Amidst the sweet sounds of a badminton racket hitting the shuttlecock, players often shout out “so” (sometimes spelled “soh”) or something similar. Is yelling or shouting part of a tactical plan or just for the show? If you don’t know why so many badminton players scream “so,” this post is where you can learn about it.
Badminton players shout “so” to hit the shuttle harder, release stress, and intimidate or distract opponents. The exact word can differ for particular players, but it typically means “come on.” A player may also shout to celebrate winning a rally or making an excellent stroke.
The rest of this article will discuss how shouting helps badminton players gain various advantages and whether it breaks the fair play rules.
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Here’s Why Shouting Helps Badminton Players Hit Harder
Shouting can be an incredibly effective performance enhancer for badminton players. It works similarly to deep breathing exercises, whereby shouting or yelling requires breathing out air from the body. This makes room for fresh oxygen, which fastens the heart rate and increases blood flow. Consequently, it helps re-energize the player to hit the shuttlecock harder.
A health researcher from Japan found that shouting out loud resets the body chemistry, with the brain giving the player an adrenaline boost. This helps to reset focus in the game and improves motivation to finish off the opponents with powerful strokes.
Badminton players shouting “so” can also be linked with martial artists who frequently yell “kiap” in between their attacking moves. Researchers from Iowa State University found that the battle cry in martial arts helps strengthen their handgrip by 7%. The reasoning is that exhalation strengthens the core, making force travel faster and strengthening the grip.
As badminton players also rely on core stability to play smashes or other powerful strokes, shouting helps them exert more power behind their strokes. It is explicitly proven for tennis players, who can enhance their hitting performance by about 4% with the help of grunting. We can assume the same for badminton players, who can hit the shuttle harder with a bit of shouting.
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Shouting Helps Badminton Players Release Tension and Stress
In addition to releasing adrenaline, yelling also releases endorphins, a happy hormone otherwise released during pleasurable activities. This hormone can reduce stress and pain while also enhancing strength. Therefore, badminton players can keep going the extra mile by grunting or shouting “so.” The boost in power transmits into the stroke, especially during the stressful last part of the game.
Badminton players tend to shout more during high-pressure matches. Whether they know it or not, frequent yelling may help them release tension in such situations because of the endorphins they produce. Think of it like going for a walk to calm your nerves, except that you would get the same therapeutic release through shouting.
Fun Fact: Badminton players do more than just shout on the court. They do other unusual things on the court, like raise their hands. Here’s why.
How Does Shouting Influence Other Badminton Players?
Ever been on the other side of yelling? It must have felt stressful. The same applies to shouting in a badminton game, with the opponents feeling the brunt of it. So, let’s find out the most common ways a badminton player’s screams affect other players in the game.
1. Shouting Helps Other Players Guess the Shot
Shouting can alert the doubles partner to guess the next shot. With some tactical strategies, different screams can also be a mode of communication between the partners, directing each other about the position of the shuttle and the right stroke to play.
However, an intelligent opponent can use your screams to their advantage. For example, if a player continuously shouts “so” before hitting a smash, their opponent can quickly take it as a sign of what’s coming their way.
2. Shouting Makes the Opponent Feel Scared
Shouting is a traditional intimidation technique that makes other people feel scared. The idea is backed up by a scientific study that found that the screaming sounds of humans can trigger the primal fear instinct deeply rooted in the listener’s mind. The same should apply to the opponent badminton players, who may feel afraid under loud grunting and fail to perform their best.
Screaming a big “so” may also communicate a player’s determination to win every shot, which can increase the tension for the opponent and put them under more pressure to perform up to your vigor.
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3. Shouting Disturbs the Focus of the Opponent
Frequent grunting before or after hitting strokes can annoy the opponent, which is excellent for disturbing their focus. Screams also mask the scorching sound of the racket hitting the bird, which often results in the opponent reacting to the shot a few milliseconds later. The noise can also impair the opponent’s ability to gauge the direction of the birdie, impairing their ability to prepare in advance.
Studying the effect in tennis, researchers found that a rally shot accompanying a grunting sound is picked up about two feet later than a shot without the distracting sound. While there is no statistical evidence to prove the same happening in badminton, the similarity between the two sports makes it a safer assumption.
How Much Shouting Is Allowed in Badminton?
In general, shouting and grunting are allowed in badminton if it is not profane or directed at the opponents. A player can groan before, after, or between shots without breaking the fair play rules. However, the umpire may show them a red card if they shout directly at an opponent’s face or deploy it as a deliberate distraction tactic.
The players aren’t allowed to shout at the umpire or the linesman. Doing so under any circumstances would be considered grave misconduct in the professional game.
Why Do Badminton Players Shout “So” – Final Thoughts
Shouting “so” is often a way for badminton players to pump up their motivation and exert every drop of energy. It can also help them hit the shuttle harder while distracting the opponent and delaying their response.
The nature of the shout dictates whether it is fair or a fault in badminton. As a gentleman’s sport, players should always refrain from shouting directly at their opponents or officials. It is also best to avoid profanity.
Welcome to TheVolleyLlama.com. My name is Keith, I’m just a lover of all sports that involve a racquet, net and a ball. I played competitive high school varsity tennis, love racquetball and my whole family plays pickleball regularly. I started this website to help give people like you the basics to learn these wonderful games.