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Thread: Defending smashes
07-16-2011, 10:23 AM #1
why in Level doubles (MD) , the players prefer to defend and flick smashes back using their backhand ? is there good advantages there ?
07-16-2011, 11:07 AM #2
I suppose using the back hand grip is more convenient,
It's like killing two birds with one stone
Unless you find it faster to switch from a forehand to backhand grip or vice versa
07-16-2011, 12:07 PM #3
Is there good advantages using the backhand grip to defend and flick ???
Yes, there is good advantage.
You can defend quite easily using the backhand grip on both your forehand and backhand sides. But you cannot use the forehand grip for defending on your backhand side.
To see what I mean; try lifting/flicking the shuttlecock with a forehand grip on your backhand side.
07-16-2011, 12:27 PM #4
Hmm, I can defend using forehand and backhand quite comfortably and I often switch between both, but my backhand defense is more dominant then my forehead defense. Like if the smash is going deep to my forehand side, I tend to use forehand defense rather than using backhand. Is it better to just stick to using backhand?
07-16-2011, 02:28 PM #5
But I dont see why they would defend their forehand side with backhand , would it not be easier to change grip and hit a forehand return , sure they can flick the shuttle further back with a forehand on forehand side
07-16-2011, 02:31 PM #6
In general, quite a lot of players find that a smash directed at the body is tougher to defend against than one that comes to the sides, because you have to take the shuttle so early. If it comes to the sides you could, if you chose, let the shuttle go a little further (so it almost goes past you) but still be able to take it comfortably (not ideal but ok). A smash at he body however tends to "cramp" players (including professionals) in their defenses - they have difficulty doing much more than blocking or driving the shuttle - they can't easily use lifted defense. The only way of defending a body smash properly is by either crouch defending (not possible against a good angled smash), or with the backhand grip. The backhand grip allows you to cover backhand returns, body smashes, and (as others have said earlier) SOME forehand side smashes relatively easily. Hence, players tend to wait with a backhand grip when they are expecting a smash (although its normally some sort of half way grip - biased towards a backhand, but maybe not quite there). Hence they use their backhands as much as possible - you have probably noticed how, when defending, they tend to slant their rackets across their body - covering the body smash (especially in doubles).
This leaves considerable weaknesses in their forehand defense if you can get it wide enough - in doubles, this can be tough to accomplish - you need very good accuracy to exploit it. Many top mens doubles players, including FHF (until recently when his defense seems to be very solid) and Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen have considerably weaker forehand defenses than their backhand because they are "not ready" for the forehand. However, as soon as it comes a little closer to their body, it falls in the hitting zone of their backhand, and they hit some fantastic shots.
I think in general, if possible, a forehand side smash return should be met with a forehand grip of some sort, but if its close by, the backhand can be just as good, if not even quicker (if you are waiting with that grip).
I feel that this excessive use of backhand defense is not as common in singles, because body smashes that manage to hit the forehand side of the pros are generally uncommon, and a simple blocked return is often the best and easiest choice - less power is needed, and so the grips can be a little more relaxed.
07-16-2011, 06:16 PM #7
In Post #3, I mentioned about how a backhand grip is good to be used on both your forehand and backhand sides. If you can flick the shuttle further back with a forehand grip on forehand side, then it's great.
However, the changing of the grip takes time.
MSeeley also mentioned (in Post #6) about the body smashes. In front of the body, the backhand grip is again better to be used; for most of the different returns, like the Block, Lift, Drive, etc, ......
Therefore, most players prefer to hold their rackets ready with the backhand grip when expecting a Smash.
Last edited by chris-ccc; 07-16-2011 at 06:20 PM.
07-16-2011, 06:26 PM #8
so why dont more players smash to the other players forehand side since they know they have a backhand grip ready ?
07-16-2011, 07:09 PM #9
07-16-2011, 07:26 PM #10
staiger: they do.
However, on a doubles court, at a high pace (bearing in mind most of us can't comprehend the pace until we experience it) it is fairly tough to accurately pick out the spot that the defenders are weak against - notably the racket arm shoulder (imagining this is the centre of a clock) and at 2 and 3 and 4 oclock, many defenders will struggle. However, it can be done:
LCW shows us how its done around 1.22, and he demonstrates easier versions throughout that video.
