The sport of badminton requires specific physical and physiology attributes - such as great court speed and agility, with a good background of endurance. Apart from skill (which is a highly important ability), the relative importance of the physiological parameters such as strength, speed, agility and endurance differ in their contributions to making a champion badminton player.
It is not just physical attributes that are important, the psychological parameters of mental toughness and dedication is also needed in high doses. See the discussion on the relative fitness requirements for badminton in more detail.
The items listed below are suggested tests for the different categories of fitness that are important for badminton. This list is not exhaustive, as depending on your situation many other fitness tests may be suitable. Before performing any fitness testing, you should undergo a warm-up. See warming up for badminton for some ideas.
It is important with all fitness testing to assess the body size and shape of the athlete. With this you can monitor their growth and changes in body size with training. Height is important as tall players with a good arm length can reach more areas of the court with ease. Excess body fat would affect the player's ability to move freely around the court, and the extra weight will increase fatigue. Body Size tests to include are height and weight, and arm span. Body fat can be measured using the skinfold method. If this is not available, monitoring body weight changes would give an indication of body fat changes, assuming no change in muscle mass. See more about anthropometry for badminton.
The flexibility tests should be specific to the actions of badminton. The sit and reach test can be done for lower back and hamstring flexibility. Other flexibility tests should also be performed.
Strength and Power
Strength (and power tests) should also be done to determine strength levels and to monitor strength changes in conjunction with training programs. The vertical jump test can be performed to measure leg power and jumping ability. Maximal strength tests for specific exercises could also be conducted. A hand-grip strength test is also suitable.
Running speed is very important in badminton to reach all areas of the court quickly. Sprint time over 20m, with split times for the 5m and 10m distance should be done if possible.
The ability to quickly change direction is important for badminton. The ability to turn to both the left and right direction may be different in some players and should also be assessed. A test that assesses the ability to change directions and run sideways and backwards is suitable, such as the SEMO agility test. Specific badminton tests can be developed that mimic the demands of the sport on court.
Endurance is an important component of fitness for badminton. Not only is aerobic fitness important for court play, but you need to be fit for long technical training sessions and extended tournament play. There is a range of aerobic fitness tests. You can find information on many other aerobic tests here. If testing large groups of players, the shuttle run (beep) test would usually be the most appropriate test.
Example Testing Protocol
The National Junior Program Fitness Testing Protocols, by Badminton Australia in 2008, gives an example of a fitness testing battery. The tests included in their testing program were:
- Anthropometry (height, weight, skinfolds)
- Aerobic Fitness (20m shuttle run test)
- Flexibility (sit and reach, shoulder flexibility)
- Strength (hand-grip)
- Power (vertical jump, standing long jump)
- Strength Endurance (push-ups)
- Core Strength (plank)
- Speed (badminton specific on court speed test)
Probably the most important attribute for a successful badminton player is their skill. However, many believe that if you can find a person with the right physical attributes you can teach them the skills. This is the basis of talent identification (Talent ID). If you can find some tall youngsters with good endurance, agility and speed, even if they have not been exposed to the sport of badminton before, you may be able to turn them into champions. This is not guaranteed, but if you test and develop a large enough group of young players, there may be some within that group which have that extra special attribute that there is probably not a test for.
- Anthropometry and Badminton
- All about fitness testing
- Fitness Components for Badminton
- Poll: Important fitness components for badminton
- About the sport of badminton