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  1. #1
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    Default front court player

    ok so heres the scenario,.. its simple

    me and my partner are in the offensive and i cover the front court.

    now heres the problem, i dont have confidence in intercepting the returns.

    i can handle block shots from the opponent or net shots, but when they reply back fast, i should be intercepting it and smashing it down but instead i end up dropping it (which also works), but i could end the rally faster the other way.

    im always told to keep my racket up, but the problem is with that is i find my self not having time to swing back and do flat returns or smashing it down. so basically my main problem is probably reaction, and lack of power.

    my question is, how far should the racket be when i hold it up? i mean should it be in front of me? or closer to my head?

    also how come i see players in youtube vids with the rackets down when playing in the front, like cai yun. when Fu is in the back court and attacks, cai would prepare sometimes with racket down, and not up, but yet still has time to react.(well obviously hes a professional player but ive seen some players do this too!)

    how can i fix this?

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    Look up youtube videos on koo kien kiat. He is good, the best i feel.

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    i always blame to my slow reaction and not focus enough..

    btw i dont claim myself a defensive player..

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    I don't know I always feel uncomfortable when playing at the front

    sometimes i blame my footwork stance (not footwork to move to the corners, but footwork to prepare myself). like when i place my right foot slightly forward but sometimes i feel uncomfortable when trying to intercept a high ball when it goes to my backhand.

    also ive seen some players follow their partner in the rearcourt as they attack. like when your opponent lifts high to the rear left corner, the front player also follows the rear court player the left.

    yeah.. i have so many things i need help with...

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    confidence is one thing, and practice and anticipation is another.

    when you practice, you can always try new routines. try practicing drives standing in the front court. have your partner play cross court drives, down the line, and slightly high midcourt clears, so you get a feel for all the type of shots in the front court.

    im also trying to improve my front court play as well. i think you just have to find a comfort stance that fits you. just be mindful to keep the racquet ready to intercept, and it should be higher than the net, not bellow the net

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    I watched Kido/Setiwan vs. KKK/CWH and noticed they don't always keep racket at >= net height. It seems they keep racket up only when they can hit the shuttle above net height. In other situations, they keep racket down between chest to waist level.

    Mentally prepared to raise racket instantly may be more important.

    Anyone has a better explanation?

    Quote Originally Posted by giant_q_tip View Post

    im always told to keep my racket up, but the problem is with that is i find my self not having time to swing back and do flat returns or smashing it down. so basically my main problem is probably reaction, and lack of power.

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    "Racket up" is a good basic idea, because most players let it drop too much. However, the reality is a little more subtle. You can let it drop down a little while you are waiting for your partner to make the shot -- this may be more comfortable. What matters is that, when the opponent plays a smash return, your racket position does not delay your shot.

    In professional play, you will often see a sequence like this: defender lifts shuttle, front attacker lets racket drop, back attacker smashes and front attacker's racket comes back up the same instant. In this scenario, the temporary racket lowering did not affect the front player's readiness.

    There may even be an advantage to this method, compared to "keep your racket above the net the whole time". Muscles perform more explosively if the "forwards swing" immediately follows the "backswing" -- this is due to the stretch-shortening cycle. So temporarily dipping your racket may assist in generating more explosive power when it comes back up.

    But it must come back up! All too often, players raise their racket as the opponent's shot is already passing them. Professionals generally don't do this.

    Another possible advantage is that dipping the racket makes for a more relaxed waiting position. If you hold the racket up all the time, your arm may get tense -- and a tense arm is a disaster, especially at the front. Done with accurate timing, the whole racket-dipping sequence allows you to better fit the rhythm of your movements to the situation in the rally. It's a bit like the movement after playing a high serve in singles: there's no need to run when you have plenty of time to walk back to base.

    If you are having difficulty intercepting the fast shots, consider standing slightly farther back. Most players stand too far forwards (at the T). And don't forget your split drop!

    Moreover, remember that a good block to the net is much better than a bad attempted kill. When you are at full stretch intercepting a drive return or a flat lift, an effective kill/smash is not realistic. Far better to play a controlled shot to the net, which guarantees a continued attack.
    Last edited by Gollum; 06-24-2009 at 09:05 AM.

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    Here's an idea, racquet up just about the waist is consider as a racquet up already, you don't need all the way up infront of your face. Like gollum said, it's good if you able to do the racquet up as right after the sound of your partner smash. But anyway most of the time just keep your racquet at the waist level, don't just points down your racquet head on the ground, that's a really bad habit.
    And since you have problem with front, I recommend you to do more of the drop shots. Even if you're opponent is infront, sometime test out your drop ability. Don't have to be afraid. If you keep doing that, that should help you over come the problem with being in the front. I think. lol
    I don't know, like we always heard, face the problem to over come the fear. If you keep running alway, then you will always be afraid of it. That's not going to fix anything. So just in the friendly game play, do more drop shot.

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    Gollum,
    Nice explanation! I tried the "relax/dip -> racket up when partner hit" sequence while in front this week, and my partner complimented me several time on good net interceptions that I would have trouble in the past. I used to play "racket up" all the time (at least I think I did :-) and it's not as effective.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gollum View Post
    "Racket up" is a good basic idea, because most players let it drop too much. However, the reality is a little more subtle. You can let it drop down a little while you are waiting for your partner to make the shot -- this may be more comfortable. What matters is that, when the opponent plays a smash return, your racket position does not delay your shot.

