In this post, we will be talking about the benefit of doing drills without the front court. These are drills where shots to the front court (diagram shown below) are counted as out – meaning, we will be playing using 3/4 or less of the court. There are no specific drill discussions in this post, but we will talk about the benefit of playing games or practicing drills with this restriction.
What are long shots?
Long shots are the act of hitting shots past the service line in either a singles or doubles match. These shots are generally low and flat. They are the same trajectory as a drive without the force and power behind the shot. In the video below, you can see how often Momota tends to hit long net drops or block shots, rather than trying to hit every drop shot as close to the net as possible.
Why do we hit long shots?
There are many reasons we decide to hit long shots rather than going for the tight shot. Let’s explore these below.
Continuing the Rally
Not all shots are easy to spin or hit a tight shot. Badminton is a sport of opportunities, where you are looking for slight advantages in a certain shot to try and win the rally. In many cases, you are fine with hitting a long shot just to continue the rally and wait for your next opening. Long shots are a good way to test your opponent’s patience and see if they are okay with continuing the rally as well.
In many scenarios, your opponent may have better spin or tight net drops than you do. In these cases, it is good to keep the shuttle away from the net. This way, your opponent cannot play to their advantage and hit easier spin shots. If you hit it long, they will have to, instead, hit a long shot back or give you a lift – there is your opportunity to smash and follow up.
The long shots may also benefit your personal playstyle. When you play a long and flat game, there is less lunging and movement on the court. The court essentially becomes smaller and it goes back to opportunities and patience. If you are a player who is generally consistent and is okay with long rallies, hitting more long shots may be right for you.
Limiting Angles & Recover
Like I briefly mentioned earlier, this is a great way to limit the angles your opponent can hit (as it is harder for them to spin the shot). Additionally, you can use this as a way to recover and get back into a rally. If your opponent hits a tough shot, try to hit a long shot back to the middle. You may be able to force them to continue the rally and you will then have a chance to recover and find your own opportunities.
How can we practice long shots?
The main way to practice long shots is to enforce this strategy in a game. An easy way to do this, like I mentioned at the start of this post, is to rule the front court out. This is a restriction that forces you to play long shots in all rallies of the game and thus trains this strategy for you. Personally, I find this the most effective. I feel that if I am able to consistently play full matches with this restriction, then I will be able to mix this into my game (which primarily consists of tight net drops and smashes).
You can also practice this with many other drills like the transition drill or the two on one offense drill. For both these drills, just enforce the restriction of not being able to hit in the front court. With these restrictions, you should be able to reap the benefits of the drill while also conditioning yourself to play in a different style.
This drill is an awesome way to warm up as well, since you do not need to cover the entire court. Try out this drill next time you are at training and please let me know how it goes! Do this as often as you need this practice! 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!