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  1. #1
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    Default Unique Doubles Strategy against Smashers

    Hi there,

    I've been playing pretty competitive badminton for six or seven years now, but I'm still only 19 years old. I have the fundamentals down and I usually play a lot of doubles with my friend. Just night, after a drop in session, I had a began to think of a weird badminton strategy that in theory works well, but I've never heard of it so I want to ask you guys if it's reasonable. Here goes.

    Normally in badminton when your team lifts, it's a sign of defense and from what I've been taught, both players should play "sides". This can result in the opponent smashing at you from the back end. The thing is I'm not too great of a smash returner but my partner is really good. If I were to lift to the back of the court (aiming for the back corners) could it be possible to have my partner rush to the net on his side? The reason for this is that he can very quickly cut off the shot(standing so close to the net and it still would take a while for the birdie to travel that distance since the opponent is smashing from the end of the court) and either counter with a block and tip over the net or if the partner is even better, even counter the smash before it reaches a heighter lower than the net and smash it back (this second one seems really difficult but in theory is possible. Since the person is at the back, if he/she doesn't jump the angle is probably flatter than if he had that extra height). If my partner manages to pull it off we would probably be the aggressors again and he/she would be at the net, then I would cover the mid section of the court and once again our team would be set for offensive play(this play would go really quickly and catch both players in a difficult position, but it's hard to carry out. The guy standing at the net would be hardpressed to reach that distance still the birdie practically falls down once contact is made from the smash, and the other partner probably doesn't have enough time to react if my partner could counter and hit him back before he even lands from the previous smash). One weakness is the clear shot, but I think since I would be roughly at the middle of my side, I could easily diagonal shuffle step to reach that clear since it takes a good amount of time. If my opponents tries to do a lob over my partner at the net, I would simply cut it off my shuffling horizontally and smashing it down.

    I think this is a reasonable strategy for players who are decently balanced but one is a better smash returner than the other. If your partner is blocking up front on his side then you know if he does smashes he can only hit to your side (smash or drop) make you more readily to counter (my weakness is I don't have quick enough reflexes, but if I know it's coming I'm pretty good). This example only works if you lift to the back corners and if you just lift in the middle, I would still consider playing sides for us. What do you guys think of this?? Does it make sense?

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    What happens if your opponent returns with a high drive shot (just out of reach of your partner) down the line?

    I don't mean a "defensive" high clear, but a flat, low clear just out of reach. That doesn't take up much time to travel across court.

    If executed properly, both of you have a higher likelihood of scrambling a return. Not to say that you can't pull it off though

    Do you have sufficient speed and reaction to cover that zone and return with an attacking shot? If you do, then it is a potentially good strategy.

    It'd be worse if your partner saw it, and actually tried to block/attack it, and only returned with a poor shot.
    Last edited by Hagane; 10-23-2006 at 09:34 PM.

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    at intermediate levels if you lift to the baseline high hardly anyone can get any angle on a smash, most people will just drop or clear. The lift has to be within 2 inches of the baseline. If you lift like this one player should rush the net while the other backs up to cover the clear. Generally you only do this if you can read your opponent as if they clear your parter is under a lot of pressure.

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    Like others mentioned, it'll only work when your opponents' skills are far below yours. Experienced players might fall for it once, but will anticipate this and counter it by attacking the side just vacated by your lightning fast friend. If he caught the shuttle even a little behind him, it'll most probably be a midcourt lift. Only exception is if your partner is really experienced and can anticipate the opponents' shots, otherwise it'll put you guys into vulnerable positions. Don't worry about defense, it'll come sooner or later. You should have chance to develop your defense faster cuz almost everybody loves to smash.

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    To Hagane: I guess a high drive shot would work, but I think it still would take a good amount of precision to hit the back line (my partner has pretty good reach) and talking into account he/she can't hit it too hard, but I get your point.

    To cappy75: I don't really understand what you mean by "anticipate this and counter it by attacking the side just vacated by your lightning fast friend," if my partner only would go towards his side of the net when I do a low back court lift (I can lift it to that precision that Eurasian was talking about).

    I haven't tested this out and I just came up with it last night while trying to fall asleep.

    PS: Is it actually possible to counter a smash with another smash? I'm thinking if you stand close enough to the net and know it's coming you might be able to bash it back before it gets too low. Has anyone seen anything like this? While on the subject of weird badminton, it is illegal to carry the bird when hitting a shot i.e. upon a hit carry it on your racket and toss it to one side or the other? My old coach says it's legal as long as it's one fluid motion or something. Comments??

    Thanks again for all the advice!!

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    I've played mixed doubles with a girl that's really fast on her foot, quick reflex and fine touch, and she can sort of do what you said.

