Physical Training

The following programme is designed to improve the overall fitness and level of performance of all badminton players. The programme is in two sections. The first section applies to training for the game: the second section applies to training in the game. There is a vast difference between these two sections. In all sports, and Badminton is no exception to the rule, it is essential to build up a basic level of fitness before playing the game. This would take the form of pre-season training and requires a full programme of work designed to build a firm7 foundation of fitness. Once fitness has been attained, the emphasis will be on specialised skill training. Specialised skill training will help the player to maintain and even improve his basic level of fitness, but even more so it will help to improve the skills necessary for the game. The second section, training in the game, is specially designed to achieve the improvement of skill. It takes the form of training sequences. The player will be required to perform continuously a pattern of movement which would occur in the game’s situation. By constant repetition of that movement, the skill is perfected and the player improves his stroke, his fitness and his strength. For each stroke in the game of Badminton, there are progressive training sequences. Each stroke under consideration begins with a simple sequence for the school or club player and gradually progresses to more complex sequences for the County and International player. Each sequence used correctly allows the player to develop that part of his game in which lies his weakness. Thus the emphasis may be on control and accuracy, or endurance and speed, or balance or footwork. All these factors can be found in a sequence and the sequence used to develop the particular weakness.

Each sequence is artificial only in that it is isolated from the game and the particular movement pattern or stroke is constantly repeated. However, each sequence is based on a pattern of movement which can and does often happen in a game of Badminton. A player who works at a sequence and develops a particular stroke should have no difficulty in performing that pattern of movement or stroke when confronted with it in the game situation. In fact, by working through all the sequences a player will discover that by performing the correct movement pattern in a game situation, he will be able to increase the number of possible replies to that situation – i.e. a player playing a fore hand overhead shot from the forehand corner will be aware of numerous possibilities for his return shot. This is because by the constant repetition under pressure he has been made to experience the identical situation in training and learnt to return many different types of shot from that position. This will be obvious once the training begins. For the player who wishes to improve at Badminton, whatever the level of attainment, this training programme is essential.


All Badminton players must have experienced the point at which they become tired and their game suffers as a result. It is necessary to develop greater endurance or stamina. With greater endurance a player can play for a longer period of time before fatigue sets in. He can perform a greater output of work. The benefits of this are obvious to anyone who has lost a game because he suddenly tired, and endurance training is an essential part of a player’s programme. The muscles need strengthening to allow the player to continue his full rate of work for a longer period before fatigue sets in.

This can be achieved by road running and cross-country or by the means of the specially devised training sequences.

The muscles can be strengthened by resistance exercises, based on the principle of overload. By continuous repetition of a set exercise the muscles are worked and muscle endurance is developed.

If the arm is bent and stretched continuously, a point is arrived at when fatigue sets in and the exercise becomes difficult to perform. If a weight of 5 kilos is held in the hand, the load is increased and greater strength is required to bend and stretch the arm until fatigue point is reached. Both exercises build muscle endurance, but greater muscle strength is developed by adding the weight. When training to build up muscle endurance, the more repetitions that can be performed before fatigue, the greater is the endurance.

Endurance can be developed by set exercises and also by special Badminton training exercises.

Muscle strength is necessary for increasing power and speed. Strength is developed by weight training, in which weights are used to develop certain muscles, or by making use of the body weight.

(a) An exercise is repeated a set number of times. As the exercise becomes easy the weight is increased and strength is built up.

(b) Using the body weight to develop strength is achieved by repeating a specialised badminton exercise until fatigue point and then carrying on beyond fatigue point. The training sequences are designed to develop strength in this way.

Badminton is a game which makes very severe demands on the body. A player must be able to twist and turn, stretch and bend, etc. The limbs and joints must be able to perform their full range of movement.

Legs: A player requires full flexion and extension in his ankles, knees and hips.

Trunk and Shoulders: Many twisting and stretching movements are required. Full mobility is necessary in the spine, hip and shoulder joints. Exercises are important for increasing the range of movement in these areas. Mobility can be increased by:

(a) Specialised movement technique exercises.

(b) Practices on court which require and develop mobility.

