Switching between forehand and backhand in defense

Discussion in 'Techniques / Training' started by RickyHuang, Mar 4, 2004.

  1. RickyHuang

    RickyHuang New Member

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    Hi!
    I started playing badminton 3 years ago in Taiwan. I've had three coaches, but I've always had this problem in doubles.

    For backhand, I press my thumb on the handle (the flat side), while for forehand, I use the right side of my thumb to press on the handle (the flat side). When defending, two of my coaches has told me to take the backhand grip and defend 3/4 of the area in front of me with my backhand. This worked at first, and with my thumb directly pressed on the handle I can do powerful flat pushes or lifts to the back court. However, there are two situations that I find difficult:

    Situation A--when a flat (high) smash is hit to my higher-right, I don't have time to switch to my forehand grip, and therefore still uses my backhand grip to return the shot. This allows me only to do a straight push.

    Situaltion B--When a smash is directed at my lower-right, it is even more difficult. Ideally, I should switch to my forehand and lift, push, or drop. However, when the smash is fast I usually find that difficult and therefore still uses my backhand to return the shot. This allows me only one choice--a straight lift, which leaves us still in the defense. If I can return this shot with my forehand, I would have much more choices, and maybe regain the attack. However, it is difficult to change from my backhand grip to my forehand grip when the smash is fast.

    For situation B, one coach has showed me a solution. He holds his racket using the backhand grip (thumb pressed flat on the handle), while returns the shuttle using a forehand swing. At first I thought I'll break my thumb doing that, but he does it really well. I was not able to master this technique.

    About 4 months ago, I have changed my defense so that I focus more on the forehand. This allows me a much better play in situation A--with my forehand, I can immediately turn the defense into attack, since I can directl the shuttle flat or even downwards, and straight or cross-court. For situation B, my play improved also, since I'm returning with my forehand, there is a wide variety of possible angles, and lifting high into the back court is easy.

    However, the problem now is with my backhand. When a smash is directed towards my backhand, I don't have time to switch to my backhand grip. I can still return the shot with my backhand, but since only the left side of my thumb is pressed against the handle, my backhand is not as strong and I have trouble lifting high into the back court. So I usually do a push or a drop. But after a few games my opponets know and will press forward when I'm returning a smash at my left hand.

    Two of my coaches said that they don't have this problem since they're using a backhand grip in defense, and the other one said that there is little difference between his forehand and backhand grip and there is always time for him to make the change. But after practicing for 2 months I still can't get it. Does anyone have had a similar experience? Thanks!
     
  2. Oranjmaan

    Oranjmaan Regular Member

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    ...

    yea, your backhand and forehand grips shouldn't need to differ that much in the middle of an intense match. like theoretically, they should b situated very differently, but it's doubtful that many ppl change their grips that much in a match; it'd be more like a blur between the two. in any case, you've just gotta find a nice balance in defense, use wut's most comfortable for you. usually in a tight situation, i won't even bother changing grips, and as long as adjust my wrist also, i can get a very strong backhand return.
     
  3. kwun

    kwun Administrator

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    you said you practiced for 2 months. how did you practice? i find the best way to practice back/forehand smash defense is to practice drives. the switching of grips in a smash return is almost the same as drives, except you are not force to think about lifting, but only think about driving forward, which is much easier. when you can do the grip switching like 2nd nature with the drive, you will automatically find that your smash defense will become more natural.

    so do lots of drive practice, make sure you have the correct stance, make sure you legs are spread, top torso bend forward, the contact point should be in front of you. do 2 months of those and see how it goes...
     
  4. JChen99

    JChen99 Regular Member

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    Where do you hold your racket in defense? If you're dropping your racket, the first thing I'd correct if I were you would be KEEPING the RACKET UP!!! That should solve your problem A cuz all you gotta do is move the racket a bit to tap those down. As for Problem B you need learn how to move between forehand and backhand really fast cuz from what I've leared, you do change grips from forehand to backhand when defending smashes. More efficient and more power when returning so it wont be just a floater
     
  5. Break-My-String

    Break-My-String Regular Member

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    Hi RickyHuang,

    I would suggest that you would use a combination of the forehand backhand pending your position to the attacker. Based on your case, you are a right-handed (& your partner is also right-handed)


