If you’re reading this blog post, you probably know how essential footwork is in badminton and want to improve. In the last month, I spent a ton of time training in preparation for a national badminton tournament and tested out a ton of drills to help myself improve. In my experiments, I found a footwork drill that was super effective at improving my fitness and speed on the court.
This footwork drill is an implementation of Tabata sets on a shadow, pointing footwork drill and has quickly become my favorite for helping intermediate/advanced players improve. In this article, I will show you how to improve your badminton footwork using Tabata sets.
What Is A Tabata Set?
Before we get into the actual badminton footwork drill, we must first understand what a Tabata set is.
If you’re familiar with high-intensity interval training (HIIT), a Tabata workout is a type of HIIT. Doing a Tabata set involves performing high-intensity exercises in 20-second intervals with 10-second breaks in between for four minutes.
For example, a push-up Tabata set will involve the below routine:
- 20 seconds of push-ups
- 10 seconds rest
- Do the above eight times
The Tabata set was popularized by Dr. Tabata in a study where he compared athletes’ aerobic and anaerobic cell capacities after six weeks of training. The first training cycle consisted of moderate endurance training (think 30-minute/1 hour runs), and the second cycle consisted of Tabata sets.
Dr. Tabata found that Tabata sets vastly outperformed moderate-intensity training sessions significantly despite a Tabata workout being much shorter in time. The main difference was seen in the athlete’s improved anaerobic systems.
Moderate-intensity training improves an athlete’s aerobic capacities, but Tabata sets improved both aerobic and anaerobic systems, concluding that Tabata workouts were much more efficient.
With the nature of badminton games, where players generally play short, high-intensity rallies with small breaks in between, implementing Tabata training into our badminton sessions makes a lot of sense.
Below, I will show you how to use Tabata sets to improve your badminton game.
How To Do A Tabata Set Footwork Drill
I love using Tabata sets to do badminton footwork drills. The drill I do is straightforward. Have a partner (or do it yourself) point to various corners and shadow your footwork as you react to your partner for 20 seconds on and 10 seconds off for four minutes. Then do this 3-8 times, depending on your fitness level, with a 1-4 minute rest between each 4-minute set (I usually switch with my partner and use that time as my rest).
For those unfamiliar with shadow footwork, the idea is to move around with a racket like you’re playing a game but without actually playing a game. There should be no shuttles flying around, and you should be moving around to random points on the court, practicing all sorts of movements.
The key to doing a shadow footwork Tabata set properly is that you should be pushing yourself to your limit in every 20-second set of footwork. Tabata sets lose their benefits if you’re not doing high-intensity exercises.
The Benefits Of Doing Badminton Footwork Tabata Sets
You may notice that the first few times you do this Tabata set workout, you’ll find yourself trying to catch your breath and your muscles burning just after a few 20-second intervals.
Tabata sets are definitely challenging, even for well-conditioned badminton players. If Tabata sets feel easy, you’re not moving as fast as you should be.
Doing these difficult workouts are definitely worth it, though. Within a few days, I found myself sustaining a faster game pace for much longer. Since the drills are like badminton rallies where you’re working hard for short intervals with short periods of rest in between, you get accustomed to the intensity you get in an actual match.
Additionally, my footwork was also a lot smoother and more explosive. However, this benefit has less to do with the Tabata-style training and more with the actual shadow footwork drill.
To get the best results when doing footwork drills, you must focus on good technique. Think about your split steps, your foot positioning, your jumps, your shuffles, and all the movements you’re making, and correct yourself if a particular movement isn’t optimal.
This is also why I would recommend badminton shadow footwork Tabata workouts for more experienced players. The drill isn’t as helpful unless you understand what you need to do to move more efficiently on the court.
As a general rule, you probably shouldn’t do this drill yet if you don’t know what a split-step is or you’re still trying to figure out how to split-step. Otherwise, I highly recommend doing footwork Tabata sets as much as possible.
How To Improve Your Badminton Footwork Using Tabata Sets
I hope you enjoyed this article on improving your badminton footwork using Tabata sets. With the way badminton is played, where players play intense rallies for short intervals with short breaks in between, doing Tabata workouts is a no-brainer for improving your performance.
One of the best ways to incorporate Tabata sets into your badminton workouts is to do footwork drills in the Tabata style. Do multiple 4-minute sets of 20 seconds on 10 seconds off shadow footwork, and you’ll see your footwork improve very quickly.
What do you think? Are you going to do badminton footwork Tabata sets? I would love to hear your feedback! As always, you can comment down below if you have any questions as well.