Secrets of the deep forehand corner

Discussion in 'Techniques / Training' started by s_mair, Apr 21, 2017.

  1. s_mair

    s_mair Regular Member

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    The more I observe and analyze my own game, the more I feel like it is the deep forehand corner which is the most difficult one to reach quickly and to hit consistent and solid shots from. In singles matches, it is that corner that puts the biggest pressure on me - and if I watch other players at an (european standard) intermediate to advanced level, almost all of them have more or less the same issue.

    Personally, I have noticed that my shots from that corner are a lot more loose than from other places on court which results in a significantly higher mistake rate (shuttle goes wide to the sides, hits the net or is easily "killable"). In general, I always feel that I am missing a lot of precision (length and direction) there and that the recovery to base position takes too long.

    I would like to start this thread to discuss what has to be taken care of in footwork and hitting technique to improve results from that corner.

    And to make a start, I'm going to focus on the sequence of the final step/lunge and then hitting the shuttle. Although this is basically a simple issue, I cannot recall that it has been highlighted specifically before. Or maybe it is just so self-evident that it's not even worth metioning. :rolleyes:

    Anyway, here's an example taken from one of my own clips that demonstrates the problem:

    http://loopvideos.com/UTKMjHdLMjs?from=94&to=98

    If you watch the final step/stroke sequence frame by frame (press pause and then the "." and "," keys), you can clearly see that the sequence was:
    1) racket hits the shuttle ->
    2) foot lands on the ground

    This causes two bad things:
    1) shuttle is hit without solid foundation coming from the racket foot -> loose, powerless and inconsistent shots
    2) slow recovery back to base position

    I have tried to switch the sequence to
    1) step
    2) stroke
    and the effect was almost immediate. I got a lot more control and power into the shots and felt a lot more in balance recovering for the following shot. Funny thing is that it didn't seem to have any negative effect on the timing and the shuttle height at impact.

    When I looked around during club night in the past weeks, I saw immediately that a lot of my club mates were making the exact same mistake numerous times so I thought that it will be worth to share that in here.

    And of course I'm looking forward to reading some more valuable tips from our BC-coaching team. :)
     
    #1 s_mair, Apr 21, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017
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  2. jole73

    jole73 Regular Member

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    Well, I'm neither bold enough to consider myself being part of any BC-coaching team nor do I have a necessarily deep coaching knowledge. So my take will strictly come from a player's perspective if that's alright for you, adding some things you haven't mentioned.

    Your footwork pattern seems a bit strange as you don't follow the path of the cross court lift. Your first steps are perpendicular to the base line which means you finally have to reach out quite far to your right hand side afterwards to get to the shuttle. Then, I don't understand what you are doing with your left arm. I can't see it clearly enough but it seems as if it impedes you from an efficient torso motion, thus affecting the quality of your stroke.

    These are just some things I would have a look at, personally. How to address them, well, I'll leave that to fellow BCers with more expertise.
     
  3. j4ckie

    j4ckie Regular Member

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    I try to hit the shots in that corner either with a China jump (i.e. sideways jump), which means contact is mid-air, or if I move there 'running' I will time the step and contact with the shuttle to be simultaneous. Similar to stomping the ground when serving in table tennis.
    I have the best consistency from that corner as far as drop shots go, depending on shuttle height and situation I can play them faster and more straight or cut the shuttle with an outwards racket movement to create a more curved shuttle path, resulting in a tighter shot at the net at the cost of speed and maybe being moved very far with a tight net shot. Sometimes it's the only option though, for example when I take the shuttle late and the opponent is already closing in on the net or moving forwards from their backhand corner.
    I can easily change between straight and crosscourt drop shots though, and am (reasonably) hard to read for my level of play, so usually opponents hesitate to move too quickly after my first 3-4 crosscourt drops :D

    I only contact the ground noticeably before the shuttle when I am moving very fast towards that corner, play a desperation clear and cant stop with one step (so the sequence is step-shot-mini step)
     
  4. Cheung

    Cheung Moderator

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    Well spotted. The movement is usually a slight spiral outwards.

    I also spotted for the initial step, the left foot moved forward before the right foot came backwards. That loses a bit of reach.
     
  5. Rob3rt

    Rob3rt Regular Member

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    The pros also struggle with the forehand corner. Well, struggle is probably a strong word but they hit better shots from the backhand corner, imo.
     
  6. visor

    visor Regular Member

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    Definitely the racket foot needs to be planted just before strike to be effective, just as the deep backhand shot.

    Anyone remember which pro singles player does this shot remarkably well? As a matter of fact, it's a cross court punch clear from one deep forehand corner to the other in what seems to be desperate out of position shot and it's one of her (gave you a hint there already ) many signature shots...
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    TTY.

