuttle faster, or deeper, as the court dimensions are the same. In fact they (receievers) actually have more time on a flick serve return at pro level, as the server HAS to ensure that the shuttle goes right over the receivers head. A serve wherby the receiver could jump directly up and hit the shuttle would be no good, at most peoples level simply over the standing reach of a player would be ufficient.

    combine this with the fact that the pros practice acceleration everyday, then this explains a lot. In badminton we only have to move our bodies a maximum of 3m from base to any position on the court, and consider that athletes who run sprints (100m+) spent hours and hours of training on acceleration, then you can see how important accleration is to us.

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    Unless you stand in the far back, you can either drive the shuttle or clear it as you receive a flick serve. If the serve is so bad that you can smash it down, it is just that, a bad serve and you have an advantage.

    But most of the time, it is the short serve on which you want to gain advantage by just pushing it back at the server or just over his head.

    Once the shuttle is past the net, it is going down, so the longer you take to intercept it, the higher your return will be.

    I think the idea is to be fast enough to reach all serves, but try to gain advantage in most cases. i.e., during short serve.

    Of course, all this is doubles play. I am not qualified enough to have an opinion on singles strategy yet!

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    when you stand forward near the service line for a serve, i notice the % age of flick serves they do is much more higher. Prolly cus i'm only 5'5''........but i can sometimes predict an easy smash.

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    Default Muscle fibers & training

    Quote Originally Posted by quisitor
    Without fastidiousness, probably pushing forward as well as down would make Newton a happy camper.

    Possibly more interesting is why it would be more effective to push off of the one foot rather than both?
    If you are jumping straight up, you could push off both feet simultaneously. However, if you move left, right, forward, or backward you would almost certainly push off 1 foot before the other unless you were engaged in the act of hopping.


    Quote Originally Posted by gregr999
    I would think that superior visual skills and exceptional reaction time are important factors that allow these guys pull off these smash returns against flick serves...

    The fastest signals (for nerves with myelin sheaths) in our body travel something on the order or 200 or 300 MPH...
    Quote Originally Posted by quisitor
    Sadly, the extremities so crucial for most sports are sorely lacking in this department. Perhaps the human race during its initial inception did not see it as a necessity...
    While neural impulses for heat & pain are rather slow, impulses for touch (pressure) and muscle position can exceed 200 MPH (100 meters/sec). Close your eyes and wave your arms around: you can tell where they are at every moment because the muscle-position nerves are very fast. For more of the speed of neural impulses, refer to the following links:

    http://www.pondicherry.com/2000jun/c...s/fact11.shtml
    http://www.painstudy.com/NonDrugRemedies/Pain/p10.htm

    Sufferers of MS often loose control of their legs becuz their auto-immune system attacks the ability to produce myelin for nerves going to the legs. This would seem to indicate that myelin sheaths are very important for nerves to the extremities.


    Quote Originally Posted by gregr999
    Lastly, these athletes were born with a high percentage of type IIb (fast- twitch) muscle fibers in their legs (and probably in their shoulders & arms as well). Accleration training (such as plyometrics) can possibly improve your jumping & footwork speed but you are ultimately limited by the type of muscle fibers predominant in your body. If you possess a high percentage of type I fibers (slow-twitch) in your legs than you might be better of running marathons.
    Quote Originally Posted by quisitor
    This may be a slightly overused argument.

    The convertibility between different muscle fibres is likely achievable to a sufficient degree ... the genetic predisposition of the dispersion of muscle fibre types is likely to be low in relevance.
    Everything that I've read on slow-twitch and fast-twitch muscle fibers indicates that 1 type can NOT be converted to the other at all. We are, for the most part, pretty much stuck with the muscle fiber types that we are born with (genetic predisposition, if you will).

    I 've come across some mention of a 4th type of fiber, Type IIc. I'm not sure if the presence of this fiber type is mere speculation or if it's existence has actually been proven. Some researchers say that we have a small amount of this special fiber type that can be trained to act as (or converted to) slow-twitch (endurance) fibers or can be trained to act a fast-twitch fiber type.


    Quote Originally Posted by quisitor
    If the goal is to obtain a larger proportion of IIb fibres than running marathons would indeed be a good idea if followed by months of inactivity.

