Every badminton player has their own weird habits on and off court. However, some are seen more often than others. Here’s a list of the top 10 weirdest habits I’ve seen (and done myself) in my time playing and watching badminton. Perhaps you’ll notice them more when you go play now. And if you think I missed some, let me know in the comments below!
1. Blowing on Your Grip and Hand
Sometimes players blow on their grip or hand in-between points, almost as if trying to wish themselves good luck. This strange habit is actually done to give your hand a cool, refreshing feeling. Players’ hands become quite sweaty and warm during play and having some wind can help cool them down and give a welcome contrast.
Some even claim that sweat is blown off the grip and hand when doing this or is evaporated faster. That may or may not be the case but is probably fairly negligible. A wrist sweatband, towel grip, or grip powder would deal with sweat a lot better. Read our Complete Guide to Yonex Badminton Grips if you want to learn more.
2. Pacing Around the Court Between Points
Have you ever noticed that badminton players don’t like to stay still between points? They’re always moving around until they have to serve. Players do this because they want to keep their body warm and flexible as well as to shake off any nerves. On the contrary, it’s easy for your body to stiffen up or become more rigid if you stay still between points.
Additionally, players tend to not like waiting in a ready stance for their opponents for a long time. If you’re standing there ready for your opponent while your opponent is walking around, it seems like you’re playing on their pace! So of course you’ll both be trying to only get ready only when necessary. It’s a bit of a weird mental game badminton players do outside of actual game play.
3. Checking Strings After Each Point or After Mishitting
Players like to look at their strings in-between rallies to check that they are aligned correctly or to check if they broke their strings. If the strings are misaligned, players can quickly correct it by shifting the strings over with their fingers.
Another common reason players look at their strings after a rally is to blame their racket for their bad play! Sometimes it’s the case that their strings are at fault, but 99% of the time, it’s just the player. People don’t like to admit that they hit poorly so they look to their racket as if to say that it was due to the equipment and that you got lucky. Of course, we know that is not the case!
4. Smoothing Out Feathers of the Shuttle
It’s quite common for feathered shuttles to get ruffled up during play. Therefore, players have made it a habit to smooth out the feathers of the shuttle before starting out the next rally to make the shuttle fly better. The funny part is when players do it when it’s a new shuttle or the feathers didn’t actually get ruffled up. It’s just habit and something to do to keep your hands busy.
5. Twirling Your Racket
Players like to keep their hands busy. When players are waiting for a service, they tend to twirl their rackets around with their non-dominant hand supporting the shaft. It’s kind of like a badminton player’s fidget spinner. Just make sure that you’re ready by the time the serve comes! Oh, and I wouldn’t recommend doing this with the revolutionary Duora series – since the sides of the racket perform differently. Wouldn’t want you to grip it the wrong way and mix up your racket’s forehand and backhand sides!
6. Flicking Sweat Off to the Side of the Court
Badminton players sweat. A lot. I certainly do. In fact, badminton is great for losing weight. But it also means that it can be uncomfortable having sweat dripping down your face all the time. While players generally bring towels with them to help soak up sweat, they aren’t always able to use them in-between points. In professional play, players are only allowed to towel down if the umpire lets them or during scheduled intervals. In casual play, players usually only towel down in-between games.
What this means is that players may still want to remove sweat from their body and not have it drip onto the court. Sweat makes the court slippery and a potential hazard during gameplay. To avoid this, players end up using their hands to wipe and flick their sweat off the side of the court. Yup, it’s a bit disgusting but it gets the job done. If you would rather avoid this and know that you sweat a lot, consider getting a headband to soak up your sweat. Many professional badminton players choose to wear these headbands for this reason.
7. Hitting Your Calves and Head With Your Racket
When players make seemingly easy mistakes, they sometimes take out their frustration by “punishing” themselves through hitting their calves or head. I wouldn’t suggest doing it too hard though (and perhaps not to hit your head…) since it can hurt quite a bit, damage your racket, and even make you bleed. A light tap is probably good enough to help motivate yourself for the next point. Some players certainly go overboard on their “punishment” though.
8. Swinging Your Racket Back and Forth Rapidly Before a Serve
Badminton players understand how important the serve is (especially in doubles, and if you don’t, make sure to read The 3 Most Important Shots in Badminton Doubles). The serve can make or break a rally so you definitely want to execute it the best you can. For this reason, some players will swing their racket a couple times before serving to help them calibrate their control and feeling of their racket. Whether it actually helps or not, I’ll let you decide!
9. Repeating the Same Stroke After Missing a Shot
When players miss a shot, hit a shot into the net, or otherwise hit a shot that was not what they wanted, they will sometimes repeat the stroke a couple more times. This is a way for players to learn from their mistakes and to try correcting it next time if they encounter the same situation. It’s more effective to practice more through drills but players still do this during games to show their opponents that it was just a one-off mistake.
10. Apologizing a Lot
Some players like to apologize a lot. When they get lucky, when they hit their opponents, when they play a good shot, or perhaps when they successfully perform a trick shot. These are all fairly normal circumstances but some go even beyond that. Such as apologizing when their partner makes a bad shot or when their opponents mess up. This can be interpreted as rude or passive aggressive, so I’d suggest to tone it down in these situations. Apologize when necessary but not when it isn’t your fault – people will see through you.