    Sent from my SM-G930W8 using Tapatalk
     
  7. Charlie-SWUK

    Charlie-SWUK Regular Member

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    I've said this for ages.

    For the step out footwork, your racket foot should land in the direction of travel.
    As you swing, raise the heel of your racket foot, allow the knee to come down a bit, and turn it back towards the middle.
    This gives you weight transfer with your shot.

    You must not land with your heel facing outwards/towards the back as this can cause injury.
    Not lifting your heel and turning on the ball of your foot will result in no body weight transfer, and a slower recovery time.

    You also have the China jump footwork, and more normal movement patterns available that should be used when possible.
     
  8. skelro314

    skelro314 Regular Member

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    Can some of the more experienced players here comment on the speed of recovery footwork in relation to the speed of the shot?

    Even if you plant the foot just before you hit the birdie, if your speed of recovery didn't match the shot I'd be in the same position as in the video?

    Sent from my Pixel using Tapatalk
     
  9. Charlie-SWUK

    Charlie-SWUK Regular Member

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    See my post above. If you follow that, then your heel will already be off the floor and ready to step as you hit.

    Just as some extra notes on it:
    You bend the knee slightly to avoid straining important bits in your leg like the achilles.
    Don't try to upright yourself before you move back to the centre, this is slow. Your legs will be far apart and you will be fairly low.

    For me it's left hand/left leg stepping out:
    1) Split step
    2) Hop and cross step with the right leg
    3) Left leg steps out at about double bodywidth
    Left foot is pointing in the direction of my movement and lands like a shortened lunge
    4) Raise heel and turn to change the alignment by rotating on the ball of my foot
    Hit the shuttle as I do this, realistically the only very suboptimal shot here is a smash. You should be able to clear and drop to 4 corners comfortably.
    5) Continuing that movement, step back across my right leg
    In this movement I'm still quite low down. I do not bring my right leg to my left leg to upright myself as you might with a lunge. I begin to upright as I'm moving back into the centre.

    The better you are at this movement, the faster your recovery. It takes strong legs and good acceleration to use this. This isn't a very easy movement, so be careful when you practice it.
     
  10. s_mair

    s_mair Regular Member

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    Funny that you mention TTY here. In fact it was she who drew my attention to that corner of the court. She seems to be one of the few players on the tour who can hit the shuttle to every possible spot on the opponent's half, even if she's so late that she's almost facing her back to the net and the shuttle is close the floor. It's a more subtle signature shot but it's that variability that turns around a lot of rallies when she's under heavy pressure.

    Example? See really starting at 3:46:


    And if we take TTY as a role model here, she's doing it pretty much exactly as Charlie described it. Her foot is on the floor first, and with turning in the knee starts the kinetic chain leading upwards to the racket head. And bloody hell, that cross court punch clear is a weapon!
     
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  11. Charlie-SWUK

    Charlie-SWUK Regular Member

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    I think she had to strike very early and didn't have time to lift or turn into the shot as much, which is why she had to do a very good backhand. Very pressured rally.
     
  12. RC47

    RC47 Regular Member

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    There are two things you can do to improve your shots from any corner, as well as increase the speed of your recovery from them.

    1. Get your thighs parallel with the ground. When you contact the bird deep in a back corner (or any corner) you want your lunging leg to be parallel with the ground. This forces you to use all the muscles of your legs (glutes, hamstrings, quads). This helps you balance better and allows stronger energy transfer from your lower body into the shuttle, which increases control and accuracy of the shots. Your right leg seemed to be almost completely straight when you landed, which will make it more difficult to hit consistent shots.

    2. Hit the shot THEN move. When you get the shuttle late/low, your shot sequence should be:

    a) square up your hips (both your hip bones should be evenly facing the shuttle)
    b) hit your shot
    c) push off
    d) turn body back into the court

    Many players make the mistake of trying to do 'c' and 'd' at the same time. This is slower! As an example, in your clip, you've almost already turned your hips/torso to face back into the court before even hitting your shot! When you push off, your hips should still be square to the bird. This allows you to use more lower body muscles to return back into the court.

    To get a visual idea of both my points, Chen Long does it 3 times in the rally at 1-1, 1st game.
     
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  13. MSeeley

    MSeeley Regular Member

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    Someone above said that the footwork pattern was strange as it moved down the centre line, rather than towards the corner with the shuttle. I actually disagree. I believe it is correct to move backwards along the centre line rather than follow the shuttle. This allows you to take the shuttle more from the side, rather than "from behind", and generally will allow you to take the shuttle at a comfortable full reach, rather than taking it from a cramped position close to the body. Note: this applies specifically to footwork that will be taken relatively late in the forehand side, either "step out" or with a slight chasse. The principle applies to both forehand and backhand side when taking the shuttle late - stay closer to the middle line!

