Drives are some of the quickest, most versatile moves in all of badminton. And if you’re a doubles fan, you’ve probably seen firsthand how these shots can completely flip the situation in a rally. But how can you try a drive shot for yourself — and in which scenarios can they help you the most?
Below, we’ll dive into the details behind badminton drives, including how to do them, reasons to use them, and exactly when they can help you gain the advantage.
How to Execute a Badminton Drive
Drives can be executed on either your forehand or backhand side, but it’s important to keep in mind that they won’t require your full power.
Instead, you’ll want to primarily use your forearm and wrist strength to send the shuttle flying to your opponent’s mid-court. If you go in for a full-arm swing, you might use too much power and run the risk of hitting the shuttle out of bounds.
With that in mind, here are the main steps to achieving a drive shot:
- Hop into your defensive stance — with your legs wide, your body slightly lowered, and facing the net. Your racket should be up and ready to swing.
- As your opponent hits the shuttle, bring your racket up with your elbow pointing forward. This will make it easier for you to generate power behind your shot (which can be harder to do if your elbow is pointed out to the side).
- Step into the shuttle as you swing to create a powerful, flat flight path.
- Rotate your forearm and wrist forward to flick the shuttle while it’s in front of you, and allow the momentum of your body to help add power to the shot. As you do so, aim to hit the shuttle in a way that keeps it close to the net with a flat trajectory.
- Get back into position and expect a fast exchange of shots. While drive shots can end up scoring you a point right away, it’s quite possible that your opponents will fire back with another drive — and in these cases, you’ll want to be ready for action!
Why Use Badminton Drives?
If you’ve ever watched professional doubles games, you’ve probably seen your fair share of heated drive exchanges. However, these shots are a bit riskier — and rarer — in singles. This is simply because of how fast-paced drives are; if you start a drive exchange in singles, it can be tough to cover all the open space on your court.
With that in mind, why should you use badminton drives? In both singles and doubles, you can use drives to throw off your opponent’s rhythm when they’re expecting a frontcourt shot. In these cases, they may start lunging toward the net, only to be completely caught off guard as your drive shot flies past them.
Aside from that, drives can work excellently as counterattacks to weaker smashes. When used at the right time, they can help you turn a defensive situation — where you may have been hitting lifts or blocks to protect yourself — into a more level playing field. You can use them to increase the pace of the rally and eventually force your opponent to hit a weak, floaty shot.
Examples of When to Use Badminton Drives
Now you know the benefits of using drive shots, but what do these situations actually look like in practice? To help you get a clear picture, here are some specific examples to consider:
- When your opponent hits a crosscourt smash from their backcourt in doubles: By hitting a drive to the opposite side of their court, your shot can potentially surprise and outpace the frontcourt player.
- When returning a serve in doubles: Mixing in occasional drives as you return serves can abruptly increase the speed of a rally and keep your opponent guessing your next move.
- When your opponent hits a weak smash in singles: With fast reflexes, you can respond with a quick drive to the open side of their court. This can often force your opponent to hit a weak shot or miss entirely.
Drives are some of the most versatile moves in badminton, and they’re arguably one of the most useful shots in doubles. These flat, fast-paced shots can help add variety to your game, strengthen your defense, and make you a better overall player.
Like any badminton technique, drive shots can take time to learn. But whether you want to keep your opponents guessing, recover from being attacked, or set yourself up for a kill shot, it’s certainly worth finding the time to add these into your arsenal.
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