Net lifts are an essential technique to master in badminton. They are often overlooked as a technique that is not as important to practice, but in reality, it’s one of the most important! The net lift can help you control your opponents, get out of dangerous situations, or set up for some of your other shots. Let’s look at the basics of net lifts, some different variations, and some strategies involved with net lifts.
What is a Net Lift?
Net lifts are simply an underhand, high shot that you hit from the front of the court. You can think of them as clears, except you are hitting them from the frontcourt and underhand.
The goal of the net lift is to hit a high and controlled shot to the back of your opponent’s court. These shots should not be easy to attack and should help you stay in a rally.
Net lifts on both the forehand and backhand side should come naturally – just like a lifting swing. Take a look at this short video below to grasp better what this technique looks like (hint: you see this shot played very often in badminton rallies!)
Net Lift Variations
Net lift is a generic term for several types of high shots which travel from the frontcourt to your opponent’s backcourt. There are a few variations that you can use to mix up your opponents and hopefully win more points – so let’s take a deep dive into net lift badminton technique!
A high net lift is the most common; the type players and viewers typically associate with the term. For a high lift, the more time spent in the air, and the closer it can get to the back, the better! We hit the shuttle extremely high and floaty to the backcourt to execute this technique.
The purpose of this shot is to help a player get back into a rally when they might be in a disadvantageous position. On that note, it is essential that your high net lift technique forces the birdie close to the back and has a good height – this way, it will not be an easy shot to attack.
As long as you can keep a good height and ensure that your opponent is not predicting your high lifts, you can keep using this technique. If you overuse this net lift and your opponent starts moving backward before you have even returned the shot, you may want to reconsider and change your strategy!
The second type we will cover is the low lift. However, the technique used in this variation will not aim overly high. Instead, we want to send the shuttlecock traveling at a 45-degree angle. We are still hitting an upwards shot from our frontcourt to our opponent’s backcourt for this shot.
This technique is different from the high lift as rather than being a defensive shot, this is more of an attacking attempt! When we hit these low lifts, our goal is to make it hard to retrieve for our opponent. For example, if your opponent is in the frontcourt and hits a net drop, you can hit a low lift to the opposite corner and maybe win the point right there!
When you hit a low net lift, you get back to the center quickly and prepare for any flat shot – especially when they start to predict your low lift shots! Because the low net lift has a much lower angle, it’s easier for your opponent to use a single jump to cut off your smash. However, if your opponent again begins to predict your low lift, this may become dangerous for you.
The third type of lift is one I call the controlling lift. This lift is done by catching the shot early and contacting the net shot at a high point with your racket. You can then hit the lift anywhere between 45 degrees to 90 degrees (or a high lift).
The goal of a controlling lift is to take an advantageous position in a rally and set up for your own attacking shots. By catching the birdie early and high in the front, you give your opponent fewer opportunities to recover from their previous shot and get to your next shot. At the same time, lifting the shuttle to the backcourt can make it very tiring and challenging to hit it back consecutively.The controlling lift is one that you shouldn’t be afraid to overuse and one that you should try to use the most often. Because of its nature (caught the shot early), your opponent must react quickly to be able even to return the shuttle. Instead, they may hit loose backdrops, drives, or clears — all of which you can find an opportunity to attack! In this way, you have less to worry about because they will have a much harder time hitting an attacking shot.
Net Lifts are Important – Practice them!
Net lifts are a critical badminton technique that many players do not practice enough! By learning more about the different lifts and using them correctly, your front court game will become more dangerous for your opponents! Integrate other technique pieces of training or even multi-shuttle drills to practice and use your lifts more.
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