    My opinion on what is wrong from the looped video: player too upright when he plays the shot (not ready to move afterwards) and a poor quality shot - poor quality both in terms of direction of shot (to the middle) and pace (very high pace). From a difficult position on court, you probably want to either 1. hit a straight drop shot or drive/push that will land in the midcourt or 2. hit a soft drop shot (i.e. a stop drop) or a clear, both of which allow for more time for recovery.

    The deep forehand corner is the hardest corner to cover: this is simply explained as it requires 3 or more foot movements to cover it assuming that you stand with your racket foot in front during split step (right hander = right, left, right), whereas every other corner is two or one step only (round the head can be covered in only a single step - which is why Lin Dan used to attack so much from that corner).

    Good luck!
     
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  14. s_mair

    s_mair Regular Member

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    Actually, the looped scene was simply the first one that I found which shows that I'm hitting the shuttle while the racket foot is still in the air. To hit a (bad) cross court drive right in the opponent's forehand while leaving my own court wide open was just total bollocks. I'm still not sure if I in fact attempted to do a TTY-style cross court punch clear that just went terribly bad... ... which is what happens mostly if you're not TTY...

    However I'm sure that my shot would have ended a lot more controlled if I had the foot in the floor first. And funny thing that you mention the cramped hitting movement when you're standing too close to the shuttle. That's why sometimes it's even worse if the shuttle is hit somewhere between sideline and center line instead as close to the sideline as possible. That takes away some room to move (both your body and the racket) and makes the movement and shot even more awkward IMO.
     
  15. Cheung

    Cheung Moderator

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    :D:D She is amazing playing that crosscourt clear.

    Although, many people say put your foot down first. You may find this is actually quite difficult (remember to turn your foot so that it points almost backwards)

    I suggest: a) putting your foot down as you are about to strike the shuttle. b) watching videos of Peter Gade play from this area of the court - his deep lunge to that corner and footwork is very good.
     
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  16. MSeeley

    MSeeley Regular Member

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    Not sure if this is true or not... It simply depends on what is possible in any given situation. I think you will have an easier time if you have planted your foot prior to playing the shot (easier to generate power and recover etc) but thats why I recommend staying low - it basically guarantees a lot of the good habits. Regardless, your hitting technique was to blame for that shot, not your footwork. That was actually a situation where reaching up and playing it as early as possible may not have been the best option... but anyhoo :)

    My tips in general for hitting from deep forehand corner:
    1. make sure contact is made wide of the body
    2. keep the body low
    3. turn the shoulders in preparation - avoid hitting the shuttle from a "front on" preparation. This ruins shot quality, deception, power generation and consistency if done wrong.
    4. turn the shoulders even more than in 3 - seriously! You should have your shoulder at least parallel with the side of the court... and for some I would turn even more if the shuttle goes past you (which it usually does for that corner in singles!).
    5. make sure you prepare as if you are going to hit a powerful smash - there is no excuse for "showing" any other shot. Weak looking preparation actually produces weak shots. Makes sure you are moving to the shuttle with a FULL "ready to hit" position (watch older videos of lin dan - he was magnificent!).
    6. make sure the racket comes through vertically during the stroke i.e. the shaft points vertically, allowing you to follow through in the direction you want to hit
    7. always follow through - guiding the shuttle where you want it to go
    8. aim at least 1 foot above the net - there is not need to try and get it tight!
    9. match the pace of the shot with how much time you need - if you are in a bad place in the rally, hit a stop drop to give yourself time, or hit a booming high clear, or hit a straight drive which is often a shot which gives an advantage
    10. don't worry about recovering to the middle of the court, just make sure your turn back to face your opponent as quickly as you can - even with a "limited" recovery, you are only 2 steps from any shuttle!

    Cheers!
     
  17. s_mair

    s_mair Regular Member

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    Awesome post, mate. Basically you have just written another chapter to "Matt's BC-guide to badminton technique".

    And with every point you mentioned, I felt like you were watching and describing a slow-mo video of TTY hitting deep forehand corner shots. Cause she is doing literally every single thing you have just described.
     
  18. DarkHiatus

    DarkHiatus Regular Member

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    Agree here as I had noticed this too. A similar concept applies to the backhand rearcourt taken low - almost always the footwork is down the centre line, then out to the side which avoids the cramped shots.

    I myself struggle with this as I like to be underneath the shuttle - ideally I'd contact it at shoulder height, but too often it's too quick and i'm caught trying to swat at a shuttle 2 ft in front of my chest.

    Also like the focus on making your swing look powerful, which keeps your options open. Much easier to slow down a full stroke to a drop (or slice the shuttle) than it is to accelerate a racquet from a block/net shot to a deep clear (crosscourt or not).

    I now imagine every deep forehand shot must be returned as a straight drive/straight clear, and take power off if i decide to play to the net instead which has tended to result in fewer kills from the net.
     

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