Physiology of Badminton
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Badminton is a fairly unknown sport, only appearing in everyday conversation every four years due to its appearance at the Olympics. Regardless of its small popularity, it is one of the most intense sports to play. The fast pace of movements, the lighting fast reflexes and the harrowing agility of professional players leaves the audience speechless. Endurance is only a minor factor, with other fitness components more predominant.
Most fitness components are evident somewhere within the game of badminton. From the speed of the wrist to the power of the jump smash, to the muscular endurance of the never ending rally to the depth touch of the drop shot. Three components are the main components of the sport. These three fitness components are power, agility and flexibility.
Power, defined as The ability to exert maximum muscular contraction instantly in an explosive burst of movements.. This component allows a player to outhit his opponent, by pushing the opponent further back through clearance shots and is most evident in a smash. The smash is where maximum power is exerted and transferred into the shuttlecock so that it gains enough speed to hit the ground without the opponent being able to react.
Agility is also a key component and is defined as The ability to perform a series of explosive movements in rapid succession in opposing directions . With the court so small and the reaction time being minimal, the player must be able to hit the shuttlecock from just about anywhere on the court and return back to the centre of the court ready for the return shot. If ones agility is not up to standard, the opponent will just move the player to where he wants and win the point with ease. Agility allows for the orthodox shots to become effective.
To complement agility and power, flexibility further improves any action made in badminton. It is defined as the ability to achieve an extended range of motion without being impeded by excess tissue, i.e. fat or muscle . The more flexible one is, the further a joint can be rotated, creating more leverage and hence more power. Also, the more flexible one is, the further a movement can be made and therefore agility is improved. It serves as mostly a complement to the two previous components.
Energy systems are evident in every sporting activity and badminton is no exception. During a game of competitive badminton, the ATP-PC and Lactic Acid systems are the most evident during gameplay. This is due to the small proximity of the court and the short sharp movements made during a stroke or court movement. The ATP-PC system lasts for a maximum of 10 seconds and many rallies last longer than this time, which is where the Lactic Acid system comes into action. The Aerobic system has some contribution to the sport and is most evident between points during the rest period, which allows for the ATP-PC system to replenish for the next point.
Taking into consideration of these three fitness components, I wanted to improve the badminton gameplay through improved fitness. Specifically, I wanted to improve my smash and my jump so that more speed and power could be generated, I wanted to improve my speed around the court and also my range of motion. To allow me to do this, pre and post testing must be implemented so that improvement can be measured. All variables are made negligible to allow for accurate results.
Training- Pre Testing
For each of the three components, a specific test was investigated and acquired so that this specific component could be measured individually and improvement goals could be made.
Vertical Jump Test
Illinois Agility Test
= 17.3 seconds
Sit and Reach Test
From this data, three specific goals on how much to improve the above values were made. These goals are:
Vertical Jump Test improved to 70cm.
Illinois Agility Test improved to <17 seconds. Sit and Reach Test improved to 8cm. Post Testing Power: Agility: Flexibility: Vertical Jump Test = 65cm Illinois Agility Test = 17.05 seconds Sit and Reach Test = 6.5cm As can be seen above, improvement was evident but not to the standard to reach the set goals. This is due to either a poor training program but is most probably due to very high goals that could just not be reached in such a short period of training. Training Session Warm Up Before every session of each component, a warm up must be undertaken for optimal performance during training and to reduce injury. This warm up will either be a 500m run around the oval to focus on the leg area, which is the area being trained, or a 3 mins run around the street. Both followed by a quick stretch so that walking into the training session, the body is limbered up and ready to go Power Power is most effectively improved in the gymnasium and training was planned accordingly. The following program outlines the three power sessions undertaken. Session One Exercise Weight (kg) Rest Time (sec) Leg Press Calf Press Full Leg Squats Session 2 Exercise Weight (kg) Rest Time (sec) Leg Press Calf Press Full Leg Squats Session