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Clears lack of depth and height

Discussion in 'Techniques / Training' started by Lannister05, Nov 15, 2009.

  1. Lannister05

    Lannister05 Regular Member

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    I've been playing about a year now and up until recently I thought my clear was sufficient. I am normally a doubles player but a friend recently asked me to help him out in singles so we tried a couple of games. I noticed that in singles my clear is absolutely atrocious.

    I've read on the forums about practice and I have done exactly that, in fact I clear as often as possible during any practice session. However, I cannot seem to attain that height and depth that is suitable for singles.

    For example, in a doubles game, my clear can reach from end to end but only if i use everything I have, that is my wrist and forearm. I didn't think much of it in the beginning because I figured that was great for me since I always had an on the line clear in doubles and never had to worry about outs or it being too short if i used all my strength

    Anyway, what I noticed was that I often hit the bird a bit late in singles and I know this to be a footwork problem and normally I would just assume that's all i needed to work on. However, my friend practicing with me was also doing the same thing yet his clear was going so far and high. He basically hit it from about 2-3 inches behind his head and still performed an end to end clear barely using any forearm.

    Exactly what is he doing that I'm not in achieving that much depth and height even though he is hitting it from as poor a position as I?
     
  2. weeyeh

    weeyeh Regular Member

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    The problem may be multifaceted.

    For a start, check out Gollum's grip guide for the proper forehand grip to use when taking the shot late. Next, you should not need all your strength to clear the full court. Do check if your hitting technique is correct at all and if necessary, reduce the tension on your strings.

    Singles is a very different game from doubles. You may think your friend is hitting it from the same 2-3 inches behind but he might have stablised himself prior to the shot and you might still be moving. This can result in not contacting the shuttle optimally.
     
  3. b.leung

    b.leung Regular Member

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    I used to have the EXACT same problem
    What my coach told me to work on was what weeyeh mentioned
    Work on footwork to get to the bird before it lands within the hitting range, and getting there sooner will enable you to stabilize yourself before the hit
    A lot of the "power" or "strength" from a clear happens not in the arms, or forearms, but a lot from the hips

    Footwork is so important that it affects the shot even AFTER you hit the bird
    the "scissor kick" helps with driving the bird forward when hitting it from the baseline because it shifts the momentum forward
    This also means the moment you hit the bird, your whole person's momentum should be driven into the bird as well, so it won't require "all your strength"

    One last aspect is anticipating the shots
    I used to always follow the bird with my eyes after I hit it, after training intensively to get more control of the bird placement I always look to where the bird will land instead of following it through its trajectory
    This "looking" will help you read the opponent's body posture to better gauge or guess where he or she will most likely hit the bird
    This also helps in getting there on time/sooner

    After putting these things together, it has immensely improved my singles game
    Hope you will have the same result
     
  4. Gollum

    Gollum Regular Member

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    I don't think that's true, especially when you're taking the shuttle behind you (i.e. when you're not using body rotation). Even when you are using body rotation, the major part of the power still comes from internal rotation of the arm.


    I think that's physically impossible. ;) But the footwork will affect your recovery for the next shot.


    You have to bear in mind that, in singles, you are covering the whole court. A good opponent will frequently pressure you in the rearcourt, so that you are forced to take the shuttle when it's behind your body.

    Coaches often say, "Always get behind the shuttle!", but this is often unrealistic. If you watch the professional singles players, you'll see that they are mostly hitting overhead shots when the shuttle has already passed behind them. Why? Because the opponent has played flat shots that deprive them of time.

    Of course, it's good to get behind the shuttle whenever you can, and then use a scissor jump with body rotation. But this footwork does not work when the shuttle has travelled behind you. You need an alternative.

    The footwork pattern you need is known as the step-out. You can read about it in my footwork guide, on the page about footwork patterns to the forehand rear corner.

    You will also need to change your grip towards a thumb grip, so that you can continue to hit the shuttle straight when it has travelled behind you. See the page about adjusting your grip for a late forehand, from my grips guide.

