|What to Do When the Opponent Hits a High Quality Drop Shot Close to the Net|
In a game of badminton, when you are playing close to the net against your opponent and the opponent makes a beautiful drop shot, and raises his/her racket to block your return, what can you do? Because of the quality of the drop shot, you probably won't be able to clear the bird to the back court. You also can't swat it because the bird just grazes the net and you have no space or angle. It's also difficult to return the drop shot with a drop shot of your own, because the bird is so close to the net and touching the net with your racket results in a violation. A lot of players "freeze" when they encounter this kind of situation, thinking that there's no way to return the shot. Is this situation completely helpless? No, there are ways to handle these shots, and if you handle them correctly, your opponent now would have a hard time hitting the bird back to you.
When your opponent makes a drop shot that drops right beside the net, you have three ways to return the birdie.
1) If the drop shot is going to land near the corners, you can make a drop shot to the diagonally opposite front corner. There are two ways to do this.
a) Right after your opponent's drop shot crossed the net, immediately execute the diagonal drop shot. It's quite easy to touch the net this way, and most of people need a lot of practice and luck to be able to this correctly.
b) Right after your opponent's drop shot crossed the net and is falling toward you forehand corner, immediately move towards the falling bird, but don't hit it yet. You should change your grip to a backhand grip, with the head of the racket pointing downwards, sort of like holding a shovel. Make sure the face of the racket is directly facing the bird and wait until the bird fall to below the net. At this moment, bend your wrist inwards, which will tilt the racket and make the birdie fly really close to the net, toward the diagonal corner. Of course, using the right amount of force and getting the timing right is very important for the success of this shot. (The trajectory is like a sine wave. Read here for more information.) You can also do a backhand version of this if the bird is going to land at your backhand corner.
2) If the bird is going to land in the middle or near the middle of the net, then you don't have room to hit diagonal drop shots. In this situation, you need lift the bird straight up. Wait until the bird falls past the net, and then hit it gently with the racket. The racket face should point straight up, and use only your fingers and wrist to power the hit. With the right amount of force, the bird will roll right across the top of the net, making it impossible for your opponent to attack it. This is also known as a hairpin drop shot.
3) This is similar to number 2, but instead of hitting the bird head on, you can "slice" (hit the bird with the racket at an angle) the bird which will make the bird go tumbling up. With the right amount of force, the bird will roll across the top of the net.
All of the three techniques listed above are quite advanced, so you'll need a lot of practice before you can use them effectively in a real game of badminton.
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