    What may be a more relevant argument is the number of muscle fibres each individual is given at birth and/or the ability of the brain to recruit the use of a larger number of them.
    Not sure what quisitor is trying to say in the 1st part of the above quote. Perhaps my statement about marathon runners was misunderstood. To clarify... I was saying that individuals with a high %-age of slow-twitch fibers in their legs might be more suited to marathon running rather than to sports where explosive leg power is a premium (such as high-level badminton).

    The last part of the above quote brings up a very good point. Even tho' we are somewhat limited by the type of muscle fibers (or fibres, if you prefer) dictated by genetics, we can still train what we've got to perform more efficiently & effectively (even if the type IIc fiber mentioned above is a myth).
    Last edited by gregr999; 09-17-2004 at 04:47 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by odjn
    when you stand forward near the service line for a serve, i notice the % age of flick serves they do is much more higher.
    Well, it depends on who they are.

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    Not sure what quisitor is trying to say
    I'm not sure what that dude is trying to say either-- pretty much incomprehensible-- if you figure it out be sure to let me know.

    If you are jumping straight up, you could push off both feet simultaneously. However, if you move left, right, forward, or backward you would almost certainly push off 1 foot before the other unless you were engaged in the act of hopping.
    This suggests athletes engaging in standing long jump jump off of one foot?
    I cannot see how jumping off of one foot rather than both feet from a static position yields more power.
    Running long jump is executed by jumping off of one foot but this is to preserve momentum.
    High jump is executed by jumping off of one foot but this is to preserve the lateral momentum during translation into longitudinal momentum.

    Hopping is a bit of an ambiguous term. I'm actually not sure what you're trying to say. I would think if you were engaged in the act of hopping you would be even more likely to push off of one foot (you would have to, by the common definition).

    While neural impulses for heat & pain are rather slow, impulses for touch (pressure) and muscle position can exceed 200 MPH (100 meters/sec). Close your eyes and wave your arms around: you can tell where they are at every moment because the muscle-position nerves are very fast. For more of the speed of neural impulses, refer to the following links:

    http://www.pondicherry.com/2000jun/c...s/fact11.shtml
    http://www.painstudy.com/NonDrugRemedies/Pain/p10.htm

    Sufferers of MS often loose control of their legs becuz their auto-immune system attacks the ability to produce myelin for nerves going to the legs. This would seem to indicate that myelin sheaths are very important for nerves to the extremities.
    Proprioceptors that transmit along afferent pathways are not necessarily myelinated to the same degree as efferent pathways of the somatic nervous system.

    My remark concerning the level of myelination of the pathways toward the extremities was in comparison to the central nervous system and possibly the autonomic nervous system and was meant slightly satirically as a reflection on the evolution of life that survival had been given a higher priority than sports.

    The state of a neural axon is not confined to a binary value of being myelinated or non-myelinated. Among the axons that are myelineated, there are different degrees of myelination-- the larger the myelin sheath, the quicker the signal. Thus the MS example does not reflect upon the transmission speed of signals.

    Further, I would think that in the case of MS the difficulty in muscular coordination would be more a result of plaque formation and/or selective demyelination (leading to differential response times between primary and supporting muscles) and/or bidirectional depolarization along the axon (the third one I'm unsure of-- depolarization is supposed to be unidirectional so I'm not sure if I once learned about bidirectional depolarization or if I just dreamed it-- if anyone knows I'd be interested in hearing).

    In any case, loss of control of legs and myelin sheaths being very important for nerves to the extremities are not logically equivalent. If all of the nerves to the legs were unmyelinated, you should still be able to control your legs though at a slower rate. And in reference to extremities I was thinking more along the lines of the toes and fingers.

    My memory of the myelin schematic of the human body is fuzzy or possibly I only dreamed I ever knew it. If anyone has such a diagram, I'd be interested in seeing the various levels of myelin in the body displayed pictorally or perhaps a chart of the A-alphas, A-betas, A-deltas, C, etc.

    Myelin is probably not an issue for badminton-- how did we get on to this topic? If you're really interested in increasing response time I suspect the chemical synapse at the neuromuscular junctures is much more of a bottleneck.

