What do you mean by this, exactly? Your core muscles are like other muscles - they contract and relax as necessary. To have a "tight" core means that you have well-conditioned core muscles that hold you in a proper posture , even when you are relaxed. But that doesn't mean that they are contracted at all times. Experienced, physically fit players certainly know to use their strong core muscles to add power to their strokes and stability to their movement and positioning. That is a lot different from someone telling you to try to play badminton while trying to suck your gut in the whole time.
I don't mean all the time but during shots/ retrieving, should you tense up your core?
It's something I've never done, even though I train my core a lot. Unfortunately I haven't yet had the chance to test this in a game/training, but it seems like it could be true. certainly explains how some guys move so damn quickly.
I dunno how else to describe what I mean...
maybe like when you split step you contract your core prepare to move.
the core is used all the time! therefore you need to develope strong core and strong skeletal muscles.
proper technique includes a lot rotational work eg intense core contraction and bending. A strong core helps you to hold and execute these movements properly. And even more important: It prevents getting serious back injuries and postural deformity. Of course you can get muscle strain in your core as well.
Dont try to contract your core muscles isolted but concentrate on overall body weight distribution and a low center of gravity together with using rotational forces and inertia properly.
I get that you should use the muscles, but.. should they be tired after a game? or get tired during a game?
Yes your core gets tired in badminton. But unlike a quad or a a bicep, it's not an ache or cramp you get, it is just poorer movement and a sense of general slowness and fatigue. You don't move as well, can't lunge or extend as well or recover from awkward postitions. It's more a matter of seeing worse results from your efforts than any specific pain.
As for consciously "using your core more" during a match, I think that is just not a thing you can logically consider in a game. If your postural muscles are strong and supple, you will use them in a proper way completely unconsciously. In other words, keep up the good work you are doing with conditioning and don't think about it during a game apart from using proper technique.
Sorry to revive an old topic but since I have stated to 'use' my core muscles better, my game has improved a significant amount. I no longer have tired legs after a game like I used to, and almost every shot has improved control and execution. I am getting to places even when I have been wrong footed. Even shots like pushing/lifting from the net - I feel my core connecting my whole body in the shot now, rather than just using my arm - Thus I need less preparation/swing, so deception is now easier.
I cannot recommend enough training your core and more importantly using it properly. It's something that's easily overlooked, since you can't tell if someone is using their core. But I will go ahead and presume most intermediate players and beginners will not be utilising their core strength properly.
If you don't know what training to do, gymnastic training (also the name of a good book) is a great start in building core strength.
...and if you don't know what I mean about consciously using the core - just think about using the muscles all around your waist and lower rib area when you play. You may suffer sightly in a match as your focus is on something new but soon enough you will just need to remind yourself occasionally.