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  1. #18
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    Not really expert on it. But normally I convert smash to drive for my defense. It's the best defense instead of just lift high i think.

  2. #19
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    I used to agree with Lee about this -- he's persuasive and logical -- but not any more. I think Lee is wrong about smash defence for doubles.

    Watch any professional game of doubles. You will see the players prepare on their backhand, and they will play most defence using a backhand.

    In doubles the defenders can cover the width of the court well. Their problem is that the smashes are very powerful, and the front attacker will pick off any loose blocks to the net. They need to cope with smashes aimed at the body, and this is where backhand defence shines.

    In singles it's different. The smashes are usually less powerful, and even a loose block to the net can be a good shot. The problem for the singles defender is different: he has a lot of court width to cover. Smashes are typically aimed to the sides, making the defender move and take the shuttle much later.

    For singles, neutral defence -- the style Lee recommends -- is typically better. You need to move quickly to either side.

  3. #20
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    preferrance of backhands on smash defence explains why so many smashes to the forehand said are mostly badly returned or aren't returned.

    but according to my experience, sometimes preparing on the forehand side is a good choice, but only if your partner has a different dominant hand than you. I'm right handed, while my partner is left handed. at first, we don't know why we somehow can't return the smashes. it took awhile, but we figured out it's better to prepare on the forehand side.

    maybe the reason is same for singles, because it has a wider reach and can cover more.

    I usually see professional players in the middle, but for us, it seems better or more natural if we are on the sides, I'm on left side while he who is left handed on the right side. when we do on the middle formation, it seems our return always go to the middle, or when we try to keep it straight, it goes wide. but if we stay at the sides and leave the middle empty, our return are normally to the sides.

    I don't know if it's right or wrong. but I usually play like this with my left hand partner.

  4. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gollum View Post
    I used to agree with Lee about this -- he's persuasive and logical -- but not any more. I think Lee is wrong about smash defence for doubles.

    Watch any professional game of doubles. You will see the players prepare on their backhand, and they will play most defence using a backhand.

    In doubles the defenders can cover the width of the court well. Their problem is that the smashes are very powerful, and the front attacker will pick off any loose blocks to the net. They need to cope with smashes aimed at the body, and this is where backhand defence shines.

    In singles it's different. The smashes are usually less powerful, and even a loose block to the net can be a good shot. The problem for the singles defender is different: he has a lot of court width to cover. Smashes are typically aimed to the sides, making the defender move and take the shuttle much later.

    For singles, neutral defence -- the style Lee recommends -- is typically better. You need to move quickly to either side.

    I think you need to take LJB's teachings with a small pinch of salt. Remember he is aiming his videos at a broad audience with different skills and abilities. In my opinion his advice is mainly aimed at beginner to intermediate levels. So to some extent he would need to generalise or teach the skill/technique that would help the majority of people. Pro's do a lot of things differently and are capable of doing things that we cannot. So whilst I agree that LJBs teachings aren't for everyone, I really doubt he would teach/give the same advice to national level players...

  5. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gollum View Post
    I used to agree with Lee about this -- he's persuasive and logical -- but not any more. I think Lee is wrong about smash defence for doubles.

    Watch any professional game of doubles. You will see the players prepare on their backhand, and they will play most defence using a backhand.
    I think the key word is most. Most players are right handed, so a double pair that are both right handed seldom, almost never, prepare on the forehand.

    But I think it's different for right handed-left handed pairings. I have watch games where they prepare on their forehand and stay close to each other in the middle.

  6. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by opikbidin View Post
    preferrance of backhands on smash defence explains why so many smashes to the forehand said are mostly badly returned or aren't returned.

    but according to my experience, sometimes preparing on the forehand side is a good choice, but only if your partner has a different dominant hand than you. I'm right handed, while my partner is left handed. at first, we don't know why we somehow can't return the smashes. it took awhile, but we figured out it's better to prepare on the forehand side.

    maybe the reason is same for singles, because it has a wider reach and can cover more.

