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    Default Thoughts about using defensive strategy in doubles against intermediate to advance?

    I was just watching Pratipat Mallawong's Strategy Rehersal Vid https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f9JTkSltOEA and he made an analogy referring to attacking strategy as fire and defensive strategy as water and how water will always beat fire.

    I wonder if the same case applies to doubles as well. What are your thoughts? What are the limitations and areas to consider?

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    Whether it can be used or not is a "relative" question. If your defense is a lot stronger than your opponents offense, you can use it in either Singles, or Doubles. You can run them down with your deep, and un-interceptable lifts, or even drives, or surprise net blocks.

    But if you can do that, you're probably at a higher level than your opponents, and you can win either way.

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    Just look at the recent Super bowl final from a few days ago... defence with a capital D.

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    Quote Originally Posted by raymond View Post
    Whether it can be used or not is a "relative" question. If your defense is a lot stronger than your opponents offense, you can use it in either Singles, or Doubles. You can run them down with your deep, and un-interceptable lifts, or even drives, or surprise net blocks.

    But if you can do that, you're probably at a higher level than your opponents, and you can win either way.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Hmm, could you elaborate on this part: "But if you can do that, you're probably at a higher level than your opponents, and you can win either way."

    What is/are the reasoning(s) behind this? It sounds to me like if you have a defense stronger than your opponents' attacks than you are usually better than them already.

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    If you can stay on the attack it is inevitable that you will win the point unless you make an unforced error in doubles. It's more like Offence is a big hammer and defence is a small ant, maybe you will miss the ant couple time then you will hit it and sploosh

    Single different story, just depends.

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    @Birdy : There's really no profound logic behind. Just practical experience. Doubles is about attack. The side attacking more usually wins.

    People's attack/defense skills usually go hand in hand (unless you neglect or over-emphasize one aspect). If you're using some inferior approach (defense) to play your opponents supposedly stronger approach (offense) in Doubles, and can still win, by inference, your overall skill level is "probably" higher.

    Just imagine you and your regular partner playing LYD/JJS. You can be sure they can beat you with defense alone. But when skill levels on both sides are about the same, defensive approach is not preferred.

    Fitness of all players could come in the picture also, in addition to skill.

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    In singles, the concept of defense is used as an integral part of the tactic of patience. The emphasis in singles is always on "constructing the point" i.e. tactically getting your opponent progressively out of position in order to administer the final blow. Defense is used to wear down the opponent, conserve energy yourself, and create openings and opportunities to "flow" into attack only when the moment is right.

    In doubles, there is no such luxury like patience, as two players can cover the court in less than half the time, and snatch any loose return and make you pay a heavy price. A good example of this would be KKK/TBH and their gradual regression. Some years ago they were one of the top 4 pairs and quite unbeatable. They were quick on interception, and quick to convert any half-opportunity into an all-out, winning attack, much like any other top pair. In later years, they could not respond as quickly and had to resort to deep defense. Although it made for "instructive" watching, it meant that they would invariably lose to any pair who were quicker and accurate enough. Most pairs were.

    IMO, at intermediate levels it is not a bad thing to hone one's defensive skills. But if this is related to doubles play, then it would also be a good idea to not focus so much on lifts and clears as drives, pushes and fast and low returns that can cause some discomfort to the opponents. The focus is generally on taking the shuttle as early as possible, in order to give the opponent less time to prepare/react. Such play will also make you improve your peripheral awareness, which could turn out to be a key factor in winning points as you improve your skills.

    My 2c.

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    At the higher levels, unforced errors are hard to get. So I think attacking team will have the advantage. Even if you play a defensive strategy - you will have to counter attack to win the point.
    At the recreational level - maybe if you get back 4 or 5 smashes - the attacking team might get nervous and try some crazy low percentage shot - but at the elite level - I don't think they will give away the point.

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    Quote Originally Posted by raymond View Post
    @Birdy : There's really no profound logic behind. Just practical experience. Doubles is about attack. The side attacking more usually wins.

    People's attack/defense skills usually go hand in hand (unless you neglect or over-emphasize one aspect). If you're using some inferior approach (defense) to play your opponents supposedly stronger approach (offense) in Doubles, and can still win, by inference, your overall skill level is "probably" higher.

    Just imagine you and your regular partner playing LYD/JJS. You can be sure they can beat you with defense alone. But when skill levels on both sides are about the same, defensive approach is not preferred.

    Fitness of all players could come in the picture also, in addition to skill.
    I see. Thanks for the examples. I think FITNESS plays a large role definitely in whether one can keep up an attacking strategy. If one can not keep up an attacking game due to poor endurance, one should rely on a defensive strategy? When is defensive strategy a better approach?

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    Quote Originally Posted by cobalt View Post
    In singles, the concept of defense is used as an integral part of the tactic of patience. The emphasis in singles is always on "constructing the point" i.e. tactically getting your opponent progressively out of position in order to administer the final blow. Defense is used to wear down the opponent, conserve energy yourself, and create openings and opportunities to "flow" into attack only when the moment is right.

