So lately I’ve been playing singles quite a bit and there were situations where I was late to the shuttle and was forced to play a backhand clear which wasn’t full length and my opponent had the opportunity to smash it and chose to smash cross court.
Normally I can reach the sides but I was anticipating the straight smash and I was caught off guard. When I tried to jump sideways at the shuttle I missed the shuttle by a few inches.
Then I thought to myself that if I were to dive, I would’ve reached it.
But the thing is, I don’t know how to properly dive and frankly I am kind of scared of trying…
MSeeley: I actually think you are wrong… there are NOT always going to be times when you need to do something special. Lets imagine you are wrong footed and have to go back and play that backhand clear… the “special” thing you need to do is:
a) to play a good backhand clear, or
b) play some other neutralising shot (i.e. keep cool and not panic and lift half court), or
c) avoid letting your opponent put you in that situation ever again, or
d) anticipate the cross smash not the smash straight at you (this is fairly standard practice for most players) or… etc
You do NOT need to learn to dive (at the moment). From the sounds of it, there is LOTS of other stuff you NEED to learn to do, and you NEED to learn to do it all BEFORE you learn to dive.
1. You should also consider lowering your body more as you return back to the middle. This really helped me get ready for those steep smashes.
2. Another thing that I would recommend while defending a smash near the sideline is to extend your arm out towards the bird before you move the rest of your body. This way you’ll be able to reach out to receive the shot quicker compared to moving your arm and body at the same time. So basically just throw your arm out at the bird and let your body follow. (Sorry my explanation is bad :P)
3. You can also try to do a split step (a small hop you make right before the opponent hits the shuttle) to speed up your reaction time. This will take some getting used to but it also gives you a slight advantage.
4. Try to avoid backhand and use overhead if you can.
5. If you know your opponent is going to smash, stand back a bit to give yourself more time.