    Defending: right-side
    Attacker: cross-court (ie attacker's right side)
    Use: backhand
    Why: Pretty strong defensively

    Defending: left-side
    Attacker: cross-court (ie attacker's left side)
    Use: forehand
    Why: Pretty strong defensively

    Defending: left-side
    Attacker: straight in front (ie attacker's right side)
    Use: backhand (w/ your partner also using backhand)
    Why: you can redirect the shuttle pretty much anywhere you want

    Defending: right-side
    Attacker: straight in front (ie attacker's left side)
    If using forehand, need your partner to cover most shots to the centre
    If using backhand, need to take half step closer to the right to force them to smash tight to the lines if they want to attack your forehand side

    Somebody else may have a very different opinion, try to find what's best for you!
     
  6. cappy75

    cappy75 Regular Member

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    Agreed with JChen99, keeping your racquet in front of you is pretty much a no-brainer, but you'll be surprise how many players neglect to do that in games. The thing is to cut the angles and intercept the birdie ASAP.

    A good beginning to solid defence would be your stance. Keep a low profile (knees bent and on your toes) so that you'll minimise body shots while loading your leg muscles to move/change any direction fast. I think it was Han Jian (former chinese world champ) who said that to move anywhere fast around the court, one has to destroy balance and fall towards the direction... so stay on your toes and don't get too comfy during rally.

    Also, you need to think about the game off-court as well, not just rely on your reflex and instinct during heat of the rally. Plan and think about where you want to place the return shot in different scenarios (basing on position of opposition and where the shot is coming from). That way, you can limit indecisiveness (major cause of screwed shots) when it's your turn to play the shot.

    For me, I would defend with my backhand for the most part since I am used to it. Only time I use forehand defence is when I have little time to switch my grip (panhandle/short grip to backhand grip or vice versa) or when the shot was hit to a part that's impossible for me not to use the forehand defence.
     
    #6 cappy75, Mar 5, 2004
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2004
  7. mlvezina

    mlvezina Regular Member

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    Break-My-String's post raises an interesting subtlety. Note that he does not mention the attacker being positioned in the middle.

    I guess the unstated assumption was that one should never have cleared to the middle in the first place as this would provide the opposite team with too many options.

    IOW, defense technique is not only a matter of absolutes (backhand vs forehand). It must take into account your and your partner's usual shot pattern, as well as how you adapt said pattern to exploit your opponents weaknesses (if any :p ).

    Cheers,

    Mike
     
  8. Break-My-String

    Break-My-String Regular Member

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    Thanks Mike, :)

    One of the things I like to do during smash return drills is to divide the court into three parts (boundaries running parallel to the side lines), obviously, left, right, and middle.

    When you return a smash, you can clear anywhere to the opposite third (but not to the middle), or if you clear to the same third, you must try to aim for the corner box (created by the dbls side lines & the back service lines).

    Cheers! :D
     
  9. viver

    viver Regular Member

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    It's not easy to do this type of defense especially under pressure - switching grips and above all coordinating your whole body to work accordingly.

    From my experience, one of the most important piece to learn is your legs and body positioning. To defend properly, you must first be able to move your feet. I believe your coaches have told you how you should stand when using your forehand and how to position using your backhand.

    When I was learning this move, I had to stand on my forehand stance, make the defence move to the backhand side, and while in my backhand positioning I had to switch my body and feet accordingly. Every training session I had to do this for about 10/15 mins.
     
  10. RickyHuang

    RickyHuang New Member

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    In the past two months I practiced by having another player smash to me within a half-court. Have to admit that wasn't very effective, since the smasher gets tired easily. I tried practicing with drives--seems to work great. Will see how it goes and report back after a while.
     
  11. RickyHuang

    RickyHuang New Member

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    Thanks for the long post!
    It's about the same as my coaches tell me. I'm still working on it. When defending the right side with the attacker in front, I'm used to a forehand stance and have my partner cover the middle with his forehand also.
     
  12. RickyHuang

    RickyHuang New Member

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    Re: Re: Switching between forehand and backhand in defense

    Hi!
    This is what I've always wanted to ask--and my coaches teach differently on this. The defense stance is quite the same as you and others have mentioned, racket head up and in front of body, right foot slightly in front of the left, knees bent, body low.

