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where to look as you're preparing to receive a smash

Discussion in 'Techniques / Training' started by kooshball, Dec 10, 2012.

  1. kooshball

    kooshball Regular Member

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    Say you're playing doubles and had to lift the shuttle and it didnt go far enough. You and your partner move to side by side. The shuttle is on your side of the court so it's likely the opponent will smash directly to you. Where do you look?

    The reason I ask this question is I was reading Bounce (http://www.amazon.com/Bounce-Federer-Picasso-Beckham-Science/dp/B004NSVE5U which is a great book btw). The author, who is was the #1 ranked pingpong player in England, talks about playing a tennis match against a top seeded tennis player and getting destroyed at the serve. He mentioned as he was trying to receive the tennis player's serve, he would look at where the racket is hitting the ball. Later on, the tennis player told him you have to look at the leg of the server to see how his body is rotating, and then predict where the ball will be.

    So what is the correct place to look to determine where the smash shuttle will fly to?

    Another video that's interesting is this one, where they test people's reaction time based on a video. (Sorry chinese only, couldn't find one with subtitles.)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?list=WL42BE1574A248AB7E&v=_OPPNZ_NLJk&feature=player_detailpage#t=303s
    The end result was that the profession players were able to get much more of the answer correct percentage wise, and also quick. How can I train myself to recognize shots better?
     
  2. |_Footwork_|

    |_Footwork_| Regular Member

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    1. look at the shuttles obviously.
    2. if you want to learn to receive smashes, you havve to receive a lot of smashes...;)
     
  3. ChongHL

    ChongHL Regular Member

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    I'm beginner and I just try to lower my body where my eye sight lower than the net white line.

    Anyone agreed with me?
     
    #3 ChongHL, Dec 10, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2012
  4. OhSearsTower

    OhSearsTower Regular Member

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    i just look at the shuttle..
     
  5. kooshball

    kooshball Regular Member

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    yes once the bird is coming, i'll be looking for the bird. i'm saying before the bird is hit, is the racket face really the best place to look?

    2. also covered in the book, the author mentions "deliberate practice" as the way to get better. obviously i'll try to practice this, but it only makes sense when i understand what i'm suppose to do.
     
  6. shooting stroke

    shooting stroke Regular Member

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    Focus on the BIRDIE

    Hi there,

    If your opponent performing a smash, your vision should and always should mentally focus on the trajectory of the birdie regardless of how your opponent body moves, where he looks, how he swings etc.

    If your mind focus hard on where the birdie will go, it will send a clear message to your legs and your arm on how to move correctly with the right footwork approach and forearm movements to address the smash.

    This also goes similarly the same to the other type of strokes.

    SS
     
  7. |_Footwork_|

    |_Footwork_| Regular Member

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    come on, don't over-analyse it!!

    if you want to see where the birdie is going, you have to look at the birdie. of course you always see (peripherically) how your opponent moves...

    it's all a matter of practise.
     
  8. greblu

    greblu Regular Member

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    Good find, is there a software like its shown in this video at the market?
    If yes where can i get it?
    If not it would be a good idea to create one for everyone (gap in the market:p )
     
    #8 greblu, Dec 11, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2012
  9. MSeeley

    MSeeley Regular Member

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    Hello!

    There are a number of reasons why I think what you are trying to achieve is not relevant to badminton. In tennis, it is IMPOSSIBLE to defend against a fast serve delivered to the extremities of the service box. If the serve hits the lines in the correct places, at high pace, you simply will not be able to get it back. Why? The use of spin to bring the ball down (and the fact that it is allowed to bounce) means that extremely large angles can be created. Thus, anticipating where the serve will go is ESSENTIAL, as you cannot cover all options, and have to try and guess which is the most relevant. The greatest servers, like Goran Ivanisevic, were able to decide AFTER they had thrown the ball, where they were going to serve, and were able to change their mind up to the last possible second.

    In badminton, its a little different. You do NOT NEED to GUESS where it is coming. Why? Because you and your partner simply need to make sure you have all the most likely replies covered - i.e. everything but the cross court tramline - good doubles players tend to attack down the line or the middle. Nothing will save you against an opponent who can hit the lines - this is low percentage, and extremely skilful, and players will rarely go for it. Remember too - you only need to get to everything that is within reach, and so does your partner. If you are covering the court together properly, even against a short lift, you do not need to guess. It will come within reach, and it is actually a test of your racket skills to cope with it, not your ability to guess. Singles may be a different story - you do not have a partner. But you said doubles, so we stick with it.

