Relax Your Body and Improve Your Game

Published September 29, 2021

Have you ever played a game of badminton where your body was achy and tense afterward?

If you tend to tense your muscles as you play badminton, you could be restricting and hurting yourself before the game begins, which can only hurt you while helping your opponent, not what any of us want to happen. This article will explain why this happens, how relaxing your body can help you play a better game, and stretches you can do before playing to help prevent it. So, if you are interested in improving your game and fixing this issue, keep reading. 

Couple relaxing in a hammock by the beach

Why Your Body Tenses Up

This question has a simple answer that, while it makes sense, can still take time for people to grasp and get ahold of. The answer can also apply to just about any sport when you think about it, as each one can invoke similar emotions and reactions from your body. Your body tenses up because of various factors such as the anticipation and pressure you feel of getting to the shuttlecock on time, putting excessive force into your swing to enable it to go further, and the simple feeling of frustration most people feel during a game. Or if your timing is a few seconds off or your shuttlecock not going where intended can cause that frustration to build and cause unwanted tension in your body. Now that we understand why your body can tend to naturally tense, we can discuss a few ways to prevent it and potentially improve your game as a result.

Preventing the Tension

  • Ensuring that you are adequately warmed up before playing a game.
    • Properly stretching out your muscles and joints before practicing or playing a game can enable your body to begin increasing the blood flow in the area, allowing them to prepare for the exertion that is about to happen. 
    • Starting with active stretches before moving onto passive ones is preferred for badminton, as active stretches are specifically used to improve your flexibility. At the same time, passive stretches tend to help more with a range of motion and mobility, with the potential to prevent your muscles from weakening while encouraging muscle growth.
  • Staying relaxed, intense moments, and knowing how to keep your cool.
    • Ensuring that you can calm your emotions during a game and take a deep breath or two when something does not go your way can take a few seconds but go a long way for your game.
    • Focusing on the game and trying your best without putting too much pressure on your shoulders or arms can help you swing the racket better as you have more control over how your muscles will contract. 
  • Watch your grip.
    • If your grip is too tense on the racket, you can limit the motion of your wrist – preventing yourself from being able to perform a quick snapping motion when needed.
    • Suppose your grip is too tight and causes tension to appear in your body, specifically your shoulders and arms. In that case, you will be restricting your movements, such as prohibiting yourself from doing a full swing properly. 
  • Watch your balance.
    • Having the proper balance can allow you to focus on the game and put the right amount of power behind your swing while remaining composed. If you have to focus on your balance, your body will take the opportunity to tense.

Stretching Now and Performing Better Later

As mentioned earlier, a big part of reducing the tension in your body is ensuring that the proper stretches are done before a game and allowing your body to cool down properly after a game. Allowing your body to cool down properly is essential because badminton requires your body to use many different muscles. Skipping a cool down could tighten your muscles, slow down the recovery of your muscles, cause lactic acid to build up, and more. We mentioned two types of stretches earlier to help; now, we are going to list some specific exercises that, when done correctly, can help your body relax more and ache less if you do tense during a game.

  • Supine single leg stretches – this stretch allows you to extend each leg for a minute or so, enabling your legs to remain strong and healthy and, at the same time, maintaining a good range of motion in your joints.
  • Standing quadriceps stretch – these stretches can help prevent back, knee pain, tightness throughout your body, and you get to enjoy more mobility. Doing a stretch such as this could save you from spending a weekend down and out from back pain.
  • Hamstring stretch – stretching your hamstring can provide some extra support for your back and pelvis. Ensuring that your hamstring stays loose can help lower your chances of experiencing a muscle strain or tear.
  • Shoulder circles – this simple exercise allows you to build muscle tone in your biceps, shoulders, and triceps and can be done virtually anywhere.
  • Jumping jacks – everyone knows how to do a proper jumping jack, and they provide several cardiovascular benefits for your body. Not only do they increase your blood circulation, but they can also help maintain blood pressure, balance out your heart rate, and more.
  • Reach backs   if you have ever wanted to improve your posture or your body’s rotation, these are perfect for you. They target your abdominal and upper back muscles while giving your core a good stretch. 

While we only named a few exercises, there are more that can quickly be done to help you perform better and prevent unnecessary tension in your body. A topic that came up a few times about these exercises was flexibility and mobility; if you are interested in learning more about them, you can also check out our article Flexibility in Badminton – Why?

By ensuring that your body is adequately stretched before a game, cooled down afterward, and the tension present is reduced as much as possible, you could play a better game. Being relaxed can do wonders for your game, whether it allows your wrist to move quicker or your body to be more mobile. The tenser you are, the more your game can suffer, so following these tips can help you improve over time by allowing your body to be more agile overall. No one wants to give their opponent an easy win because they could not relax during the game properly. 

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