    I usually see professional players in the middle, but for us, it seems better or more natural if we are on the sides, I'm on left side while he who is left handed on the right side. when we do on the middle formation, it seems our return always go to the middle, or when we try to keep it straight, it goes wide. but if we stay at the sides and leave the middle empty, our return are normally to the sides.

    I don't know if it's right or wrong. but I usually play like this with my left hand partner.
    It also works if one partner prefers forehand defense and another prefers backhand defense. For my partner and me, we are both right handed, but I prefer forehand defense and my partner prefers the backhand defense.

    If a smash is expected, we normally split in a way that favours our preferences for defense and usually we could turn it into attacking opportunities.

    In most cases though, coaches usually recommend recreational groups to adopt a neutral stance when it comes to defending smashes so that you could reach either easily, very much like returning to the centre after returning a shot so that you have lesser steps to move.

    But at advanced level, the advice will change. Backhand is usually preferred. My coach prepares his defense towards his backhand side, whereas I have to prepare it neutrally, otherwise I have no time to react.

  7. #24
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    So whilst I agree that LJBs teachings aren't for everyone, I really doubt he would teach/give the same advice to national level players...
    You might be surprised...

    In that particular video at least, he says:

    I know some of top international players, they do that [shows BH prep]. But in my personal view, that is not ideal. Why? From here, is a limited shot I can make: block or drive. But if I can do that [shows neutral prep] I can do across block, straight block, across drive, lift. I have much more choices.

    This one [backhand prep] is limited. If this player's opponent know, he is doing that, then he will smash here [racket elbow], and he will do that again [shows defender taking backhand out to forehand side]. So that is not ideal; or that is not the way, trying to do. The way trying to do is this: here, centre, 50--50.

    I'd say that was pretty clear-cut. Of course, it's possible he's changed what he teaches since then (I know I have!), but that's what he published at the time and there was no ambiguity about it.

    One of the things I really like about Lee is that he says what he believes, and he cares about bringing high-level concepts down to beginners. He doesn't patronise players, ever. This is an example of that.

    We can disagree about some technique issues, but I love his attitude and enthusiasm with players. He is sincere, humble, and respectful -- this comes across strongly when you meet him in person.
    Last edited by Gollum; 08-15-2014 at 03:56 AM.

  8. #25
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    So how about the issue that Lee brought up about backhand smash defense? If I know you are using backhand defense, then I will simply only smash to your forehand. Why is the tradeoff worth it, esp for non national level doubles players?

  9. #26
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    No idea for that. But my backhand defense better than forehand.

  10. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by SSSSNT View Post
    So how about the issue that Lee brought up about backhand smash defense? If I know you are using backhand defense, then I will simply only smash to your forehand. Why is the tradeoff worth it, esp for non national level doubles players?
    By smashing to my forehand, you give me an easier smash to deal with. The shuttle is not coming at my body, so it's easier to create angles and control my shot. It is a much more "natural" shot.

    The backhand covers:

    • The backhand side
    • The body
    • Anything slightly on the forehand side


    The forehand is only needed when you have to reach. Reaching takes a small amount of time anyway, during which you have time to change your grip.

    Changing grip is not difficult, because you use a backhand rather than a full thumb grip -- i.e. the difference in angle from a forehand grip is fairly small. And if you do get caught with a backhand grip, it's not that bad. It can even help for some shots!

    Getting caught with a forehand grip on a backhand shot, however, is a problem. You will have a floppy backhand.

    The preparation is not completely biased to a backhand. It is only partly biased. If you over-prepare for backhands then yes, you will be vulnerable to forehand-side smashes.

    Lee is correct that playing "backhand on the forehand side" will make some returns difficult or impossible (e.g. cross-court block to your non-racket side). But when you want to play these returns, you can still use a forehand.

    The backhand-biased style of defence gives you a solid defence against powerful smashes to the body. The neutral defence style does not. That's why the neutral style of defence is not used at a high level of doubles.

    In other words, it's a trade-off:

    Backhand-biased defence is slightly weaker for the easiest smashes (wide to your forehand), but much stronger for the hardest ones (around your body).