    However, one coach said that I shouldn't have to move a lot to return most of the shots (and there is no time), and that I should just adjust my racket. The other said that I should always move my feet to get a good return position, and there is always time. So from my defense stance, if the shot is to my right, I step forward with my right foot into the shuttle, trying to hit it as high and as in front as possible. If the shot is to my left, I should step my right foot diagonally to the left, so my body turns to the left, and at the same time change my grip. He said that by doing so I can have more power and also easier to have a good, stable contact with the shuttle. I can do it when the smash is slower, but when the smasher is closer or when the smasher is stronger, I feel that I don't have enough time. The coaches said that it is only a matter of habbit and practice, so I should "make" myself do it. What do you think? Thanks!
     
  13. viver

    viver Regular Member

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    Re: Re: Re: Switching between forehand and backhand in defense

    It's hard to decide when you have more than 1 source of information. You have 3. Adding to my comments I think I am adding more confusion than helping you. :D

    I tend to agree more with your coach that tells you to move your feet. A slower smash allow you time to go through all the necessary moves. A faster one don't allow you so much time to go through all the moves. But in reality, I would say, you'll never feel you are fast enough. But training properly will help you perform your technique faster - your body needs to learn to go through all the the motions. Also moving your feet could also help you move in the court - to move to return a drop or clear.
     
  14. taneepak

    taneepak Regular Member

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    If you find you have to turn your racquet in your hand frequently when switching between forehand and backhand, then you should choose a smaller grip as it is easier to turn a smaller grip racquet in your hand. Take note that most top singles players use smaller grips, so they can turn their racquets with lightning speed in their hand to deal with a variety of strokes.
     
  15. silentlight

    silentlight Regular Member

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    Yes!!!, I have this problem as well and it is most obvious when we do drive drills, I can't seem to switch from forehand to backhand grip fast enough. I have learned to hit forehand shots using a backhand grip but it's limited to blocks, flat pushes and lobs :D. I didn't train myself to do this as it's obviously bad, it just developed on its own.

    I don't think there's any solution to this problem other than being extremely good (fast) :D, I mean isn't that exactly the reason why they tell you to smash to the right side of the defender's body (provided that the defender is right-handed)?

    I read the techniques section here at badmintoncentral.com and they recommend players (when on the right court) to defend with their backhand while standing on the sideline, that way if the smasher smashes on the right side of the defender, it'll go out unless it bags the defender of course :D.
     
  16. viver

    viver Regular Member

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    Exactly. Forehand side is harder to do since you need your hips mobility to do a good return. Practice makes it 'perfect' - that is if perfection is reachable.
     
  17. Gollum

    Gollum Regular Member

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    Most players find switching to the forehand easier than switching to the backhand, so many will hold their racket in a backhand grip. But this may make their forehand vulnerable when receiving a fast and accurate smash.

    A good alternative is to hold the racket in the "multipurpose" (also known as "universal") grip, between forehand and backhand with the thumb extended along the narrow diagonal bevel. Then you can switch from this grip to either forehand or backhand. It's a technique of compromise.
     
  18. other

    other Regular Member

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    hehehe...how your level of play stagnates if you don't play better people. I am used to the backhand grip for receiving smashes, and most seem to be on my backhand side anyways. for some reason, most forehand smashes can be pushes back, and don't need to be flicked off the ground. so, my backhand return is miles better than my forehand...can't get any sort of length with the same amount of effort. after playing in games where people seem to specialise in smashing down the forehand tramline (and me failing to get any of them), i now need to work on the forehand return.

    using the universal grip, you should be able to clear to the back high if you snap wrist and arm correctly right?
     
  19. taneepak

    taneepak Regular Member

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    In a game you have to change your grip to cope with different situations, like defending, attacking, lobbing, dropping, or netting. So the only way you can change your grip with split-second ease for different strokes is to hold the racquet a bit loose, but not too loose.
     
  20. Break-My-String

    Break-My-String Regular Member

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    Checkout the following thread, there are some great suggestions/drills from other BFers.

    http://www.badmintonforum.com/vb/showthread.php?s=&threadid=13342

    Cheers! :)
     

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