Playing badminton can be a really positive experience – both physically and mentally. Julien Fuchs, Regional Training System Manager for the Grand Est region (France), tells us more about the benefits of badminton for your:
• Physique and muscles
• Mental health and well-being
• Club and community life
• Personal life
One of the world’s fastest racquet sports, badminton is an energy-hungry game. Reflexes and coordination, tactics and strategy - badminton has it all! The benefits of playing badminton go far beyond the body. A fun, friendly sport, it can also give you a deep sense of well-being. Julien Fuchs, Regional Training System Manager for the Grand Est region, explains the many benefits of playing badminton.
The physical benefits of badminton
Badminton gives you the complete body workout, as players need to use all their muscel groups. Although it mainly puts your lower limbs to the test, especially the legs, glutes, thighs and calf muscles, other muscle groups come into play:
“Players also need to use the abdominal muscles and the upper body. For lunges or jumps, you have to be particularly stable and have strong core muscles. Having core strength is also important to support your back whilst hitting shots behind you, which requires you to twist your body.”
Physically, badminton is one of the world’s most energy-intensive sports. Its fast-paced rallies and repeated effort give you a great cardio workout. You may need to do “rapid-fire hits where the shuttlecock lands directly in the net. Rallies can last more than 90 seconds, and you need to move at a very fast pace. During training, you have to work on your explosive strength and exercise your aerobic systems for longer periods.”
Sessions for players who just want to relax and have fun rather than train for a competition are also available. Whatever your age or playing level, most clubs run sessions such as mini-badminton for young players, or Fit'Minton, a mix of fitness and badminton. Some clubs also provide recreational training, where the fun, sociable aspect takes a front seat.
For Julien, another advantage of badminton is its accessibility and easy installation: “Badminton is always the most frequently played sport in schools. Nearly every student has played badminton at some point. It's an asset, and that’s partly because it is easy to install the equipment".
Badminton: good for your mental well-being
Badminton is not just good for your body. According to Julien, playing badminton and joining a team can also boost your self-confidence. When you join a badminton club and start to see the first results, it makes you more motivated and gives your confidence a boost:
"I think that in badminton you can enjoy Hitting a lot of shots without necessarily playing to a high level. With practice and some coaching, it’s easy to improve your technique and up your game. For me, it is the racquet sport where you can make the fastest progress“.
Regular practice not only builds your self-confidence, it’s also an opportunity to work on your reflexes and coordination. Shuttlecocks can travel up to 400kmph, so players have to focus both on the shuttlecock and the positioning of their opponent.
Badminton is also a way to test your limits and set yourself challenges. For one player at Julien’s club, it was a life-changing opportunity:
“A few years ago, there was a player at our club who started playing badminton at the age of 31. Despite his late start, he was keen and competitive, and went on to play in the European and World Veteran Championships and he is now the French Veteran Champion".
A club that’s also a community
Anyone can join a badminton club. In Julien's club, there’s no such thing as a typical player: “They range from students who come for the first time with their friends to 70-year-old veterans. It's really a sport that everyone can play.”
Whatever your player level, gender or age, a club is first and foremost about being part of a community: “There’s a strong social aspect to the sport that everyone, whatever their level, can be part of. Even at the highest level, teams can get together and enjoy a meal after a tournament. Clubs regularly organize themed evenings where you can have a good time and chat with other members."
According to Julien, the most important question to ask yourself before joining a club is: what’s your goal? Then, you need to choose the session best adapted to your aspirations and goals, whether you want to:
- Play with people at a similar level to you
- Have fun with friends during recreational sessions
- Take part in coaching sessions
- Join a team and be part of a friendly community during events and club evenings
- Train and take part in tournaments and championship meetings
A lifetime of memories and emotions for Julien
Born into an athletic family, Julien is mad about sport. Highly competitive, he practiced a lot of sports in his youth, and started playing badminton when he was 11. He made rapid progress and decided that this was the sport for him - a choice he’s never regretted:
“[Badminton] has played a big role in my life. It’s how I met my girlfriend. I've been playing for 30 years. I live my passion, and I have played it for three-quarters of my life. I’ve had some incredible experiences as a high-level sportsman, during training and competitions, and travelling abroad, especially in Asia. I’ve met new friends and shared some great experiences.”
Julien’s fondest memory? Winning the French team championship in 2012 with his team. For Julien, sharing the victory with his team-mates and the club's managers made the experience of winning even more special. “We were a close-knit team and it was a group effort. We were focused on achieving the same goal. We included some young players from the club who play to a high level, so it was a great experience for everyone. You can’t beat those sorts of memories.”
Badminton is a sport with multiple physical and mental benefits. Don’t fancy an intense cardiovascular workout? Some playing styles are less taxing than others, and are suitable for players at any level. Whether you want to hone your technique, enhance your well-being, or enjoy new experiences and join a community with a shared passion, badminton offers a range of different options, with something for everyone.