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  1. #1
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    Default Need Advice on Improving Form and Technique

    Hi guys, recently I tried videoing one of my games. I've noticed my playing form looks awkward. It just doesn't look right, and is quite different from the form of more advanced players.

    I'm finding this worrying because I might get used to these awkward stances and then they become irreversible (like those older people who have never grown out of bad form). I feel as if it is impeding my progress in improving my game. The weird thing is, when I'm doing drills (drops, smashes, clears, net shots), I feel as if I'm getting it right. But when I see myself on video, it looks very lanky and awkward.

    Here's a video of one of my games, mixed doubles:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJl8KORsUaI

    BTW I'm the guy in the white/blue shirt.

    Comments on what I should strive to improve on when I play will be greatly appreciated. I really want to improve my game and I really believe that the guys here will be of great help Thanks!
    Last edited by jut703; 10-26-2010 at 11:11 AM.

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    I think you're being a little hard on yourself. Sure, you don't like anything like a pro, but there are some good parts. Your attacking movements to the rearcourt look good to me.

    The most obvious problem is that you tend to leave your racket dangling by your ankles. You also tend to have a narrow base, with your feet close together. See my page about the ready position.

    A particular example is your stance when returning serve. You look flat-footed, since your rear foot is planted flat on the ground. You also appear to be fairly far back from the service line, reducing your ability to attack the low serve. Your racket is not ready for the serve; at 0:28, for instance, a drive serve down the middle would have caused you terrible trouble. See my article: return of serve -- preparation.

    Finally, you're not making use of a split drop. This helps you push off quickly in any direction, as soon as you see where the shuttle is going.

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    Thanks for the feedback Gollum! I've always been a fan of badminton bible, and in my head, I kinda get it all sorted out, but obviously it doesn't translate to fabulous on-court performance.

    Indeed my racket dangling is alarming, but I usually don't leave it at that. Nonetheless thanks for pointing it out. I do notice that it isn't natural for me yet to have my racket at waist level slightly outward, in other words, when I'm not focused (like in this game apparently), it just dangles about.

    In fact, I think that's the reason why I can't find much quickness in my game. I'm not always ready. This is frustrating because my coach and others who I play with often say that I move very quickly, and yet I always don't reach shots early. It's a bit like being a fast driver but waking up really late - therefore still ending up late for a meeting, don't you think?

    Which leads me to my biggest problem I think, one which you've pointed out yourself - the split drop. I've watched countless videos, read your article about it over and over again, and yet I still don't do it properly. Whenever I try to do it, I just end up being late in my movements, signifying I split too late. Yet when I try to make it earlier, I don't have the springy effect it's supposed to give. What more, most of my opponents and coaches I've talked to say that I'm too tense in my movements. In my head I'm just trying to be quick but apparently it's actually hindering me from getting to the shuttle on time, plus it ruins my hitting technique. All of this I think can be attributed to my apparent inability to learn the split drop. Over and over again I read/watch that it should be timed right before your opponent's hit. Yet it seems so hard for me to get that timing.

    I know that your guide is already very well detailed, but would you have other more specific tips so that I can get into the habit of having a properly timed split drop in my movements? I'm obviously a very slow learner when it comes to this

    Anyway, thanks again for your help, I reckon I can make these fairly easy adjustments you suggest, and hopefully I can see an improvement in my game

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    I've always been a fan of badminton bible, and in my head, I kinda get it all sorted out, but obviously it doesn't translate to fabulous on-court performance.
    That sentence would be equally true of me. You're not alone here.

    Mastering the split drop is not easy. Although it's a "basic" skill, I consider it something that should continue to be worked on even at a very high level of play.

    One simple practice is "corners work". You hit all your shots to a specified (singles) corner, and the feeder plays randomly to the other corners. The feeder can be as deceptive as he likes, but should not over-pressure you. It's a cooperative practice: the feeder is helping you to practise footwork.

    Start with the feeder hitting to just two corners, such as the forehand net and back corners. Focus on the split drop and initial pushing-off movement. Later you can add more corners, and the feeder can put you under more pressure.

    This is probably my favourite practice, because it's simple and trains footwork and hitting skills together (although mainly footwork). The trick is to get the right amount of pressure from the feeder.

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    But your knowledge of the game is vastly extensive, it's quite impossible that all of that is kept in your head. Inevitably it'll trickle down to your court play.

    I actually do that drill quite often, with my coach. One of the best things about him is his feeding instinct - never too much, never too little. Apparently I should capitalize on this more, yes? Thing is, I focus more on my shots because he says one of my most glaring problems is that I'm the complete opposite of relaxed right before taking a shot - my tension is off the scale and it ruins my shots. Next time I train I'll focus more on the split drop, I have this feeling that since it will help me get to the shuttle earlier, it'll reduce my tension when I take the shot.

