How To Master the Badminton Split Step: 3 Easy Steps

Justin Ma - February 28, 2024 - 0 comments

From crossover steps to shuffles and lunges, badminton footwork involves many techniques. But the badminton split-step is one of the most important parts of it all.

Why? In short, it’s the starting move that gives you momentum and helps you change direction. It’s often overlooked, but it can be the difference between slow and wobbly footwork vs. footwork that’s sharp, quick, and balanced.

The good news is that the badminton split step is fairly easy to learn — and as long as you’re consistent with your training, you’ll have it down in no time. Read on for everything you need to know to get started.

3 Steps To Mastering the Badminton Split Step

Here’s how to master your badminton split-step, broken down into three easy steps:

1. Understand the Split Step Movement

Understanding the split step motion itself is the most important part of mastering it. 

Here are the steps:

  • Start with your knees bent and feet a bit wider than hip-width apart.
  • Right before your opponent hits the shuttle, use a short, powerful outward drop to “split” your stance. 
  • You should land in a slightly wider stance, with your knees still bent.
  • As you land, the momentum generated from the split step will help you propel yourself into your next movement.

Technically, your feet do need to come off the ground during a split step, but it’s not exactly a jump. 

Instead, you really only need to lift your feet a few inches from the ground. And depending on where you’re anticipating your opponent’s shot, you might land with:

  • Both feet side by side
  • Your racket foot forward
  • Your non-racket foot forward

This video covers the different types of foot positions in action: 

2. Be Mindful of Common Split Step Mistakes

The split step itself is a simple movement, but there are some common mistakes that beginners should look out for. 

Remember to:

  • Pay attention to your timing. Split-stepping too early can cost you speed and momentum. On the flip side, being too slow can cause you to hit a late shot — or miss the shuttle altogether.
  • Avoid jumping too high. The split step is meant to be a short, controlled burst of energy that propels you into your next step. If you jump too high, you could lose out on that momentum and stability.
  • Know that it doesn’t have to be perfect every time. You don’t always have tons of time to return to the center and do an obvious, picture-perfect split step. As you practice, you’ll notice it becomes a more subtle and automatic part of your footwork. And in some cases — like when you’re in continuous motion during a fast-paced rally — you might not do a split step at all.

3. Practice With Footwork Drills

As with all parts of badminton footwork, practice makes perfect. Adding split step drills by themselves or as part of a full footwork training routine can help you build strength and muscle memory that boosts your timing, power, and positioning.

Beyond practicing the split step alone, you can focus on it in other footwork drills like:

6-Corner Shadow Footwork

  1. Find an open area (it doesn’t have to be a badminton court), and start in your ready stance. 
  2. The goal of this drill is to use proper footwork to move to each of the six corners of your court.
  3. Start at the bottom right, return to the center, and move to the bottom left. 
  4. Repeat with every corner of your court.
  5. Use a split step every time you move to a side or corner, and pay attention to how it affects your speed and direction changes.

Multishuttle Footwork Drill

  1. Grab a friend for a multishuttle drill
  2. Stand across the net from them.
  3. Have them randomly hit shuttles all throughout your court.
  4. Use a split step and proper footwork to try to return every shuttle to your partner. The random shots will help you simulate a real match to improve your split step foot placement in various situations.

The Bottom Line

It’s easy to underestimate the badminton split step, but it can make a big difference in your speed, ability to change direction, and footwork as a whole.

Fortunately, it’s a fairly simple movement — and by understanding its mechanics, avoiding common mistakes, and practicing regularly, you’ll be able to master it faster than you might expect. Good luck!

For More Badminton Tips and Tricks

Visit the Badminton Justin blog for more ways to level up your game, or check out the YouTube channel for tips, drills, and tutorials from a pro.

Interested In Getting Your Badminton Game To The Next Level - Quickly?
Together with a team of former Badminton Olympians we coach entrepreneurs and professionals to master badminton. Quickly.

Justin Ma

I am passionate about helping people find joy in playing badminton, while also showing them how competitive the sport can be.

Justin Ma


Interested In Getting Your Badminton Game To The Next Level - Quickly?
Together with a team of former Badminton Olympians we coach entrepreneurs and professionals to master badminton. Quickly.

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