    Thus, because you do not need to guess where it is going, the skill you ACTUALLY need, as others have mentioned, is being able to pick up the flight of the shuttle extremely quickly. Someone above mentioned getting down lower. This is correct. Why? Because you want to lower your vision so that you are looking upwards at the shuttle - this will keep the shuttle in your central field of vision for longer as it descends (towards you or your partner). This will enable you to pick up the shuttles flight very quickly, and enable you to meet the shuttle early, out in front, even under pressure. As others have said, practice is the best thing for this. Having someone attack from the net is the best way for you to practice your racket skills - you should stand very close to the net (a couple of feet behind the service line) and play very soft blocks just above the tape, aimed towards the tramline, and the feeder hits softly to different areas - note everything is soft, and made difficult by how close you are standing. This will really kick your grip changes into action!).

    With all that said, what are the things you should be looking at or looking out for? You should be looking at the shuttle. Because you are in a good defensive posture, you will be looking upwards at the shuttle - so you can also see your opponents body shape and racket movement. His feet and balance are irrelevant - badminton players practice all their shots from difficult off balance positions and can hit anything from anywhere. Also his feet are probably off the floor. Don't look at them! Something that is much more prevalent in badminton is slice, and reverse slice is unheard of for most tennis players. If possible, you want to look out for instances of a player using slice to change the direction of their shot - just keep an eye on their body shape (how much they are turning) and the path the racket takes. However, these are things you should notice through peripheral vision if you can - WATCH THE SHUTTLE FIRST AND FOREMOST.

    If you want to anticipate where the shuttle will come, the best thing to do is understand your opponents preferences (which smashes they like to do), rather than looking at technical clues. Deception overhead is, after all, essential for good badminton players, but is much less relevant in tennis, where you have to aim in a certain direction.

    I hope you can understand why some of what you are trying to achieve is not relevant, and which skills are most important. However, there is no doubt that if you can read where your opponent will hit the shuttle, that will be beneficial to you. If this is still you goal at the end of the day, the key thing to watch out when trying to anticipate is their body shape. But beware! Good players will go out of their way to deceive you. Do not rely on your anticipation, as you will struggle to use it against better players.

    Good luck to you!
     
  10. Tactim

    Tactim Regular Member

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    In doubles, I personally follow one rule when defending against a smash.

    Always assume that the smash is coming to you, then you'll be ready for whatever comes on your side, and your partner will be ready for whatever comes on his/her side because he/she is doing the same thing. Of course once you get an opponent who knows how to smash down the middle this weakness has to be worked out through experience with your partner.

    Overall though it's not a bad rule to follow and will get you through 95% of the rallies and people you play (depending on skill level).
     
  11. kooshball

    kooshball Regular Member

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    This kind of discussion is exactly what I hoped for when I posted this question.


    However, I disagree with this.
    A smash in badminton is very very similar to a serve in tennis. In both that's where the bird/ball is at max speed and the steepest angle (in most cases). Just like in tennis, you can't always cover every possible angle in badminton, especially when the lift was short, so some guessing would be needed, especially with grip.

    I agree completely with this. The ultimate purpose of my question is to figure out the best way to pick up the flight as quick as possible.




    This is awesome information. The lowering vision trick I have no heard of before, will certainly try this next time.
    Thanks so much!
     
  12. MSeeley

    MSeeley Regular Member

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    Thanks for your response! I am glad some of what I said was helpful :)

    I can't help but feel differently about what you have just said. I agree that the smash and the serve are technically similar in terms of what the torso and arms and racket are doing, and that the speed is at its maximum. However, in tennis, the server can "go for broke" on their fastest serve, knowing that they can always just play a second serve instead. In badminton, if the lift is short, players rarely feel the "need" to go for the lines - the rally is all but won. The pace of the smash is what should win the point, rather than being placed on a line somewhere (which, I think, is the goal of the server in tennis when they hit their fastest serves - their first serves). Also, given that the lift is short, there is some real pressure to WIN THE POINT! If you miss "a sitter", you would feel very bad - another incentive not to go for the lines. So I feel all in all that in badminton, this fastest shot will not be hit with the intention of making your opponent move (doubles is the scenario from the original post! singles is different!), but limiting them to playing a very weak next shot, to set up your partner. However, in tennis, the fastest serves aimed at the outside of the boxes are hit with the intention that the opponent cannot get to it, not because of the pace, but because at that pace in a certain location, the ball will be completely out of reach - it will be too far away to get to it.

