The more we play badminton, the more excited we tend to get, and the more we want to improve. We get addicted to the intensity. Knowing that what we train during the week can already be used on the weekend to beat our friends is encouraging and the right badminton training equipment can help speed that up.
This article is not about your standard gear like rackets, shuttles or shoes as those are basic items we need in order to play. Instead, I wanted to take this opportunity to look at creative ideas.
I’ve narrowed it down to thirteen badminton practice equipment ideas for your off-game days and mapped them to fit three different levels depending on how ready you feel to do extra work to improve your game, not how technically skilled you already are.
This article is not sponsored but simply put, items I’ve either found useful or that I’ve been wanting to try out.
Badminton training equipment for players dedicated to extra gains
You and I will look at three different badminton exercise equipment categories, starting with “being somewhat” dedicated through “pretty dedicated” and “damn dedicated”, so you can find ideas just for you.
The first level is for you if you’re looking to practice but prefer to do it at home. Training at home has certain limitations unless you have built your own court but the benefit is that it’s easy to get started.
The second level is somewhere in the middle, while the third level is for those who want to invest more money and time and go out of their way to add extra items to their training routine beyond using a coach (that would be too obvious).
Level 1: Somewhat dedicated
At this level, I’m particularly focused on ideas to do at home that is easy to get started with.
HECS balls for grip change and finger push training
These HECS balls appear to have been made specifically for badminton players during the COVID lockdown and they can be a good solution to training wall drills at home without damaging your walls.
Wall drills are useful to train grip change and finger movement among other things.
Coffee mug for serve training
An easy way to practice precision and serve at home is to place a coffee cup in one end of your living room and attempt to hit into it from the other. This is good for precision in general but also if you’re testing a new racket out and want to compare it to your old one.
To start off easier and get into the groove, you could begin with a larger box instead of a coffee mug and work your way up.
If you want to take it up a notch, use the official length between the two service areas on a real badminton court and place the cup as far away from you. You can even hang up a blanket or a cheap badminton net at the official net height to increase the difficulty.
Tobias Wadenka goes into detail here.
Weighted jump rope
Whether you prefer standard jump ropes or those with small weights in the handle to make things a little harder, they are a good way to finish the warm up before a session.
It’s also good for working on your stamina, training your calves, and getting into the habit of staying on your toes as you move around the court. If you’re not used to that, it can take a while to build the habit, so finding ways to practice during off-court sessions can help.
Training rod total beginners
These fishing rod-type devices look ridiculous but are surprisingly effective for total beginners who want to get used to the way the shuttle behaves in the air and want to learn the timing of hitting it. If you have a child and want to learn, setting one of these up is a great place to start.
I look at them as the step before the wall drill. It can be daunting for someone who’s good at badminton to help someone learn how to hit the shuttle for the first time, so the benefit of being able to hang it up somewhere is useful.
Finger training tool
I’m not sure if this tool has an official name. It comes in many shapes but basically, you use it to train your finger muscles to strengthen your finger push for serves, the return of serve and fast drive duels.
The best part about this tool is that it’s often cheap and can be used while doing something else like watching TV.
Level 2: Pretty dedicated
Let’s take things up a notch.
Footwork ladder to improve your speed
When you’ve figured out the basics of your footwork and want to speed up your movement on court, a footwork ladder can be a helpful tool to practice moving faster and faster within the constraints of the ladder. It’s a popular item in an off-court training routine for speed.
To use it, lay it out on the ground and time yourself to see how fast you can move through it by stepping within each box of the ladder.
Heavy training racket
A heavy training racket looks like a normal racket but is heavier. The idea is that when you switch back to your normal racket, the same movement will be easier to perform as your racket will be lighter, meaning that your power and endurance will be improved.
The heavier racket also helps train your overall racket movement on court along with forearm rotation and shoulder movement to deliver more power in your smash.
This is handy for several reasons. One, if you want to increase the number of smashes you’re able to do before getting tired, as we’ll often get into a lift-smash duel in doubles, where one team keeps smashing and the other keeps lifting until one party gets tired. It’s also good for fast drive duels where racket movement is critical.
The yellow furry balls that have nothing to do with playing badminton. Even so, they are useful to train or warm up your reactions as part of your warm up routine.
