HECS Balls - indoor badminton training solution during a pandemic
Updated: Apr 18
No badminton courts? No available badminton halls? Lockdown in your area or country? No problem here's some furry friends to help you train indoors in your own home!
One of the most effective badminton practice routines is to hit the shuttle towards the wall and react to it when it bounces off the wall. This practice routine allows you to train your grip changes, grip timing and power whilst getting comfortable with short sharp changes of direction to improve racket handling.
However, if you don't have something like a solid brick wall, chances are, you're going to cause some light cosmetic damage to your wall as the corks on the shuttles are quite hard.
Additionally, you will ruin the shuttles as you hit them against the wall, especially when it gets intense.
But fret not - these HECS balls will allow you to train in the comfort of your own home and at the same time, reduce the potential damages to a minimum. They're also pretty affordable!
So the pack that I have here contains three HECS balls of different sizes-small, medium and large. Based on their appearance, they look like they're made with some kind of yarn which feels similar to what we have in fluffy carpets. They're also super light: the small and medium balls weigh only 5g and the large ball a mere 6g, very similar to the weight of a feather shuttlecock.
Each ball also has a different bounce height and speed. The smallest ball (the blue one) is the bounciest and quickest; the largest ball (the dark brown one) is the slowest and least bouncy, and the medium ball (the light brown one) is somewhere in between those two. They remind me of fluffy squash balls but are fluffy and light instead of being a solid rubber ball.
For those who are new to training with HECS balls, there is a card inside the packing which contains some simple instructions or basic tips on how to use and look after them. Pretty neat!
Time to test them out!
To test these HECS balls out, I stood around five to six feet away from the wall and hit one of the balls against it. The instruction card recommends playing against smooth walls. Although the wallpaper around my house has plenty of texture and is quite rough, I was still hitting pretty well.
The smallest ball bounced off the wall rapidly like a squash ball whereas the medium and large balls bounced off slightly slower so they are good for finger gripping power and timing practices.
So these are some of the routines I did:
(1) Hitting the HECS ball against the wall focussing on having a relaxed grip while reacting to the ball. I started with the smallest ball and then moved onto the medium and slow balls. Lastly, I went back to the smallest ball again to get myself readjusted to the timing.
(2) Repeating exercise (1) whilst alternating between forehand and backhand grips between each hit.
(3) Placing some tape on my wall at net height and try to push or cut the balls on the net line. You can use the large or medium ball for this.
(4) For a more basic exercise, you can also do some keepy-uppies with all three balls. I find that the smallest ball reacts differently sometimes as it's not entirely round. Start by using just one type of grip (either a forehand or a backhand grip) before trying to alternate between them.
(5) Focussing on finger and wrist action, keep the balls spinning on the forehand side before going over to the backhand side, and then alternate between forehand and backhand. I used this as a practice for spinning net shots racket movement.
The badminton hall in which I play regularly has a very nice paint job on its walls and I don't want to cause any damage by hitting shuttles against it, so these HECS balls are an amazing alternative. Furthermore, they won't cause any damage to the racket strings too! I was also impressed with the durability of the balls thus far.
If you are like me who's been in lockdown and haven't seen a badminton court for months, this will be something you'll enjoy having and be able to at least get some form of hitting with your racket.
Check out my HECS ball video on my YouTube channel to see how I practice with them.
Buy them here: UK - https://geni.us/hecs - use code 'CKYEW' for additional discount.
Happy hitting and see you in the next one!