A key part of spending hours training is being able to measure your improvements. Badminton Australia has a range of tests designed for badminton players and coaches to measure Badminton fitness. They have been chosen because they are;-
- easily repeatable
- easy to conduct
- quite accurate for field testing protocols.
These tests will be familiar to most young players under the age of sixteen as most school physical education programs use them. The tests are important to us as coaches in identifying strengths and weaknesses in our players. Some basic assessment of the player can be made and targets, goals set for the year. Broadly speaking badminton training is similar to conditioning for the other racket sports such as tennis and squash. But assessment of fitness and simple movement reveals a few key differences that Badminton has a unique movement style and specific fitness demands. One of the key things to remember is the size of a badminton court. It has a smaller area compared to Tennis, Football, Rugby, Hockey and Netball. This smaller area means that players do not have a chance to build up their maximum speed. Because of this, explosive movements such as jumping, turning, speed off the mark, lateral movements and agility, are extremely important.
Other differences are many shots in badminton are played overhead – more so than tennis or squash. Badminton players rely much more on the forearm rotation and wrist flexors for generating power compared to tennis players. While this may not lead to a vastly different training program, exercise selection and the percentage of time dedicated to some exercises over others will change.
Finally, strength and explosive power conditioning should form a fundamental part of a badminton training program – necessary to maximize speed about the court and powerful overhead smashes.
Research on physical demands
There has been very little research on the physiological demands of the new scoring system on the body but clearly in the small amount that has been done, a well-developed aerobic endurance capacity seems necessary for fast recovery between rallies.
The results of analysis of the characteristics of competitive badminton by D Cabello Manrique, J J González-Badillo (3) in 2003 with the old 3 x 15 scoring (Br J Sports Med 2003;37:62-66) confirmed the high demands of badminton, with a maximum heart rate of 190.5 beats/min and an average of 173.5 beats/min during matches. The average rally length at an elite badminton level is 6-8 seconds and is interspersed with rest periods of about 15 seconds. Individual rallies placed a high demand on the anaerobic, alactic energy system with several back-to-back rallies relying on recovery of the creatine phosphate pool.
In more recent research data of elite Malaysian badminton players (4) it shows that they have moderately high aerobic power, explosive strength and agility in court specific movements.
The most recent study using the new scoring system (5) (Faude, Meyer, Rosenberger, Fries, Markus; Huber, Kindermann, 2007) examined the physiological characteristics and metabolic demands of singles match play. Twelve internationally ranked badminton players (eight women and four men) performed an incremental treadmill test. On a different day, they played a simulated badminton match of two 15 min with simultaneous gas exchange (breath-by-breath) and heart rate measurements. Additionally, blood lactate concentrations were determined before, after 15 min and at the end of the match. Furthermore, the duration of rallies and rests in between, the score as well as the number of shots per rally were recorded. A total of 630 rallies were analysed. Rallies lasted between 4 and 5 seconds. Duration of rests between 6 to 11 seconds. An average 3 to 5 shots played per rally.
These three studies show that high average intensities of badminton match play demonstrate the importance of anaerobic alactacid and aerobic energy production in competitive badminton.
There are several standard tests available to measure different aspects of badminton fitness which we are recommending but along with more sport specific badminton tests developed and designed by the AIS from the Badminton England tests.
The information delivered by these tests will be vital for a player and or coach in designing training programs. The tests included in this booklet will be used by the Australian National Squads. (Senior and Junior).
There is a results table at the back of these protocols that can be used to record the fitness data. Please read the protocols and instructions carefully.