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  1. #1
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    Default Changing serving technique and service return after change to 9.1.6 law

    For years, almost all the players I encountered who used drive serves were almost always doing them illegally. That was because of the old law that stipulated the whole of the racquet head must be below the racquet hand on the serve. Now, the new law states:

    9.1.6 the shaft of the server's racket at the instant of hitting the shuttle shall be pointing in a downward direction;

    http://www.worldbadminton.com/rules/#9

    By the change in this definition, almost all the drive serves I encounter now are legal. For instance, look at the serve at 00:34 in this video:

    http://www.badminton.tv/content/item...ule-2/114.html

    In that serve, the shuttle is contacted below the rib cage, and the shaft is practically horizontal but the shaft is still slightly pointing downwards, albeit barely pointing downwards. By definition, the serve at 00:34 is legal and I disagree with the speaker in that video that claims the service judge may fault that serve. A service judge that is fully concentrating on the server would have to allow the serve at 00:34 to be played because there is nothing illegal with that serve.

    I can already see three major changes to my game based on the new law:

    1) I should be drive serving serving alot more now since the new law makes it much easier to execute a drive serve legally.

    2) It has a huge impact on my short serve now because my shaft can be angled closer to horizontal than before, which makes is easier to serve tight net serves.

    3) For doubles, because drive serves are more likely to be legal now, I need to push my return of service position back and may need to even shift over to the left cover my backhand side when I am returning serve on the right court (I am right handed).

    Having said this, I think IBF should keep this rule for years to come and not flip flop on their service rules (and other rules). It's frustrating if they keep flip flopping on rule changes like this that can have a significant impact on your game and/or lead to arguments with other players that don't track the rule changes 24/7.
    Last edited by green_day; 11-19-2009 at 09:44 AM.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by green_day View Post
    By definition, the serve at 00:34 is legal and I disagree with the speaker in that video that claims the service judge may fault that serve. A service judge that is fully concentrating on the server would have to allow the serve at 00:34 to be played because there is nothing illegal with that serve.
    I think Justine (the speaker, and Voice of Badminton England in that video ) is making the point that, because those serves are extremely close to being horizontal, they are in danger of being faulted by a service judge. She's probably right.


    1) I should be drive serving serving alot more now since the new law makes it much easier to execute a drive serve legally.
    I don't find it makes any difference, except perhaps if you're playing a wide drive serve to the corners and need to change the angle. Especially for the straight drive serve, you only need to "punch" gently at the shuttle anyway -- the trick is not using too much power.

    Thankfully, it's still impossible to topspin a drive serve without breaking the service laws (as the racket will be above the horizontal). Not that long ago, one of my students amazed me with a topspin drive serve that actually came down after passing the net.

    The story with the drive serve is the same as it ever was: it works devastatingly well if the receiver is completely unprepared for it; against good receivers it's a big gamble that sometimes pays off; and against excellent receivers, it's suicide.


    2) It has a huge impact on my short serve now because my shaft can be angled closer to horizontal than before, which makes is easier to serve tight net serves.
    Again, I don't really see how this helps. The height of the shuttle is still the same. But if this service style suits you better, then great.


    3) For doubles, because drive serves are more likely to be legal now, I need to push my return of service position back and may need to even shift over to the left cover my backhand side when I am returning serve on the right court (I am right handed).
    This means you're making significant concessions that will affect the quality of your low serve returns.

    A better option is to practise cutting out drive serves right at the front. This can be frustrating at first, as it's an "all or nothing" skill; you may have no success for a while, and then suddenly -- as you've become just that fraction sharper -- you end up killing every one.

    An important part of this practice is learning to judge, instantly, which drive serves are going out. Once you have this judgement, you only have to deal with the slower ones (which are heading in).

    (You should already be quite close in to the middle line when receiving serve in your right court. This is good for your low and flick serve returns.)

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gollum View Post
    The story with the drive serve is the same as it ever was: it works devastatingly well if the receiver is completely unprepared for it; against good receivers it's a big gamble that sometimes pays off; and against excellent receivers, it's suicide.
    I don't agree with this for a doubles match in a club with a random partner. Specifically, if the drive serve cuts across my partner's court en-route to my court, no matter how good a receiver I am or how well prepared I am, if my partner does not move out of the way so that I can shift over to receive the drive serve, I am always at a disadvantage. Of course, I could body check my partner to push him out of the way but that wouldn't be very nice, lol. You're probably assuming competitive doubles teams where the non-receiving partner knows to get out of the way of the receiving partner


    Quote Originally Posted by Gollum View Post
    A better option is to practise cutting out drive serves right at the front. This can be frustrating at first, as it's an "all or nothing" skill; you may have no success for a while, and then suddenly -- as you've become just that fraction sharper -- you end up killing every one.
    Two issues with this:

    1) You can only generate so much power and control swinging your racquet around your head (assuming the receiver is right handed) when receiving from the right court. No matter what, that puts you at a disadvantage against drive serves.

