Sunday, January 15, 2012

Hand Switching Techniques in Badminton

As in tennis or racquetball, badminton players typically use one hand dominantly. Although it's necessary to hit the ball on each side of the body, the player may use one hand for both the forehand and backhand strokes or she may use both hands when hitting on the nondominant side. A minority of badminton players develop ambidextrous abilities so they can switch the racket from one hand to the other. Ambidextrous ability is often innate, but it's also something you can learn.
Developing Ambidexterity: Basics
To effectively switch hands during a badminton match, you'll first need to build up the strength and deftness of your nondominant hand. Begin by using the nondominant hand for simple daily activities -- using a fork, brushing your hair and teeth and locking the door. If you have difficulty controlling the impulse to use your dominant hand, try sitting on it as you eat, forcing yourself to rely on the nondominant side. Drill simple activities that require you to use the nondominant hand to cross the midline of your body, such as sport stacking, a coordination exercise that consists of stacking plastic cups in a particular order.
Developing Ambidexterity: Badminton Drills
As you develop basic use of your nondominant hand, incorporate your ambidexterity training into the particular movements required for badminton. Have a partner repeatedly serve the shuttlecock to the nondominant side of your body. Only use your nondominant hand to return the shot. Have your partner alert you if you accidentally use your dominant hand, a common instinctive reaction at the beginning.
An Extension: Serving
For enrichment, practice serving with your nondominant hand. While this doesn't necessarily offer a technical advantage during a game, practicing the serve on your opposite side can further develop your ambidexterity. Use a video camera or work with a qualified coach to accurately assess and tweak your form. If you use a video camera, record your dominant-handed serve before beginning the drill. Afterward, record it again; note whether you have made any adjustments to the standard serve through your nondominant drilling.
Switching Hands in a Game
Once you've developed some stability in your ambidexterity, incorporate it into the game. Take your time progressing from practice drills to real matches. Ideally, find a fellow player who's also looking to work on ambidexterity, so you will be well-matched for noncompetitive games. Otherwise, practice switching to your nondominant hand during easier shots. As you incorporate your new ability into the game, you may notice it affects your "ready" posture, as you hold the racket in a more neutral position.

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