Badminton, coined "the fastest racket sport in the world", is one of the finest conditioning game activities. During the game, the player performs highly concentrated actions on a continual basis. These actions include explosive exercises like jumping, running, stretching, twisting, throwing and striking.
The shuttlecock travels at a very high speed and in double games there are often more than 40 shots in 20 seconds. When compared to a tennis match, the badminton player runs twice as far during a game in under half the time.
Typical build: Muscular, with strong legs and arms.
Physical requirements: Even though everyone can enjoy badminton, professional players have to be extremely fit. They need to have quick reflexes, rapid hand-eye coordination, excellent flexibility, top aerobic fitness levels, good co-ordination and strength.
Technique: Badminton is a high-intensity, stop-start sport requiring speed, power, endurance, agility, flexibility and hand-eye coordination. Reaction time needs to be high and efficient players need to think ahead and plan each shot effectively to conserve as much energy as possible.
Training programme: Players must include cardio and strength exercises in their training programmes. They should pay attention to the following muscle groups: shoulders, forearms (especially eccentric training as this helps prevent injuries such as tennis elbow), pecs, upper arms (biceps and triceps), rotator cuff (especially internal and external rotators). It is also of the utmost importance to train the muscles around the knees (the quads, hamstrings and calves). This will prevent knee injuries during any sudden lateral movements. Training should also be done with equipment used during the Olympics, i.e. shoes and shock absorptionof different racquets.
Cardiovascular fitness: Players should display excellent cardiovascular fitness. They should be fit enough to run for 45 minutes at a fast pace. Anaerobic training is very important – players should train short bursts at a high intensity. Hopping, jumping, plyometric bounds and running with high knee action are the exercises they will do.
Endurance: An endurance base is a requirement – the time on court can vary from half an hour to two hours or more. However, endurance is slightly less important here than it is in tennis. Tennis games usually last much longer than badminton games.
Nutrition: World-class badminton players follow eating plans that are more scientific than ever before. Many professional players have their own nutritionists.