a player in there ready position as they play badminton

Ready Position in Badminton

Badminton is no doubt a fast paced game. The Shuttlecock reaching speeds of over 500km/h means that badminton players, especially at the pro level, are really pushing the limit of human reaction. But how do the Pro’s make sure they are always prepared for these lighting fast smashes?

When it comes to competitive badminton, every advantage counts, so priming your body to react as quickly as it can is essential. That’s where the ready position comes in. This guide is going to break down the aspects of the ready position as well as some key tips and tricks to keep your reactions just as fast as the shuttlecock.

What is The Ready Position?

To put it simply, the ready position is a position you put your body in in order for it to be ready for your answer to the opponents next shot.

But what does that look like?

Well it can depend on the situation and even what format of badminton you’re playing, singles or doubles. But a basic ready position is vital to know so that you can adapt your footwork to different situations.

The Key Ingredients for a Great Ready Position.

Your Stance

To start off, let’s talk about your stance in the ready position. Your feet should be slightly wider than shoulder width apart. This is the optimal width as to wide requires too much effort to move from and to close reduces your maneuverability.

You should be bending at the knees slightly as to lower your centre of gravity to a comfortable level. So don’t stand in a deep squat, but don’t have your legs locked at the knees, standing straight up.

You also want to shift your weight over your feet slightly. Not so much that you begin to feel unbalanced as you lean forwards, but enough that you are standing on the front of your feet, or the ‘balls of your feet’. This is to make sure you’re not ‘flat footed’ which is a stance where you are resting on your heels, making you slower to react and move.

Your left foot should be slightly ahead of your other foot in order to cover more of the court.

a team of badminton players demonstrating how a badminton ready position  is stanced

How The Racket is Held

Letting your racket hang passively near your ankles is a common pitfall that can severely hamper your ability to respond effectively to your opponent’s moves. Instead, elevating your racket is paramount. Holding your racket out in front of you, ensuring it’s away from your body, primes you for a multitude of potential plays. This positioning is not arbitrary; it’s a calculated stance that prepares you for the unpredictable nature of badminton.

a badminton player demonstrating how the racket is held in a badminton ready position

Typically, positioning your racket around waist height serves as a versatile starting point. This neutral position allows for quick adjustments and reactions, whether you need to defend against a drop shot or prepare for a smash. However, the dynamic nature of badminton means that this is just a starting point.

When the game shifts to a more aggressive phase, and you’re on the offensive, raising your racket slightly higher can give you the leverage and speed needed to dominate the rally. Conversely, when you’re bracing for defense, especially against those rapid smashes that professional players are known for, lowering your racket can provide the agility needed to return shots effectively.

Your Other Arm

Your other arm, even if it isn’t doing anything, shouldn’t be neglected! Your left arm is crucial in creating a counter weight to the rest of the stance. Use it by holding it in front of your body and slightly to the side. Do not leave it dangling around at your side!

a badminton player demonstrating how the left hand is held in a badminton ready position at the 2016 Rio Olympics

Central/Base Position

In the fast-paced world of badminton, mastering your central base position is crucial for optimal court coverage and quick reaction to your opponent’s shots. This dynamic stance, which adjusts based on the shots played and the ongoing game strategy, is integral to the ready position. It involves a slight bias in positioning depending on whether you’re responding to a net shot by moving forward, or preparing for a clear or lift by adjusting slightly back.

This adaptable base, combined with the ready stance—feet slightly wider than shoulder-width, weight on the balls of your feet, and racket held out in front—ensures you’re primed to cover the court efficiently. Adjusting your base to exploit opponents’ weaknesses or to cover your vulnerabilities further refines your readiness, making it a sophisticated blend of physical preparedness and strategic anticipation, essential for keeping up with the shuttlecock’s blistering speeds.

How can I Improve my ready position in badminton?

To elevate your badminton game, refining your ready position is essential, acting as the foundation for lightning-fast responses. This involves a keen awareness of your body’s alignment for optimal balance and agility, dynamic adjustments to your stance and racket position based on the game’s flow, and consistent practice to make these adjustments instinctive. By focusing on the synergy of awareness, adjustment, and practice, your ready position becomes a natural extension of your strategy, enabling you to effortlessly counter your opponent’s moves and take control of the game.

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