    As said above, drive shot away from front person is most problematic for this strategy. Back person needs to be able to drive/drop/clear back drive shots, which is a challenge.

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    You can cut off a smash, but I won't call it a smash b/c you don't have enough time to accelerate your racket; it will be a shorter arc. Good players can disguise the direction of their smash, so you can swing only after they hit the bird; at up to 300 km/hr initial speed, that's not much time to swing for power.

    Besides, if you hit it flat, it will go out easily.

    Too much is needed to counter-smash at the net, unless your opponent hits a poor smash, or is predictable.

    Ask your partner to counter smash while you smash to him, and you'll see whether your theory is true.

    Quote Originally Posted by QuinnX

    PS: Is it actually possible to counter a smash with another smash? I'm thinking if you stand close enough to the net and know it's coming you might be able to bash it back before it gets too low. Has anyone seen anything like this? While on the subject of weird badminton, it is illegal to carry the bird when hitting a shot i.e. upon a hit carry it on your racket and toss it to one side or the other? My old coach says it's legal as long as it's one fluid motion or something. Comments??

    Thanks again for all the advice!!

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    If you play against opponents with harder smashes you won't be thinking of this strategy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DinkAlot
    If you play against opponents with harder smashes you won't be thinking of this strategy.
    Exactly.

    This will only work against feeble, flat smashes. Even a good fast dropshot will put you in trouble.

    Don't waste your time on this silly strategy. You will only have to unlearn it once you meet better players.

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    Coach Gollum has spoken.

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    The chances of blocking a good smash (even from near the base line) at the net seem pretty remote, yes he can take a step in (if the clears good) but your really dont want to encourage your opponent to smash at you (unless your winning lots of points from them hitting the net).

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    If the opponents have a variety of good placement shots, then your team is in trouble. With the front and back format, your team lacks of the coverage of the court, especially if they attack the side lines. Even if both of you could be fast runners, you will be forced to run from left and right, which puts yourself into a bad situation.

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    even if your partner inercepts the smash at the net it will leave a gap, and they can place the shot there provided you are fast enuff to pick it back up, but good players have good angles of smash(sometimes just above the net) so if you wanna return a smash at the net its not so easy cause it might get caught in the net, and because you try to intercept the smash at the net you might cross or touch the net then you will immediately loose the point

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    Actually... well, depends on the level of the opponents as you mention. But this kind of 'silly strategy' actually has a name in Jake Downey's Winning Badminton Doubles. It's called the "Channel Formation" I beleive, and it's what you use to follow up on catching your opponent's late on their corners as a potential punisher for weak returns.

    I agree with everyone here who says "you wouldn't be doing this if they were REALLY good at smashing" but on the other hand, if you do catch them late at a corner (either with an offensive clear, drive or whatever) the channel formation is in my opinion a GREAT formation on the condition that you know your opponent is late and you feel like taking a risk to finish it decisively.

    The sucess of the channel formation relies on them being late though. You wouldn't use it against someone who had real control of his smash and who you've given enough height to hit that smash, because he could cross-smash into your open side so to stack yourselves up in a line would only work if you could force lifts or at worst drives on your open side which you are confident you can contain.


    As to "lifting is the loss of offense", i disagree. There are a lot of shots that can win by placement that are lifts that apply significant pressure. The general rule should be ammended i think to "lifting in such a way that the opponent has options (smash/drop, etc) is loss of offense".

    So... it's not strictly speaking wrong to lift. But lifting must be done int he right contexts and to the right targets to maintain offense.
    Last edited by Jinryu; 10-26-2006 at 03:39 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jinryu
    Actually... well, depends on the level of the opponents as you mention. But this kind of 'silly strategy' actually has a name in Jake Downey's Winning Badminton Doubles. It's called the "Channel Formation" I beleive, and it's what you use to follow up on catching your opponent's late on their corners as a potential punisher for weak returns.
    Well, yes, but that hardly suits the description of a "strategy against smashers"

    If you judge that the opponent can't smash (at that time), then fine -- go in and threaten the net. But if he can smash then that formation is a mistake.

    In doubles, I've made the mistake of rushing the net when I see the opponent is going to play a backhand overhead. Then he plays a backhand smash at me -- not very fast, but fast enough for me to lose the rally.
    Last edited by Gollum; 10-26-2006 at 06:04 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gollum
    Well, yes, but that hardly suits the description of a "strategy against smashers"
    Very true.

    So yeah, your tactic is useful-- just not in the situation you describe (against smashes)

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    aww, dont gang up on the newbie

    its a fine stratagy, but it really does only work once. If you go more advanced into players who actually THINK while they're playing; i doubt this will work more than 2 times.

    Its great you found something you can win with though

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