    Also, does keeping low help move quickly? I mean, in cars, a lower center of gravity helps in handling - precisely why a Porsche corners quicker than a Hummer. And if so, how low should I stay? Actually now that I'm thinking in car terms, the wide stance helps keep composure and balance, doesn't it? Similar to how sports cars are very wide, to be able to take a corner at speed without much twitching.

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    Regular Member visor's Avatar
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    Over and over again I read/watch that it should be timed right before your opponent's hit.
    Are you sure that the split drop is done before your opponent hits?

    I though it should be done at the same time.
    Otherwise it'll be easy for your opponent to use deceptive holding shots on you.

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    The correct timing of the split drop, just for clarification, is that regardless of whether it is INITIATED before or as your opponent hits the shuttle, you must land the split drop AS SOON AS YOU SEE the direction of the shuttle. So it must land just after contact.

    When I practice my split drop, I like to make sure that to keep my "springiness", I don't let the back of my foot hit the ground. I only let the front of balls of my feet hit the ground, and thus you make use of your lower leg muscles to move quickly, whereas a "heavier" landing only uses the larger and slower upper leg muscles. I do this practice off court, just 4/5 times pretending to move quickly in each direction helps develop my feeling for a quick start when I need some practise!

    I would agree with Gollum, in that it is your base being too narrow and your lack of a split drop that is hindering you. In Lee Jae Boks coaching, he focuses on POSTURE as a key element of badminton. If your base is wide, your centre of gravity will be lower. The wider your base, the easier it is move about the court, because of the lower centre of gravity and that this makes the LENGTH of your stride much larger, allowing you to cover more of the court in a single step. Obviously, there is a limit to how low you should go, but up to 2 and half times your shoulder span would be the maximum width of a base in my opinion, where 2 times the shoulders distance would be a good base.

    When you widen your base, your body will have a tendency to lower itself too, so that you are leaning slightly forwards, instead of being bolt upright. What this does is give better balance and a lower centre of gravity - both excellent traits. However, by assuming this better posture, you will also have a better VIEW of the oppositions court - you will be looking slightly upwards. This will hopefully help give you that quick start you need to incorporate with your quick movement skills.

    When you move to a certain corner, you should be able to HEAR the rhythm of your feet, and for every player this sound is very distinctive! When you have a good rhythm, you will be extremely quick (see peter rasmussens footwork drill on youtube!)

    Moving well will help you relax, and so hopefully this will translate into your shot making.

    Finally: I can't help but feel you don't reach UPWARDS enough for the shuttle, and sometimes you are not far enough behind the shuttle (in defence). It loosk almost as if your racket is coming around in a sideways motion, as opposed to going FORWARDS through the shuttle. However, this could be wrong as I have not seen enough from that video. I would work, as others have said on your posture, your split drop and the width of your base.

    There are plenty of positives about your game! What excites me though, is when there ARE things you do wrong. This means we have room to improve, and I always find the prospect of improving my badminton a very exciting idea! Then one day, you will take another video, and you will see yourself begin to resemble those pro players!

    Onwards and upwards!

    Matt

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    Jut703, looking that video, your ready stance looks very similar to someone standing around waiting for the bus. And because of that, you'll always be half a step slower getting to the bird (no matter how fast you are). Sure, your bus-stop style works in drills cuz they don't require any sort of ready stance, but games do.

    As for having your racquet at your ankles, a good coach would have pulled you on the court and kept smashing at your face until:
    1) either your face gets all bruised up, or
    2) you learn to keep your racquet up to your face level.

    good luck

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    As others have said, your stance is all wrong - you should have a wider stance, be balanced over the balls of your feet, with your knees partly bent ready to push off, and your racket up and out infront of you.
    On the return of serve especially, an aggressive stance is really important - and can even win you a few free points as the server is intimidated into making mistakes while trying to keep the serve extra tight.

    You just look so lazy - even after playing a shot you're just casually wandering back in to position.

    I actually think you just need to adopt a more aggressive mindset, and that would probably fix all these problems - you've got to be hungry for the shuttle - primed, ready to attack your opponents' shots, rather than merely reacting to them. I don't know how else to put it...

    Your shot-making is really very good though

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    @MSeeley:
    Thanx for clarifying the timing of the split drop. It is after all a preload step to push off into a particular direction, so you have to almost know which direction you want to go immediately after you land it.

    Question: would skipping rope drills help improve the "springiness" of the split step?

    @urameatball, Sketchy:
    Lee Jae Bok's video mentions the double decker bus vs sports car stance, and also being "hungry" for the next shot.