    This difference in the goals is what I feel differentiates the situations. In tennis, you do not want your opponent to be able to get to the serve. In badminton, you don't care if they get there (obviously its nice to get it away from them), so long as you win the point within the next couple of shots. Because the badminton does not need to guess where to move, I feel they do not need to guess - they will be able to reach it! But things like grips and racket skills will potentially be very tricky - rather than the movement. In tennis, the getting to the ball is the hardest part of the challenge.

    Your example with the grip is what I disagree with in particular. I do not think you need to "guess" which grip you need. You need to be able to change it more quickly! The grip you should wait with is the same grip you should wait with when the shuttle is not lifted really short - a more or less backhand thumbish grip, held in line with the racket shoulder, thus ready to be relaxed to play a forehand if the shuttle is wide on that side - so I don't think you need to guess the grip. Given that when your opponent jumps up, you have no idea where the shuttle is going to go (bar anticipation obviously :) ), picking the backhandish grip is an excellent choice as it allows you to play maybe 90% of all necessary returns.

    However, in spite all of this, I think you have hit on the main point - as long as we can pick up the path of the shuttle ASAP, we should be ok. If you can guess where it will go, thats great. I simply feel you do not need to, because I do not think that there is any way of guessing, or any advantage of guessing, when compared with just seeing it as early as possible with very good racket skills (grip changes, short swings etc). Which is also fine :)

    Thanks for raising this interesting topic! I like these kinds of thread :)

    p.s. I use the lowered vision plus the "Always assume that the smash is coming to you" from tactim when I defend! Great advice Tactim!
     
  13. Cheung

    Cheung Moderator

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    1. Technique counts - I have altered my stance, grip, stroke action and body movement in doubles. I think I am a little better than before counterattacking a smash than before.

    2. Experience counts - a) the more you play, the more smashes you receive. You then get a feel of which particular players choose to smash in certain gameplay situations. b) you start to recognise when people cannot play certain angles because of their body position during the preparation (the book 'Bounce' describes this when Matthew Syed finds he cannot predict the tennis serve)

    3. Practice counts - multifeed receiving shuttles from across the net with the feeder standing on a bench or chair to produce an angle downwards replicating the flight of a smash. I see this done in HK. I went to the National badminton Centre in England and they do that as well.
     
  14. gerald1994

    gerald1994 Regular Member

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    I totally agree with this! My my i'm seeing a lot of interesting long suggestions here! (y) Hmm at a higher level of badminton you can't really determine where the smash will be because that's what your opponent will try to cover up (Duh!)

    So the issue is then.. how do you defend? Apart from having good techniques, practicing a lot, and receiving lots of smashes, one thing u must do is put them to use.

    Use those knowledge and form an anticipation of where your opponent is going to smash.

    You mention the shuttle not going far enough, so i'm assuming its a half court shot here. If the shuttle is very high and mid court, it's really hard to anticipate how to take, so yes, listen to what the rest have said, unlikely your opponent is going for the line, get ready for the straight smash and assume the smash is coming to you. Not much advice here i guess..

    Now but lets say if it's a flatter shot intercepted at mid court, how do you go about defending this kind of smash then? I'd actually say initially look at their swinging position first, then the shuttle before the bang.

    By just looking at the shuttle, you can't anticipate anything and am probably just using reflexes to defend.

    Looking at the way they swing gives you a rough idea of where they are going to smash and that's when you alter you stance, grip in prep for the smash. And if it's a flatter mid court shot, your opponent don't have that space to be very deceptive. Making it much easier to anticipate.

    As you anticipate a few of the smashes, think about his habits like where he smashes and his posture when he smashes or do something else ;) Of course it comes with a lot of practice! Good luck :)
     
  15. R20190

    R20190 Regular Member

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    This is quite interesting, but I don't quite understand how you can pick up the shuttle flight quicker by looking up towards it?

