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  1. #1
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    Default Forehand: Snap Wrist or not?

    First of all, I am a recreational player and I have not been properly trained/coached.

    I always wonder how should I improve my forehand technique/power and I noticed 2 different views between the "snap wrist" forehand and the pure forearm pronation forehand. I want to ask the badminton lovers here their views and I hope this post can lead me to the right way.

    When I first started playing badminton 3 years ago, my friend taught me the forearm pronation without snapping wrist and he told me there is no wrist in badminton. Forearm pronation is the key to generate power.

    Jimmy lin has perfectly demonstrated that on youtube:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNVC5PVJyPQ

    In this year, I have watched a lot of videos on youtube and I am surprised there are a lot of instructors teaching people to snap wrist and also claiming wrist is the key of the power of the stroke. I also do noticed a sharper angle of my smash when I (slightly) snap my wrist. However, I will suffer wrist pain after hours of playing.

    "Wrist" Videos are listed as below:

    Basic Clear for beginners by Kowi Chandra
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFf6P-mXEG4

    Smashing power by Zhao Jian Hua
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F46HK8cVE0g

    Smashing by Lee Jae Bok (He always says wrist is the most important part of generating power)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMOBmDkMyRs

    Clear by Wang Xiaoli (Watch at 0:38, it looks exactly the same as one of my friends stroke, having the wrist/racket finishes like 0:46)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUwV2A9IbE0

    Clear by Chen Wei Hua (without mentioning a word of pronation and one of my friends said it is the best video to teach you forehand clear on the internet.)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZSILddfSOw

    As a side note, has anyone heard of people having problem playing badminton with Amblyopia/lazy eye?

    Thanks everyone

  2. #2
    Regular Member visor's Avatar
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    Definitely pronation for power strokes eg. hard smash. But advanced players can and do some pure wrist flexion in shots if they're going for angle and placement over power. If you're a beginner, don't do this if your technique is still wanting, or else you'll injure your wrist if you don't know how to control the power.

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    Regular Member Wingu's Avatar
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    When I started out badminton, my team mates always told me to use the forearm pronation for the basic overhead strokes. However, when I went back from Japan and joined a team in Sweden, the coach there (who is a very good coach, but a bit older) told me to use wrist instead of forearm pronation for my overhead strokes.
    However, after talking to our new coach as well as during my lessons I took for coaching cert. that the wrist technique that some people talk about was the "old technique" for power and overhead strokes, while the new one is forearm pronation. Zhao Jian Hua for an example was and still is a great badminton player. However, he is of the "older generation" so to speak. You have to remember that badminton is constantly evolving. An example of the power stroke we are talking about, watch the video of Yonex new Nanoray Z-speed campaign. You can see Lee Chong Wei's stroke very clearly and there is no wrist in that smash. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpD2QKpcJvc right at the beginning).

    Of course, you still use your wrist, as visor suggest, for some angles that you just can't produce with only your forearm. Not to mention shots such as stick smashes, lifts and pushes. For the latter to you can't just rely on your forearm as that would be very unnatural and will not produce enough power and stability

    Badminton is much more than fixated techniques. You have to use all kinds of techniques to produce different kinds of shots. You can't just rely on forearm pronation all the time, you also have to take into consideration that by using your wrist can also produce a different kind of shot, and in many case give power and stability as well.

    That being said, for overhead and power strokes, by converting to forearm pronation you will not be able to hit the shuttle at the "highest point" anymore as you obviously bend your arm a bit in order to make effective use of the pronation. In contrast, wrist technique lets you take the shuttle a tad earlier, but instead you will suffer loss in power.
    Last edited by Wingu; 08-31-2013 at 01:40 AM.

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    Regular Member Ch1k0's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Theseed View Post
    As a side note, has anyone heard of people having problem playing badminton with Amblyopia/lazy eye?

    Thanks everyone
    Definitely no problems playing at all. I too have lazy eye which has given me mono vision. I have adapted over time to simply use both eyes in regards to seeing objects near or far.

    In regards to badminton though I always use the eye with perfect vision as normally no shot comes close enough that you wouldn't have spotted it from far enough of course that is provided you didn't get blind sided in a really high paced game.

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    Excellent reply from Wingu!! thanks very much.

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    Regular Member Wingu's Avatar
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    Sorry for the bad English, but I'm glad you understood it

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wingu View Post
    Sorry for the bad English, but I'm glad you understood it
    Well, my english is not my first language so I would say the same to everyone

    Does it explain why my smash angle is better when I snap my wrist? I do noticed I can hit the shuttle higher when I use my wrist and I never thought that wrist is the reason for that.