    In doubles, there is no such luxury like patience, as two players can cover the court in less than half the time, and snatch any loose return and make you pay a heavy price. A good example of this would be KKK/TBH and their gradual regression. Some years ago they were one of the top 4 pairs and quite unbeatable. They were quick on interception, and quick to convert any half-opportunity into an all-out, winning attack, much like any other top pair. In later years, they could not respond as quickly and had to resort to deep defense. Although it made for "instructive" watching, it meant that they would invariably lose to any pair who were quicker and accurate enough. Most pairs were.

    IMO, at intermediate levels it is not a bad thing to hone one's defensive skills. But if this is related to doubles play, then it would also be a good idea to not focus so much on lifts and clears as drives, pushes and fast and low returns that can cause some discomfort to the opponents. The focus is generally on taking the shuttle as early as possible, in order to give the opponent less time to prepare/react. Such play will also make you improve your peripheral awareness, which could turn out to be a key factor in winning points as you improve your skills.

    My 2c.
    Thanks for the insights! It looks like the agreement is that attacking strategy dominates defensive strategy. That defensive strategy is not preferred against fast, aggressive and capable opponents who can easily intercept or take an opportunity for a full out attack.

    But what if we take pacing into consideration? Say we want to slow the pace down against more experienced and more skilled plays (who tend to play fast) by lifting a lot? Would this be our best shot?

    Right now I have found that playing slow pace and defensively against fast/aggressive doubles have helped a lot as I can be more observant, but I haven't really got a chance to play really high level players yet (so your response is definitely something I have to heavily consider).

    You also mentioned avoiding lifts and clears and instead using more pushes, drives and fast and low returns for defensive plays, could you elaborate on this? I am very curious of this point and want to learn. Thanks again for the thorough answer! Helped a lot

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    Once u been pressured, of course defensive strategy is the one u need to rely on

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    Quote Originally Posted by catman View Post
    At the higher levels, unforced errors are hard to get. So I think attacking team will have the advantage. Even if you play a defensive strategy - you will have to counter attack to win the point.
    At the recreational level - maybe if you get back 4 or 5 smashes - the attacking team might get nervous and try some crazy low percentage shot - but at the elite level - I don't think they will give away the point.
    I think so too but have yet to experienced (never got a chance to play against really high levels yet (well, did get to play against a national, but that time I was still starting out that I have no idea what happened)) so I really need a best shot strategy down when the time comes. It looks like defense won't do the job but is best bet if coupled with counter attack?

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    Quote Originally Posted by M3Series View Post
    Once u been pressured, of course defensive strategy is the one u need to rely on
    When we refer to strategy, we are referring to a long term commitment tactic through an entire match or game correct? Are you referring to specific scenarios (during points) where the opponents are on the attack putting pressure on us and we need to play defensively or are you referring to an entire game ?

    Because could you use an attack strategy to counter the pressure played on you to steal the pace back (assuming you can)?
    Last edited by Birdy; 02-07-2014 at 07:41 AM.

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    U can only attack them when u can pressure them.

    In badminton, especially doubles, u cant stick to 1 strategy in getting even a single point. U might need few strategies and one of em consist of such scenarios : pressure or being pressured.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Birdy View Post
    But what if we take pacing into consideration? Say we want to slow the pace down against more experienced and more skilled plays (who tend to play fast) by lifting a lot? Would this be our best shot?

    Right now I have found that playing slow pace and defensively against fast/aggressive doubles have helped a lot as I can be more observant, but I haven't really got a chance to play really high level players yet (so your response is definitely something I have to heavily consider).

    You also mentioned avoiding lifts and clears and instead using more pushes, drives and fast and low returns for defensive plays, could you elaborate on this? I am very curious of this point and want to learn. Thanks again for the thorough answer! Helped a lot
    Lifting a lot against such players can be beneficial if you can wear them out as part of your strategy to win the later game and/or get cheap shots and win the point and game. Cause ultimately that's what each rally is about, to win points or/and to win the game.

    However it should not be taken as that's the best thing you can do against all kinds of players, cause there are players whose smashes and follow ups will ultimately destroy your defense. There will also be players who are bloody persistent at raining down smashes at you and keep winning the points consistently enough to win the game.

    As to the pushes, drives and fast and low returns for defensive plays, let me help elaborate with some scenarios:
    1. A right hander dropshots from the right hand corner, do a low lift to his back hand corner so that he doesn't get into a good position to smash. The result: his smash will be weaker, less accurate, more predictable = more easily countered.

    2. You get a straight smash to the side line, his front player leaves a gap down the sideline because he's standing at the center, drive that smash down the side line instead so that the back opponent have to play a drive which you can more easily intercept. And as they were attacking, 2b. If they did play a drive and you can intercept, it would be bad for them if their front player didnt move back as the other side of the back court would be wide open and you can drive to that side when you intercept the drive. If the front player went back, it would be in a rush and you can play a net play instead to the most un-ready person to force them to lift and you start attacking or you can still play drives and put pressure on them doing so until they play a weak return for you to tap and score the point.

