In an earlier post, we covered everything you need to know about drive shots in badminton. But what about the backhand drive in particular?
If you’ve been practicing this shot lately, you know that it can be much tougher to execute than the forehand version. Luckily, a few simple steps can help you improve the power and control of your backhand drive — and ultimately win more rallies because of it.
Read on to learn how to hit a backhand drive in badminton, along with some tips and tricks to keep in mind while you train.
4 Steps to Hitting a Backhand Drive in Badminton
As a refresher, drive shots are midcourt to midcourt, flat, straight, and fast shots. They’re used to increase the speed of doubles rallies and usually lead to a rapid exchange between two players.
So, how can you use one of these shots on your backhand side? Here are four fundamental steps to follow:
1. The Grip
To prepare for your backhand drive, hold your racket in a somewhat loose backhand grip. This grip will allow you to use your thumb to generate extra power when it comes time to swing.
2. Footwork, Movement, and Positioning
Your footwork and body positioning can make or break your backhand drives in badminton. Specifically, it’s important to:
- Start with fast, explosive footwork to the backhand side of your midcourt.
- As you step toward the shuttle, rotate your torso, shoulder, and arm to get your racket up into the backhand position. Your elbow should be outstretched, but not completely locked.
- To maximize your control, plan to hit the shuttle as you step into your final lunge, before your foot hits the ground.
3. Use a Powerful, Short Swing
Drive exchanges are fast, which means you won’t want to spend too much time loading up for a huge swing. Instead, you should aim for a short, snappy swing that looks something like this:
- The backswing: As you prepare for the shot, use upward wrist rotation to bring your racket back until the racket face is parallel to the ground.
- The swing: When it’s time to swing, use your wrist and forearm strength to rotate your racket outward so that the face turns horizontally toward the net. (To see what this looks like in practice, here’s an excellent demonstration by badminton coach Master Ye.)
- Contact: For the best angle on your backhand drive, you’ll want to hit the shuttle while it’s slightly in front of your body. As you make contact, tighten your grip and push your thumb forward to hit the shuttle in a fast, straight motion over the net.
4. Jump Back Into Your Ready Position
It’s easy to get lost in the moment of a heated drive exchange, but it’s important to avoid leaving your backcourt open to an attack after you hit your shot. So, once you hit the shuttle, don’t forget to use your front leg to push yourself back into the ready position.
Tips for a Better Backhand Drive
Backhand drives are somewhat advanced shots, which means it’s completely normal to miss-hit the first several times you try them. With that being said, here are a few tips that can improve your success as you practice:
- Check your grip. When using your thumb to press on your racket, check how much of your thumb is actually making contact with the handle. For the most power, your thumb should be nearly flat on the handle when you swing.
- Use a variety of drills to master your technique. Multishuttle drills, one vs. one drills, and wall rally drills are all great ways to practice your backhand drive.
- Keep your swing relatively short, as it can help you better control the shuttle.
- Consider aiming towards the center of the court or tramlines to confuse your opponents.
The Bottom Line
The backhand drive in badminton is a powerful, fast-paced shot that can increase the pace of any doubles game. But if you’re like many badminton players, you might find it difficult to get the same power and accuracy with your backhand drive as you do with your forehand.
The good news? You can see remarkable improvements in your technique by remembering the tips above. Don’t forget to:
- Step forward into your shot, making contact with the birdie just before your foot hits the ground.
- Use your grip and thumb to push your racket and add momentum to the shot.
- Don’t use a big swing, and be careful not to lock your arm during the shot. A somewhat loose arm with a shorter swing can help you create a more controlled and accurate backhand drive.