The game demands quickness of movement and good footwork. This is developed by playing games, and performing set sequences which emphasise quick movements.
It is also developed by skipping with particular step patterns.
Speed of movement is dependent on two factors:
(a) Reflexes. This is the name given to reacting quickly. In fact it relates to degree of skill the player has achieved. It is skill in the game as a whole and not only skilled stroke play. The highly skilled player sees the situation, i.e. position of opponent on court, preparation for the stroke, action of opponent and possible return shot of his opponent. His brain analyses all these factors and selects only those factors which are necessary for that particular situation. The brain sends a message to the muscles which then make the appropriate movement. Reflexes are dependent on the experience of the player in selecting or discarding the impulses received by the brain in many similar situations.

(b) Strength. Speed of movement is dependent on strength. If the brain sends a message to the muscles, the muscle must be able to perform the movement required. The greater the strength of the muscles making the movement in proportion to the body weight, the quicker are the movements.

Any movement requires an effort. Though broadly speaking, people use the correct effort to some degree when performing any task, the ability to perform the correct effort at all times is very difficult. For instance, a person would not pick up a cup with the sort of effort required to pick up a bucket of water. The difference is so obvious. Yet in Badminton many players use far more effort than is necessary for a particular stroke. The strong effort in any stroke comes in the actual hitting phase. The preparation and follow through in the stroke require less strength yet how many players actually do this. Many use the same amount of strength and effort throughout the whole stroke. The muscles have no opportunity to relax and the player becomes tired very quickly.

At all times during the game a player should be in a state of readiness. The whole body should be carried and not allowed to give into the body weight and slump at all. If possible maintain a feeling of lightness throughout the body. Movement should be light, quick and controlled in moving about the court and in preparing for strokes. An increase in strength and firmness is felt during the moment of action in hitting the shuttle. This applies in a powerful stroke and a delicate touch stroke. Even a delicate touch stroke requires great effort to maintain the fine touch quality. The ability to change in an instance from a strong hitting action to a delicate touch shot without altering the action of the stroke requires great control and appreciation of the correct effort qualities. The ability to do this can be achieved in set practice. The main point at this stage is to always maintain the fine tension throughout the body during the game. Briefly these are the needs of a badminton player. The training programme is specially designed to cater for these needs.

No mention has been made of the qualities necessary for a champion. It is not the intention of this program to develop the `will to win’, the `killer’ instinct, the ability to play the right shot at the right time, etc. The mental attitude to the game is a purely personal matter. Whatever the attitude to the game, the following programme is designed to develop the basic needs of a player and to improve performance. If it succeeds in these aims then it has achieved its purpose.

The training programme is in two sections:
(1) Training for the Game.
(2) Training in the Game.

It is essential to build up a basic level of fitness prior to the beginning of the season. Even though many players begin to play the game prior to the start of the season, a heavier training schedule is more effective for establishing this basic level of fitness.

The following programme is for a period of one month and should be performed in addition to pre-season games practice.

Endurance training is necessary for increasing the work capacity of the muscles. For players this will take the form of road running or cross country. A satisfactory distance to start with is between three and five miles. Set yourself a course.
which will cover this distance. Run round the course in the following manner:
Mile I – Jog trot and brisk walking.
Mile 2 – Steady pace.
Mile 3 – Jog trot and brisk walking.
During the first week of training take your time and don’t work too hard. Many people dislike training because they feel they must push themselves and suffer. It can be enjoyable if there is a gradual build up to fitness. So, enjoy your training. Begin slowly, walk when you are out of breath. Allow your own fitness to dictate your effort. The first task is to cover the distance. It is not essential to feel that you must run yourself into the ground. This involves a mental approach to fitness which can only be achieved when the mind and body have become conditioned to the work.

Strength is achieved by weight training. Weight training means using weights to develop the strength of certain muscle groups. It is not the intention here to devise a weight training schedule, for it is a very specialised method of building up strength. Each individual requires expert advice and to be shown the correct method of using weights. Incorrect use of weights can be quite harmful. However, these days there are numerous physical educators who are able to plan a personal programme of weight training for any player who wishes to use weights for his strength development. It is enough to say that a player requires strength in his shoulders, abdomen, back and leg muscles. Weight training is an ideal way to build up strength in these muscle groups and the keen enthusiast, the competitor, would benefit a great deal by considering the use of weights in his training programme. For those players who do not wish to use weights it is essential that certain exercises are performed daily in addition to running. The exercises which follow are useful in developing strength and flexibility. These are exercises which can be performed in the home, and are written out in the form of a training programme.

