Today we will take a look at my favorite singles drill – the transition drill!
Drill: Transition Drill
Duration OR Sets: 10-20 minutes per person OR 5-10 sets, no mistakes before 10-25 shots depending on skill level.
– Stay near the front service line
– Lift, long net drops (past the service line), or push around the driller’s body
– Long back drops, long net drops, block or drive on the side
– Stay low and active
Transition Drill Details
Today, we will be focusing on the Transition Drill. In order to understand what this drill means, we will first need to define the 3 main states in a badminton rally: offense, defense, and transition.
Offense, like its name suggests, is when you are actively controlling the rally and looking for ways to finish it. Commonly, the finishing form of offense is a smash followed up with a kill or push shot in the front.
Defense, similarly, is when you are being controlled by the opponent. They may be looking to finish the rally, whereas you are desperately trying to save it – maybe even find your own way to get the offense.
This is where the state transition comes in. This is a state between offense and defense, where the rally goes on but neither player has an upper hand in offense or is playing defense. This is generally characterized by long back drops and net drops, drives, and just placing the bird in places where the rally can easily continue without either side gaining an advantage. Normally, players on defense aim to get to this state in order to transition to offense. Offense players may also be in this state while looking for a good chance to attack on a loose shot. Transition is the state that the majority of rallies are in.
Let’s first take a quick look at how this drill is performed, and then go into specifics.
In this drill, we can have either 1 or 2 “feeders” (people who are helping perform the drill), and one “driller” (someone who is performing the drill – in this case, me). The feeders will stay in the front near the service line. They are able to lift, net drop, or push around the driller’s body. The driller just needs to keep their shots low and flat. In the back, only long drops and soft drives. On the side, soft drives or long placement shots. In the front, the driller can only hit long drops.
We generally want to do this drill for either time or consistency. When you do this drill for time, you are looking more for general consistency and endurance over the length of the drill. I find it useful to do somewhere around 10-20 minutes per person before switching, and one set each. For consistency, we are looking for speed and consistency of shots per set. We do somewhere from 5-10 sets per person and in each set, aim for no mistakes under 25 shots, otherwise restart the set. For beginner / intermediate levels, aim for 10-15 shots with no mistakes.
There are many benefits to this drill – endurance, consistency, technique, and game sense. This trains endurance when you perform the drill for the required duration / target shots without mistake, as it is demanding on your cardio to keep the rally going. This translates directly to the game, because transition is the state where most rallies are in. Consistency is trained when you have a target shot count to reach before a mistake. Being able to reach this target will get you accustomed to hitting the bird over the net for these long rallies – in the future, you will be able to build upon this shot count and keep raising your level. Technique is trained as while you are hitting these shots, you want to maintain a certain kind of quality. If not, the feeder could easily kill the shots as they are already standing in the front. Finally, this teaches you game sense. This drill allows you to get accustomed to playing in the transition state. When your opponents push you to the back or try to find their offense, by knowing transition, you are able to continue this rally without giving up the offense with a weak clear or lift.
Variations to Transition Drill
One variation to the transition drill that I often practice is the “Transition Drill with Offense”. This drill is exactly like its name suggests. It the same transition drill we talked about above, with the added option of being able to smash in the back. This is an extension to the original transition drill, and is meant for advanced level players.
This drill will heighten your game sense, as it is more realistic since most players in the transition state are looking for offense. In this drill, you will continue to hit transition shots until your feeder hits a loose shot. Take the opportunity to attack, just like you would in a game!
The transition drill can be done as a warm up to your training regimen, or you can focus a whole training session around this drill – performing the drill multiple times per person. Personally, I do this as one of many exercises during a whole training circuit, and have been doing this same drill for over 10 years. I can feel that I do not feel as confident in the transition state during games unless I do this drill at least once a week. Please try this drill out with your training partner next time you are playing, and let me know what you think of it below!
If you’d like to see more drill highlights, training highlights, or more, please check out my YouTube channel and Instagram Highlight Feed, and feel free to reach out with any questions. See you guys in the next one!