The smash is one of the most commonly used shots in badminton. It’s the shot that can see you take control of the game in that particular point. It’s a quick, powerful shot, hit from high up downwards and aimed at the opponent’s court. It is vital to master it in order to improve and flourish as a player. Would you like to learn more about the smash?
The Long Smash
The long smash is ideal for finding length and making your opponent retreat. Finding the longest area will help you to rush your opponent as they prepare their next shot, particularly if you have made them come in to the net on the previous point. When moving to hit the return, from the net to the baseline, it’s highly likely that your opponent will have their racket down. A high shot delivered at this exact moment will therefore be the best way to make them rush.
A smash shot requires a lot of physical strength. It is important to keep moving forward on the court when playing a smash. You can do a long smash with or without a jump, and with or without a body rotation or direction change. It all depends on the height of the shuttlecock and the distance between you and it. We use the term “Chinese jump” for smashes executed without rotating the body.
Technically, the long smash is done as follows: the point of impact for the racket/shuttlecock is up high, right in front of your body and in a line, or almost, with your shoulder and racket. The racket head then hits the shuttlecock downwards and sufficiently into the sidecourt area, to enable use of all possible shots, with maximum precision and balance. To play a powerful attacking shot, you need to get behind your move and shift your bodyweight forward.
If your opponent is concentrating on defending on the sidecourt area, they won’t be expecting a massive smash placed in the centre.
Physically demanding, in that players must hit the shuttlecock as high as possible, this smash enables players to either close down the point or to force an easier shot to play, enabling them to attack again from behind, giving them a better angle of attack. This smash is ideal when you’ve made your opponent retreat to the baseline or when you’re playing against a really tall opponent, so that they have to work much harder to defend the shot. A really tall person will need to stoop to defend, whilst a player running from the baseline will tend to be standing tall and will also need to stoop.
To get this smash spot on, you need to be in the right position: you should move back enough so that the shuttlecock is in front of you above your head, and point your index finger at the shuttlecock to take aim. You can jump as soon as you are in the right position. This time, you can hit the shuttlecock slightly more over your head, downwards, sending it on a sharply descending path. To give your smash even more power, you should jump in a forwards direction. If you hit your shuttlecock whilst retreating slightly, you’ll need to flick your wrist slightly to send the shuttlecock on a downward path.
The “jump smash” is one of the most satisfying shots to play. When done well, it will impress your opponent!
The half-smash is an attacking shot that has a constructive purpose. The shot is slower, although the angle can be just as sharp, but it’s all about precision. This shot is used not to close down the point immediately but to impede your opponent and set yourself up a chance with the following point.
You can make life difficult for your opponent by catching them off guard. The position of their racket is key: a forehand-pointing racket for example, will be slower to respond on the backhand side and vice-versa; a racket pointing upwards will be slower to respond low down and vice-versa. Using the same logic, your opponent could be troubled by a half smash if they are a long way from the shuttlecock. They will then need move quickly and will find themselves short of time because of the speed of the shot. They will not have many options open to them in terms of a response, giving the attacker an undeniable advantage.
Technically, this smash is played in the same way as the other smashes, but at a slower speed, which makes for better stability of the body and therefore greater accuracy. As with a jump smash, you can use your wrist to try and confuse your opponent, but this will considerably reduce your degree of accuracy.
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