Exercise Repetitions
(1) Press ups 10
(2) Sit ups 20
(3) Squats 25
(4) Back bends 5
(5) Squat thrust 10
(6) Step ups 15

A description of these exercises follows:
Press ups: Lie face downwards on the floor. Place the palms of the hands on the floor at the side of the shoulders. Keep the body still and straighten the arms to raise the body off the floor.

This is a press-up. Lower the body by bending the arms and repeat the action according to the number of times set in the programme. Sit ups: Lie on the back, legs straight and feet under a support, i.e. chair, bed, etc. Hands clasped behind the head. Keeping the legs straight, raise the upper body so that the elbows touch the knees. Lower the body to the position of lying on the back. This is one sit-up. This movement develops strength in the abdominal muscles.

Squats: Stand upright. Keep body erect, head up, and lower the seat and body by bending the knees into a squat position. Stand up again. This action is a squat. It develops the thigh muscles.

Back bends: Lie on the front, hands clasped behind the head and elbows raised. Raise the upper body off the ground by working the muscles of the back. Hold position and lower to the ground. This is a back bend.

Squat thrust: Stand upright. Lower the body into the squat position. Place the palms of the hands on to the ground to take the body weight. Thrust the legs straight backwards until you are now in a press up position. Bring the legs back to the squat position and stand up. This is a squat thrust. This movement should be done quickly and smoothly without a pause between the change of positions.

Step ups: Place a chair or bench in front of you. Step up on to it and stand up straight. Step down again. This is a step up and develops the lower leg muscles. To perform this programme of six exercises go through from 1 to 6 completing the repetitions required. Do this daily and make a habit of it.

Week 1
3 Mile Run daily from Monday to Saturday. Exercise programme of 6 exercises one to six once through in order. Repeat this programme daily from Monday to Saturday. Leave Sunday for a rest day.

Week 2
3 Mile Run. Exercise programme of six exercises. Perform one to six twice through in the correct order. Do this daily from Monday to Saturday.

Week 3
4 Mile Run. Exercise programme of six exercises. Perform from one to six twice through in the correct order. Do them daily from Monday to Saturday.

Week 4
5 Mile Run. Exercise programme of six exercises. Perform from one to six three times through in correct order. Do this daily from Monday to Saturday.

The programme is a basic one, gradually building up into more demanding work from the person training. A six day programme is the aim. If it is not possible to complete a six day programme, a minimum programme should be at least four days a week. If it is not possible to build up the amount of work required over the four week period, stick to the first week’s schedule for all the four weeks. The keen player will try to complete the programme. Those players who are unable to complete the whole programme should still train as much as possible. A little exercise done regularly is better than an enormous amount done once in a while with large gaps in the training routine. The programme is within the scope of any healthy person, and for this reason it is very basic. It is not possible in this book to devise a personal training programme for every player. Use this one as a basis and if you wish to do more ask the advice of a specialist physical educator or athletics coach.


The content of this section deals with general exercises which can be used as an addition to the set training programme. If you wish to develop flexibility and muscle strength then select a few of these to add to your basic pro-gramme.

Skipping is a form of exercise used by many games players to develop foot-work. Skipping can become boring, and a way of overcoming monotony is to skip to music. Any music with a regular rhythm to it is good for skipping. `Pop’ music is excellent. It is easier to get into a rhythm and appears less tiring. There are several ways of using skipping as an exercise. One method is to skip to 100 turns of the rope and then rest a minute. Repeat this until 1,000 turns of the rope have been completed.

A second method is to skip for a certain amount of time and rest for a certain amount of time. Select a period of 12 minutes skipping. Skip for 2 minutes. Rest 1 minute. Repeat this six times until 12 minutes’ skipping has been completed. If one minute is not long enough for a rest, have a two minute rest. The rest period depends on the individual.

The third method is to skip non-stop for the period of time selected, i.e. 10 minutes of skipping. Skip for the 10 minutes non-stop. This requires tremendous fitness and is not a method to select unless one is really fit.


