Badminton is quite a unique sport. Even though there are similarities to sports such as tennis and ping-pong, badminton has its own set of skills such as clears, drives, half-smashes, smash blocks and net-plays that makes it a unique sport. However, a badminton player can still incorporate hitting skills from other racket sports and even non-racket sports. Using these techniques adds more variety to the game and can make you a more competitive player. Below is a list of shots that take inspirations from other sports.
Sliding Stroke Drop
In table tennis there is a sliding/slicing stroke where the players swings the paddle one way but the ball moves in different direction. The same principle can be used in badminton when the opponent clears to your backhand side. In that situation use the standard footwork to get into position to return the clear, and then swing your racket from right to left over your head in a sliding motion (assuming you are right-handed). The key is to keep your racket facing towards the net so that you like you are dropping the bird to the near corner, but in reality you are actually targeting the diagonal corner. In today’s badminton world, the members of the Chinese national team are especially skilled in using this technique.
Underhand Slice Shot
The slice shot is an often-seen technique in table-tennis. The shot is characterized by its low trajectory so that the opponent can not smash it back. In badminton you can use a similar slicing stroke when handling underhand shots. The underhand slice shot actually a pretty common shot for controlling a rally. When the opponent hit to your front corners or the middle of the sidelines, you will probably be on the defensive if you return with a lift. If you don’t lift the bird high and far enough then the opponent may get an easy kill. If instead you use underhand slice shots then the bird will just clear the net and then drop to front corners or middle sidelines, leaving no opportunity for your opponents to press on with an attack.
Tilt Downward Smash Block
The most common shot seen in high-level table tennis competitions is the long arcing shot characterized by its fast speed and big swing from the player. The trajectory of the shot is not especially low, but it drops quickly after crossing the net so a skilled player can controls where the ball is going to land. The top badminton players of world utilize a shot with a similar trajectory when returning smashes. The key to the shot is tilting the face of the racket slightly downward when you are blocking the smash. As the opponents smash to your sides in the mid and back court areas, you can use this block to turn the tides and go on the offensive.
Small-Swing Horizontal Drive
As the name indicates, this technique is s horizontal drive characterized by its small swing, but the speed of the bird is still quite fast. Whether if it be table tennis or badminton, the small-swing horizontal drive can quite the deceptive shot. One of the most famous users of the shot is Chinese badminton star Lin Dan, and below is a video of him using one of these drives to win a point.
In basketball, the hook shot is used mainly for its high release which makes it difficult to block. In badminton, a player can use a similar motion in order to extend their reach for an overhead shot. During the shot your body should be perpendicular to the net so that you can you use all of your height and arm length to deliver either a drop or smash. The drops and smashes produced with a hook-shot motion is usually has a down-the-line direction, and the hook-shot drops are usually pretty high quality because of the high hitting point.
When it comes to bending shots, most people will think of English football (soccer) star David Beckham and his free kicks. Shots that curve in mid air are also possible in badminton. In the video below, the Malaysian doubles pair hit a down the line shot that appear to be out of bounds as it crossed the net, but to the surprise of the opponents and the umpires the bird actually bent back into the court and landed right in the back corner. Some people think that the bird was blown back in by wind inside the building, but if there were such winds present then the building would be inadequate for a badminton competition.
The so-called bending shots are characterized by the fact that they bend a change direction in mid air, and this is usually caused by a spin in the flying projectile. In badminton this implies that the landing place for the bird will be different than expected. The most common occurrences of bending shots in badminton are from fast diagonal drops from the back corners. Initially the bird flies fast and looks like a half-smash, but the trajectory bends and the bird steeply drops off after it crosses the net. Bending shots are very deceptive because of its change in direction and therefore they are a very effective technique to use in a game.
Bunt Opposite-Direction Shot
This particular skill has some similarities to the bunt used in baseball. For those who don’t know, a bunt is when the hitter taps the baseball lightly with the bat so it rolls slowly in front of the infielders.
In badminton, the high-level players use a similar shot to mislead their opponents. The key of doing an opposite direction shot is to get to the bird with enough time to spare for a fake. You swing the racket as if you are trying to hit the bird to one direction, but in reality you are moving the racket across and hitting the bird in the opposite direction with the other side of the racket. If you do it correctly then the opponent will be fooled into anticipating the wrong direction. Below are some videos of this excellent technique in action.
Hairpin Drop Shot
In advanced table tennis we often see player hit the ball from below the table. The analogous shot in badminton is the hairpin near-net drop shot. Advanced players can hit the bird just before it hits the ground and drop it over the net. The shot involves both slicing and carrying the bird so that it rises almost completely vertically and tumbles over the net. Here’s an example video of a hairpin drop. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EszBfSWdAys&feature=related
Different sports have their own unique techniques, but they also share some common characteristics as well. Using techniques from different sports adds variety and fun to badminton. Event though they may be unorthodox, the skills can prove to be very useful during a game. Adding these unusual shots to your standard badminton techniques will make you a more competitive player and make the game of badminton even more enjoyable.
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