How To Improve Your Badminton Overhead Clear: 4 Drills To Try

Justin Ma - October 18, 2023 - 0 comments

The overhead clear is one of the most common shots in badminton. But if you’ve ever used it to defend your backcourt, you know pulling it off can be tougher than it looks. 

As a beginner, you can probably think of a few times when you cleared the shuttle to your opponent’s midcourt, setting them up for an easy attack. Or maybe your clears travel far enough, but you just can’t seem to place the shuttle where you want it.

So, what are the most effective ways to improve your overhead clear in badminton? We’ve compiled some of the best tips and drills for you to try below.

The Basic Steps to a Badminton Overhead Clear 

Before diving into the drills, here’s a refresher on the basic steps to the badminton overhead clear:

  • To start an overhead clear, you’ll want to use a relaxed forehand grip — aka the handshake grip. (Tip: Keeping your hand lower on the handle will lengthen the “lever” of your swing, boosting your power.)
  • To reach the shuttle, start with your split-step. Then, use a chasse step, and finally a lunge to position yourself behind the shuttle. 
  • As you load up to hit your clear, point your non-racket arm up toward the shuttle, and pull your racket arm back. Your elbow should be bent at about a 90-degree angle.
  • If the shuttle is high above your head, you can use a simple jump or scissor kick to reach it.
  • Push up with your legs, rotate your hips, and finally your torso and shoulders as you swing your racket in a throwing motion. This chain of energy will help generate power that gets the shuttle to the rear court.
  • As you swing, be sure to lead with your elbow and tighten your grip.
  • Aim to make contact with the shuttle high in the air and slightly in front of you.

4 Drills To Improve Your Badminton Overhead Clear

Looking for ways to practice your badminton overhead clear? Here are four drills to help you master the mechanics of this shot.

1. Basic: Tennis Ball Exercise

If you’re a beginner, a simple tennis ball exercise can help you gain a basic understanding of the overhead swing technique.

Here’s how:

  • Grab a tennis ball. 
  • Begin by practicing your throwing motion without letting go of the ball.
  • To make this more comparable to a real clear, you can add footwork and a small scissor kick before the throwing motion. 
  • After each throw, use proper footwork to return to your starting position. Repeat for 2-3 minutes. 
  • Optionally, repeat these steps with your racket for 2-3 minutes more. 

2. Master the Technique: Two-Player Badminton Overhead Clear Drill

A two-player overhead clear drill is a simple, powerful way to practice all the elements of this shot. Simply: 

  • Stand straight across the net from a partner. You should both start on the same side of your backcourt.
  • Start the drill by hitting a high serve to your partner.
  • Your partner will then return the shuttle with a high overhead clear.
  • Then, clear the shuttle straight back to your partner. Repeat for 3-5 minutes.
  • Next, increase the difficulty of this drill by standing crosscourt from your partner. 
  • Practice your crosscourt overhead clears for another 3-5 minutes.

3. Simulate In-Game Situations: Lift-Clear-Drop

Once you understand the mechanics of the overhead clear, the lift-clear-drop drill can help you simulate using it in a real rally.

Here are the steps:

  • Stand across from a partner in your midcourt.
  • Have your partner lift the shuttle into the forehand side of your backcourt.
  • Use proper footwork to make your way behind the shuttle, and clear it back to your partner.
  • Then, your partner will use a drop shot to send the shuttle back to your frontcourt.
  • Move to the frontcourt, and lift the shuttle to your partner’s backcourt.
  • It will then be your partner’s turn to clear the shuttle. You’ll respond with a drop, they will lift it back to you, and you’ll clear it again.
  • Repeat for 5-10 minutes. 

4.  Improve Your Precision: Clear Accuracy Multishuttle Drill

If you’re looking to fine-tune the precision of your badminton overhead clear, a simple multishuttle drill can help. Here’s how:

  • One partner grabs a few stacks of shuttles, while the other partner (you) stands across the net from them.
  • Your partner will then feed shuttles to your backcourt, one after another.
  • Clear each shuttle as accurately as possible into your partner’s backcourt. You can start by sending your shuttles into the back right corner, then to the center, and finally, to the left. 
  • Practice for 5-10 minutes.

More Ways to Level Up Your Game

Looking for more drills and tutorials to sharpen your badminton game? 

Subscribe to the Badminton Justin YouTube channel today, or sign up for virtual coaching to get personalized feedback and training tips from a pro.

Justin Ma

I am passionate about helping people find joy in playing badminton, while also showing them how competitive the sport can be.

Justin Ma


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