All these exercises can be performed daily to increase strength and flexibility, and range of movement. It is not necessary to perform all the exercises from the beginning. Select several and do each two or three times, but do them with daily regularity. It will not be possible to achieve the full range of movement from the beginning. However if performed with daily regularity, after several weeks, the range of movement will be increased and the numbers of times it is possible to perform each exercise will be increased.

It is true to say that the majority of players practise their Badminton. The usual type of practice is a ‘knock-up’ i.e. a few overhead clears, backhand clears, drop shots and smashes, etc. The idea is to get warmed up and then play games, Singles or Doubles.

The ambitious players enter tournaments, play in matches, and improve in this manner by gaining greater experience. This approach is quite sound, but not positive enough. A more positive or scientific approach is required and progressive training methods must be developed if a training session is to be meaningful. Very few badminton players really know how to train and practise. For positive results, training must take the form of logical progressive practices. The ‘knock-up’ and game attitude lacks real purpose. There is no guarantee that a weakness in the player’s game will be worked on and improved. The opportunity to improve the weakness in a game may occur a few times only. There is a great need for more positive training methods, and more intense practices.

This section is designed to give a more positive and scientific approach to practice. It is the most important section as practice and training are best performed in conditions similar to playing conditions. The following practices are designed to improve: Endurance, Strength, Mobility, Speed, Balance and Footwork, Stroke production, Control and accuracy.

Simply the aim is to improve the fitness and the skill of the player. During a game there are certain patterns of play which keep recuring. Whatever the situation of a player on the court there are several definite possible returns of shot in each situation. The aim is to perform these specialised skill training exercises which compel the player to make all the possible returns. Each stroke and each situation has been isolated from the game situation. During a game there is always a pattern of movement required to travel into position from the central base, play a shot, and return to the central base. In the game, hundreds of these movement patterns flow into one another to make up the game. The idea is to isolate each individual movement pattern and compel the player to repeat it many times. By doing so, the player will develop in his body the appropriate movements to play in a situation should it occur during a game.

Many players have practised isolated strokes, the smash, forehand and backhand clear, the drop shot, etc. By performing the action many times, they learn to `groove the stroke’, until it becomes an automatic action. The same idea is developed here to a greater extent. Instead of one isolated stroke being practised, the emphasis is on a complete pattern of movement being practised. In this section, the pattern of movement is called a sequence. A sequence consists of the starting position, travelling to the hitting position, preparation, hitting action, follow through and recovery.

Each stroke and pattern of movement is practised by working on simple sequences and progressing to more complex sequences as the level of performance improves. Repetition of a sequence not only trains the appropriate pattern of movement necessary in a situation but develops to a higher degree the requirements of a player. By correct use of the sequence, balance and footwork, stroke production, control and accuracy will be improved. By increasing the number of times each sequence is performed, the work load and work rate is increased, and the player will improve his endurance, strength, mobility and speed.

There is nothing complicated in each sequence. Each one is self-explanatory and easy to understand. It is not necessary to work through all the sequences on any particular stroke. Some players need to begin with a simple sequence, others may begin with a more complex sequence. The choice is dependent on the ability and fitness of the individual player.

As stated previously, the aim of each sequence is to improve the requirements of a player, endurance, strength, speed, mobility, footwork and balance, control and accuracy. A balanced combination of all these factors developed to the full potential of the player is the end result of this training.

It is not to be expected that each factor will develop at the same rate as the others. If endurance and strength are low, the balance will be upset and control and accuracy will suffer as the player becomes fatigued. If stroke production and control and accuracy are not of a sufficient standard, then the player, being unable to use the full distance of the court with his strokes, will not have to travel as far and will be unable to develop his strength and endurance to the maximum.

These difficulties can be overcome by correct use of the sequence. The following discusses the correct use of the sequence.

The feeder has a very responsible task. He dictates the sequence. He must read the instructions for each sequence very carefully and understand his task. If the player is to gain the full benefit of the training, the feeder must concentrate on good control and accurate placing of the shuttlecock.

The feeder is able to dictate the pace of a sequence. He can slow it down by hitting the shuttle on a high pathway or speed it up by increasing the pace of the shuttle, and hitting it on a lower pathway. The position of the feeder is the target for the player. In between shots the feeder must remain in his fixed position as shown in the diagram of each sequence. Even though he has to move away from his fixed position to return a poor shot from the player, he should return quickly to his fixed position. This is important, as any unnecessary movements in between shots tend to distract the player and result in the breakdown of the sequence. The feeder must be aware of this and should concentrate, and aim at control and accurate placements.

