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    Default Slicing Overheads

    I am going to back to the phase where I am slicing all of my overheads. Cannot seem to make solid clears or smashes, and can only seem to make decent drop shots. Just to note I've been using plastic shuttles again, so the feedback isn't that great. Does anyone have any suggestions to what I could fix?

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    Do you know which direction you are slicing them? Is it consistent?

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    I keep on slicing them to the left. I've been told that grip adjustment helps, so then I adjust the grip to the right towards panhandle, but then my clears and smashes are all sliced and go to the right from my intended target. I just seem to have lost the ability to clear or smash in a straight line, which is pretty frustrating since I know that sliced clears and smashes will break the strings faster.

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    Are you a left hander?

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    I am right handed, and to clarify, the problem that I am having right now is that I can't hit the birdie straight! Always seems to go left or right from my intended target.

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    There could be a variety of possible mistakes causing the problem, but it sounds like there's nothing repetitive practice won't fix.

    Perhaps you are using your elbow too much and neglecting pronation? To me that sounds like a plausible thing that would cause the shot to go awry, depending how your elbow's position.

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    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvFL4R1rD9Y
    Although it is a tennis video, I examined his serve action, and I think it is very similar to pronation. This is what I am trying to practice right now for my clears and smashes, but I cannot seem to hit the bird straight while using the method. I noticed that when he does the technique, the balls always go in a straight path downwards and consistently in one direction. When I attempt to transfer that technique over to hit birds, the birds never fly in a consistently straight path.

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    Quote Originally Posted by J_Noodles View Post
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvFL4R1rD9Y
    Although it is a tennis video, I examined his serve action, and I think it is very similar to pronation. This is what I am trying to practice right now for my clears and smashes, but I cannot seem to hit the bird straight while using the method. I noticed that when he does the technique, the balls always go in a straight path downwards and consistently in one direction. When I attempt to transfer that technique over to hit birds, the birds never fly in a consistently straight path.
    As with many players I have seen, I believe you are thinking about your technique too much. Are you using the correct grip? Do not adjust your grip, just find the correct grip (basic grip, forehand grip, whatever - make sure its the correct one that you want to use).

    Now practice hitting downwards at a target (place a large bag near the tramlines in the midcourt - use fast drop shots to get the shuttle in the bag). Make sure that your strings are pointing towards your target. Make sure to reach up for the shuttle. Do this a lot (reach up, correct grip, strings to target) and by a lot I mean for the next 6 months, you will develop excellent technique.

    Notice: nothing I said at all mentions pronation, elbow movements, wrist or fingers or any other rubbish like that - those are details that are not worth thinking about in my experience - it just overcomplicates things. No player with good technique actually thinks about their technique whilst they play - and neither should you!

    Practice more, improving the quality of your shots as you go, and you will end up with the correct technique. For now, thinking about how to do pronation is just not helpful. I hope you and others who are struggling will heed this advice - its not pronation you are struggling with, its just you are not practising enough! Go and practise more! Make sure all the shuttles go into/near the bag (this includes straight shots, shots from the middle and cross court shots).

    Good luck!

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    My first suggestion: if you haven't already, take some time to practise the shots. Forget about pronation, and focus on the basics, just like Matt (MSeeley) said; but I would suggest just a few training sessions, not 6 months.

    If you are still slicing your overheads to the left (as a right-hander), then it does suggest you are hitting too flat. Try using more pronation, but don't overdo it. Just add a little bit. Remember that, in the teaching videos, the pronation movement is slowed down and exaggerated so that you can see it easily.

    When adding pronation, it's essential not to ruin your stroke. Avoid a jerky, "pure pronation" swing. Keep it smooth. Follow through after contact with the shuttle, rather than stopping. Keep the follow through relaxed and natural.

    Most players, especially beginners, do hit too flat. When they try hitting with more arm rotation (which is correct), they find the shot goes all over the place. This is what you are experiencing. This is normal.

    Beginners use flat hitting because it is much easier to hit consistent shots, as the strings are always pointing in the right direction. The downside is that you won't get much power.

