So I welcomed myself back onto the courts by with a three-hour session today - an hour of singles followed by two gruelling hours of doubles. Found out that my shot quality has improved somewhat from about two weeks ago, and my stamina isn't even half of what it used to be.
Gone are the attacking shots as well, the smashes were either too flat and prone to counter drives, or they just refuse to not hit the net.
It'll be a few more sessions before I get my game back on I reckon.
But one thing I did do right - tight net shots. Won quite a few points with a couple of well placed shots, and decided to share my experience with tight net shots.
Are you hitting the right net shots?
I'm a fan of the well executed tight net shot - shuttle spinning, feathers twisting and turning in the air - but how important is it to have a professional level tight net shot? Often times we attempt a high-level spin for a low-risk shot, increasing the chances for our opponents to win the point from an unforced error.
There are several kinds of net shots. There's the crowd favorite, the tight spinning net shot; there's the very annoying vertical drop net shot; there's the crosscourt slice, and there's the extremely underrated block to the net.
Of course there're also the trick shots, but I'll leave you to discover and invent those for yourself.
From the kinds of net shots listed, you pick which ones to use for the right shot, considering the risk you're put against, to set up an attack or even downright win the point.
A tight spinning net shot is used when you've got ample time to set yourself up for the spin. Since it takes a lot of momentum out of the shuttle, catching it at a good height it crucial in executing a proper tight spinning het shot.
When your opponent sets their position further back, or if they've chose a net shot to save themselves from the deep back court, you should attempt the vertical drop shot. This involves pulling the racket head upwards as the shuttle comes into contact. This results in the shuttle flipping over towards the opponent once before assuming a vertical plunge to the ground. The lack of the curved trajectory and the close distance to the net makes it harder to predict and lift.
If you're feeling adventurous, you might even want to give the cross court slice a try. This involves a quick twist of the wrist to slide shuttle across the net. This results in a very tight and sudden shot. There's a significant risk in cutting it too little and having to watch the shuttle slide down your side of the court, but when you do pull one of these off, it'll be quite the sight.
Last but not least, a simple block to the net provides for a set up for the back player, and also if the shuttle is put far back enough, a wayward net shot from your opponent. When you do block to the net, be sure to be be prepared for a followup tap or tight spinning net shot. You might also want to attempt the cross court slice.
The crux of a good net shot is to have the shuttle go over the net. Proper use of the wrist while execution determines the quality of the net shot. If you're not going to use your wrist for a net shot, be prepared for a couple of point-blank finishers by your opponent. Practice juggle and making the shuttle spin and stop at will, and you'll be on your way to controlling the front court in no time.
Loosen your grip, take the plunge, and let creativity drive your shots home.