Thursday, April 21, 2011

Badminton Smash

A powerful badminton smash shot is one of the best weapons to have in your repertoire of badminton strokes.

When you play an effective killer badminton smash that is directed sharply downward so as to land in the empty areas of your opponent's court, it leaves your opponent with little time to react and to come up with an effective defence. Even if your opponent does manage to defend and block your smash, the return is more likely to be a weak one, providing you with further opportunity to attack further.

It is often said that offense is the best form of defence. That the one who agresses, the one who takes the initiative wins half the war. And in a badminton game, nothing is as agressive, offensive, and attacking than the well directed and strongly fired badminton smashes.

Learning how to fire a basic badminton smash to the opponent's side of the court is quite simple and easy. With proper training of smashing technique, regular practice drills, and good old hard work and belief, you will be able to master and execute the magical stoke with all its variations such as the forehand overhead, around the head, the jump smash, and the backhand smash also.

Angle of the badminton smash

The angle of your kill shot should be such that the shuttle should be directed sharply downwards to the opponents side of the court. The steeper the angle of the shuttle's trajectory is, the nearer to the net it will fall on the opponents side. Also a steep angled smash means that the shuttle travels a lesser distance, and gives your opponent lesser time to react and defend with a block. However the angle and the direction of the badminton smash should also be decided based on the opponents position on the court, whether the opponent is right-handed or left-handed and the opponents strong and weak points.

Point of Racket Contact/Impact with the shuttlecock

The correct point of contact while hitting a smash is in front of your body and not when the shuttle is already over or behind your head. This will ensure that you can hit the shuttle downwards with a smooth fluid movement.

Forehand Smash

The forehand badminton smash is comparatively simpler to execute. It comes quite naturally to most people, and hence a discussion on how the non-racket hand should point towards the shuttle, how the eyes should be rivetted on the shuttle's motion seems unnecessary. These are natural body movements. The only point perhaps worth noting by the beginner is the point of impact, the point at which to hit the shuttle. The other body biomechanics are nature's gift. Like a child learns to walk, to run, to ride a bicycle, everyone can learn to hit the smash quite easily.

Around the head smash

Around the head forehand smash is very similar to the regular normal forehand overhand smash except that the position of the shuttlecocks is towards the non-racket side of the player, and hence the around the head racket shot needs to be played. Several players prefer to play this shot whenever possible instead of playing a weaker backhand shot.

The Jump Smash

This shot is the most spectacular and appealing of all badminton shots, that leaves badminton fans everywhere asking for more. The shot is played by jumping in the air, reaching to the shuttle and hitting it in mid-air. Before you try mastering this shot, learn the basic smash techniques first.
A jump smash gives a opponent lesser time to react, because of the time saved by hitting the shuttle at a higher contact point, and because the angle of the smash is steeper, meaning the shuttle has to travel lesser distance and takes lesser time to reach the opponent's court. Countering a well-placed jump smash with a blocking defensive shot is hence very difficult.

The backhand smash

The backhand smash on the other hand is the most difficult and one of the trickiest of all badminton shots to master, and not only amateurs but sometimes even some professional badminton players cannot play this shot correctly.

Tips on learning how to smash, and to improve on it.

There is no hidden secret or strange magical secrets to hitting a good badminton smash except for learning the basics and working hard at perfecting your technique.

Learning the basic smashing techniques under the guidance of good coaches, trainers or better senior players helps. The other way to learn all these kinds of smashes is to watch established players playing these shots, or alternatively to view good badminton videos with slow motion if possible, and then implement and test in your practice drills based on what you have learnt from the videos.

While watching the players or the videos, try and observe the badminton player's grip on the racket, the footwork, the shifting of body weight and use of momentum while playing the shot, the shoulder and arm action, the point of contact and timing, the wrist movement, and the followthrough action, instead of watching how the shuttle travels to the opponents court and how it leaves the opponent flummoxed.
Forget about watching the results of the smash, focus on studying the cause behind that result.

Do Drills and Fitness training to improve your badminton Smash

Badminton smash drills involve practising playing the stroke by asking your opponent to feed the shuttles to you at smashing positions. Focus on getting your body position, timing, balance, execution and followthrough right. Build up on badminton smash technique first, before trying to hit hard power smashes aimed at beating the world record smash speed.
Experiment with your stroke to find the optimal body movement that generates the maximum power with the least effort and which allows you to get back in position as quickly as possible after playing the smash.

By the way, the world's fastest badminton smash record in match play is 332 km/h (206 mph), and this record speed smash was hit by Chinese badminton doubles player Fu Haifeng in the 2005 Sudirman Cup.

Badminton Smashes are strokes that require a lot of strength and power. Work on fitness to improve the overall strength of your arms, shoulders, legs, and your back. The fitter and stronger that you are the better your smash will become.

When to hit a smash

The objective of playing a point in a badminton game is not to hit a smash, but to win the point. It may not always be necessary or even wise to smash at every possible chance.

One, because you will become predicatable, and opponents will be able to outthink you soon, and two, because smashing also will take away a lot of your strength, which may affect you in later games or matches during tournaments. Many a times deceptive shots played with good technique are much more effective, and take away less of your energy. Even if you have a good smash, take the efforts to master the entire range of badminton shots such as the drop shot, the drive, the clear and the likes. There is always further scope to work on and improve on aim, accuracy and consistency in shot placement.

My view is you should hit the smash, when that smash will gain you a point or give you some kind of a tactical advantage in the rally. If the same point can be comfortably gained by playing a simpler shot, the simpler shot should be preferred because it gives you the advantage of saved energy which will turn out to be useful later.

Having said that powerfully hit smash shots (especially the jump smashes) are destructive weapons and sometimes can simply be used to overwhelm and dent your opponent's confidence to give you a physchological edge for the remainder of the match.

Happy smashing!


  1. Superb Article, Abhijit. Loved reading it!

  2. I am finding it very difficult to jump smash, may be it's the age lol. However, I am almost fine with other smash types although backhand smash lacks power.