    With practice, your timing will improve, and the shots will be more consistent.


    As with many players I have seen, I believe you are thinking about your technique too much.
    I sort of agree with Matt, and sort of don't.

    I agree that it's easy to over-think pronation. Normally I would not use pronation as a coaching point, because I don't want the player to "force" it. I would rather the player focused on good preparation, a high contact point, and a good follow through.

    However, I do think some limited practice of pronation / arm rotation is useful, just to get the feel of it. For example, I have been told by coaches that my videos about arm rotation practice have improved their county juniors' overhead hitting immensely.

    It's tricky, because you don't want players to spend 6 months "practising pronation". You want players to spend 6 months practising the whole stroke, just as Matt said. Nevertheless, small doses of technical details can be very useful.

    But equally, as Matt said, what you really need is lots of practice. Knowing about good technique is not the same as performing it.

    I also don't agree that players necessarily develop good technique purely through results-driven practices -- i.e. "just keep trying to hit that bag for 6 months, and you will have great technique at the end". A large volume of practice is necessary but not sufficient. You do not get good technique by practising bad technique for 6 months!

    Maybe a few players can do this -- very, very talented ones who pick up the game naturally and don't need coaching. Maybe. But everyone else needs a little more guidance than, "point your strings at the target. Repeat for 6 months."

    ...and of course, you can have too much guidance too. Stopping every few shuttles to correct the elbow position, check the grip, talk about finger power...!

    Too much guidance interferes with practice. Too little guidance wastes practice.
    Last edited by Gollum; 11-11-2014 at 06:24 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gollum View Post
    I also don't agree that players necessarily develop good technique purely through results-driven practices -- i.e. "just keep trying to hit that bag for 6 months, and you will have great technique at the end". A large volume of practice is necessary but not sufficient. You do not get good technique by practising bad technique for 6 months!

    Maybe a few players can do this -- very, very talented ones who pick up the game naturally and don't need coaching. Maybe. But everyone else needs a little more guidance than, "point your strings at the target. Repeat for 6 months."
    Haha - the way you have written this does make it seem absurd! Good work
    People can have the rest of the coaching once they have spent some time on accuracy.

    As far as I am concerned, practicing for 6 months on accuracy only (with correct grips etc) is more beneficial than practicing to get the technique right, but where the accuracy is off. Why? In both cases the technique is WRONG. I would rather they learnt how to hit a target, then fix other issues e.g. height of the strike, than learn to do the prep + elbow movement + pronation etc and not know how to control their racket strings to point in the correct direction.

    Anyway - for the avoidance of doubt - 6 months of dedicated target practice will not give you perfect technique, but it will give you the accuracy necessary to keep the shuttle in the court. The good technique will follow over the following few years of practice - once you have learnt to control WHERE you are hitting the shuttle - even if the technique needs improving (but for goodness sake people - make sure the grip was correct to begin with!).

    It is my experience that the technique makes massive improvements as the player develops better footwork to get behind the shuttle more, and reaches up higher to hit steeper angles (but requires better footwork and fitness to achieve). Being behind the shuttle, taking it early, staying relaxed, and hitting with the correct grip, is a recipe for excellent technique as far as I am concerned. In my view - as the body practices it starts to develop its own rhythm and figures out the best way of doing things.

    Of course, getting regular supervision (i.e. coaching) is the best way to improve. However, I stand by what I said - for someone who needs better accuracy (as most players do), practising to hit accurately and learning to control the racket is the best exercise in my book. Once the accuracy and control is in place, then the improvements can be made in quality of stroke.

    As an aside:
    I also find your and other peoples comments about hitting "flat" interesting - you say you will not develop the necessary power to hit your best shots. Take a quick look at this video. At 27.30ish you see lee chong wei playing an overhead in slow motion:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNlTbBRxYyI

    In my view the use of his wrist is very interesting - whilst there is clearly arm rotation going on, the wrist remains cocked back in such a way that the racket does not form the arc you would normally associate with pronation - the strings move in a more "flat" way.