    2) If my return of serve position is right at the front line, and the opponent is serving from their front line, I only have so much time to react to the serve, swing around the head, and control the shuttle. I understand that the pros can do it since they play at a reaction speed that is at another level than us mere mortals, but since we're not at their level, it's difficult not to compromise until we reach their reaction speed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by green_day View Post
    You're probably assuming competitive doubles teams where the non-receiving partner knows to get out of the way of the receiving partner
    Yes, naturally. But more significantly, I'm suggesting that you cut out the drive serve right from the front, without moving your body. In this case, there's no issue of colliding with your partner.


    1) You can only generate so much power and control swinging your racquet around your head (assuming the receiver is right handed) when receiving from the right court. No matter what, that puts you at a disadvantage against drive serves.
    You don't need much power. If you're toeing the service line, just move your racket across in front of you and tap the shuttle down. The earlier you can take it, the better -- if you're forced to stretch behind you for the round-the-head shot, then it's much more difficult.

    2) If my return of serve position is right at the front line, and the opponent is serving from their front line, I only have so much time to react to the serve, swing around the head, and control the shuttle. I understand that the pros can do it since they play at a reaction speed that is at another level than us mere mortals, but since we're not at their level, it's difficult not to compromise until we reach their reaction speed.
    By all means compromise, but remember that you don't need your drive serve returns to be perfect; you just need them to be good enough. Try to make the minimum concession you can, so that you can still attack the low serve effectively.

    I agree that it's difficult to react this quickly, but I don't think it's a "pros only" thing. At reasonably high levels of club play, the drive serve doesn't get used much at all, as experienced players will usually cut it out.

    Have you ever tried practising this method of returning drive serves? You may find your reactions, once properly conditioned, are faster than you think.

    I should mention that not every drive serve can be cut out in this manner. Some of them go slightly higher -- like a very flat flick serve. These ones require a jump backwards.

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    You probably all know, and I know ..... but if you were a lawyer and took the service rule to court.
    What direction should the racket head be pointing?

    "9.1.6 the shaft of the server’s racket at the instant of hitting the shuttle shall be pointing in a downward direction;"

    The shaft ? That means the racket head could as well be pointing up as down.
    The only disallowed direction is exactly horizontal.

    Naturally our wise fathers thought of this and after reviewing the new servicerules they found that t here should be added one rule to cover for the faults in other rules.

    "9.1.8 the flight of the shuttle shall be upwards from the server’s racket to pass over the net so that, if not intercepted, it shall land in the receiver’s service court (i. e. on or within the boundary lines); and"

    Upwards ?! So they knew that the slacker rules almost allowed for smash services.

    My idea was to keep the old rules, and instead remove the double serve base line.
    This would force the receiver a little back and maybe we could have a power balance between the server and the receiver.

    On the other hand - the new service rules has cut the time spent on arguing the service in the doubles by some ninty-odd percent. All accusations can be shrugged off by a "fault is not possible after the new rules - only if the service goes downwards"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mads "U" View Post
    "9.1.6 the shaft of the serverís racket at the instant of hitting the shuttle shall be pointing in a downward direction;"

    The shaft ? That means the racket head could as well be pointing up as down.
    The only disallowed direction is exactly horizontal.
    Unless you are holding your racket by the racket head and hitting the shuttle with the racket handle, I don't see how the racket head can point up on the service without breaking 9.1.6. Assuming you hold your racket normally at the racket handle end and hit the shuttle with the racket head end, 9.1.6 is quite clear with respect to the shaft pointing in a "downward direction."

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    Hey guys, this is an interesting thread and you've both raised some very good points.

    The difficulty here and most important is to appreciate how to return a drive serve based on a degree of skill.

    Most club and league players do not toe the line and threaten the short serve - fact. Potentially Green Day you are standing a foot or so behind the line? This gives you more time to react to the serve.

    Here's a few options if you're finding this serve is being used against you often and you're struggling to return it.

    1) Move your base closer to the central line to cover the drive to this area. At the same time, you are inviting the server to go for the gap towards the tramlines which is potentially easier for you to receive.

