Badminton Drop Shot – When, Where & How

Justin Ma - March 22, 2021 - 0 comments

What is a Drop in Badminton?

When it comes to most sports, a “drop” is a bad thing. Drop the football and the other team will surely pick it up and run it in. Drop the ball in a baseball game and the other team racks up a few runs. Drop the basketball and your coach will let you have it after the game. But when the word drop is used in badminton, it’s usually referring to a deceptive shot technique that can create a tactical advantage, or result in a point for the player who uses it well.

A drop shot doesn’t have the speed or power behind it that a smash or a drive has, but can be as lethal to a rally.  In a drop, the shuttle is hit a bit more softly from the rear of the court, and the goal is to send the shuttle just over the net.  The ideal landing point for the drop shot is in the frontcourt of the opponent.  This forces them forward to reach the shuttle.  The trick is to be deceptive, approaching the shot as if you’re sending it deep to throw off your opponent.

Photo Credit: France Olympique Flickr via Compfight cc

The basic concept of the drop shot seems simple, but an experienced player can use a few different techniques to get the job done. Some of these techniques are more advanced than others, so let’s break them down. (Note:  A ‘net drop‘ is different than the shot we’re covering here.  A net drop is typically accomplished close to the net, while a drop shot is hit from the rear of the court, and appears to be a clear.)

What are the different types of badminton drop shots?

There are two main types of badminton drop shots.  The slow drop shot and the fast drop shot are the two main types of drop shots, but to use them to their full potential, we need these badminton shots explained a little more completely.   

Slow Drop Shot and It’s Variations

The slow drop shot is exactly what it sounds like.  The shuttle travels slowly over the net, barely cresting the top to land in the front of your opponent’s court. This is the most basic and easy to master drop shot in the game.

While the slow speed gives your opponent some extra reaction time, it also sends them to the front of their court, leaving you to send their return to the rear on your next shot, and force them to scramble.  Be sure to practice keeping that shuttle close to the top of net, and landing at the front of the court. 

Why are the tiny details of this drop shot so important? A common rookie mistake is setting the enemy up for a clear shot in badminton.   If your opponent reaches the shuttlecock while it’s too high, and traveling slowly, they can end the rally with a net kill. 

Slow Forehand Drop Shot 

This type of drop shot refers to the speed and grip used when performing the shot.  It’s still a slow, just-barely-clear-the-net kind of shot.  The aim is still to land the shuttle in the opponent’s frontcourt, but this is the type of drop shot used when returning a shuttle on the racket side of the body.  You’ll use a standard forehand grip.

Your stance for the slow forehand drop shot involves approaching the shot with your non-racket foot forward.  You’ll want your toes facing the side, and your non-racket shoulder facing the net.  You’re essentially facing sideways.  Your weight is on your back foot, and your non-racket hand is up in the air.  The racket is held behind your head with the racket elbow slightly bent (almost 90 degrees). This may seem like an odd ready-position for this type of shot, but deception is one of the advantages the drop shot provides.

This ready-position will have your opponent thinking you’re sending a power shot to the back of their court.  They’ll anticipate having to move backward, and if your drop shot is executed correctly, they’ll have very little time to regroup and head to make the return.  If they manage to reach the shuttle, the hope is that their return will be weak.  

Basic Backhand Drop Shot

This drop shot is also a slow, just-over-the-net move.  You want to land that grenade right in the front of their court, for the reasons described above.  The difference between the forehand and backhand slow drop shots is the grip, approach and what side the shuttlecock is coming in on.  If the shuttle comes in on the non-racket side of your body, a backhand grip is often the only way to pull it off.  

You’ll have your back to the net when you make connection with the shuttle on this shot.  You want it to look like you’re about to hit a clear or a drop.  Only at the very last second will you pull back on the power, using just your wrist.  

Fast Drop Shot and It’s Variations

The fast drop shot is only different from the slow drop shot in it’s speed and landing zone.  While a slow drop shot’s shuttlecock path will have more of an arc, a fast drop shot has a slightly steeper trajectory.  A fast drop shot shuttlecock, because of its steeper path, will ideally land somewhat closer to midcourt than the slow drop shot.  You still want it to pass just barely over the top of the net.  You also still want to deceive your opponent into thinking you are about to hit a clear or a smash.  The deception is what makes the drop shot so effective. 