Imagining doubles, at that high pace, it is very difficult to hit the forehand defence of a defender without letting it get too close to his body where he can comfortably use his backhand instead. To get the correct distance away from him that he will struggle you have to hit the tramlines without a doubt, and probably towards the outside edge of the tramlines, and it mustn't be too flat or they will counter hit. In my opinion, this is no easy feat, even at a professional standard. However, its easy to notice this deficiency in defense once the front court player gets involved, and can easily start mixing up the speed and placement - this is when the players with weaker defense really begin to break down - when the pressure is sustained.
At a high level of mens singles, you will, in some matches, observe that players target their opponents forehand defense, knowing it is weaker than the backhand defense. Rarely do players exploit a weak backhand defense - because its fairly uncommon in comparison.
I feel players DO exploit the weaknesses in defense on the forehand side. You see this particularly with left hander right hander combinations when their forehand defense is in the middle - this is exploited big time! However, these guys are all professionals. Where one learns how to hit a high risk smash onto their opponents forehand side, the other guy has learnt how to quickly change grips or hit with the backhand and hit a counter attacking shot. Its much easier to mix up the pace in less high risk places, and get your partner at the net involved. The best defenders can cope with anything, and can only be broken down by sequences of high quality attack. One of the major problems, is you don't get many chances to target the "weaknesses" its tough to hit the same spot 2 or 3 times in a row to bring out he weaknesses, especially as your opponents are moving around to try and get into a better position to turn defense into attack. That, and if your opponent realises its a weakness, thats what he will improve for next time you play him - they probably had many more problems as they were developing than now.
Interesting topic this one It took me a long time to discover what grip I preferred in defense.
07-17-2011, 07:55 AM #11
so if the smash is straight down the center for those professional MD , would it be easier for the person on the backhand side to retrieve the smash .
and for a right hander left hander combination would it be better if the left handed player on the right side to have a forehand grip ready and the right hander with a backhand grip since the chances of their opponent hitting a cross-court smash is less likely
07-17-2011, 01:35 PM #12
I would agree that when receiving a centre smash, the person with a backhand defense is most likely to take the shuttle.
However, most of the time, you want the cross court defender to take anything down the middle. If you have a right hander/left hander team (and fairly common in general - see Lars Paaske when he defends) the cross court defender will bias their defense to cover the centre - they often take a small, aggressive step towards the centre to punish a centre smash (if possible) if the lift was to a corner. This may mean the player waits with a more forehand grip (depending on which side they are on and which hand they play with) - but is probably actually more likely to use some sort of crouch defense in this scenario. This means that both players are covering one side mainly - the straight defender covers the tramline, the cross court defender covers the middle, whilst the cross court smash is considered unlikely.
The reason is that off a cross court smash, all it takes is one reasonable defensive shot and the rally is won - the smashers partner is cut out of the game. Thus, the cross court smash is a risk - it MAY be a winner against biased defenders or they MAY hit a really good shot down the line and win the point outright. Thus, as defenders, you can assume they probably won't choose that option - it is a risk (unless its a tactic the attackers agreed upon before the match started).
Its at this point we realise why its so crucial that the defenders lift their defense to the corners - anything near the middle means that there is no "cross court smash", the attackers can hit anywhere, and both defenders have to cover both sides and are in trouble, and hence why hitting between them in this situation is so useful. However, off a lift down the tramlines, a "centre smash" is normally much less effective - because the opposing cross court defender is probably standing ready to counter hit.
Hope that makes sense.
07-17-2011, 04:00 PM #13
Good answers Matt.
There is a difference between the centre of the court and the centre of the two defenders.
Those players asking " why backhand defence" need to go away and practice hitting the shuttle against a wall and on court with their backhand defence a few hours a week, when this becomes stronger they will understand the "why" backhand defence often and the "where" to smash against other defenders.
07-17-2011, 05:15 PM #14
Everyone has already brought out all of the excellent and salient points. But I'd like to add the "why" from an anatomy and kinesiology perspective. It's because .... forearm supination is much faster and more powerful than pronation .... when the shoulder is stationary, as is the case with defending smashes. If you use a screwdriver, you'll understand: tightening a screw is always faster and stronger than loosening it.
07-17-2011, 06:17 PM #15
visor: i haven't heard the screw analogy before... interesting.
07-17-2011, 06:26 PM #16
are you also suggesting that our backhand drive is suppose to be more powerful than our forehand drive , since this shot is only require forearm and wrist , with no other anatomy part used to generate the swing
07-17-2011, 06:37 PM #17
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