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Thread: Neutral shots

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    Regular Member ant01's Avatar
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    Question Neutral shots

    I've heard a commentator mention this recently in the Denmark Open...but what exactly is this and when is a good time to use it?

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    A neutral shot is neither aggressive nor defensive. The idea is that you play the shuttle so that the opponent can't take the offense, and is best played when you've run out of ideas.
    Smashed 6 times in a row and aren't getting anywhere? Instead of trying the reverse coiled snake stroke you kind of pretended to learn last week at the trick shot convention, play a neutral shot instead.

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    Consider yourself playing from the net after your opponent plays a drop shot.

    You think of three basic options:
    1) tight net tumble
    2) small push
    3) lift to rear court

    1 - attacking/aggressive
    2 - neutral
    3 - defensive/passive

    When commentators talk about neutral shots, they are often referring to shots played from the mid-court and forwards. Mostly they are pushes and soft drives that the opponent cant play a net tumble or otherwise attack.

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    In many situations you can't play an outright winner or get huge advantage in the rally unless you play it when out of balance. This of course is a risk. To avoid taking unecessary risks one has to play those neutral shots to wait for the right opportunity to attack.

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    good example might as well be:
    you get forced in the backhand corner, too bad in position to play overhead, but not as bad as it can get...
    then you play a rather fast longline backhand drop, not too short. that shot is
    a. not offensive, you can nnever win the point with it
    b. not really defensive (opponents can't really kill it).
    with this neutral shot you can somehow neglate the action before and the rally more or less starts at zero.

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    Neutral shot is one where you're not in a good position to attack but you don't want to give away the attack to the opponent. You always choose neutral over defensive shots of possible, and always attack over neutral shots if possible.

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    I disagree with that last sentence. If you are off balance or out of position then it is not as clear-cut as what you suggest.

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    Quote Originally Posted by amleto View Post
    I disagree with that last sentence. If you are off balance or out of position then it is not as clear-cut as what you suggest.
    Rule of thumb, personal preference, style of play. But yes sometimes you do have to improvise.

    IMO - Neutral shots are useful for keeping the point going without giving away the initiative. By doing so you are playing a shot that is neither attacking or defensive. Eg, If a powerful straight drive is going to put you out of position, why do it? You could put in a straight drop instead. This allows you to still control the point without putting yourself under too much pressure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SolsticeOfLight View Post
    Smashed 6 times in a row and aren't getting anywhere? Instead of trying the reverse coiled snake stroke you kind of pretended to learn last week at the trick shot convention, play a neutral shot instead.
    Tell us more about the "reverse coiled snake stroke"--I'm not sure I've seen that one ;-)

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    I feel as it is quite often in singles that people just play a neutral shot into the middle, it can be drops, stops or just to interrupt a flac duel. It's a lot more common at elite level than my level... But I also wonder of the cause, in a lot of cases it doesn't seem like a bad position to attack from, sometimes it's difficult to see the balance and speed of the shot because of the camera angle, but I don't think they are used just when you're in a "bad spot". Isn't a neutral shot (in the middle) sometimes preferred because the return will be easier (half-length path for all returns, instead of one short and one very long if you put it in a corner)?

    Do you guys see what I mean or should I illustrate?

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    I disagree with lordrogue. The returns won't be easier if you play a neutral shots. Saying that, i do think it as an offensive tactic. It's suitable against overly aggressive players, to tire themselves out.

    I have to thank ant01. I'll have this add to my arsenals in singles.

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