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    Question Front position in doubles

    Hello,
    I am 17 years old (5''9)and I have been playing badminton for about 3 years now and I have been playing more seriously for about 1 year and I found out that I have a few problems when I am in the 'Front' position in Doubles.

    My problem is that I have difficulty intercepting the drive returns or even killing weak net returns when my partner smashes. I've read a few threads about this but there were a few points that were still not clear to me:

    1) When do I have to do my 'Split step' when I am in the front position. (Is it as my partner hits the shot, or before the opponents hit their return, or just after they hit the return)

    2) How to I have to place my racket? I've been told to always keep my racket head up when I'm in the front but I've checked a few videos of pros in Men's doubles and the 'Front' player does not seem to have his racket head up (why is that?!)

    3) If I have to keep my racket head up, which way is the most suggested to have more success in intercepting a drive return/ killing a weak net return. In other words (I know this might not sound very clear but it's hard to explain )... Do I have to put my racket above my right shoulder, or a little bit in front of me to cover back hand shots aswell. And how 'high' do I have to keep my racket head up? Also, should I suppinate my forearm when I am waiting so that my shot will be more effective or should I just keep a neutral postion?

    4) Do you suggest using the standard (forhand) grip for the front position?


    By the way, I usually stand about 1-2 steps behind the 'T' when my partner smashes and I stand near the 'T' when he drops. I normally don't have problems with my split step but it seems to be alot harder when I am in front (maybe it is beceause the shuttle gets past you faster?)

    Anyway, Sorry for making such a long 1st post and thank you in advance for your Advice!
    Mathieu

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathieu
    Hello,
    I am 17 years old (5''9)and I have been playing badminton for about 3 years now and I have been playing more seriously for about 1 year and I found out that I have a few problems when I am in the 'Front' position in Doubles.

    My problem is that I have difficulty intercepting the drive returns or even killing weak net returns when my partner smashes. I've read a few threads about this but there were a few points that were still not clear to me:

    1) When do I have to do my 'Split step' when I am in the front position. (Is it as my partner hits the shot, or before the opponents hit their return, or just after they hit the return)

    2) How to I have to place my racket? I've been told to always keep my racket head up when I'm in the front but I've checked a few videos of pros in Men's doubles and the 'Front' player does not seem to have his racket head up (why is that?!)

    3) If I have to keep my racket head up, which way is the most suggested to have more success in intercepting a drive return/ killing a weak net return. In other words (I know this might not sound very clear but it's hard to explain )... Do I have to put my racket above my right shoulder, or a little bit in front of me to cover back hand shots aswell. And how 'high' do I have to keep my racket head up? Also, should I suppinate my forearm when I am waiting so that my shot will be more effective or should I just keep a neutral postion?

    4) Do you suggest using the standard (forhand) grip for the front position?


    By the way, I usually stand about 1-2 steps behind the 'T' when my partner smashes and I stand near the 'T' when he drops. I normally don't have problems with my split step but it seems to be alot harder when I am in front (maybe it is beceause the shuttle gets past you faster?)

    Anyway, Sorry for making such a long 1st post and thank you in advance for your Advice!
    Mathieu
    ahhh, good questions.

    1)you should probably do it as the opponent hits the shuttle, but it is sometimes very hard to do near the net. my advice is to keep your legs bouncy, i.e shuffle you're feet when not making a shot so you're ready, don't be flat-footed.

    2) always have your racquet up. pros don't do it cos they're lazy and better than us, but even then, they occasionally still get caught with their racquet too low, but that's laziness.

    3)have your racquet in front of your face, in a loose neutral grip, and don't worry about suprinating before you hit. height is probably shoulder height, maybe the tip just around your nose height, anything higher will just waste your energy.

    it sounds like your positioning is very good, so don't worry about that. just keep your legs moving, try and guess where the opponent is going to hit it. when they drive back a smash and you don't get it, try standing back a little more so you have more chance of seeing the shot coming. remember, you can always go forward a lot faster than going back.

  3. #3
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    Playing well at the front, and cutting off drives and smash returns is not simply a matter of keeping the racquet up.

    I have seen novice players doing it, but not really using it to their advantage. Apart from amazing reflexes, I believe they can do it, when better players cannot, because they want to take every shot.

