A badminton drive shot is a versatile, strategic move that can work to your advantage in countless situations. It’s a great way to catch your opponent off guard and change the pace of a rally — and the best part is, it’s relatively simple to use. But despite its simplicity, it can be a tricky shot to master.
If you want to learn how to execute a great drive but aren’t sure where to start, you’ve come to the right place. Below, find five easy steps to help you create a seamless badminton drive shot.
The Basics of a Drive Shot
Before diving in, let’s first cover what exactly a badminton drive shot is and why players use it.
In a nutshell, a drive is a flat, quick shot that travels from midcourt to midcourt. Typically, players use a drive when they’re caught in a defensive position, or when they want to amp up the pace of the game.
In doubles, it can be a helpful shot for throwing off your opponents’ rhythm. But it also works well during certain situations in singles. (Just remember that if you start a drive exchange in singles, you’ll need to be quick on your feet to avoid putting yourself at a disadvantage.)
In any case, these shots force your opponent to react fast, often leading to a rapid exchange between teams.
The Steps to a Great Drive Shot
Here are the steps to creating a great drive shot:
1. Choose the Correct Grip
Step one is getting into the correct grip, which can vary depending on the shuttle’s location, and whether you’re going for a forehand or backhand drive.
As a refresher:
- The forehand grip is similar to a handshake, with your fingers wrapped around the handle and your pointer finger at the highest point.
- The backhand grip involves placing your thumb flat on the front of the handle, with the rest of your fingers wrapped around the side. In this grip, your thumb should be at a higher point on the handle than your other fingers.
2. Get Your Racket in Position
Once you’ve chosen your grip, it’s time to prepare your swing. Every second counts in a rally, so be sure to pull your racket back in preparation as soon as you see your opponent hit their shot.
If the bird is flying towards your forehand side, pull your racket up in the air with your elbow pointing forward. The racket face should be slightly bent backward, at a 45-degree angle to the ceiling.
If the shuttle’s headed towards your backhand side (or you don’t have time to switch to your forehand grip), rotate your shoulder as needed to pull back your racket in preparation for the shot.
In both cases, you should keep your elbow up and align your racket so that you’re prepared to hit the shuttle at about net height.
3. Move Toward the Shuttle
With your racket drawn back, it’s time to position yourself for the drive. Jump into a split-step as your opponent hits their shot. Then, quickly step to move toward the side of the court that the shuttle is heading to.
4. Use a Short Swing
As you lunge, aim to connect with the shuttle just before your foot hits the ground, with your racket face parallel to the net. Don’t use a full follow-through, and keep it to a short snap (or “lock” your wrist as you swing) so you can control the shot and recover quickly.
Depending on how much time you have to prepare, your drive might end up with a slight upward or downward trajectory — but overall, you should aim to slice it evenly across the net to your opponent’s midcourt.
Good places to aim include the centerline and tramline, but you can also make it a crosscourt shot if you think your opponent won’t have time to return it.
Drive shots create explosive, fast exchanges — which means you’ll want to recover as soon as you hit the shuttle. After you swing, use the momentum from your lunge to step or skip back, and get ready for action.
Don’t Forget to Practice
A spectacular drive shot can be tricky to pull off, especially when you’re early in your badminton journey. But by learning the proper steps and practicing regularly, you can level up your skills in no time.
For more ways to refine your drive shots, you can:
- Watch pro badminton matches to study how skilled players complete drive shots
- Get tips from experienced friends
- Try multishuttle drills
- Work with a coach
- Film yourself practicing to view your form from different angles