Posted On Thursday, July 12, 2012 at 09:01:04 AM
People seldom appreciate how physically fit you have to be in order to play badminton. The game requires speed, strength, agility, stamina, balance as well as mental strength, focus and calmness.
Badminton is one of the fastest racquet sports — the shuttle often travels at speeds in excess of 180mph!
Endurance is also a critical aspect as games can last up to two hours; and unlike team sports you are on your own here — making mental strength a critical quality. Physically speaking; apart from stamina (which can be trained through Surya Namaskaar and Kapalbhati; along with traditional training like running), flexibility of the body — especially hamstrings, back and shoulders is important.
The other important aspect is the strength of the wrists; which control the entire game. Also, the thighs need to be strong so that you can jump up to smash!
Flexibility of Hamstrings & Back
• Trikonasana (Triangle Pose)
Stand with your legs wide apart. Now rotate the front foot so that the toes face forward. Start stretching downward and try to place your palm on the floor; or else place it on the your leg if you are unable to touch the ground. Hold for 30 seconds with deep breathing; and then repeat on the other side.
• Paschimottanasana (Dorsal-Side Extended Stretch)
Sit on the floor and stretch your legs out. Exhale and drop your back forwards; trying to reach your toes, heels or even the ankles if you are not so flexible. If even this is difficult then hold a small towel with both hands and place it over your feet. Hold for 30 seconds with deep breathing.
• Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
Lie on your stomach and place your palms besides your shoulders. Inhale and raise your back upwards with the elbows bent and the hips on the floor. Hold for 30 seconds with deep breathing.
Flexibility of Sholders:
• Gomukhasana (Cow’s Face Pose)
Sit straight with your legs bent inwards; knee resting on knee. Raise one hand and bend it at the elbow. Now, take the other hand from below and try to clasp both hands. Hold for 30 seconds with deep breathing; and then repeat on the other side.
Dip a towel in water and wring it dry by twisting it with both wrists and hands.
Balance Training with Racquet
• Veerabhadrasana - 3 (Warrior Balance Pose)
Stand straight and raise one leg behind you; while raising your hands in front. Clasp a racquet in your hands and stretch out as you maintain your balance on one leg. Hold for 30 seconds with breathing; and then repeat on the other side.
• Trathak on the Racquet.
This simple focus; ‘getting-in-the-zone’ technique can be practiced at the start of each point. Simple focus your gaze on the space between the strings of your racquet; whilst breathing deeply for a few seconds.
(Manish Pole is a yoga instructor.)