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    Visor, skipping rope drills are excellent for improving your lower leg muscles, and hence the explosiveness with which you can move. Skipping is excellent form of training. However, I will state that you may do all things regarding the split drop ready, but with an incorrrect posture, you will not be balanced and hence not "ready" for certain shots. When I want to improve the speed of my footwork, I make sure all tension is released from my body, and focus only on complete balance. You can move fast without strong muscles, just by getting the balance correct. Then adding the leg strength just makes you ultra quick. In my opinion, the secret of good footwork is good posture.

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    Thanks for all the input guys!

    I think it's not my coach's fault for not giving emphasis on my racket holding problem. It's me, since whenever I do drills or play with people of much greater skill I keep it up, but when it's an easy game like in that video I posted, I get lazy as hell.

    Not that I'm making an excuse for my lazy posture, but I think it's because time and time again I'm told that I'm too tense when playing. Obviously I tried fixing the problem with a wrong solution, hence no real improvements in my game.

    MSeely: I noticed the not-reaching-upwards thing when I played singles with a varsity player yesterday. With the same clearing motion as in the video, I had a harder time making the shuttle reach the tramlines because his clear was much stronger than those I was playing with in the video (where a lazy clear was enough since their shuttle reaches just a little past midcourt only). I was losing points so inevitably I had to match my game and shot speed with his. One big thing I noticed was how I was using more of my upper arm when hitting clears, as compared to just getting everything from my forearm back then. This made me hit the shuttle earlier, which not only made my clear stronger, but also gave him less time to react. Of course, I still lost to him, but I left the court happy that my clear was a little better. all that's left is to ensure that the next time I play, I could still clear like that.

    BTW, any link on LJB's footwork video? I can't seem to find it
    Last edited by jut703; 10-27-2010 at 03:33 AM.

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    jut703, it is fantastic to hear that you notice errors for yourself and then go on to try and fix them! Keep that attitude and you will advance quickly. It is so important to reach up high - not as high as possible, but a full relaxed reach. This is ALWAYS a good idea. Clears become easier as you said, but smashes become steeper and more powerful, and your drops will be so much more penetrating! Remember, the "throwing action", from its preparation stage of a side on stance, starts with the elbow raising upwards and moving forwards, and then you go on to reach up to hit the shuttle. With this co-ordination of using your full reach, your muscles will work more efficiently together. This is true of all shots (e.g. taking a net kill at full arms reach).

    Im glad you came off court happy. Matt

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    What about if I want to clear but the shuttle isn't too far back (i.e. I'm not at the tramlines). Doing so with my full arm will make it go out. Slowing down my motion turns it into a drop, or even worse, a floating shot ready to be smashed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sketchy View Post
    As others have said, your stance is all wrong - you should have a wider stance, be balanced over the balls of your feet, with your knees partly bent ready to push off, and your racket up and out infront of you.
    On the return of serve especially, an aggressive stance is really important - and can even win you a few free points as the server is intimidated into making mistakes while trying to keep the serve extra tight.

    You just look so lazy - even after playing a shot you're just casually wandering back in to position.

    I actually think you just need to adopt a more aggressive mindset, and that would probably fix all these problems - you've got to be hungry for the shuttle - primed, ready to attack your opponents' shots, rather than merely reacting to them. I don't know how else to put it...

    Your shot-making is really very good though
    Sketchy is rite, u look very lazy on court like your not bothered. Ur very flat footed all the time. This is why ur slow, this is why some shots you are late for, and other shots u cant get. U kinda have to be a boxer, always dancin on the feet, moving, readjusting all the time. U should never be standing still. This movement will also help ur split step cause ur already moving and doing those wee movements, jus a matter of doin it again when the shuttle is contacted and then taking ur steps to the shuttle.

    Ur mindset needs adjusted always. I can see u can take that shuttle much earlier if your mind set was the hit the shuttle as early as possible. Lot more attacking mindset.

    On an extra note, you stand to close on your serve to front line, stand about a meter maybe bit less from front line behind the girl. Have her closer to middle on your left side. U step back each time to serve waiting for the difficult lift cause ur close up but if ur opponents play a net shot to front corner you serve from, your stuck cause ur stepping back. Those net shots should be hers so make her stand more near middle and to your left.

    You also stand very far back when she serves, this is where you wud be vulnerable to half court pushes or half paced smashes down sides. Stand up closer to her so you can get the half court pushes but also you should be fast enough to get the lifts.

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    My advice would be play against better 1s and film yourself playin against them! I tink we may see a different player of court.

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    Those tips are indeed very helpful, thanks gingerphil.

    One reason why I'm not that into this game is that the level of players isn't very high. They can't make push shots, nor can they move very quickly. Nonetheless I guess it should be good practice to always have proper form, especially as I need to practice that split drop.

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