They are often used in exercises where a partner will hold one in each hand, pick one to let go of without telling you, and you then have to catch it before it hits the ground.
Elastic (resistance) bands
These bands can be highly effective for off-court training at home or at the gym. I’ve seen them being used effectively for making footwork exercises harder, so when you let go of them on court, your legs will be ready to fight more resistance but since there isn’t any, you’ll just be faster.
Ankle trainer (balance board or half ball)
For someone who recently had a mild ankle injury, I found a balance board or half ball to be helpful to train the ankle as that type of injury is common for badminton players and it’s incredibly frustrating not to be able to get on court.
I’ve used it by doing mild movements with the ankle to one side or the other, front and back while standing on one leg. If you’re unsure what’s good for your body, you’ll be better off consulting a specialist rather than a random person on the internet like me.
Level 3: Damn dedicated
This is the next level stuff.
Sandbox to train ankles and footwork
Expanding on the ankle training from above, I saw Badminton Justin do this training and thought that it looks cool.
A sandbox isn’t something most of us have just lying around at home but you might be able to find one on a kids’ playground or within a gym near you, or perhaps a good spot on the beach if you live near one.
To do this, you’ll also need a cheap badminton net and a feeder, another player or a shuttle launcher to help. It’ll be a tricky mission to pull off if you don’t have friends that are as dedicated as yourself but I bet it’ll be well worth the work.
If you manage to find another player who’s also excited about this, you can take turns feeding each other. Another option with one person on each side of the “court” is doing standard footwork training to the corners and do cross front court shots, so the first one serves to the opponent’s front corner.
They then return a cross shot to the server’s front corner. Meanwhile, the one who received the serve moves back to the middle awaiting the next shot to their front court and the sequence continues.
You’ll be able to do this with all four corners but you might find it easiest to start by both doing cross clears diagonally to the farthest corner as you’ll have more time to react and get used to the sequence of moving back to the middle between each shot.
Heart rate monitor
A heart rate monitor can be a fun tool to use to follow your progress if you intend to get in shape or lose weight. You can use it to follow how high your heart rate goes and for how long during your badminton sessions.
By keeping a log of your progress over time, you can see if your heart rate lowers and your stamina improves over time, which is great as an honest and quick feedback loop.
If you don’t see any meaningful progress after, say, three months, you’ll know you have to switch up your training routine. If that’s a new year’s resolution for you, it’s a faster and more effective approach than waiting until the year has gone by to evaluate if you reached your goal.
Shuttle launchers tend to be great for training footwork, by either having it do drops to the front court that you’ll lounge out to get or clears to the rear court.
If you’re interested in practicing split steps, this can be an effective way to get a grasp of how much extra speed a split step gives you as you’ll be able to convert it into length on the court. If the shuttle speed from the launcher is the same, the more effective your split step becomes, the earlier you’ll reach the shuttle. That means you can measure the distance you’re traveling on court with and without the split step by noticing how early you’ll reach the shuttle.
It can also be good for practicing basic shots, like clears, drops or smash but the downside is that the shots tend to be predictable and don’t simulate real match scenarios well, meaning that it’s hard to train anything that isn’t precision or technique in isolation.
A note on badminton training equipment
It’s easy to buy a bunch of cool gear, do one training session with grand plans.. And then forget everything about it the next day.
It’s so damn easy. It’s what most people do. Be careful as your empty wallet will be the smallest cost of that approach. The confidence and belief in yourself you’ll lose from not following through on your commitments to yourself are worse.
I’m not saying this to discourage you but to point out that going slow at first is sometimes more effective as being consistent and building habits around what you want to get done is a more effective way in the long run.
In my experience, you’ll get the most out of starting with one or two items and building them into your week in a repeatable fashion before expanding.
- Badminton training equipment isn’t the end all be all of improving your game but can be a useful friend to get better
- It’s easy to make a lot of decisions when you look at cool gear online but it’s critical to be consistent in training and if you don’t follow through on your plans, you’ll end up losing confidence and belief in yourself
- You don’t have to go all out and empty your wallet in the pursuit of extra gains. A little creativity and the right tools can go a long way
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