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    Default Smash defense in singles: racket pointing down?

    I've been told many times to keep my racket up and in front of my body when waiting between shots. But I've noticed, watching singles matches, that many professional players have their racket down by their side about knee height, almost pointing to the floor, when defending against a smash. Can anyone explain the reason for this?


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  2. #2
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    Those professional players smash very hard. There won't be enough time to hit the shuttle if your racket is still all the way up. Shots that go high are also a lot slower, so the defender still has time to bring his racket up. And if it doesn't go slower, it will probably go way out. But these are just my thoughts.

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    Well, it's simple: LD played a lift there, so what are the most dangerous shots he can get?
    Drops and smashes, so his racket is low and his body stance is that as well.

    Any other shot like a flat clear of maybe just a regular shot to the back will give Lin enough time to lift up his arm and attack the shot. The biggest risk with a stance like that is a smash to his chest. But at that level those guys are all so idiotically skilled they can deal with all that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by alexh View Post
    I've been told many times to keep my racket up and in front of my body when waiting between shots. But I've noticed, watching singles matches, that many professional players have their racket down by their side about knee height, almost pointing to the floor, when defending against a smash. Can anyone explain the reason for this?
    Hai alexh,

    There are few other world class player held their racket head level low also i.e Markis Kido (especially before performing a smash ) however, regardless whatever shot that you want to do when playing, the rule of thumb is, you MUST and ALWAYS make sure that your racket head level is high.

    Those examples of helding the racket head level low shown by any world class player is not a good example to follow if you're currently working on improving how you play. Why in any coaching textbooks emphasize strongly the importance of helding the racket head level high is because you will have the optimal distance to react from your ready position to address any incoming birdie earlier so that the chances to perform a winning shots or opening an opportunity for a winning shots is high. Such helding position must always be a second nature habit to any player.

    Clearly whatever habit of such level of racket head level shown by any world class player is something should not be follow and since they are world class player, their reflexes and footwork movements are superfast and they still able to address that birdie early.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shooting stroke View Post
    Clearly whatever habit of such level of racket head level shown by any world class player is something should not be follow and since they are world class player, their reflexes and footwork movements are superfast and they still able to address that birdie early.
    So if I want to get better at smash defence (something I find much harder in singles than in doubles) then I should keep holding my racket up and concentrate on my footwork?

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    I think having your racket low to prepare for a smash isn't a bad habit. If you think about it having your racket high all the time isn't going to help you one bit against good smashers. Even if you are trying to learn you need to get prepared and badminton isn't a one stance win. Just like how we have different grips for different situations, we have different stances to prepare against our opponents.

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    I think that, in general, the professional players can be a little more "relaxed" with their racket preparation than we mortals can. Why? Their reactions are a little faster, their techniques a little better, and their anticipation of what is coming a little better too. In short they can get away with it. I disagree that holding the racket higher would make it more difficult to retrieve a low shuttle however. Too high is obviously a bad idea, but I would expect to see a player "defending" with their racket around waist height.

    I would be interested to know who Lin Dan is playing against in this match. If he is anticipating a smash or fast drop shot, then having the racket a little lower in anticipation should not be harmful - he is expecting to retrieve the shuttle from closer to the floor. If he was expecting his opponent to drive the shuttle, then you would probably see his racket a little higher!

    In doubles, the racket preparation is much more crucial - there is much less time to receive the shuttle when under pressure (either around the net or when defending) because the game is so flat and fast. If you were playing around the net, I would expect to see the racket at around tape height (not higher, and not much lower). If you were in the mid court and you were attacking, then the racket a little higher is ok (you are waiting for intercepts).

    I would recommend practising with the racket a little higher than lin dan shows (around waist height is good for defending), but you see the way his body is "low" - knees bent, leaning forwards - this is ideal for being able to react quickly in defense. Being low also helps you to "see" the shuttle coming. I am of the opinion that getting there in time is the hardest part of defending against a world class mens singles attack, rather than manoeuvring the racket.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MSeeley View Post
    I disagree that holding the racket higher would make it more difficult to retrieve a low shuttle however.
    Yes, I wondered about that. If it's so hard to move the racket down even a metre, then there's no way someone could cover both forehand and backhand sides...It can't be that hard to move the racket from one place to another, as long as you anticipate correctly, surely?

    I would be interested to know who Lin Dan is playing against in this match. If he is anticipating a smash or fast drop shot, then having the racket a little lower in anticipation should not be harmful - he is expecting to retrieve the shuttle from closer to the floor. If he was expecting his opponent to drive the shuttle, then you would probably see his racket a little higher!
    Sorry, I should have said. It's from this year's Singapore Open semi against Peter Gade. Lin Dan had just lifted the shuttle, and Gade did in fact play a smash next.

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    alexh: thanks for the response! The reason I thought about who he may be playing, is he may be "wary" of a shot to come. Peter is not so much known for his smashes, as he is for his fast sliced drops and angled half smashes - lin dan is probably wary that these shots may be coming (or a smash) and hence prepares that way. If lin dan played taufik for example, who tends to smash a lot "flatter" (meaning less angle) then I wonder if Lin Dan would prepare to retrieve the next shuttle differently, expecting it in a different place. I would wager his racket would be a little higher vs Taufik than against Gade.

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    Interesting. But this was more or less a randomly chosen example--without splitting hairs (30 cm higher or lower?) I feel as though I've seen many instances of players waiting with their racket at least below waist height.

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    alexh: agreed. I see it fairly often as well. I still feel its a case of anticipating a shot that they will have to retrieve lower rather than higher, and at the very least, they are not expecting to get into a rally of drives. Doubles is a different matter though. As I said before, I feel that the key to good defense in singles is the speed of movement and agility rather than racket preparation, hence the more relaxed racket positioning.

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