Beginners may learn much by observing good players in action. However, to become an expert in badminton one must persevere in the continual practice and study of the various techniques of the game.
Care of Equipment. To play a proficient game one should have good equipment. The racket should be tightly strung, always stored away from dampness and excess heat, and kept in a press when not in use. The birds should be given extraordinary care, the feathers straightened out when ruffied, and the bird picked up rather than flipped up, by the racket, from the floor.
The Grip. It is very essential that the racket be properly held so that the grip need not be changed f or any stroke–f orehand, backhand, flip, drop, or smash shots. While there are several grips, the best known one is the “chopper” grip, so called because it is the way one holds the handle of an axe when chopping. The racket should be held so that the upper outside edge f ollows a line which extends to a point between the finger and the thumb. It should not be tightly gripped but held firmly enough f or control.
The Strokes. The badminton stroke is not a firm-arm f ollow through as in tennis but more of a wrist flick. This is particularly true of drop shots close to the net that must be flipped upward from-near the floor. The wrist action is also usef ul in long, deep shots that are j ust barely reached. The overhand tennis shot is sometimes used af ter a”set-up” which one “kills” by hitting hard and f ast at some opening. A deceptive shot is one started as in the “kill” shot but later changed into a wrist motion in order to draw the shot and drop the bird short, just over the net. Some experts go so f ar as to intentionally miss the first swing and thus catch the opponent off guard by flipping the bird over the net with a second stroke.
The strokes in badminton are not very numerous but the variations in placement of these shots are almost innumerable. Following is a brief discussion of the more important strokes and their uses.
The Drive. The drive should be struck about net high, either f orehand or backhand, and should be sent directly at the opponent if he is playing up close to the net, or down the side-line to the back court. This shot requires much force, being hit hard with a forearm and wrist movement.
The Drop Shot. This is a shot that demands finesse, a delicateness of touch that is accomplished through an easy wrist movement. The bird should be stroked so as to drop just over the top of the net. This shot is made with forehand or backhand and may be started from an overhead or real low underhand position. The shot is a difficult one to master, not used so much for an attack but rather to maneuver the opponent and bird into a position for one of the more likely scoring shots.
The Lob. This stroke should be made high enough so that the opponent cannot reach the bird as it passes to the back court. It is not generally a scoring shot but one that is used constantly to draw the opponent back out of position so that a drive, drop shot, or smash may be used to advantage. This shot can be played from almost any position on the court and with either the backhand or forehand stroke.
The Flip Shot. This is a shot that may be varied with the long volley from the back court to catch the opponent out of position. It should be struck fairly high in the air and flipped downward just over the net. If the bird does not travel real close to the net your opponent will have time to come into position for a smash shot. If the bird is close to the net it can only be returned with a drop shot or one that quite often is a “set up.” Your attack may occasionally be varied by starting what appears to be a hard smash but easing up at the last moment into this flip shot just over the net.
The Smash Shot. This is also known as the kill, and is one of the most powerful and important shots in the game for it is the chief offensive stroke. The bird should be hit, with a fully extended arm and racket, at the highest point possible. The bird should be contacted in front of or directly over the right shoulder, being directed downward over the top of the net with the arm, wrist snap, and body follow through. The final snap in the wrist tends to bring the bird downward at a more acute angle than when hit with a straight-arm follow through.