    Can you explain this a bit clearer?
     
  16. tigerlam92

    tigerlam92 Regular Member

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    Badminton: Smash Defense http://youtu.be/9Fw1Wn_DsMs
    Please see video. It explains a lot and demonstrates the techniques and tips.

    Looking up.
    There is a post here with a diagram to explain it really well. For me, looking up will allow you to see the shuttle sooner and to see the trajectory easier, then allow you to react and defend better. This is because your area of vision shifted higher so the shuttle enter your visible zone earlier.

    More importantly for me is getting lower which forces you to get into the ready position and be ready to react faster. Also, lower means the shuttle has a little more to travel so it gives you a little more time to react. Secondly, it would be helpful to take one step back from center of court. This also allow you to have a little more time to react. Combining the one step back and getting lower while receiving the smash in-front and away from your body, you will mainly have to focus on lower defends only. That is because at this position, anything coming over your shoulder will likely go out. The only disadvantage is that if your opponent is really good and see this, they will do a half smash (cut smash) where it is really short.

    The link to the video is really good and explain this. Again, like other said, this is mainly related to doubles.

    I did played a lot of tennis and was part of USTA as well. If I was returning serves against Ivanisevic or Roddick first serve, I will guess and take a chance. If not, there is no way I will get there in time to return especially with his placement, spin, or speed. In badminton, for doubles, it is definitely not quite the same. Anticipation is still there but not as important. I think the tennis analogy will be very close to badminton for singles though. :) I remember one commentator said about Lin Dan, that we all know how great he is, but something we can't see when watching him on the sideline or on the video but he definitely see that when playing against him is that it is extremely hard to tell where he is hitting or smashing.

    Cheers
    Hugh
     
  17. alexh

    alexh Regular Member

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    The sports psychologists know that what we think we're doing and what we actually do can be quite different.

    If you think you're only looking at the birdie, and you're getting good results, then there's no need to change. But subconsciously, you're also looking at the movement of the opponent's racket. If you're looking in the direction of the birdie, then the racket is in your peripheral vision, so it works anyway.

    For most people, reaction time to a visual stimulus is close to 200 milliseconds. That's the time needed to make a decision before your body starts moving. There's no way you can return a fast smash if you wait to see what direction the shuttle is going before you start moving. You have to know the trajectory of the smash even before the opponent's racket contacts the shuttle.

    Often your subconcious plays tricks when making fast decisions, and you feel as though things happened in a different order. So in fact it's not useful to analyse things this way, but it's still interesting!
     
  18. R20190

    R20190 Regular Member

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    I'm trying to imagine visually, what the difference would be if I were to stand up straight when receiving a smash as opposed to staying low... I suppose, if the smash was not very steep, then its harder to see the trajectory standing up?

    Would you mind posting a link to that post with the diagram? Thanks :)
     
  19. kooshball

    kooshball Regular Member

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    The video is great thanks! I do like this coach a lot, just wish the audio qualities on his videos were better, or at least have english subtitle.

    Can you link me to this diagram that you're talking about?


     
  20. MSeeley

    MSeeley Regular Member

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    To pick up on this point:
    95% of the processing power done by your brain is focused within 5 degrees of the center of your vision. That means that for something very close to the centre of your vision, you will have many more times the "processing power" from your brain. This means you will register what is happening more easily, e.g. the direction of the shuttle, the trajectory etc, if you can keep the shuttles in the centre (or near the centre) for longer. We want to avoid using the peripheral vision, and anything too far off centre.

    If you crouch lower, and the shuttle is struck downwards (a smash), then the shuttle should feel like its coming "towards" you, as it should stay in your central field of vision as it comes down "at" you. If you were stood upright, looking at the shuttle, and the shuttle was struck downwards, the shuttle will quickly dip below your line of vision, resulting in you have to move your eyes/head to keep up with the shuttle. Thus, when standing, when your opponent strikes the shuttle, you are more likely to lose the shuttle into your peripheral vision, and then have to try and "find it" again so that you can then keep more careful track of its progress. This is because the shuttle will slip "below" your line of vision if you were stood upright.

    If your crouch however, there is less chance that the shuttle will drop below your line of sight (as you are looking upwards at it). As it comes downwards towards you, you will be using more of your brain to process the shuttle, allowing you to respond more quickly.
     

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