Ask the Expert text
How to Break into Badminton
Yubo Du Illustration
Illustration: Joel Kimmel
" " Back home in China, where the sport is more popular and competitive than in the U.S., Yubo Du ’21 was the captain of his high school’s badminton team. Upon arriving at Bucknell he joined an informal group of badminton players from around the world, who this summer took their play to the next level by becoming an official student club. He offers tips for getting into this rapid-fire, acrobatic sport.
Question 1: How do you begin?
Start with holding the racket. The correct way is as simple as a friendly handshake. Your thumb should comfortably touch the wider part of the grip while the rest of your hand holds the racket as if you’re shaking a person’s hand. Holding the racket the right way from the start can give your wrist greater flexibility and affect your later performance.
Question 2: How do you stay focused on the shuttlecock?
My suggestion is that instead of always staring at the shuttlecock, you should really focus more on your opponent — on his or her position and gestures. If you can predict that your opponent is going to hit a particular angle, you can defend that angle, and very likely make a perfect return.
Question 3: What exercises can improve your game?
Since most of the skills in playing badminton are tied to wrist strength, daily exercise such as chinups and pushups are helpful. Pace is another important factor in playing badminton, so exercises like skipping rope can help you increase your speed in the game.
Question 4: Does having a regular partner help?
Training with a friend is a great way to improve your skills comprehensively. You can not only strengthen a particular skill, such as the overhead smash, with your friend repeatedly, but you can build a sense of cooperation for doubles games as well.