    3. You get a straight smash to the side line, his front player covers the gap on that side line by standing infront of you ready to tap any low replies. Drive the shuttle to the other sideline to make him stretch and play a less aggressive shot if possible. In doing so, you might create a gap in their court also which you can place the shuttle to and force them to lift. Or, best scenario, your drive doesn't get intercepted by both players and you win the point. Or, scenario 2b can happen.

    There are many more scenarios, watch the professionals play. If you have a question about how to play against a kind of play, go and watch how the professionals play against those kind of plays, pause the vid every time you see such plays, replay it, take notes etc. Document them so you don't forget them.
    Last edited by Iwan; 02-07-2014 at 10:02 AM.

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    @Birdy you look like you're very intent on learning! Sadly, I'm not the best person to talk to, since most of my suggestions are born only of observations. But I observe, analyse and arrive at conclusions. It appears you are also doing more of this as well. After all, it is the "I" or "you" who is making the play, and so, it should be about the person, not just the strategy-book, if you get what I mean.

    This will be my last long post here, I promise!

    Some of the fundamental rules that I try to implement for putting pressure on the opponent are:

    Make sure the shuttle is well below net height by the time the opponent gets to it. If he gets to it above net height, he can do nasty things, like make you run around. And if he has to reach for it, so much the better. You can achieve this by soft hits as well (as you have mentioned, too)- taking the pace off the return can ruin the opponent's timing a lot; now he has to reach, and also generate his own pace for a decent return. He won't like that.

    Stand your ground. Don't just run around like a headless chicken. I see too many intermediate players doing this because they think being busy and attacking means you're doing the right thing. Being still is also important, because it allows your body/mind to redirect and focus your energies to your shot or response.

    Defensive strategy in doubles implies you are already mentally in a reactive phase. The first step is to move the mind away from the reactive pattern, and to look to create a response (usually the "unexpected" response) that will take the opponent away from his next, possibly killing shot. Good lifts can generally neutralize any advantage only at intermediate levels. At advanced levels, a lift is an invitation to slaughter, sooner or later.

    Equally, commit yourself fully (body/mind) to any shot that has the potential to put your opponents under pressure. I don't mean, just smash like crazy, but when moving forward to take a push or drive or during net-play, don't half-move or back away or stop the motion at the last instant. This affects the quality of the shot and often offers a weak play for the opponents to put away. This is to be read in conjunction with the "take the shuttle early" idea. At first you may lose a few points but as your play level improves, you will discover that this is an important part of the winning formula.

    Learn to trust your partner (if he is a good, or equally good player). Doubles is about teamwork and synergy. Although this may not sound like an action to perform, this attitude makes you take up positions of support, attack or attacking follow-up (depending on the rally situation) that increase the chances of winning the point. In the process, you learn a lot about your own potential as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Iwan View Post
    Lifting a lot against such players can be beneficial if you can wear them out as part of your strategy to win the later game and/or get cheap shots and win the point and game. Cause ultimately that's what each rally is about, to win points or/and to win the game.

    However it should not be taken as that's the best thing you can do against all kinds of players, cause there are players whose smashes and follow ups will ultimately destroy your defense. There will also be players who are bloody persistent at raining down smashes at you and keep winning the points consistently enough to win the game.

    As to the pushes, drives and fast and low returns for defensive plays, let me help elaborate with some scenarios:
    1. A right hander dropshots from the right hand corner, do a low lift to his back hand corner so that he doesn't get into a good position to smash. The result: his smash will be weaker, less accurate, more predictable = more easily countered.

    2. You get a straight smash to the side line, his front player leaves a gap down the sideline because he's standing at the center, drive that smash down the side line instead so that the back opponent have to play a drive which you can more easily intercept. And as they were attacking, 2b. If they did play a drive and you can intercept, it would be bad for them if their front player didnt move back as the other side of the back court would be wide open and you can drive to that side when you intercept the drive. If the front player went back, it would be in a rush and you can play a net play instead to the most un-ready person to force them to lift and you start attacking or you can still play drives and put pressure on them doing so until they play a weak return for you to tap and score the point.

    3. You get a straight smash to the side line, his front player covers the gap on that side line by standing infront of you ready to tap any low replies. Drive the shuttle to the other sideline to make him stretch and play a less aggressive shot if possible. In doing so, you might create a gap in their court also which you can place the shuttle to and force them to lift. Or, best scenario, your drive doesn't get intercepted by both players and you win the point. Or, scenario 2b can happen.

    There are many more scenarios, watch the professionals play. If you have a question about how to play against a kind of play, go and watch how the professionals play against those kind of plays, pause the vid every time you see such plays, replay it, take notes etc. Document them so you don't forget them.
    Thank you! I will start keeping that in mind when watching videos now. I also learned from your response why drive, push and low returns help with defensive strategy as well. It helps put your opponent out of position winning a point if they can't get the shot or forcing possibly weak returns for attack.

    But driving, pushing, and low returns also means our side have to take more initiative to play faster correct since these seems like transitory shots to attacking?

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