There are all different kinds of badminton players. So, what kind are you? You might be what’s called a touch player where you try to move the shuttlecock around the court with angled shots and deception. Or you might be a power player who loves to just smash the shuttlecock.
The badminton smash is one of the hardest shots in badminton to defend against. It is executed by bringing your racket up high over you head – almost as if you were serving in a game of tennis – and then hitting the shuttlecock with as much force as possible down towards the surface of your opponent’s court. Since your opponent’s return shot must travel upwards, the smash sets you up for a number of different shots. You can do a tight, spinning net shot, yet another smash to the opposite sideline of your opponent’s court or a cross-court drop shot. If your opponent backs away from the net, expecting another smash, you can also choose to block the shuttlecock to the net.
Where To Smash
In a singles match, the most common badminton smash shot is towards your opponent’s sideline. This can be very effective because it forces your opponent to cover the full width of the court.
When you smash to a sideline, your opponent has to move quickly sideways to reach the shuttlecock. This can force your opponent to take the shuttlecock at full stretch or even behind the body, making it more difficult for him or her to do a good return shot. The disadvantage of a cross-court smash is that your opponent’s return is also the easiest – the straight block – which, in turn, forces you to travel diagonally.
The Body Smash
Another valid tactic in badminton is to make a badminton smash shot directly at your opponent’s body. In this case, your opponent may not be able to get his racket into a good position to return the smash. This smash is generally played as an attempted winning shot. However, the body smash may not be as effective as a smash towards a sideline because it doesn’t force your opponent to cover more of the court.
A straight badminton smash shot is a safe smash as this effectively limits your opponent’s ability to return the smash at a number of different angles. Also, straight smashes are much faster than cross-court smashes as they need to travel a shorter distance.
How To Defend Against A Smash Shot
The most common defense against a badminton smash shot is a block to the net. This is the only shot that forces your opponent to move into the forecourt after the smash. A block to the net is not only one of the easiest shots to play; it actually gives you a good chance at seizing control of the net yourself.
How To Do A Block To The Net
To execute this shot, you hold your racket about head high with its face open and square to the net. You watch the shuttlecock carefully as your opponent smashes it and then move the racket’s head quickly into the path of the shuttlecock. You then block the shuttlecock without swinging the racket at all. Instead, you simply let the shuttlecock hit the face of your racket and then drop down into your opponent’s side of the court. The best block to the net is one where the shuttlecock lands near your opponent’s short service line.
A block to your opponent’s middle is rarely a good idea as all this does is limit your opponent’s return angles. A straight block is the easiest shot and the best choice if your opponent has smashed cross-court. This is because a straight block will force your opponent to travel the longest possible distance to return it. The downside is that the shot is very predictable and your opponent may be expecting you to play it.
The best response after a straight smash is a cross-court block because it forces your opponent to change direction and cover more distance. However, it is also more difficult to execute, especially when the smash is hit very hard.
Try A Lift
Another way to return a badminton smash shot is with a lift but is generally not as effective. A lift, or high, looping return, can allow your opponent to continue smashing. However, a series of these smashes can wear out your opponent. But you do need to make sure you get good height and depth on the lifts.
In badminton, a well placed smash can mean a winning shot. But if you’re on the receiving end of the badminton smash shot, don’t despair. As you have read, there are several things you can do to effectively return a smash and even take control of the net.