In all the sequences the player under pressure is named A. For the purpose of this explanation he will be known as the player A. The player A selects the stroke he wishes to practise and the sequence at which he wishes to begin training. If the player A finds a particular sequence is too difficult in technique or too demanding physically then return to a simpler sequence. The player A must work at his own level of performance. It may be necessary to experiment at first to discover what that level is. Read through the uses of a sequence and decide what factors of the game require improving for yourself. If it is endurance and strength be certain to inform the feeder B of your requirements and the feeder B can feed the appropriate shots to you.

Do not `cut corners’; always complete the full range of movement and the correct movement pattern. Aim at accurate placements and returns. Set yourself a schedule which can be completed adequately each session. To help in this read the section on training schedules. Concentrate on the task in hand, be prepared for hard work, and fitness and skill will show a definite improvement.

In all sequences where a counter is shown, the counter will be known as C. The task of the counter C is to keep a score of the sequence. This becomes especially difficult in the complex training sequence involving three or four strokes. The feeder and player must concentrate on maintaining the sequence and the counter must keep the score. The counter can also assist by informing the players A and B, if strokes are not being performed correctly or if returns are not accurate enough.

The task is two-fold. Keep the score and insist on correct use of the sequence. It should be noted that the order of play in a sequence is such that the player A has a rest by becoming the counter. In any sequence the three players rotate. Feeding is good for warming up, which leads to the hard work as player, which leads to the rest period as counter.

It is not necessary to have a counter, but it does allow play to be continuous with just sufficient rest to allow the player A to maintain work for longer periods. Work, rest, work, rest, etc. will allow a higher standard of performance to be achieved during the work period, than if the player A works without ceasing before fatigue prevents him continuing.

Work load is the quantity of work the player sets out to achieve. The section on training schedules will explain this in more detail. Simply the player may set himself the task of completing a repetition of 10 sequences. This is his work load. As he gets stronger and fitter he may increase his work load to a repetition of 20 sequences. The limit is set only by the player’s ability to withstand the onset of fatigue.

Work rate is the time allowed to perform a given quantity of work. A player may wish to perform a repetition of 10 sequences and allows himself 2 minutes. He must work at a certain rate to achieve this amount of work in the time allowed. As he gets fitter and stronger, he may decide to reduce the time to 10 sequences in one minute. To achieve this task he must speed up and increase his rate of work. He has to achieve a given amount of work in less time. Greater effort is needed and he reaches fatigue much sooner.

The combination of work load and work rate and their application, is an essential factor in increasing fitness.

In the game of Badminton, work rate can be increased by hitting the shuttle on a lower arc through the air and thereby reducing the amount of time the shuttle takes to travel from one position to the other. The sequence is speeded up. Work rate can be decreased by hitting the shuttle higher and allowing more time for it to travel from one position to the other. The sequence is slowed down.

It is essential that both the feeder and the player realise this fact and make use of this when playing a sequence. It is important, for it has a direct relationship on developing the basic requirements of the player.

Endurance is the ability to withstand the onset of fatigue. If a player desires to increase his endurance then he must increase his work load. Perhaps fatigue is reached after ten repetitions of a training sequence, which is performed at a certain speed. If the sequence is slowed down by hitting the shuttle higher, the player may be able to perform fifteen repetitions of that sequence before the fatigue point is reached. The work load is increased and endurance is developed. By constant training and emphasis on increasing the number of repetitions in a sequence, the player will gradually improve his endurance and be able to work for a longer period of time before the fatigue point is reached.

A certain amount of muscle strength is built up in the same manner as endurance is improved. Strength can be achieved by increasing the amount of work to be performed. If at the same time the rate of work is increased so that the muscles have less time to perform the same amount of work, greater strength is acquired over a period of training. To develop strength increase the number of repetitions of a sequence or increase the speed at which the repetitions must be performed.

Speed of movement can be developed by increasing the work rate. It is inevitable that by practising the sequences there will be an improve-ment in endurance, strength and speed. By altering the emphasis slightly in each sequence, one or other of these three factors may be developed at a higher rate than the others.

