Friday, March 16, 2012

Offensive Badminton Strategies: Ground N Pound

Welcome to another lesson in badminton strategies.

I've read some of the stuff on the internet, tried them out and added my little touch to it for your perusal. I've even added in names to make them easier to remember!

This is part five of the Badminton Strategies segment. It'll be six parts in all, sans the overview.

If you read the overview you'll understand that I term Offensive Strategies as the point-scoring elements of your game. They consist of faster moves and may sometimes demand more concentration and accuracy than the defensive ones we've talked about before. One more thing about offensive strategies is that they use up more energy quicker, so every shot counts more than ever.

However, using these tactics well will open yourself to more opportunities to the powerful smash finish, and that's always a nice way to regain some confidence and energy.

The first offensive strategy I'll touch on is one often employed by my favorite tactician, Peter Hoeg Gade - the Ground N Pound.

Most players like to smash. Winning the point with a well-timed power play can intimidate the opponent while giving you a substantial confidence boost. For some players, their smashing technique has been worked on from day one, increasing in power and speed, often at the cost of their defense or movement speed.

When you realize you've facing an opponent who prides himself on his smash to the extent that he's neglecting the recover or defense, this is a strategy you might want to employ. 

How can a strategy meant to counter heavy smashers be termed offensive? Well, this is because you have to take the offense to the guy before he has a chance to bring it to you.

To do this, we'll have to rely on a few things - tight net play, fast drops, and offensive flat clears. I've covered a little about flat clears in my post on Punch Clears a while back.

By forcing the opponent to constantly taking the shuttle from below the net, you successfully eliminate the threat of his hay maker smashes. Do this by moving him around the court with fast drops and flat clears and forcing him to commit to tight net play. Once you get the short lift, you can land in a smash of your own, or if the lifts are decent enough, you can resume the fast drops or flat clears.

Fast Drops are easier to execute than you think. Assuming you can get your smashes down the other side at least 9 out 10 times, all you have to do is assume a smashing stroke, and at the last moment release the tightness on the grip to have the shuttle cut down sharply and steeply. It'll probably land slightly after the service line, but the point is to get a sharp angle and a fast speed so you can move the opponent around and force a short lift or tight net shot.

Tight Net Shots should be played with a loose grip on the racket handle. The index finger, thumb, and wrist should be the primary sources of movement and power here. For a nice spinning net shot, you'll want to catch the shuttle while your racket head moves in a J shape. There are plenty of videos on the internet to demonstrate this. 

A Short Lift is any lift that falls into the mid-court and is susceptible to a jump smash finish from you. If it's too far from the net and you can't get into place fast enough, attempt a flat clear or a repeat fast drop so as not to give the point away by hitting net.

Frustrated smashers may also straight out give you points by forcing a smash on your flat clears and taking the net out. 

Keep him grounded long enough and you'll have more than enough chances to pound him down.

Coming up next, Offensive Strategies - Taking the Net

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