    2) Practice with your partner receiving the drive down the centre with your new position to see exactly what you can intercept and what is beyond you. You can then react to knowns i.e. too high do X - just right, do Y

    3) Here's the key. Learn to keep your racket in front of you and rather than trying a big hit, try changing the direction of the shuttle straight down your tramlines. It doesn't have to be a hard hit, just a tap. In other words, use the power of the serve to assist with your return.

    Hope this helps.

    To your success

    Paul
    www.badminton-coach.co.uk

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    Quote Originally Posted by paulstewart64 View Post
    2) Practice with your partner receiving the drive down the centre with your new position to see exactly what you can intercept and what is beyond you. You can then react to knowns i.e. too high do X - just right, do Y
    Key word here is "partner." The problem is, when you're playing at clubs with a random partner, many untrained partners don't get out of the way so that you as the receiver in the right court (assuming you are also right handed), cannot cut across to the left to block the shot.

    What Gollum says is correct for higher level doubles play, especially with partners that have played together before. Using a drive serve against opponents at higher levels who have good teamwork can backfire against you. However, probably the worst scenario is when you're playing with an untrained partner (who doesn't get out of the way) and the opponent is doing a forehand drive serve from their right court with their right hand.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gollum
    A better option is to practise cutting out drive serves right at the front. This can be frustrating at first, as it's an "all or nothing" skill; you may have no success for a while, and then suddenly -- as you've become just that fraction sharper -- you end up killing every one.
    If the opponent is doing a backhand serve from the T, I agree that you can possibly cut the serve off with a fast enough reaction. However, consider this scenario:

    1) You are in the right court and the opponent is drive serving with their right forehand in their right court.

    2) Because of 1), the opponent's drive serve will cut across your partner's court first before it lands in your court. You can't cut this type of serve off because it starts too wide from your position at the T.

    3) Your partner is untrained (ie. you got a random partner) and doesn't know to move out of the way.

    In this scenario, standing at the T is suicide, IMO. Since you cannot cut the shuttle off because it is being served wide and cuts across your partner's court first, in addition to an uncooperative partner that won't get out of the way, you are at a disadvantage if you toe the line.

    BTW, I was just at the East Asia Games and saw the Woman's Team finals between China vs Taiwan. I noticed that not all the female double players toed the line. Some seemed to back off up to 1/2 foot from the line for their service return (some did toe the line though). I'm assuming that they didn't toe the line because of various reasons, including their height, reach, etc. While they were still women and not men, I'm pretty sure they are better than 99% of the male players in this forum, as China's women players are the best women players in the world. When a player of their caliber backs off up to 1/2 foot from the line, it makes you think twice about why they do it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mads "U" View Post
    You probably all know, and I know ..... but if you were a lawyer and took the service rule to court.
    What direction should the racket head be pointing?

    "9.1.6 the shaft of the serverís racket at the instant of hitting the shuttle shall be pointing in a downward direction;"

    The shaft ? That means the racket head could as well be pointing up as down.
    The only disallowed direction is exactly horizontal.
    Quote Originally Posted by green_day View Post
    Unless you are holding your racket by the racket head and hitting the shuttle with the racket handle, I don't see how the racket head can point up on the service without breaking 9.1.6. Assuming you hold your racket normally at the racket handle end and hit the shuttle with the racket head end, 9.1.6 is quite clear with respect to the shaft pointing in a "downward direction."
    If you hold a stick in a vertical position, is it pointing vertically up or vertically down? You could interpret it either way.

    If you hold your racket in a vertical position, then we think of it as being "up" if the head is at the top, and "down" if the handle is at the top. But it doesn't actually say that anywhere in the rules. Yes, we all know what it's supposed to mean, but I do see Mads's point.

    Anyway, I'm wandering off topic (slipping into Christmas holiday mode, easily distracted)... Thanks to green_day, Gollum and paulstewart for the good advice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by alexh View Post
    If you hold a stick in a vertical position, is it pointing vertically up or vertically down? You could interpret it either way.

    If you hold your racket in a vertical position, then we think of it as being "up" if the head is at the top, and "down" if the handle is at the top. But it doesn't actually say that anywhere in the rules. Yes, we all know what it's supposed to mean, but I do see Mads's point.
    9.1.6 refers to the direction the shaft "points" to. Whether you hold your racket by the handle, or hold it by the head, the other end that is not being held will "point" to a specific direction.

    9.1.6 says nothing about how you have to hold your racket - by definition, you can hold your racket by the racket head and hit the shuttle with the racket handle, and as long as the shaft is "pointing" in a downward direction, then that is a legal serve (although there may be other rules that disallow hitting the shuttle by the racket handle).

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