Sprints: Speed Training for Badminton Athletes

Justin Ma - November 18, 2020 - 0 comments

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Running sprints are extremely important for any sport that involves quick bursts of speed. In badminton, many rallies are extremely short, with quick bursts of speed to finish the rally. As a badminton athlete, you must include sprints in your training regimen as a way for you to activate your muscles for sudden explosive energy. However, I personally understand how sprints can become repetitive and even boring if you were to the same sprints with the same durations every week. In this post, I’ll share with you some variations that are both more fun than normal sprints and specifically tailored to badminton athletes!

Normal Sprints

Normal sprints are sprints that I categorize as running full speed in one direction and stopping at the end. These are the sprints that everyone is familiar with and that you see in track & field events. Essentially, you pick a point A and a point B and you run as fast as you can from point A to point B – that is one set. When I personally do sprints like this, I aim to sprint the length of 6 badminton courts and do roughly 10 sets of this. My friend Mason has a quick and simple example of these normal sprints here:

Back and Forth Sprints

The second category of sprints is something I call back and forth sprints. This is when you sprint from point A to point B, then sprint from point B to point A all in one set. There are two different forms of back and forth sprints that I do.

Always Facing Forward

The first variation is always facing forward. This is essentially running 2 normal sprints with a change of direction in the middle. This is extremely important for badminton, because between every shot is a change of direction. By learning how to get a quicker change of speed step, you can use this in your game and surprise opponents with your change of pace.

Run Forward, Run Backwards

The second variation is forward and backwards sprints. The first half, before the change of direction, is a normal sprint. When reaching point B, instead of turning around, we want to back-peddle as fast as we can back to point A. Again, this applies directly to badminton. When you go for a lift shot in singles or doubles, you will generally move fast to the front. After the lift, you will need to move backwards to the middle as fast as possible to prepare for the defensive shot – this is where the backwards sprints come into play. Running backwards will add speed to another element of your game you may not have thought of before!

Reaction Sprints

Reactions are a huge part of badminton matches. You can’t move or hit a shot without first reacting to your opponents shot and seeing where it goes. Reactions are one of the hardest things to train (as everyone starts at a different basis of reacting to things), but I believe reaction sprints are a great way to help improve your reactions to your own personal limits. These sprints are simple – all you do is start in one of the positions (listed below), and when someone says go, you get up / change from that position to a normal forward sprint.

Here are some common positions:

  • Standing Up – Normal sprint where you react to the “Go”
  • Standing Up Facing Backwards – Turning around into a normal sprint
  • Sitting Down – Standing up into a normal sprint
  • Lying on Your Back – Getting up
  • Lying on Your Stomach – Pushing yourself up into a sprint
  • Any of the sitting / lying down, facing backwards

You can also be more creative, mix and match different positions, or even just create your own. Your goal is just to be able to react to the “Start” signal, get from your starting position to your running position, and then sprinting as fast as possible!

Relay Races

This last one applies to people training in the context of a team or with their friends. Essentially this is a normal sprint with a change of direction, but you run to point B, turn, and run back to point A, high-five with your teammate and the next runner goes. This is a fun way to make a simple twist in a normal running drill. By adding a bit of competition and fun to your normal running, as well as friendly competition, you can see that people will be more wiling to do these sprinting exercises.


All of the above variations are great ways for badminton athletes to improve their speed off the court. Mix and match different types of these sprints into your next training session, and let me know if you feel your speed improving or if you have any questions!

If you’d like to see more drill highlights, training highlights, or more, please check out my YouTube channel and Instagram Highlight Feed, and feel free to reach out with any questions. See you guys in the next training post!

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


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