    In my view, this is the correct way to use the wrist (Lin Dan also does it this way on his smashes - see the warm up or a slow motion of his overhead at 15:30ish) in conjunction with the forearm. The only thing that changes is where abouts you strike the shuttle (round the head vs wide on forehand etc etc). I think that people will easily learn this wrist motion as long as they are using the correct grip - because the strings of the racket do actually move in a straight line towards the target - relative to where the strike point is in relation to the body. What do you think? I found it interesting to observe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by J_Noodles View Post
    I am right handed, and to clarify, the problem that I am having right now is that I can't hit the birdie straight! Always seems to go left or right from my intended target.
    That is also my problem for months (maybe a year). I think it's because i tried so hard to do the right grip that was taught in those youtube videos.

    I was a panhandler grip before, and after 16 years playing, I tried hard to learn the right grip. My game initially suffered, many mishits and loss of power. but it was only weeks before my game raised and I was able to perform shots and take the shuttle from positions I couldn't do before

    My big problem was the direction, I think it corrected itself, but my smash (My clear and other shots was no problem) always seem to go a bit right than I expected. I don't know why, but my grips seems to turn itself by it's own towards the right. I tried to correct the grip but had the same results, so then I faced my body towards a more right direction so the smash would go straight.

    And then I stumbled towards LJB's video and badmintonbible, that told me I can turn the grip a bit, for LJB's it was 10 degrees. That was when my smashes would be more straighter and my other hits would seem to have more ...I say direction (maybe because they aren't sliced or need correction)

    my problem was the grip, as i tried too much to do the correct one and didn't do any adjustments for it to do some shots.

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    Quote Originally Posted by J_Noodles View Post
    I am right handed, and to clarify, the problem that I am having right now is that I can't hit the birdie straight! Always seems to go left or right from my intended target.
    This is what I'm thinking:
    1. The turn-movement of racket face isn't straight because of the pronation
    2. You haven't got the timing to hit the birdie at the right time when the racket face is straight, you're either late or too early so the birdie goes sideways
    3. For the slicing problem, I think it's more to do with your movement. maybe your swing isn't smooth and as you approach the shuttle, you tend to move the racket to another direction unintentionally, as you try too hard to hit the shuttle

    I think you should relax, aim for the middle point where you're not too late or too early, aim for the middle point of the racket where the shuttle won't slice or unlikely to go sideways, do a smooth movement and don;t do any unecessay movement or thinking before you hit the shuttle.

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    Agreed with MSeeley and Gollum that while pronation is key to the power, you shouldn't be too jerky or overly conscious about it. The tennis serve pronation video is showing a very exaggerated pronation motion, but it is quite necessary when learning to serve effectively in tennis because it is harder to accelerate the heavier racquet over the head through the heavier ball..

    In badminton, I believe it's better if you hit your overhead by pointing the racquet tip towards your target's direction with the racquet face facing down at the end of the forward swing before the followthrough when practising or trying to correct your swing path. There is still pronation happening if your backswing is done correctly (correct forehand grip, dropping the racquet behind the head or back depending on how big of a swing you are making) and then you start swinging forward over your head, hit the shuttle and point at your target. This will result in something like a 90 degree pronation instead of the full power 180 degree pronation.

    Once you are comfortable with the basic swing path and can make consistent contact, you can start to increase the degree of pronation to add more power, which really should happen naturally as you try to swing faster and snap at the shuttle faster which will result in a bigger pronation without even thinking about it consciously.

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    Quote Originally Posted by oble89 View Post
    Agreed with MSeeley and Gollum that while pronation is key to the power, you shouldn't be too jerky or overly conscious about it. The tennis serve pronation video is showing a very exaggerated pronation motion, but it is quite necessary when learning to serve effectively in tennis because it is harder to accelerate the heavier racquet over the head through the heavier ball..

