Improve smash recovery - Footwork

Discussion in 'Techniques / Training' started by CRZ-ZF1, Oct 25, 2018.

  1. CRZ-ZF1

    CRZ-ZF1 Regular Member

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    In single game, I run into a situation that my opponent can do a quick drop to their backhand side when I straight smash them to their forehand side. (or vice versa straight smash to his backhand side and he quick drop to his front forehand corner).

    In double game, if my partner's skill is decent enough, he can reach the 2 front corners of the net without much issue. In a sense it is a lessor of issue in double play, but I prefer not to demand my partner to cover net for me when I smash.

    What the "better" way to recover to the opposing front corners when you straight smash near their side line?

    I suppose leg training and agility training will help the explosiveness of my movement.

    I almost think that my landing after my smash is not correct so I have a slower recovery.

    Or strategically, smashing straight at sideline has its risk which I have to acknowledge.

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. speCulatius

    speCulatius Regular Member

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    Quick answer: You should not played that smash!

    There can be lots of reasons why you should not have played it though and improving your leg strength and footwork will help to get in that situation less often, but the solution to the problem is to only smash when you should. This depends on a lot of factors, like your technique, your footwork, the court position, your opponents court position, ....
     
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  3. justplaynow77

    justplaynow77 Regular Member

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    As an enthusiastic noob, i am interested in exchanging more thoughts about this situation.. i think you give an excellent answer here @speCulatius , mainly because after a smash i feel my whole body needs a bit of time to regain balance, and when my opponent is able to return such a near net drop, it is just too far away if I just finish smashing at the back corner across of it (of course the real situation varies). @CRZ-ZF1 , how often does this happen? out of 10 smashes you made? If this happens a lot then maybe the smash isnt deadly enough, and I think a drive or drop shot to the front might be a better option?
     
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  4. speCulatius

    speCulatius Regular Member

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    Sounds like something is wrong with your technique. Might be the stroke (for example shoulder dropping) or your footwork (for example landing with feet in a straight line) or (probably) both.
    Might be you smash in situations when you are already out of balance, that would be suicide in any singles match.
     
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  5. CRZ-ZF1

    CRZ-ZF1 Regular Member

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    I would rate this situation happens ~6 times of 10 when I play with single opponent on par with my level with a calm mindset and somewhat stable footwork. I don't think a drive shot will work here because my opponent can flick to my front opposing corner even faster with a drive shot. Drop shot will be dependent on the positioning of my opponent, the idea is to play a drop shot my opponent will be tough to return.

    Again this whole topic exist when I "thought" my smash is lethal enough to take the point, but I found myself scrambling to deal with the quick flick front opposing corner drop shot.

    I think analyzing the strategy and shot return is more important than just go in improving smash. As in single game smashing is not as critical to win game, but proper shot placement win game. Improving smash is easy comparing to penetrating your opponent defense, develop proper footwork and playing the game with your own rhythm and control shots.
     
  6. MSeeley

    MSeeley Regular Member

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    So a few things to note for you:

    Covering the straight front corner after your smash should be easy for you - that doesn't mean it might not be hard work on your legs, but you should feel very comfortable doing it. Is this the case?

    If yes, then you need to work better on your balance during and immediately after the smash, so that you are ready to cover both front corners. If you have the skill to retrieve the straight corner, then it shouldn't take too much effort to also retrieve the cross court block. You may need to consider returning more centrally immediately after your shot (rather than coming directly forwards looking for the straight shot). You may need to enhance your footwork to retrieve this shot by being lower (bending knees and hips more, widening the distance between your feet).

    If no, then you need to work on the whole situation of your smash: your footwork to the shot, your balance during the shot, your footwork immediately after the shot etc.