    Everything that I've read on slow-twitch and fast-twitch muscle fibers indicates that 1 type can NOT be converted to the other at all. We are, for the most part, pretty much stuck with the muscle fiber types that we are born with (genetic predisposition, if you will).
    I think this area is not well understood.
    Would you agree that IIa and IIb can be converted between each other or do you feel conversions between type I, IIa and IIb are all not possible?

    Some links that seem to suggest conversion between muscle types is possible:

    http://www.pponline.co.uk/encyc/0625.htm
    http://www.biomedcentral.com/news/20020816/01/
    http://www.racingtheplanet.com/medic...ise_change.asp
    http://www.lab.anhb.uwa.edu.au/mb140...cle/Muscle.htm
    http://www.cmri.com.au/research/muscle.php

    Not sure what quisitor is trying to say in the 1st part of the above quote. Perhaps my statement about marathon runners was misunderstood. To clarify... I was saying that individuals with a high %-age of slow-twitch fibers in their legs might be more suited to marathon running rather than to sports where explosive leg power is a premium (such as high-level badminton).
    There was a study conducted that suggested IIb may be a base type for muscle fibres and that training for marathons followed by months of inactivity would increase the percentage of IIb in your muscle groups.

    My point was that unlike sports such as sprinting where it is desirable to have 90%+ IIb, badminton is a game that requires multiple types of muscle fibres in moderation in order to succeed. I don't know what the average percentage of I, IIa, IIb, (IIc) is in badminton players but I would guess any single group consists of <60%, which given the convertibility of muscle fibres from exercise should be well achievable by most individuals.

    Badminton players still require endurance. Their muscle composition can not consist solely of "premium explosive leg power" or if it does they will be susceptible to certain types of game strategy. Given this, high-level badminton players do not possess an inherent genetic (as related by their muscle type composition) superiority in dealing with flick serves. I thought this particular reason of yours as to why high-level players are able to effectively deal with flick serves --> "because they're genetically gifted with explosive IIb fibres" --> was unconvincing. Besides which it goes against observational evidence in recent events that showed a lot of these top level athletes had difficulties receiving flick serves. Part of it is as another individual pointed out: Flick serves were meant to catch you off guard and were meant to be effective in denying your ability to attack-- else people would never use them. The other part being that reaction and response to the flick serve can be improved.

    The last part of the above quote brings up a very good point. Even tho' we are somewhat limited by the type of muscle fibers (or fibres, if you prefer) dictated by genetics, we can still train what we've got to perform more efficiently & effectively (even if the type IIc fiber mentioned above is a myth).
    Yes, I do prefer, fibres, thank you.

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    Default White men can't jump!

    Quote Originally Posted by quisitor
    This suggests athletes engaging in standing long jump jump off of one foot? I cannot see how jumping off of one foot rather than both feet from a static position yields more power.

    Running long jump is executed by jumping off of one foot but this is to preserve momentum. High jump is executed by jumping off of one foot but this is to preserve the lateral momentum during translation into longitudinal momentum.

    Hopping is a bit of an ambiguous term. I'm actually not sure what you're trying to say. I would think if you were engaged in the act of hopping you would be even more likely to push off of one foot (you would have to, by the common definition).
    I would characterize the standing long jump as a (2-legged) hop. My dictionary defines hop thusly:to move by leaping or springing on both (or all) feet at once...

    I used the word hop to denote the simultaneous action of both legs. Many species of birds use this 2-legged hop. There is also a one-leg hop, but this is a different definition of the word hop altogether... not the one I intended.

    The (badminton) receiver's ready stance & movement differs from that of the standing long jumper. The long jumper starts with their feet in a side-side position. The receiver stands with feet/legs in a staggered position. I suppose that you could assume your stance either with your weight distributed evenly or with your weight more on 1 foot than the other for badminton. I know that some martial arts use the former stance while other styles use the latter stance

    Either way, as you spring either forward or backward, I maintain that the weight is probably no longer even as the motion is initiated. You would initially drive with 1 leg more than the other to get movement either forward or backward. The other leg can provide some secondary drive at first. After the initial push, the 2nd leg then can provide the primary driving force.

    Perhaps some forward or backward movement is possible w/o a detectable shift in weight from foot to the other from a staggered foot postition. However, I do not believe that you can get an appreciable amt of fwd or backward movment w/o shifting the weight (and therfore driving with 1 leg more than the other initially).

