If you constantly hit weak or misplaced badminton smashes, what you really might be struggling with is your timing.
Of course, arm strength is key in pulling off a great badminton shot. But hitting the shuttle at the right time can help you generate more swing speed and a cleaner contact point — leading to a deadlier smash overall.
So, how can you improve your smash timing in badminton? Read on for the best drills, techniques, and tips to use on the court.
1. Follow the Shuttle With Your Non-Racket Hand
The first and easiest way to improve your badminton smash timing is to follow the shuttle with your non-racket hand.
This tip might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s not always obvious to those earlier in their badminton journeys.
So, why is it important? By pointing your non-racket arm at the shuttle, you can better track it as it approaches. This makes it easier to align your racket and get the timing right as you make contact in the shot.
A bonus is that it helps with your balance and rotation — two factors that can also make for stronger, sharper smashes.
2. Wait for the Right Opportunity
If you’re constantly trying to smash every backcourt shot — even when a clear or drop might be more appropriate — you could be putting yourself in positions where it’s nearly impossible to hit a well-timed smash.
That’s why it’s essential to save your smashes for the right opportunities. With that in mind, remember to:
- Only use smashes when you have enough time to get behind the shuttle and rotate forward into the shot. It’s also important to make contact with it at its highest point. Generally, this means being 1-2 feet (roughly half a meter) behind it.
- Watch for weak lifts or clears, as these give you the space and time to set up for a well-timed smash.
- Avoid smashing when returning deep clears and lifts that are too close to the baseline.
- When using a jump smash, ensure you have enough time to get in the air as the shuttle approaches. You’ll want to just be descending as you swing to hit the shuttle.
3. Add Smash Drills to Your Training Regimen
Ultimately, badminton smash timing is a fine-tuned skill that comes with practice, consistency, and muscle memory. And that’s why it’s crucial to add a few smash drills to your training routine.
To get started, here’s one simple drill that can help you improve the contact point and timing in your smashes:
- Grab a partner and a few dozen shuttles.
- Stand across the net from your partner.
- Have your partner lift shuttles to your court, one after the other.
- Aim to smash each one to their court. Mix up your placement and add in a few jump smashes, making a mental note to focus on your timing and contact point.
- Repeat for 2-3 sets, with each set lasting 5-10 minutes.
The Bottom Line
To get your timing right, remember to save your smashes for ideal setups. And when you’re ready to swing, be sure to pull your racket back ahead of time and make contact with the shuttle at its highest point in front of your body.
By practicing these tips (and adding a few smash drills to your weekly routine), you’re guaranteed to see your smashes become faster and sharper in every game. Good luck!
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