    As this position does not allow for (much) rotation of the body or shoulders, you'll need to develop excellent timing with a sharp, shortened "rebound" hitting action -- an "arm only, no shoulders" clear. Unfortunately I don't have anything in-depth written about this yet. :(

    Hope that helps. :) It will take some getting used to; until now you have only used one basic footwork pattern (I guess), whereas now you have two (or three, if you also learn the jump-out!). You will probably find that, for a while, you have difficulty choosing the right pattern for a particular situation.
     
    #4 Gollum, Nov 16, 2009
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2009
  5. b.leung

    b.leung Regular Member

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    Hey Gollum, I really respect your insight
    Just wanted to clarify what I meant in my post...
    the body rotation thing is most applicable when you're grounded, so yes, it won't be possible to do any body rotation when you're taking a bird behind you

    As for the footwork things, it's more about changing the momentum and translating that kinetic energy into hitting the bird, not so much trying to do some crazy feet movement while you're hitting the bird
     
  6. Lannister05

    Lannister05 Regular Member

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    Thanks for the insight guys i'll try it out...man there's a lot of information here haha.
     
  7. alexh

    alexh Regular Member

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    Yes, it's physically impossible. But mentally it can make a difference.

    If you set yourself up with the intention of moving a certain way after hitting the shot, then your setup will inevitably be different. Of course it's what happens before you hit the bird that really affects the shot, but your attitude can make you feel as though what you do afterwards is making a difference.

    Short answer: if you find a way of thinking that gets good results, then stick with it!
     
  8. Lannister05

    Lannister05 Regular Member

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    Thanks again everyone for chipping in on the input. Recently my clear has improved exceptionally. In addition to increasing the supination before the pronation I have found that my hits are much stronger when i aim at the Upper Left side of the racket.

    I tried this out with both of my rackets and it produced the same results, for some reason my clears are significantly stronger when i do not aim for the upper center of the racket but rather the upper left. Is this common knowledge to you all or this some kind of oddity in my case?
     
  9. vorxaw

    vorxaw Regular Member

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    Keep in mind there's only so much you can do. If you are still quite young, i wouldn't worry about it, power will come naturally when you're a bit older.....and deteriorate as get even older:p
     
  10. Gollum

    Gollum Regular Member

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    It's probably just that, when you thought about hitting in the centre of the stringbed, you were actually hitting off to the right. By thinking about hitting on the left side, you actually end up hitting in the centre. ;)
     
  11. singnflip4life

    singnflip4life Regular Member

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    Sir Gollum, I've been trying to change my panhandle to the basic grip, and I find that I'm slicing everything. My clears are decent again, but its all slice. This is just poor technique, isn't it? How can I fix that? Just more practice?
     
  12. Gollum

    Gollum Regular Member

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    This is completely normal when you initially change from panhandle to the basic grip. What's happening is that you're still using the same -- or similar -- hitting action as you did with the panhandle grip.

    The point about the basic grip is that you must turn your arm inwards during the swing in order to hit the shuttle straight. It's this turning that creates most of the power for your shots.

    At the moment, you're not rotating your arm -- or not enough -- and so you meet the shuttle with an angled racket face.

    Another possibility is that you are turning the arm, but your timing is just slightly off. If your arm-turning is slightly too late, then you'll hit the shuttle with the racket face angled inwards (so the shuttle will go off to your left); if your arm-turning is slightly too early, you'll hit the shuttle with the racket angled outwards (so the shuttle will go off to your right).

    The panhandle grip doesn't require you to turn the arm, so it's easier to get a "clean" contact (no slice). The downside, of course, is that you get very little power with a panhandle grip.
     
  13. singnflip4life

    singnflip4life Regular Member

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    I see. Yea my shots either go far left, like 45 degrees left, or they just end up being slice clears (which I could never do before) or some of the best hard drops I've ever done, like super fast but dies instantly once it crosses the net. Thanks for the advice, I'll try to adjust my swing as well.
     

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