    So to get a better angle from forearm pronation, you really need to stand way behind the shuttle and you need to jump to compensate the lower contact point of the shot, am I right?
    Because of this reason, recreational player should know this wrist forehand technique to compensate their slower footwork and lower fitness level. I think this is also the reason why Lee Jae Bok highly recommended wrist shot in his videos.

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    Regular Member Wingu's Avatar
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    Well, technically speaking yes, you get a higher contact point by using the wrist technique. The wrist technique means that your arm will be straight when making contact with the shuttle. It would impossible to do make the same type of feat with forearm pronation as you want to rotate your forearm and you won't be able to do this with your arm being completely straight.... Well, you could probably do it, but it would be highly unnatural and uncomfortable.

    The only really way you can compensate would be to utilize jump smash, but it's not always the case you have the time to do that... But still, I'd say that the different isn't THAT huge that it would actually make such a big difference if we talk about angles for wrist or pronation technique.

    As for wrist instead of pronation for recreational players, in case of slow footwork then wrist is good, yes. Even professionals use wrist to compensate when being late to the back court. For an example, you're off balance and your opponent is pressing you backwards, you use your whole arm of course, but also a lot of wrist snapping to compensate the lack of power you get from your arm since you're late and not behind the shuttle. As I said before, for badminton you need to remember that it's not only about "wrist" or "forearm", but a combination of the whole body. Generally speaking, the optimal way of making any good shot at all is to be behind the shuttle and make use of more than just your arm and wrist, especially if you want to discuss smashing power and angles.

    Also, to add something into the "wrist" vs "pronation", for me utilizing forearm pronation feels much more of a natural movement than snapping your wrist. While sitting here by the computer and doing quick comparison between the two, doing wrist snapping repeatedly tires my arm and wrist out pretty fast.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wingu View Post
    Zhao Jian Hua for an example was and still is a great badminton player. However, he is of the "older generation" so to speak. .
    Interestingly, Xiong Guo Bao, who is from the same generation as Zhao, seems to use a lot of pronation. That's the impression I got from watching his coaching videos a long while ago.

    Also, it may be hard to differentiate old school from new school. Newer generation players/coaches that were previously taught by "old schools" would continue to pass down the same techniques. This makes me wonder if it depends on where you pick up the techniques (or your lineage). E.g. in England, and perhaps other parts in Europe, they advocate pronation/supination. It'd be especially interesting to find a prominent player/coach from places like China to see if they'd converted to the "new school".

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    Regular Member Wingu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by raymond View Post
    Interestingly, Xiong Guo Bao, who is from the same generation as Zhao, seems to use a lot of pronation. That's the impression I got from watching his coaching videos a long while ago.

    Also, it may be hard to differentiate old school from new school. Newer generation players/coaches that were previously taught by "old schools" would continue to pass down the same techniques. This makes me wonder if it depends on where you pick up the techniques (or your lineage). E.g. in England, and perhaps other parts in Europe, they advocate pronation/supination. It'd be especially interesting to find a prominent player/coach from places like China to see if they'd converted to the "new school".
    I just watch the video of him doing the forehand clear and it looks to me like a sort of proto-forearm pronation technique where wrist is still in use. It might just me seeing things, but that's what it looks like at least. However if you look at his backhand smash and clear, he still uses more wrist than pronation...

    As for passing down the same technique, we could say in general (not only badminton but anything such as technology), yes, the same might be taught to the next generation but that doesn't mean that they will not develop new techniques. I mean, if the case would be that the same old technique would be passed down all the time without any evolving, that would mean that we would still be living with giant computers or cellular phones which looks more like military radios.

    As for Xiong Guo Bao, it might very well be that he was the one who started the forearm pronation technique and that it spread and developed from there.

  11. #11
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    As well as evolving technique, individuals will have preferences for certain techniques.
    I.e. player A may utilise the wrist snap better than player B. Hence you see player A use it more in a game - does that mean evolving technique, or older technique or different tactical use of the stroke suitable for one's own game?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Theseed View Post
    Well, my english is not my first language so I would say the same to everyone

    Does it explain why my smash angle is better when I snap my wrist? I do noticed I can hit the shuttle higher when I use my wrist and I never thought that wrist is the reason for that.