Photo Credit: France Olympique Flickr via Compfight cc

Basic Slice or Fast Forehand Drop Shot

The ready position for this shot is the same as the slow forehand drop shot.  The difference will lie in the wrist movement.  This shot can effectively be executed with a small bit of slicing action.  Faking your opponent out is easier with this shot because it actually does require a bit more power than the slow drop shot.  It makes it easier to ‘pretend’ you’re going to hit a smash or a clear.  The difference lies in the slicing action when connecting with the shuttle.

How to perform the basic slice drop shot?  Check out this great tutorial by Bay Badminton coach Kowi Chandra.

Reverse Slice Forehand Drop Shot

The reverse slice forehand drop shot is another deceptive technique that experienced players use to control the rally, and keep the advantage.  The shuttle will sail in the opposite direction that your racket is pointing.  You’re still using a forehand grip, and taking a forehand drop shot ready position.  The slicing action comes at the last minute, after your opponent is already committed to heading the other way.  Their split second decision to change directions will usually guarantee only a weak return, giving you control of the game.

How to perform the reverse slice drop shot?  Check out this great tutorial by Bay Badminton coach Kowi Chandra.

Cross Court Drop Shot – Badminton Bonus

If an effective badminton drop shot seems like a great way to catch your opponent off guard, then a cross court drop shot in badminton is even more difficult to return.  This drop shot follows the same basic principles as the forehand drop shot, however the aim of the shot is to send the shuttlecock to the complete opposite side of the net.  This forces them to not only scramble forward, but also to a far side of the court.  This makes their weak area even larger when you return the next shot.

As a right handed player, a forehand cross court drop shot would send the shuttlecock from the right side of your rear court, just over the far left side of the net to land in your opponents front court (their right, your left). 

How to perform the cross court badminton drop shot?  – Check out this great step-by-step tutorial on performing the cross court drop shot.

Photo Credit: France Olympique Flickr via Compfight cc

Tips for Improving Your Drop Shot

Your drop shot, like everything else in the game of badminton, will improve with continued and purposeful practice.  Here are some tips for improving your drop shot:

  1.  Practice returning to the ready position:  Regardless of which type of drop shot you are executing, I can’t stress enough the importance of an immediate turn to the ready position at your base point.  You’ve got to be ready for the return, even if it is weak.
  2. Practice mastering the swinging motion for each type of drop shot, beginning with the basic forehand slow drop shot:  The basic forehand slow drop shot is probably the easiest shot to perform.  Practice this swing until you’ve mastered it, and then move on to the more difficult drop shot methods.  Developing this muscle memory will make the motion look more natural, increasing the chances that your opponent is truly deceived.
  3. Practice your badminton footwork:  Quick and agile footwork, approaching the shuttle, and doing so with steady balance are all just as if not more important than the racket swing itself.  
  4. Practice your accuracy and shot placement:  Figure out exactly how much power you need behind the slow and fast drop shots to land the shuttle in the ideal zones.  Work repeatedly on aiming the shuttle to sail ?just barely? over the net.  Accuracy also comes with muscle memory and practice.  

Drills to Improve Badminton Drop Shot Effectiveness

  1. Fishing Line Shot Return:  If you’re able to tie the shuttlecock to something well above your head, you can effectively practice the proper swing of a drop shot, and return the shuttle to yourself at the proper height.  Check out how Kowi Chandra pulls off  this badminton training drill with this video. (Quick sidenote:  Never attempt to tie something to the ceiling of your badminton club without talking to management first.)
  2. Partner Rally:  If you don’t have the option to tie up a shuttlecock for a continued and automatic return, you’ll have to practice with a partner.  Practicing with a partner gives you a more realistic game experience.  Try using the drop shots at strategic opportunities. 
  3. Shuttlerun Footwork Drills:  Anytime you’re working on your badminton footwork, your improving every area of the game.  Footwork and agility help you reach the shuttle sooner, and return to your base position faster.  
  4. Slice Technique Practice:  A proper slicing action is sometimes the best way to pull off a deceptive drop shot.  When you feel confident in your basic forehand slow drop shot, move on to more advanced techniques.  

Why does any of this matter?

If you want to reach higher levels of competitive badminton, stocking your badminton skill arsenal with all the best weapons is important.  Not only is learning the drop shot important for your own game, but knowing the mechanics of the shot will make you a better defensive player when your opponent uses the same tactic against you.  The badminton drop shot is an offensive technique that can give you the edge you need to conquer your next opponent!

For additional tips, tricks and drills, follow BadmintonJustin on Youtube and Instagram.  Let me help you take your badminton game to the next level.  

Justin Ma

I am passionate about helping people find joy in playing badminton, while also showing them how competitive the sport can be.

Justin Ma


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