Agility and Reaction Time in Badminton
Many of us are familiar with agility – it’s a person’s ability to move easily and quickly. It's a common term used for any sport, whether football, soccer, rugby, hockey, or badminton. Any fast-paced sport that requires quick reflexes will use this term.
So, is agility necessary for badminton? The answer is yes; agility is crucial in badminton. Agility is how fast a person can change directions and run forwards, backward, and sideways at the drop of a hat. It allows players to run and meet the shuttlecock wherever it may be landing on the court. Of course, it will not help you hit every shot coming towards you, but it will improve your odds of doing so.
Let's discuss ways to improve your agility and how it's measured when it comes to badminton.
Measuring your Agility
Unknown to many, there are ways in which you can test your agility for a specific sport. The results can show you what exercises and training you should be working on to improve your performance in specific areas. For example, if you have difficulty running sideways, you can practice drills to help improve that direction of running.
One of the most popular ways field and badminton players can measure and test their agility is the SEMO agility test. This test is designed specifically to see how well a person's body can navigate in a sideways, forward, and backward motion. The tested person will be timed as they maneuver around cones set up in a rectangular shape, almost like a rhombus.
They will need to navigate the cones differently depending upon which cone you are going to next. Going from cone one to two, you should be side-stepping, then you will run and backpedal from cone two to three, and so on. While it may seem confusing at first, it will become like second nature to you after a few practice rounds.
The goal is to have a time of 10.5 seconds or more for males and 12.2 seconds or greater for females. That is the ideal time; however, if you do not get it at first or even after some training, there are exercises to help.
Agility Training Exercises
If you would like to improve your test time or even your agility in general, several exercises can help you do so. We are going to cover a handful of them to provide you with some examples. However, there may be other exercises you can incorporate as well to help with agility.
1. Lateral Jump – The key to this exercise, and many agility-based exercises, is to use a ladder. You will start at one end of the ladder off to the side with your feet under your shoulders. You will go down into a squat position and spring up to land into the first square of the ladder. Then you will continue to jump out to the side and back into the ladder until you get to the end of it (alternating sides as you jump out).
2. One Leg Forward Jump – For this exercise, you will be hopping through the ladder’s squares as quickly as you can on one foot. Once you get to the end of the ladder, you will run backward back to the beginning and do it again. Each leg should be done in thirty-second intervals to ensure that it remains quick-paced and efficient for improving your agility and balance.
3. Plank Jacks – This one will test anyone’s core and agility. You begin in a push-up position; your hands will remain in the squares as your feet go in and out of them. Each time you walk your hands into a new square, you will jump, so your feet are each outside the square on their respective sides, then jump again, so they are back together inside. After you reach the end, you will get up and run back to the beginning to start a new set.
4. Side Shuffles – This one will require two cones placed between fifteen and twenty steps apart. You will bend to do a light squat and begin to shuffle your feet from one cone to the next. Every time your foot closest to the other cone takes a step, your other one takes one to meet it. This continues until you reach the other cone, and then you go the same way back to the original cone. You can begin to move quicker with each full shuffle you complete.
5. The 5-10-5 Drill – Another cone drill, except this one requires three. Each one should be placed five yards apart, meaning that there are ten yards between the two outer cones. You will begin in the middle and sprint five yards to an outer cone, then turn quickly and sprint at full speed to the other outer cone. Then it ends with you repeating the process once more but ending your full sprint at the middle cone. It's meant to disorient you and get you familiar with quick turns and direction changes.
These drills can be practiced anywhere as long as you have an exercise ladder and cones. Making them accessible and easy to do wherever you are. At home, in the park, at the beach, you can do these exercises wherever you and the equipment are.
Practice and Improve
Agility training has various benefits for your body, such as improved balance and mobility, better endurance, and better upper and lower body strength. With the benefits these exercises can provide, any badminton player should try them.
Hopefully, you now understand what agility is and how important it is for badminton. If you found this topic interesting and want to learn more about reflexes and reactions, we have some other articles for you to check out.