    So to get a better angle from forearm pronation, you really need to stand way behind the shuttle and you need to jump to compensate the lower contact point of the shot, am I right?
    Because of this reason, recreational player should know this wrist forehand technique to compensate their slower footwork and lower fitness level. I think this is also the reason why Lee Jae Bok highly recommended wrist shot in his videos.
    So long as one realises the aim is steepness of shot with a loss of power. One can lean backwards and do the wrist snap. In fact, the word 'snap' isn't a good name because people perceive it to produce power (and subsequent injury).

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    Regular Member Wingu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cheung View Post
    As well as evolving technique, individuals will have preferences for certain techniques.
    I.e. player A may utilise the wrist snap better than player B. Hence you see player A use it more in a game - does that mean evolving technique, or older technique or different tactical use of the stroke suitable for one's own game?
    This is true. A friend of mine who weights more than an average person never use the forearm pronatation as he doesn't have time to get behind the shuttle as fast. To compensate this, he's developed one hell of a wrist technique. I think it depends entirely on the situation and person and in my friends case I think it's more of a stroke suitable for his game.
    However! We must not forget that professionals are professionals for a reason and that is their technique (not only strokes of course). That being said, I think that we can safely say that the techniques used by contemporary players is what one wants to strive towards, at least that's what my 'goal' is so to speak.

    If I remember correctly, Zhao Jian Hua mentions in one of his videos that he prefers to use his wrist which means that he is aware of other techniques, but chooses to stay with wrist.

  14. #14
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    for smashes, i think it works like this:
    wrist-only shot = 50% of max power
    wrist + arm pronation= 85% of max power
    wrist + arm + shoulder + core muscles = 100% of max power

    regardless of which parts of the body are involved, the motion of the body and racket at the contact point should be the same: only the racket should have significant velocity at the point of contact and the forearm should just be moving a little bit. it should work like a whip; the kinetic energy of the pronation and whatever else the body is doing gets transferred to the the racket.

    for a new player, the wrist motion comes pretty naturally. i think that coaches emphasize the stuff other than the wrist so that the player doesn't learn to play with only the wrist (which you'll often find players who haven't had formal training doing).
    once the player knows how to use the rest of the body effectively, wristy shots can be used for deceptive shots, half smashes, fast drops, etc..

    Quote Originally Posted by Wingu View Post
    You can see Lee Chong Wei's stroke very clearly and there is no wrist in that smash. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpD2QKpcJvc right at the beginning).
    his arm does look quite stiff in the follow through. but i'm sure the wrist is involved in the preparation phase. but probably the stiffness is just part of lcw's style.

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    I would like to point out that all the players do actually tend to move their wrist during their strokes (see tan boon heong in that slow motion video). However, the wrist tends to go from neutral (before stroke), to extension (the wrist is cocked) just before you pronate, and then back to neutral (but not normally using wrist flexion) as you pronate. Thus you ARE using the wrist, but not as much as intentionally flexing the wrist. Thus it could still feel like snapping the wrist, because the wrist is moving.

    I will point out that Thai players Ratchanok Inthanon and Boonsak Ponsana seem to use their wrist more than some players. Inthanon is one of the most powerful female players in the world.

    I will also say that Zhao had an awesome power smash, but did NOT use wrist flexion ("wrist snap") on every power smash (i.e. sometimes he smashed differently to his demonstrations in the above videos). This is the same as the way current players smash - they cock their wrist and uncock it back to neutral (but do not use wrist flexion). This would be the equivalent to the "pronation only" people are talking about.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Theseed View Post

    Does it explain why my smash angle is better when I snap my wrist? I do noticed I can hit the shuttle higher when I use my wrist and I never thought that wrist is the reason for that.

    So to get a better angle from forearm pronation, you really need to stand way behind the shuttle and you need to jump to compensate the lower contact point of the shot, am I right?
    wow! Bravo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MSeeley View Post
    I would like to point out that all the players do actually tend to move their wrist during their strokes (see tan boon heong in that slow motion video). However, the wrist tends to go from neutral (before stroke), to extension (the wrist is cocked) just before you pronate, and then back to neutral (but not normally using wrist flexion) as you pronate. Thus you ARE using the wrist, but not as much as intentionally flexing the wrist. Thus it could still feel like snapping the wrist, because the wrist is moving.
    The extension/flexion jargon isn't always so clear (I need a diagram), but I think this guys video is making about the same point: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiYgo6GD_DU.

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