Running has always been a great conditioning exercise for any athlete in any sport. The PACER running test, or shuttle run beep test, is a general fitness test used to track an athlete, or student’s, fitness capacity. This exercise is done by marking two spots 20m apart from each other, and running between these two spots based on the timing of the “beeps”. There are many different apps or YouTube videos online that announce these beeps following the guidelines for the running test. The beeps occur faster and faster per round, and eventually get to a point where the athlete can no longer keep up. The goal of the exercise is to last as long as you can while following the beeps – not running ahead or behind of each beep. This exercise provides all the normal benefits of running while also providing badminton specific trainings – I will get into these below.
1. Pacing of Beep Test Matches Pacing of a Badminton Game
In a set to 21 points, the pace and intensity of a badminton game gradually builds up. When the score reaches the point of 15-15, 16-16, or more, players are generally more tired and face the pressures of the close game. In a pacer test, the same thing occurs. The test starts off slow, but as you approach the 10 minute+ mark of the test, the intensity and pressure builds up a lot more. Do you have what it takes to push through and continue to increase the speed in the test, or in the badminton case, the game? When the score is close in a tight game, you need to be able to find ways to increase your speed yet again to find new advantages. Players are often taught to increase the pace in tight situations, as other players may not be able to handle the sudden change of pace. The pacer test will teach you how to keep your speed up and increase it, even when you are are exhausted.
2. Pacer Test provides a natural progression and goal
Because we are running between two points following a system, we are always able to know exactly how many laps that we run. With this, we know exactly how we performed at the last test and our goal to beat. Just like how people will time their 400m (800m, 1600m, or more) runs, this provides us an exact number target of what we want to beat. Each time you do this exercise, you will know if you performed better, worse, or you stayed the same. My suggestion is to ALWAYS do at least the same as you have done the week before. Although each time you do this your physical and mental conditions may be different, if you are able to stay consistent with this exercise you will be able to gain all of the benefits. The natural progression is a great way for badminton players to track their current fitness level and compare it with other athletes.
3. Running Test teaches Breathing Regulation
Since the test gradually increases in speed, the rate of your breathing also changes to match the changing pace. In a normal run, people can maintain a consistent breathing routine as they complete the run with a consistent speed. However, in the running test, the speed continues to change and athlete’s must regulate their breathing to match. I have seen many instances where athlete’s panic or take heavier breaths than normal when reaching the higher levels of the test, causing them to fail almost instantly when they reach those stages. Instead, players need to learn how calmly increase their rate of breathing. This is important because the speed of each badminton rally is different. If players do not learn how to adjust to these different speeds, they will quickly be out of breath and will not be able to keep up with their opponents. By regulating breathing with the speed of each rally, they are able to stay in control and in the game.
4. Bursts of Speed and Second Wind
The greatest ability that the Pacer test can teach you is bursts of speed, or “second wind”. This is the ability to suddenly increase your pace and tempo even though you are already exhausted. It is a sudden jolt of energy, after you already feel like giving up, that allows you to speed up for a short amount of time. In track & field, this is something like the final sprint in a long distance run. In a badminton match, you could reach the final few rallies of the final set in a close match. Do you have what it takes to suddenly increase the tempo once more, just to surprise the opponent and gain the advantage? By performing this test often, you will gain this ability and find ways to gain this advantage.
Personally, I have found this to be the most beneficial long-distance running exercise. Each set ranges from 1.5-2 miles, and I try to do this running exercise at least 2 times a week. When I tried to do distance based running in the past (i.e 2 mile runs), I would constantly find myself slowing down in the middle of a run when I felt tired. This led to the same issue during games – which was to slow down in the middle of a match when I was tired. This exercise helped me to always push myself and find my real physical limits. I started off extremely slow (low in rounds) when beginning this exercise, but have found a week-by-week growth by staying consistent and always trying to beat my goal. After beginning to do this running exercise over a year ago, I have found myself more in control during close matches. I always find a way to continue to push myself during close matches.
If you are interested in any more conditioning clips or badminton training videos, please check out the full length videos on my YouTube channel! These are all drills that I go through weekly to improve my current badminton game!