Relax – The Best Non-Technical Badminton Tip

Badminton is a game full of power, speed and agility. Badminton Tips often focus on how to improve your smash, footwork or other technical elements of the sport. But there’s one non-technical element of the game that will improve your play significantly. Nothing to do with your racket or any equipment. Just one simple thing. Relax.

Yep, it’s that simple. So why is this one important element simply overlooked by many beginners and even intermediate players? Often it’s because it’s not intuitive for players who have never had any formal coaching or been told otherwise. So if you’re not doing it already, let’s get into why relaxing can make such a big difference to your game.

For More Power – Relax The Body

Perhaps understandably, amateur players start off by trying to hit the shuttle as hard as possible. In doing so they tense their muscles and grip on the racket throughout the shot, naturally thinking that this is the way to generate power. But in fact, this is the opposite of what you should do. In general, power is generated from the legs, core and swing of the racket.

Racket Swing

When you tense your muscles you cannot generate as much speed in your swing. So when you consider that force=mass x acceleration, you’re seriously limiting the force you can put into the shot. When you relax your muscles, this allows kinetic energy to travel much more freely than if you were to tense your muscles. Therefore the acceleration of your racket swing is faster. It’s a similar concept as in martial arts where a faster punch is generated from a relaxed arm.

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In addition, as part of the above, you want to keep your racket grip relaxed too. When you grip the racket too tight your forearm becomes tense. When a good player plays a shot like a smash, drive, or even a clear, the tension in the muscles only occurs at the point of impact with the shuttle, where the grip is suddenly tightened. This utilises the kinetic energy created throughout the relaxed swing, which increases acceleration. Therefore that contraction helps to create much more power than if the muscles were already contracted throughout the entire process.

relax the best non technical badminton tip

Energy Transference Throughout The Body

Above we only mentioned the racket swing. However, power comes not just from the racket swing but through the whole body. As you play an overhead shot, your body should rotate into the shot, so power is transferred from your legs, the rotation of your hips, core and upper body. All this before the racket swing! So again, if your body is tense, particularly your core, there’s no way that energy is going to effectively transfer into your shot power.

However, when jump smashing, it’s important to contract your core as you hit the shuttle. This is a more subtle technique to improving power and perhaps quite advanced. The point is, that the core cannot add power to the smash if it was already contracted. There will be another post on improving smash power in the near future!

In summary, relaxed muscles help the efficient transference of energy throughout the body, increase racket swing speed and ultimately this combination will result in more power in your shot, no matter what level you are at.

Relaxed Grip

Better Net Shot Control

Moving on from power, a relaxed grip will also give you better control over the shuttle. This is especially important when it comes to those delicate net shots.

A net shot needs to be guided and caressed to be played accurately. This requires a relaxed grip on the racket, which helps to reduce the rebound of the shuttle once it hits the strings. Playing a net shot with a firm grip on the racket will cause less control on the rebound of the shuttle, making it more difficult to control the shuttle and play a tight net shot.

In addition, having a firm grip on the racket does not allow you to impart spin on the shuttle in a variety of ways. You can use spin through a number of different actions using your wrist, however, a relaxed grip is required in order to do so.

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When you relax your grip you can also play a wider variety of net shots, including cross courts, as well as manoeuvring the racket from in-out and out-in depending on the situation and spin you might want to put on the shuttle. All of these become basically impossible if you grip the racket too hard and your net shots will be very one dimensional, even if you could play them accurately!

Use Of Fingers And Wrist

Another reason to relax your grip is to help use finger power and help direct your shot more effectively. Whether that’s a steeper shot or placed more accurately on the court. A tight grip limits the ability of your fingers and wrist, which are really the drivers of how you ultimately hit and guide the shot.

Shot Direction

When playing downward shots, such as the smash, a tight racket grip can cause the shot to be much flatter than ideal as you lose that flexibility in the grip. Therefore the steepness of your shot suffers. In addition, it becomes more obvious where you’re going to hit the smash. Something has to compensate for the directional ability of your wrist/fingers and often it’s your body that will give you away. Therefore you also lose that “natural deception” which comes with being able to relax your grip. If you can achieve a more relaxed grip, you can use the ability of just your fingers and wrist to play the shuttle in any direction you want

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Shot Type

One of the biggest problems with a tight grip is that you lose the ability to play a number of shots, significantly reducing your shot repertoire. Particularly notable shots include the drive, net kill, backhand clear and even the lift.

These shots all require some “snap” to them, in order to create the power necessary to play the shot effectively. This snap is a short sharp action that uses the fingers to create this action. If your grip is tight, you simply cannot perform this action. With a backhand clear for example, it’s like a whip. Right at the end of the swing, the fingers are required to suddenly tighten and this creates a whiplash effect on the racket head. Without this, you cannot play an effective shot. This is similar to both the drive and net kill. In order to create speed in the racket head in such a short amount of time and space, as these shots require, a relaxed grip is paramount.

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There are so many ways to improve your badminton technically that this important element kind of becomes wrapped up in that learning. But I feel it’s important to break out this key element and make all players aware that there are key intricacies within the techniques that you can implement without having a full understanding of the technique itself.

I hope this helped you in your badminton improvement. If you have any questions, please leave a comment or contact me here.

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