    In badminton, I believe it's better if you hit your overhead by pointing the racquet tip towards your target's direction with the racquet face facing down at the end of the forward swing before the followthrough when practising or trying to correct your swing path. There is still pronation happening if your backswing is done correctly (correct forehand grip, dropping the racquet behind the head or back depending on how big of a swing you are making) and then you start swinging forward over your head, hit the shuttle and point at your target. This will result in something like a 90 degree pronation instead of the full power 180 degree pronation.

    Once you are comfortable with the basic swing path and can make consistent contact, you can start to increase the degree of pronation to add more power, which really should happen naturally as you try to swing faster and snap at the shuttle faster which will result in a bigger pronation without even thinking about it consciously.
    Ah I think I understand what you are saying: instead of doing the full 180 degree pronation where the racket strings flash out toward the side at the end of the stroke, the racket strings should instead be facing towards the target and downwards, effectively keeping the racket strings more towards the target after the stroke.
    When I tried this though, I feel as if it is very weak, its almost like a bit of a wrist snap. However, it truly would not slice the shuttle as much as the full 180 degrees pronation. Please correct me if I am not understanding this correctly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by J_Noodles View Post
    Ah I think I understand what you are saying: instead of doing the full 180 degree pronation where the racket strings flash out toward the side at the end of the stroke, the racket strings should instead be facing towards the target and downwards, effectively keeping the racket strings more towards the target after the stroke.
    When I tried this though, I feel as if it is very weak, its almost like a bit of a wrist snap. However, it truly would not slice the shuttle as much as the full 180 degrees pronation. Please correct me if I am not understanding this correctly.
    Yes it will be weaker, but it's better to practise this until you are comfortable with the feeling of how to direct the shuttlecock to your intended target this way. As you get more comfortable with it, you add more racquet head speed and your pronation will automatically finish with a larger degree because any further pronation after the split second around contact is just your racquet and arm continuing the momentum generated from your explosive swing.

    Whereas when you practise by forcefully exaggerating the pronation, you are more likely to make contact with the shuttle at the wrong timing at any point within the full range of pronation, when the racquet face is pointing in the wrong direction.

    Also keep in mind you should be using the basic grip or the smash grip on forehand overheads, as per the illustration on the badminton bible website.

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    Quote Originally Posted by oble89 View Post
    Yes it will be weaker, but it's better to practise this until you are comfortable with the feeling of how to direct the shuttlecock to your intended target this way. As you get more comfortable with it, you add more racquet head speed and your pronation will automatically finish with a larger degree because any further pronation after the split second around contact is just your racquet and arm continuing the momentum generated from your explosive swing.

    Whereas when you practise by forcefully exaggerating the pronation, you are more likely to make contact with the shuttle at the wrong timing at any point within the full range of pronation, when the racquet face is pointing in the wrong direction.

    Also keep in mind you should be using the basic grip or the smash grip on forehand overheads, as per the illustration on the badminton bible website.
    Ah I see, thanks to you and the others that posted on the thread for explanations and advice, I will continue to practice. Also another question, when I prepare and go side on to hit the shuttle, should I be seeing the shuttle in front of me with head facing the front, or should I be seeing the shuttle slightly on the right side of myself (i''m right handed) and head slightly turned away?

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    Quote Originally Posted by J_Noodles View Post
    Ah I see, thanks to you and the others that posted on the thread for explanations and advice, I will continue to practice. Also another question, when I prepare and go side on to hit the shuttle, should I be seeing the shuttle in front of me with head facing the front, or should I be seeing the shuttle slightly on the right side of myself (i''m right handed) and head slightly turned away?
    The shuttle should be in front and slightly to the right - you should be able to see your opponents via peripheral vision because of how far in front the shuttle is. I personally wouldn't worry too much about this aspect. Good technique for a smash requires you to properly behind the shuttle, and realistically you will have to play all of your shots from crazy positions - don't worry too much about being in the perfect position - just play your shot!

    The better you want your shots to be, the better your positioning needs to be - therefore, as you improve your shots, your positioning/preparation will improve too!

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