    I have analyzed my own experience cutting off shots on some occasions, and letting shots past on other occasions. I found that focus is key. When I make a shot at the net, and tell myself that I want to take the next shot, if it is within reach (which may involve a sideway leap), I frequently get that next shot. At other times, I would make a shot at the net, and think that the next shot would be for my partner. Apparently, that thought alone is enough to slow my reaction down fractionally to allow easy shots past.

    My suggestion: as your partner is smashing, visualize yourself cutting off a drive return. Once completed, this mental rehearsal will help you execute the series of body movements that lead to the desired shot.

    As you have more and more successes, also look out for visual cues that would aid in your preparation. For example, seeing which opponent is moving, how he/she is moving, and his/her stroke preparation for the incoming smash.

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    I watched some pro matches again, and it seems safe to keep your racket down to relax between the time shuttle past you (to your partner) and before the opponent hits, assuming the exchange is slow. If the exchange is fast (e.g. partner smashes), keeping racket up all the time is better for net kill or intercepting drive returns.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mathieu

    2) How to I have to place my racket? I've been told to always keep my racket head up when I'm in the front but I've checked a few videos of pros in Men's doubles and the 'Front' player does not seem to have his racket head up (why is that?!)

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    1) Crouch down and keep on your toes.

    2) Pro's lower their racket to prevent it from getting in the way of their partner's shot, then raise it for preparation for the return.

    3) The racket should be in front of you, which allows you to use either forehand or backhand.

    4) No, don't use the forehand grip because it requires a backswing and you won't be able to hit backhand shots. Use the panhandle grip.

    You shouldn't stand too close to the net, I think just behind the service line should be ok. If possible, try to push the shuttle downwards, doesn't have to be with power, just aim for gaps, push it so it drops quite short.

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    Keeping the racquet up meaning keeping it in front of you, with racquet face around upper chest/ throat area. My preference is panhandle grip with fingers around the cone. I don't need a full swing to put away the shuttle since I am at the front anyways. A smart and short tap down is enough to put away the shuttle most of the time.

    Sharp play and good positioning by the front player forces the other side to lift and avoid interception. If the opponents keep lifting, sooner or later they'll pop a half court goodie for a smack down. Of course, one must still do the rotation to keep the attack fresh.
    Last edited by cappy75; 05-05-2007 at 01:07 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Loppy
    4) No, don't use the forehand grip because it requires a backswing and you won't be able to hit backhand shots. Use the panhandle grip.
    If you watch the pros, they tend not to wait with a panhandle grip. Instead, they tend to wait with a "forehand" grip.

    Waiting with a "forehand" grip (basic grip; neutral grip) allows you to change easily to a thumb grip for backhands or a panhandle grip for forehands, or indeed just keep the "forehand" grip for some interceptions.

    Panhandle is very useful at the net, but it is usually established late in the hitting action, not while waiting. So I would recommend that your default waiting grip is "forehand", not panhandle. But be ready to change towards panhandle quickly.
    Last edited by Gollum; 05-05-2007 at 04:02 AM.

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    [There seem to be some character encoding gremlins, so I am not going to edit my last post.]

    When the pros are waiting at the front, they tend to hold the racket in front of them, about net height, in a forehand grip, with the top of the frame, not the strings, pointing towards the opponents. This is a state of relaxed readiness: they are ready for any reply.

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    The split step (hop) is intiated just prior to your opponent making contact with the shuttle -- timed so that you land from your hop just as the shuttle is coming of your opponent's racket. However, as you guessed and as Shifty mentions, the split hop is rather difficult in the forecourt -- it is easier (& more appropriate) in the midcourt & the backcourt. At best, the split step in the forecourt is usually kinda subtle (if used at all).

    Stay on your toes (actually, the balls of your feet) so that you're not flat-footed -- Shifty's advice on this should probably work well for you.

