The ready position is influenced by which position on the court and in which posture the player waits for the shuttle hit towards him by his opponent. The ready position is not a movement sequence, but a kind of frozen starting position, from which the player can think about how to develop the game. Within a game, with its quick hitting and running, the player is seldom really in this imaginary ideal position for very long. It is rather like a theoretical snapshot. This applies mainly to the singles game; tactical ideas for the doubles can be found in the relevant chapter of this book. The receiving player should stand in the center of the court, which is situated about 1 yard behind the center line. From this central position it is equally quick for him to run to the left or to the right, or to the net for short shots or to the back boundary line for long shots. This ability to reach the furthest four corners of the court equally quickly is the fundamental reason and tactical concept for the choice of the central position.
In the ready position, the player stands facing the net, his feet are approximately shoulder-width apart. His knees are slightly bent and his upper body leans forward slightly. The whole body is tensed, and the body weight is over the balls of the feet. In order to be able to return the ball as quickly as possible, the racket is raised in front of the body. The player watches his opponent and tries to anticipate the flight path of the shuttle as quickly as possible in order to react appropriately.
The player only has a fraction of a second in which to decide where to run and which stroke to play. Every game situation demands a different solution and many sequences are selected intuitively and not consciously. It is therefore important to deliberately rehearse certain game situations in practice, in order to be able to apply them in matches. The comments on the ready position should help to build up a basic framework for the tactical variants of the game – it really is the optimal starting position. Depending on the game situation, this must of course be varied by the player.
In the ready position . . .
the player stands about one step behind the center line, i.e. slightly behind the front service line (in the center of the court).
the shuttle receiving player bends his knees slightly.
the racket head points up and is held in front of the body.
the player watches his opponent.
the player stands on both feet with his weight over the balls of his feet and his heels slightly raised off the floor.
the feet are placed approximately shoulder-width apart.
Drill 1: Game without a shuttle: In shadow badminton, all the corners of the court are covered, and the player returns to the ready position after each pretend stroke. In this way the movement sequences are practiced without the stress of having to hit the shuttle.
Drill 2: Corner running: There is a box in each of the four corners of the court with a shuttle on top of it. The player has a shuttle in his hand and runs from the ready position into all four corners and swaps the shuttles over. After each run into a corner he returns to the base position and stops briefly and bounces in the ready position.
Drill 3: Defensive battle: The player plays a high serve and then waits in the ready position for a smash from his opponent. The opponent should vary the smash and place it to the left and right along the back boundary line. The player always plays a high return and concentrates on returning to the optimal ready position each time.
Drill 4: Police game: The coach points a racket at the four corners of the court in no particular order. The player runs into the corner indicated and plays a jump smash while running backwards, and a lunge while running forward. After each stroke, the player runs back to the base position and waits to see where the coach will point his racket again.
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