If you’ve been playing badminton for a while now, you probably know that quick reflexes are crucial for playing your best. Being too slow to react can lead you to mess up your footwork, hit inaccurate shots, or lose points entirely.
But speeding up your reflexes is hard, especially if you don’t know where to start.
Luckily, there are some powerful badminton reflex training techniques that can help you react faster on the court. Below, we’ll cover four of the best ones, as well as some tips to remember before you begin.
Tips Before Starting Badminton Reflex Training
Here are a few things you should keep in mind when working on your reaction time in badminton:
- Keep your body and grip relaxed, and only tense up once you start moving. You won’t be able to change your grip or direction quickly enough if your muscles are too tense from the get-go.
- Reflex training is about reacting to something. No matter what type of reflex training you do, you should want it to surprise you and catch you off guard. You won’t get faster if you know which direction you’re going ahead of time.
- A training partner is a great help for badminton reflex training. Otherwise, BlazePods or a random interval timer can help with some of the exercises.
- You don’t need a ton of space to do these exercises. At most, you’ll need an area the size of a badminton court.
- Some of the drills need markers of some type for you to move towards.
- Push yourself to move as fast as you possibly can. Give every movement your best speed effort.
4 Best Badminton Reflex Training Exercises
Reaction time is important in badminton because the faster you can reach the shuttle, the more time you’ll have to hit it skillfully. With that in mind, here are four of the best methods to improve your reflexes on the court:
1. Scramble Sprints
Regular sprinting is a favorite exercise for agility training, but you can also use a variation of it called scramble sprints to improve your reflexes. Here’s how:
- Start by lying face-down on the ground, with your elbows bent behind you and your hands planted on the ground. This way, you’ll be ready to push yourself up when the time comes.
- Set a timer or have a partner yell “Go!” randomly. When the timer beeps or your partner yells, jump up and sprint 10 to 20 steps forward. Then, sprint back and lie down to return to your starting position.
- Do 2 to 3 sets of this for 3 to 5 minutes per set.
Here’s what scramble sprints look like in action:
2. Direction-Change Short Sprints
Direction-change short sprints are another powerful exercise for improving your badminton reflexes. A set of BlazePods would work great for this drill, but it’s also pretty simple to do with a partner.
- In an area the size of a badminton court, set up eight different markers. Place one in each corner of the area, as well as one in between each corner marker.
- Have your partner randomly yell “front left,” “front right,” “front,” “left,” “right,” “back left,” “back right,” or “back.” This will indicate which marker you’ll run to.
- After sprinting to any given marker, run back to the middle before your partner yells out the next one.
- Do this exercise for 2 to 3 sets for 3 to 5 minutes per set.
3. Rapid-Fire Shuttle Returns
Rapid-fire shuttle returns are another great way to power up your reflexes. To do them, you’ll need a badminton net and a partner or two for help. Then, have your partners quickly hit random shots to you from the other side of the net. Do this for 2 to 3 sets of 3 to 5 minutes.
To challenge your reflexes even more, you can cover the badminton net with a light sheet or plastic covering. This way, you won’t be able to see your partners or predict their next move.
4. Bumpy Wall Rally Drills
A bumpy wall rally drill is one of the most fun badminton reflex exercises you can do. It’s challenging and completely unpredictable, which makes it a great way to improve both your hand-eye coordination and reaction time.
To start, find a bumpy block wall (or any bumpy wall that you won’t risk damaging with your shuttle.)
Then, do a wall rally drill like you normally would. But this time, the wall’s awkward angles and uneven surface will send the shuttle flying in all sorts of different directions. Do this exercise for 2 to 3 sets of 2 to 5 minutes.
Improving Your Reaction Speed Takes Time
When it comes to badminton reflex training, you won’t get faster overnight. Reflex speed training takes a consistent, long-term effort — but once you start to see results, you’ll be glad you spent the time working on it. Those split seconds you save on the court could be the difference it takes to win the game!