Badminton dives are some of the rarest moves in the sport. And when they’re pulled off well, they’re some of the most exciting shots to witness — right up there with jump smashes and trick shots. But how can you try them for yourself?
Perhaps you’ve watched some crazy dive compilations from past years’ tournaments, or maybe you’re just looking to practice one of the most advanced skills out there. In any case, you’re in the right place if you want to add these rally-saving shots to your badminton arsenal.
Read on for the when, how-to, and top reasons to use badminton dives.
What a Badminton Dive Is (& When to Use It)
The badminton dive is a “diving” motion that players use when they need to cover a lot of distance to retrieve a shot. There are half dives and full dives — each of which has its own time and place in a rally.
A half dive is a good option when you need to reach a shot that’s far (but not too far), and you want the quickest recovery possible.
Half dives are useful when an opponent hits the shuttle to the side of your frontcourt, and your usual footwork just won’t cut it. These shots also tend to be better suited for singles since they have a quicker recovery than full dives.
Full dives, on the other hand, are used in situations when neither your footwork nor a half dive will get you where you need to be in time. These are sort of a “last resort” option that can catch your opponent completely off guard.
All dives can be risky — but full ones are better saved for doubles since your partner can help protect the court while you recover.
How to Pull Off a Badminton Dive
So, just how can you use this incredible shot? For a half dive, it all starts with a powerful split step. Then, you’ll:
- Lunge out to the side where the shuttle is heading.
- As you lower your body to reach the shot, use your non-racket arm to cushion your landing. At the same time, straighten your racket arm and use a short swing to hit the shuttle over the net.
- To absorb some shock after you swing, you can use both arms, slightly bent, to finish cushioning your landing and push yourself back up.
- Use the power from your legs to hop and shuffle back to action.
The motion of the full dive is similar to a half dive, but with one key difference: You’ll have to kick off with more force in order to propel your body to the shuttle. And since full dives involve more speed and momentum, it’s essential to practice proper form when you use them.
When diving in badminton, the number one safety tip to remember is to avoid landing on your knees. Not only will this help you avoid minor injuries like scrapes or bruises, but it also protects you from more serious damage to two of your most vital joints.
In addition, you can protect your arm and elbows from damage by:
- Remembering to keep your arms loose and fluid
- Keeping your elbows slightly bent as you land
- Avoiding landing on your arms when they’re completely outstretched
Top Reasons to Use Badminton Dives
Some players go their whole badminton careers without ever using a dive — but once you know how to do it, it can work as a “secret weapon” during intense exchanges.
With that in mind, here are three of the top reasons it’s worth learning how to dive in badminton:
It’s Your Last Chance to Save the Rally
Dives aren’t easy to pull off — and if you use one, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll take longer to recover than if you’d used your normal footwork. That being said, a dive can be the best shot to go for when it’s your last chance to save the rally.
For example, if your opponent hits a smash and follows it up with a sharp net kill, a well-executed dive could be the difference between you winning or losing the point.
You Want to Gain a Psychological Advantage
Chances are your badminton opponent won’t expect you to use a dive, especially if you’re not an advanced-to-pro player yet.
This means that pulling off one of these shots can surprise your opponent, causing them to second-guess their moves for the rest of the game. Every time they aim for a drop or net kill, they might wonder: Is my opponent going to dive again?
With all this in mind, gaining a mental edge over your opponent is one of the top benefits of using a dive shot. It shows them that you won’t give up easily and that they can’t get too comfortable — even when they think they have the upper hand.
The Bottom Line
Badminton dives are spectacular, hard-to-pull-off shots. And when you’re caught in a pinch, they can change the trajectory of the entire game. They can bring you a psychological edge over your opponent, save rallies, and help you retrieve the shuttle when you otherwise couldn’t.
To make the most of your dives, here are some key tips to remember the next time you hit the court:
- Don’t overuse dive shots — save them for the times you really need them!
- Practice makes perfect. Almost no one can pull off a dive right off the bat, so don’t worry if you miss your first few tries.
Finally, it’s important to note that dives are one of the riskier shots when it comes to injuries. To stay safe, it can help to practice your dives with a soft landing area (like a wrestling mat) at first. And, if possible, it’s even better to practice the steps in person with the help of a skilled coach.
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