    Perhaps we may find it necessary to do some pressure plate studies to resolve this. On a side note: pressure plate studies done with tennis serves show that players that adopt a pinpoint leg drive (feet together) generate a little more leg driving force than those that use a platform leg drive (feet apart).


    Quote Originally Posted by quisitor
    Proprioceptors that transmit along afferent pathways are not necessarily myelinated to the same degree as efferent pathways of the somatic nervous system...

    The state of a neural axon is not confined to a binary value of being myelinated or non-myelinated. Among the axons that are myelineated, there are different degrees of myelination-- the larger the myelin sheath, the quicker the signal....
    English please! Are proprioceptors the ones that I described as telling us the location of our muscles & tendons? Altho' I get the gist of what you are saying here, I'm sure that you lost most of our other readers with the use of the terms afferent, efferent, somatic, etc.

    Anyway, thanx for the educational tidbit here... I was not aware that we naturally have differing degrees of myelination.


    Quote Originally Posted by quisitor
    Further, I would think that in the case of MS the difficulty in muscular coordination would be more a result of plaque formation and/or selective demyelination (leading to differential response times between primary and supporting muscles)...

    In any case, loss of control of legs and myelin sheaths being very important for nerves to the extremities are not logically equivalent. If all of the nerves to the legs were unmyelinated, you should still be able to control your legs though at a slower rate. And in reference to extremities I was thinking more along the lines of the toes and fingers...
    Selective demyelination makes sense (but I don't really know if it is true or not). I don't agree with you conclusion tho'. Some MS sufferers move slower but also move in a spastic, unbalanced manner. If the do not receive signals (via myelinated nerves) telling them of the location & movement of muscles & tendon in a timely manner, then locomotion becomes very difficult.


    Quote Originally Posted by quisitor
    Would you agree that IIa and IIb can be converted between each other or do you feel conversions between type I, IIa and IIb are all not possible?
    My readings on the subject indicate that such conversions do not happen. I have come across 1 or 2 sources that imply that the conversions do happen, but they did not go into any detail & did not appear to be reliable (expert)sources (obviously written by lay ppl w/o any references listed).

    I'll have to look at the links you provided when I have more time & access to a faster ISP connection.


    Quote Originally Posted by quisitor
    Badminton players still require endurance. Their muscle composition can not consist solely of "premium explosive leg power" or if it does they will be susceptible to certain types of game strategy. Given this, high-level badminton players do not possess an inherent genetic (as related by their muscle type composition) superiority in dealing with flick serves. I thought this particular reason of yours as to why high-level players are able to effectively deal with flick serves --> "because they're genetically gifted with explosive IIb fibres" --> was unconvincing...
    I certainly agree that badmiton players require endurance. Obviously, they could not perform well if 100% of their leg muscles consisted of IIb fibers. There needs to be something of a balance. What I was trying to get across is that elite badminton players often have the ability to jump higher or move more quickly (backward in the case of a flick) than the average person because, in part, they posses a higher %-age of IIb fibers than the average person.

    For sure the elite badminton player also requires IIa fibres (and perhaps even type I fibres) for the endurance aspect.

    They say that white men can't jump! This is genetic... the averge European or white American can't jump as high as the average black. Basketball in the US has evolved from a white sport to a sport dominated by black players who can jump considerably higher than their predecessors. Some has to do with training but a large part lot of this has to do with the higher levels of IIb fibers that these individuals were blessed with at birth.

    No matter how hard I train, I am never going to develop a 42" vertical leap that some volleyball & basketball players posses. By the same token, a world-class sprinter is never going to win the Boston Marathon. Muscle fiber types can't be altered to that degree in an individual.
    Last edited by gregr999; 09-26-2004 at 03:14 AM.

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    Default angle vs power

    I would like to offer an alternative view to the discussion. I think the angle of the smash is more important in a flick serve return.

    A good smash is broadly classified as having power, placement and steepness (in descent). We could get a good return if our smash is steeply angled and and well placed but not that powerful as perhaps desired by most of us.

    The idea is to force a weak 2nd return in order for us to prepare the next round of attack in which we should have more than sufficient time to generate more powerful smashes.

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