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The Biomechanics of Badminton The Smash Generating Momentum The total momentum of the badminton smash is the sum of the individual moments of different body parts. To generate max momentum in the shuttle, use as many body segments as possible in the hitting action (ie. the hips, spine, shoulders, upper arm, forearm and wrist will all contribute momentum to the speed of the shuttle) Generating Momentum The greater the stretch exerted on body segments (ie those muscles relevant to smash- abdominals, muscles surrounding shoulder and chest) before the hitting action the greater the player is able to contract the muscles and thus exert maximum force. When looking to generate max momentum, the small body segments capable of moving fast (arms, hands) are used last, whilst the larger, slower body segments move earlier in sequence. Eg. The hips generate large amounts of momentum in the smash, the smaller segments feed off this momentum to produce fast, dynamic movements. Optimum contribution of body segments When hitting the shuttle, it is important that each body segment makes optimum contribution at exactly the right time before the next body part begins to move. Ie. the hips and trunk must have rotated as far as possible back, before the next segment the shoulders and arms begin their rotation. Discuss why the pitcher will deliver the ball with high velocity with reference to the number of body parts used, the stretch exerted on relevant body parts, and the coordination of body segments. Range of Motion To achieve maximum speed in the shuttle, the body segments must track over the greatest possible range of movement. Eg. The greater the follow through in the smash, the greater the velocity of the shuttle off the racquet. Is this individual achieving the greatest possible range of motion? ACCURACY Accuracy can be broken down into 2 components: Height accuracy and sideways accuracy. Height Accuracy: can be achieved if the impact of the shot is made along any point on a straight line to the target. However, for optimum velocity of shot, the racquet should make contact at the top of the swing. Sideways Accuracy: achieved if the arc of the swing is kept in vertical alignment with the target. Rotational Inertia Inertia is a body’s resistance to change in motion eg. The shuttle’s resistance to moving in the direction you are hitting it. If the motion is rotational (swinging the racquet around an axis- the shoulder), we have to consider not only the object’s (shuttle) mass but also its distance from the axis (length of arm and racquet combined)- rotational inertia. I (inertia) = mr2 (m-mass; r- radius) The larger the mass of the object (irrelevant, shuttle weight is constant) and the greater the distance away from the axis, the greater the inertia. Rotational inertia will provide force in opposition to your swing and thus, will decrease speed of shuttle of racquet. Inertial Speed and Leverage The snap of the wrists during the badminton smash shortens the distance of the object from the axis/lever (as the new axis is the wrist, not shoulder), and this decreases the amount of inertia enabling increased racquet speed. Centre of Gravity A person’s centre of gravity (CoG) is important in enabling that person maintain balance and thus execute an effective smash. Individuals who start from an offbalance position have their centre of gravity outside their body which lends their body to fall in the direction of the CoG. An effective badminton smash will start with a performer’s CoG within the line of their body, and will finish in front of and in a downwards direction from the body, as the performer looks to place their weight and momentum behind the shuttle.