    Gollum is undoubtedly correct about the use of a FH (or neutral) grip by the pros. However, if the panhandle works at the net for your anatomy & your skill set, go ahead & use it if you just can't get the best results from the normal FH grip.
    ...
    Last edited by SystemicAnomaly; 05-05-2007 at 07:21 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SystemicAnomaly
    Gollum is undoubtedly correct about the use of a FH (or neutral) grip by the pros. However, if the panhandle works at the net for your anatomy & your skill set, go ahead & use it if you just can't get the best results from the normal FH grip.
    ...
    Also, remember that not every situation is the same. Sometimes an early panhandle grip may work better, even for pros.

    Generally, the farther forward they stand, the closer their grip is to panhandle. So if they are standing on the service line (sometimes happens), they may well be holding panhandle. You won't usually see pros waiting with panhandle if they are a step or more behind the service line.

    My observation is merely what I see the pros do most often, while their partner is about to hit a smash/drop from the back.

    Also, from the point of view of hitting technique for net kills, the BE manuals suggest establishing a panhandle grip late in the hitting action.
    Last edited by Gollum; 05-05-2007 at 08:02 AM.

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    For a beginner/intermediate changing grips is difficult and takes too much time, so I recommend using a panhandle grip at the net, and using around the head if it goes to your backhand side. Personally when I'm at the front, I wait with a forehand grip then when I lift the racket up, I rotate the racket at the same time to the appropiate pan-handle/backhand grip, and I think this is what the pros do. The grip change occurs simultaneously with lifting the racket, so it's difficult to see the pros changing to a panhandle grip.

    Beginners will have to stand closer to the net, ie. at around the T, whereas once your footwork improves you can stand 3-4 feet behind the T which gives you more time.
    Last edited by Loppy; 05-05-2007 at 09:40 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Loppy
    For a beginner/intermediate changing grips is difficult and takes too much time, so I recommend using a panhandle grip at the net, and using around the head if it goes to your backhand side. Personally when I'm at the front, I wait with a forehand grip then when I lift the racket up, I rotate the racket at the same time to the appropiate pan-handle/backhand grip, and I think this is what the pros do. The grip change occurs simultaneously with lifting the racket, so it's difficult to see the pros changing to a panhandle grip.

    Beginners will have to stand closer to the net, ie. at around the T, whereas once your footwork improves you can stand 3-4 feet behind the T which gives you more time.
    I agree with all this; very good advice Synchronising your grip changes with your other movements makes them easier and more fluid.

    The round-the-head at the net is also used a lot by professionals.

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    I tend to use the forehand grip whle in front because if the drive return in near me, I'll just use around the head, if it's way to my backhand, there's two things that can happen:
    a. it's too far away for my to hit
    b. I'll just use forehand grip to hit backhand.
    For the reflex thing, just watch the guy in back, usually yo ucn get a fair idea of where it's going and get your racket there.

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    If my memory serves me correctly, awhile back Gollum mentioned that he was going to change his grip guide to have the basic grip as one slightly off the "neutral grip". It's hard to explain but if you search, you should be able to find a better description. Essentially it forces more violent pronation. That's naturally the grip I use and I found that it gives the added bonus of being able to hit backhand shots simply by hold the racklet loosely. When I hit my index naturally slides closer to the thumb and when I hit it, it is essentially the basic backhand grip. When I hit forehands, the index finger shifts farther away as I swing, forming a forehand grip after the more violent pronation. In backcourt, the grip for forehand shots don't quite get to the "forehand" grip position. This might not work for everyone though. I think Gollum mentioned that he was going to collaborate and see if it should replace the current standard grip but in the front court, I doesn't seem to work for everyone. I think it require alot of fine motor control for fingers. Perhaps playing cello was useful :] (holding the bow and using it is similar to badminton imho)

    correct me Gollum, if i got the part about your grip guide wrong.

    EDIT I found the post I was referring to. It's http://www.badmintoncentral.com/foru...ad.php?t=33784
    Last edited by Shinto; 05-06-2007 at 11:48 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shinto
    correct me Gollum, if i got the part about your grip guide wrong.
    You got it right

    The new "forehand" grip is slightly closer to the thumb grip in angle. One advantage is that you can change more easily to a thumb grip.

    You might have noticed that I've been writing "forehand" grip, with the shudder quotes. That's because BE (and I) no longer teach "the forehand grip". It's now called the basic grip. The new name reflects the role of the grip: it's for backhands as well as forehands, and it is the default grip in many situations.

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