Whether you’re a new player or a seasoned pro, a badminton smash is one of the most satisfying ways to end a rally. But executing a good smash is a lot harder than just smacking the shuttle with all your might.
It takes careful timing, a refined technique, and plenty of practice — and even with years of experience, it can be tricky to pull off.
So, what are the best ways to improve your smashes in badminton? Find some of the best tips, tricks, and advice for mastering this shot below.
1. Think About Your Body’s Rotation
If you want to power up your smashes, pro player Viktor Axelsen says to “think of your body like a bow.”
Essentially, it can help to imagine the smash as one fluid movement that comes together as you rotate each part of your body.
The steps typically look something like this:
- After moving to your position on the court, turn your body sideways with your racket up behind your head and your non-racket arm pointing at the shuttle. (Similar to a “throwing” position.)
- As the shuttle flies toward you, pull your racket arm up and back a bit further, with your elbow bent at around a 90-degree angle. Keep your muscles somewhat loose until you swing.
- Once you’re ready to swing, push off the ground with your feet to rotate your hips forward. In the split second after, rotate your chest and torso, and finally, your arm and wrist into the smash. This sequence of events uses momentum from your whole body to generate power.
- Follow through for maximum accuracy and power. Allow your arm to complete the throwing motion, rather than stopping and pulling back as soon as you hit the shuttle.
2. Hit the Shuttle at Its Highest Contact Point
Always aim to hit the shuttle at its highest contact point in front of your body. If you hit the shuttle while it’s behind or in front of you, you can completely lose the steep, downward trajectory that makes a smash such a powerful shot.
So, how can you get better at timing your swing? For the most part, it just takes practice — but one way to learn faster is to use a contact point drill. Here’s how:
- Grab a partner who can feed birds to you across the net.
- Each time they throw a shuttle, move across the court as if you’re about to hit a smash.
- As the bird gets closer, pull your elbow and racket back — but don’t actually swing. Instead, try to position yourself so that the shuttle lands just in front of your non-racket foot.
This drill teaches you where to place your body in order to make contact at the perfect point. Once you’ve got this down, you can use a standard smash drill to tie your swing, positioning, and movement together.
3. Master Your Racket’s Sweet Spot
Along with hitting the shuttle at a high point, it’s also important to make contact using your racket’s sweet spot. This area can vary depending on your racket’s head shape, materials, and string tension — but in isometric rackets, it’s typically a small oval area just above the center of the string bed.
If you need help locating your sweet spot, simply bounce a shuttle off your racket’s string bed a few times. The area with the least vibration and most bounce is your sweet spot.
Improving Your Sweet Spot Contact
If you’re having trouble hitting smashes with your racket’s sweet spot, this exercise can help you develop more control and accuracy in your swing.
Here are the steps:
- Tie a shuttle to a piece of string and hang it from your ceiling. Adjust the string length so that the shuttle hangs in the air at about smash height.
- While standing behind the shuttle, pull back your racket arm and straighten your non-racket arm out in front of you — just like you would when preparing for a smash.
- Then, practice your swing on the shuttle for 3 to 5 sets of 15 reps. Aim to hit it with your sweet spot every time.
4. Time Your Shot Strategically
If you love playing offense, it can be tempting to try to hit a smash shot whenever you get a chance. However, timing and strategy are everything when it comes to a great smash, and it’s best to use a variety of other shots until the right opportunity comes up.
For example, a good time for a smash might be when your opponent:
- Hits a weak, floaty lift
- Is out of position, wobbly, or unsteady
In addition, you should only hit a smash when you’re stable, balanced, and able to control the shot. If you don’t have enough time to set up, you can opt for other, safer shots — like a flat return or drop shot — instead.
5. Don’t Overlook Your Footwork
If you want to improve your smashes in badminton, proper footwork is essential. After all, your footwork is what gets you behind the shuttle fast enough to deliver a great shot in the first place — and without it, your speed, reaction time, and balance can suffer.
So, what should you do if your footwork isn’t as sharp as you want it to be right now? As a first step, it can help to refresh yourself on some fundamental footwork moves. These include the:
- Ready position
- Sidestep (or chasse step)
- Recovery step
Once you have the basics down, you can practice shadow footwork drills to enhance your on-the-court efficiency. Try including a few of these in your training routine to start seeing results in your movement:
Improve Your Smashes in Badminton: The Takeaway
From your body rotation to your footwork and swing speed, there are a lot of moving parts in badminton smashes — and figuring out how to improve them is no easy feat. Fortunately, the tips in this post can make the process a little easier.
As you work to improve your smash, remember to:
- Hit the shuttle at its highest contact point
- Use your racket’s sweet spot
- Time your shots strategically
- Practice proper footwork
- Think about your body’s rotation
And for more help along the way, be sure to stop by the Badminton Justin YouTube community today.