    In professional play, you will often see a sequence like this: defender lifts shuttle, front attacker lets racket drop, back attacker smashes and front attacker's racket comes back up the same instant. In this scenario, the temporary racket lowering did not affect the front player's readiness.

    There may even be an advantage to this method, compared to "keep your racket above the net the whole time". Muscles perform more explosively if the "forwards swing" immediately follows the "backswing" -- this is due to the stretch-shortening cycle. So temporarily dipping your racket may assist in generating more explosive power when it comes back up.

    But it must come back up! All too often, players raise their racket as the opponent's shot is already passing them. Professionals generally don't do this.

    Another possible advantage is that dipping the racket makes for a more relaxed waiting position. If you hold the racket up all the time, your arm may get tense -- and a tense arm is a disaster, especially at the front. Done with accurate timing, the whole racket-dipping sequence allows you to better fit the rhythm of your movements to the situation in the rally. It's a bit like the movement after playing a high serve in singles: there's no need to run when you have plenty of time to walk back to base.

    If you are having difficulty intercepting the fast shots, consider standing slightly farther back. Most players stand too far forwards (at the T). And don't forget your split drop!

    Moreover, remember that a good block to the net is much better than a bad attempted kill. When you are at full stretch intercepting a drive return or a flat lift, an effective kill/smash is not realistic. Far better to play a controlled shot to the net, which guarantees a continued attack.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mettayogi View Post
    Gollum,
    Nice explanation! I tried the "relax/dip -> racket up when partner hit" sequence while in front this week, and my partner complimented me several time on good net interceptions that I would have trouble in the past. I used to play "racket up" all the time (at least I think I did :-) and it's not as effective.
    Great! It's good to hear how you got on.

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    IF you have some good players around, ask them to play a new type of doubles with you and your partner.

    Consider the rear and front box out. In that way, one can neither lift or drop. Game will be full of flat drives ( if u want to win ). This way, you'll improve on your reaction time and also will be good at driving back a flat fast shot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by keith.roche View Post
    Consider the rear and front box out. In that way, one can neither lift or drop.
    Actually, one can still drop -- it just trains you to use fast drops!

    But that's just me being pedantic. It's a very good suggestion, which does indeed help to train you in playing a more attacking game.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mettayogi View Post
    Gollum,
    Nice explanation! I tried the "relax/dip -> racket up when partner hit" sequence while in front this week, and my partner complimented me several time on good net interceptions that I would have trouble in the past. I used to play "racket up" all the time (at least I think I did :-) and it's not as effective.
    Gollum's explanation basically says it all.

    I'm more comfortable in front, so I guess that makes me a front player. I love intercepting, blocking, dropping, driving, etc., and I realized that Gollum's explanation is what I subconciously do.

    Here's the chronology of what I do:

    WHEN PARTNER SMASHES
    - from side by side, when our opponent lifts to my partner, I prepare my self to go front parallel to him, that is, if I know if he's gonna smash (but most likely, he would)
    - standing parallel to my partner, in the midcourt (it's easier to intercept in the midcourt), I wait for my partner's smash, this time, racket head level to my head
    - after the smash, I raise my racket to wait for a weak straight defense (this happens in a split second)
    - if the straight defense is weak, I kill, or smash until I get the opportunity to kill
    - if weak cross defense, there's more time for me to reach the shuttle and kill
    - if tight straight defense, either I push or drop
    - if tight cross defense, I drop straight (sometimes cross to surprise them)
    - if high defense, I put down my racket head level to my head and wait for another smash, making sure I'm parallel to my partner
    - if my partner is tired from smashing, I stand in the vertical line and wait for the cross lift, then interchange with my partner (me at the back, him in front)

    WHEN MY PARTNER HALF-SMAHSES OR DROPS FROM THE BACK COURT
    - shuttle is slow, so I take a step forward and wait for a drop shot
    - if the return is drop shot, I push or I drop
    - if the return is lift or midcourt, I wait for my partner to smash/kill

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    thanks guys that helped alot!! all of your advice improved my confidence when i play in the front... but not so much in my partner's shots but regardless thank you!

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    Quote Originally Posted by giant_q_tip View Post
    thanks guys that helped alot!! all of your advice improved my confidence when i play in the front.
    Fantastic, it's always good to hear that.

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    Just checking one thing.
    How big is your grip? Are you holding the racquet lightly & using a finger snap technique?

    I've had a few players who had a large tennis size grip that didn't allow any finger grip techniques & tensed up the wrist snap.

    You should be able to hold the racquet loosely and be able to suddenly "snap" your grip which whips the racquet.

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    Here is what I do...

    1. Grip your racquet higher and the index finger just touching the cone.
    2. Keep your racquet up.
    3. Make a split stance with your head ducked around the tape of the net.
    4. Trust your partner at the backcourt.
    5. Have confidence.

    You can train your front court reflex by practicing fast paced drives. Work from slow, then increase speed gradually.

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