    A few other thoughts:
    • If you are near the side line, and you are smashing straight in singles, you have actually smashed from a very dangerous position. The only goal in singles is to cover your side of the court properly. Smashing when out wide is a terrible choice unless you have excellent footwork - you are so far out of position, your hopes at hitting a winner are not worth the risk of leaving the court wide open.
    • Now it may be that against everyone else, the smash is a winner. If thats the case, you need to stop using the smash against this guy: it is a losing tactic. Replace it with a 3/4 smash that leaves you in better balance and its easier to recover and retrieve their shot. The faster you hit your shot, the less time you will have to cover your court: you are making it too easy for your opponent if you are hitting hard from so far out of position.
    • Maybe the smash IS the perfect shot in the situation you are in: you are set up for it, the other guy is out of position, you know it will be a good opportunity to win the point regardless of who you play against... there are so many possibilities to explore here: you should keep playing the smash and learn to move better... or you should vary your shots so he doesn't know it will be a straight smash so that when you do straight smash later on that he won't be able to get there because he has to cover so much additional court (i.e. you are currently being too predictable, and you need to vary your shots more)... or your smash isn't good enough against this standard of opponent and needs to be improved significantly

    Inherently, hitting your shots near to the side lines gives your opponent the best possible angles for making you move. If you hit everything down the middle at him, then he would find it difficult to get the shuttle away from you because there are no angles to work with. But obviously he doesn't have to move much in this case, which isn't ideal... so you have to find the balance between hitting towards the sides and hitting towards your opponent to find the right strategy...

    All the things I mentioned above are tactical things you can consider to try and cope with this guy in the heat of the match. But it all comes down to movement. There is only 1 clear fact: when you play certain shots, you are not capable of covering the rest of the court. So your movement is inadequate, given the tactics you have chosen to use. You are playing shots that expose your own weaknesses: the natural way forwards for you is play with better tactics in matches for now, and in training just improve your footwork and court coverage. Eventually, you won't need to worry about the movement, and then you can go back to your favourite tactics. My experience is that most people asking these sorts of questions need to improve all 3 aspects: movement, strategy, and overhead smash action. However, my priority is always movement because it has the most benefit once fixed and enables you to improve the other two, whereas improving your smash or changing your tactics won't improve your footwork, and may actually mask the problem.
     
  7. Cheung

    Cheung Moderator

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    This, this, this.
     
  8. DarkHiatus

    DarkHiatus Regular Member

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    Without seeing a video, it’s hard to tell. But it’s a common problems others have pointed out in my play, certainly for singles.

    If your opponent plays a good quality lift to your forehand corner and you choose to smash straight down the line, you better be sure they cannot play it crosscourt, otherwise it’s the worst shot you can make. If you watch pro games, the response to such a lift/clear is almost always a fast drop down the line, a drop into the centre of the court, or a straight clear. The only time you will see the straight smash is if the opponent is behind in the rally and is stuck in the other ide of the court, unable to defend effectively.

    If you smash more often, even if it’s a technically strong stroke, it is suicide when your opponent starts to anticipate it - this is almost certainly the case if your opponent is able to block it crosscourt, making you run he long diagonal.

    Playing a neutral, fast drop to the middle or straight means you can recover effectively as you minimise their angles of attack - if you play a effective fast drop, a strong net shot is lap much harder for them, so you won’t need to move s far forward if they choose to play a net shot off your drop.

    Finally, a straight clear is used for variation and to keep your opponent back. Think of it like a flick serve - you just want to make sure your opponent is not pushing forward too far, otherwise your drop shots will be less effective.

    The above is true do singles, the case for doubles is slightly different. You can choose to straight smash and you should only expect to need to cover the mid court sideline - your partner should cover the net completely. Note that you need to cover the crosscourt lift as well though, so if you feel you can not recover to cover both the straight mid court shot and the lift/drive to backhand corner, you’d be better playing a drop to the middle, or even a smash to the middle (if you hit it straight, you give them more attacking angles)

    Hope that makes sense!
     
  9. Tactim

    Tactim Regular Member

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    One important simple tip which you can implement now: smash with less power.

    If you smash 100%, be prepared for the shuttle to come back just as fast.
     
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  10. CRZ-ZF1

    CRZ-ZF1 Regular Member

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    Thanks all for the insightful comment. I can try to work with the three quarter power smash to up the recover speed. Or throw a deceptive shot to throw my opponent's defense off when I still well in control of my body momentum.

    I agree the shot selection (smash from sideline back toward sideline on opposing side) may not be the most tactical shot. But hey you never tried you will never know your shortcoming. Also I do think smash is still necessary in singles to create the sudden burst in tempo.

    If the lift is pass the double service line then I don't smash because 1) I don't have a good jump smash (again this is not optimal due to the longer recovery time), 2) or have the height to generate the angle to perform a standing smash.
     
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