    Neutral defence makes the easiest smashes slightly easier. But it makes the hardest smashes a lot harder, because you're not ready for them and you have to decide whether to use forehand or backhand in a split second.
    Last edited by Gollum; 08-21-2014 at 04:24 AM.

  11. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by SSSSNT View Post
    So how about the issue that Lee brought up about backhand smash defense? If I know you are using backhand defense, then I will simply only smash to your forehand. Why is the tradeoff worth it, esp for non national level doubles players?
    Could you show me which LJB video we are talking about? It seems to be causing quite a stir here. Whilst I only play against top standard county players, and not internationally, I find that I can easily defend against smashes. The times I struggle are the times when I forget to keep my elbow away from my body (leaving me "cramped" after a few shots) - which is me lapsing into laziness.

    For those interested - I keep my racket pointed mainly forwards in a "neutral" position in front of my racket shoulder, but the key to good defence is keeping the racket elbow away from the body - it means you have enough room to play your shots (regardless of where I hold my racket!). Some people say to keep the racket "up" or "ready" - I disagree, its all about keeping the elbow away from the body, to give you room to play your shots! People do not struggle in defence because they don't have enough time, they struggle because they do not have enough ROOM to play their shots.

    I hold a relaxed backhand grip, not a full thumb grip, but turned more than a bevel grip - I like to think of it as a relaxed full thumb grip. The crucial thing about holding the backhand grip is that it enables you to defend body smashes most easily - for shots that are wide, you could in theory let the shuttle come further towards you before you hit it, maybe even take the shuttle once its gone past you (not advisable, but sometimes necessary if you get caught out). However, the body smash needs to be dealt with immediately at full arms reach - I find it easiest to do this if I am already holding the necessary backhand grip.

    Despite holding the backhand grip, I always use forehand defence for everything on my forehand side (unless its a racket hip area shot - thats a backhand!). I have loads of time to change to a forehand grip for all the forehand shots. After all, from a thumb grip, if you just relax your wrist and fingers and flop the wrist onto the forehand side, you will find you already have a forehand grip!

    So, given its so easy to change to different grips, my question is this - why are people making so much of a fuss about defence technique? Why is there even a talk about "tradeoffs" between one stance and one grip versus another? Defending is an easy skill, as long as you move your feet and take the shuttle at full arms reach - who cares which grips and whatever a player uses - its all personal preference!

    My coach teaches to wait with a backhand grip, but to always play the forehand defence in preference to reaching wide on the forehand side with a backhand grip. I know plenty of coaches who insist on waiting with a neutral grip, and some who insist on using a backhand for every shot. Who cares? Why doesn't everyone just practice their defence to make sure its rock solid - all it takes is practice (lots of practice!). As you practice, you will learn how to defend against all different kinds of attack.

    If you want to "analyse" my stance and see I am waiting with a backhand grip, and hence hit to my forehand, please feel free. Just the fact that people are stupid enough to smash at me is enough I love defending and will murder you with my forehand or backhand defence! To be a good defender, you should be able to play all these shots (forehand defence, wide backhand defence etc) - so why pick one "style"? Just practice

    Good luck all!

  12. #29
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    Matt, you always have enough time to switch grip to forehand defence? Maybe you haven't yet played against very high level players yet?

  13. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSeeley View Post
    Who cares?
    I think you just talked yourself out of a job.

    And what's with all the trash talking? This is badminton, not WWF.
    Last edited by Gollum; 08-21-2014 at 09:30 AM.

  14. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gollum View Post
    I think you just talked yourself out of a job.
    Haha - fair comment!

  15. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by visor View Post
    Matt, you always have enough time to switch grip to forehand defence? Maybe you haven't yet played against very high level players yet?
    Pretty much - I switch grip as part of playing the shot i.e. as I bend my wrist to the forehand side (moving my racket to meet the shuttle), I change my grip. Its easy

    If I struggle to return smashes, its normally because Im being lazy in my preparation!

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