Mobility is the ability to reach the full range of movement in the joints. It is not necessary to try to develop mobility in the training sequences. To perform each sequence correctly demands and compels the player to increase the range of movement in his limbs. There is so much stretching and twisting, etc. that the player cannot help but increase mobility.

This training programme does not intend to teach balance and footwork. However the aim is to perform each sequence correctly. Correct performance means getting the body weight behind the shuttle and to do this good balance is essential. There are numerous movement patterns to be practised. To perform them a player will experience a whole range of complex step patterns. By practice, balance and footwork will improve. The method of travelling from one position to another will depend on the player. The sequences compel the player to select correct movements to travel about the court.

Repetition of a sequence allows the player the opportunity to play a shot to a fixed target. To reach the target will require control and accuracy. The fact that there is a target (the feeder) to aim at allows the player to judge how accurate he is. Control is linked with accuracy because though a player may hit a shuttle in the right direction, he must also hit it with just enough strength to send it to the target. Continual repetition of the same stroke as performed in the sequence, gives the player time to judge how much strength is required to hit the shuttle a certain distance. Control and accuracy is improved by regular practice in training sequences.

The first aim is to give the training a purpose. Select the stroke which requires improving. There are specialised training sequences for every stroke so this is-not difficult. If you are an average club or school player it is wise to begin with a simple sequence and progress at your own rate. For the County and International player it may be wise to select a more complex sequence. The choice is a personal one.

However there is no reason why even an International player may not select a simple sequence for the perfection of stroke production. As an example, the stroke selected may be the forehand overhead clear. The player decides to begin at the Tenth sequence which is a forehand overhead clear from the forehand and backhand corners to the opposite forehand corner. Player A must make two shots to complete a sequence.

If the emphasis is on stroke production, control and accuracy, both the player A and the feeder B should hit high defensive clears to allow more time for the correct stroke to be played. If the emphasis is on strength and speed, increase the work rate by hitting an attacking clear which travels on a lower arc and allows less time to play the stroke. If player A is slow traveling back for a stroke, feeder B plays an attacking clear which forces A to speed up when travelling backwards. Player A returns with a high clear.

If player A is slow returning to his base he should hit an attacking clear which forces him to return to his centre quickly. Feeder B feeds a high clear to allow A time to travel to the hitting position and gain a slight rest before rushing into the centre again. The whole pace of the sequence can be altered to compel the player to work on a weakness.

The player selects the, number of repetitions he is able to perform to a satisfactory standard before the onset of fatigue. It may be that fatigue begins after ten repetitions of a sequence. If this is the case, practise the sequence until ten repetitions are performed without fatigue. Once this number becomes easy to perform, increase the number of repetitions up to fifteen. With continual work in this manner the strength and fitness will increase and also the ability to perform more repetitions.

When the session is limited to work on one particular sequence, the order of play (feeder, player, counter), can be rotated three or four times instead of once only. The player will improve fitness and control on that particular stroke to a greater degree.

The idea should be work through several sequences in a training session. An hour spent in this way prior to normal games will give the player a fair quantity of work to accomplish. It will improve his fitness to a greater extent than normal training and improve his technical skill.

The main aim of this programme is to enable any player to play a game at a faster pace for a longer period of time. A player who can perform all the sequences should be able to perform the correct body movements for any situation which may occur during a game.

However it would be foolish to expect to develop into a highly skilled player by practising these sequences only. They are to help you to perform the stroke you decide is necessary, in a successful manner and return it accurately to the area you select. They are a means to an end. Complete skill in the game can only come from playing the game. The sequences improve technique and ability to perform strokes under pressure. They cannot teach you to win, but it is certainly good for the confidence, when you realise that you can perform an appropriate stroke in any situation and keep doing this for a long period of time.

Though all the sequences are taken from situations which are to be experienced in a game, they are artificial because of their isolation and repetition of the same pattern of movement.

After a training session on the sequences it is sound policy to play a normal game of singles and doubles. In this way the movement patterns will not be allowed to become stereotyped.

These specialised training exercises which develop fitness and technique are used only to improve your game. Remember this when training.

From Yonex Sunrise BBD Uttar Pradesh Badminton Academy