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So the other day I was playing doubles with my friends and one thing which I noticed is that whenever I smashed, most of the time they were lifting the shuttle instead of playing a drive shot, the same thing was happening in singles instead of trying to hit a drive defense he was either playing a block or lifting the shuttle. This event inspired me to write this ultimate guide to help all those beginners who are struggling to hit a perfect drive shot in badminton.

What this guide contains

  • What is a drive shot in badminton
  • Types of drive
  • How to hit these drive
  • Some drills to improve your shot

What is a drive shot in badminton

Drive shot in badminton

It is referred to a shot in which shuttle travel in a straight line over the net, due to which domestic players call it parallel shot because the trajectory of the shuttle is parallel to the net

Different types of Drive shot in badminton

Broadly drive shot can be divided into two parts

  • Forehand drive
  • Backhand drive

But these two types also have various variation based on the speed of shuttle and the place where you executed that shot, so let’s discuss these types in detail

Types of Forehand Drive

Flat Forehand Drive

It is the type of drive in which both players are in neutral position and doing flat shuttle exchanges with a forehand grip

As you can see in the video both players are in neutral position and doing flat exchanges

How to do a flat drive forehand

Step 1: Using correct grip

In this shot grip used will be different from the occasional forehand grip

In the above picture you can see that face of my racket is flat and this is because I am using grip which is hybrid of pan handle and forehand grip

The technique of gripping racket is taken from simple forehand meaning holding handle not in the fist whereas the angle of the racket is achieved from panhandle grip

Pro tip: The higher you grip your racket the easy it is to generate power into your flat drive

Reasons for using this grip

  • To hit shuttle with flat face (slicing the shuttle reduce power in your shots)
  • Using the hybrid to take advantage of fingers (it generate more power than your first)

Step 2: Getting into position

It is one of the simplest drive in terms of getting into position

Split step in Badminton

A basic defense stance should be while doing flat drive in badminton

Step 3: Racket swing

In flat drive arm movement is used to generate power

As you can see in the picture above first step is to take the racket back and then forward to contact with the shuttle

Defensive Forehand Drive

It refers to the drive which is played when a player is defending the smash, in some region, it is called counterattack

In this video player in red t-shirt(Lin Dan) played a cross-court forehand defense drive to put his opponent in a difficult position

How to perform a forehand defense drive

Step 1: First step in performing this shot is to know the correct grip

During forehand drive basic grip will be used as it is optimal to generate power from your fingers, you can learn more in detail about this grip in my grip guide

Step 2: Getting into position to hit the shot

Most of the time shuttle is close to your body while playing drive shot because it is not a good decision to play drive when smash is coming near sideline

The reason for that is it is hard to generate enough power in your shots when shuttle is aways from the body

Coming to the position, the only thing which you need to focus on is your stance

Take a defensive stance and keep your racket below the chest(so that you can also defend steep smashes)

Step 3: Wrist and arm movement to hit this shot

There are two ways of doing it

Full arm action

As the name suggests in this technique full arm movement is used to generate power in your drive shot

Wrist action

This technique is more deceptive as less racket movement is involved but at the same time, it demands more wrist power.

You will be surprised to know that the quality of your shot depends on how good your wrist movement is

If you want to make your shots look the same then this is the aspect which you should focus on

How to use forehand defensive drives

Learning the technique is not enough but you also need to know when to use this shot during a rally

  • Playing a cross drive is only useful if your opponent is smashing from far backcourt and also play with opposite hand (with your respect) because, at that time he has to use backhand to return the shot, it can also be seen in above video

Whereas when it comes to doubles cross drives are not much used when both pairs are in a neutral position

Also, you have to be really good at these shot if you want to play forehand cross drive during defense

You should use straight drive when in singles(if you do not fall in above category) and in doubles look for the opportunity when frontcourt player is not active(his racket is below waist) at that moment using a drive on smash is much effective

Forehand Net drive shot

It refers to the shot which is played from the net area to the opponent’s backcourt

The main objective is to make the opponent off-balance

How to perform a Forehand net drive

Step 1: Learning the correct grip

Grip will be same as the one which is used in Forehand defense drive, some players tend to use panhandle grip thinking that it will provide more power

But it is not the case, Panhandle grip limits the area on which you can exert power also it limits the racket movement

Step 2: Getting into position

As we learned in defensive drive that shuttle will be close to your body but when it comes to net drives it is completely opposite

net shot forehand

The above picture explains the body position for net shot but even for drives all the things will remain same expect your racket position

You should only play net drive if you are able to reach shuttle when it is above the net height or slightly below it

During net drive, you racket arm should be extended fully to make contact with shuttle as early as possible

Step 3: How to move your racket

As I mentioned earlier in forehand defensive drive section that there are two ways to perform defensive drive

In this type, you should only be your wrist and there are two reasons for that

  • Using full arm movement can make shuttle go out of the court
  • Wrist action is more deceptive and easy to control

Wrist action during a net drive

How to use this shot to your advantage

Before you get all excited to use this shot in your game there are certain things which you should know to not get in trouble during a rally

  1. Drive shot travel faster on the court so before you play a drive shot make sure that if your opponent manages to return that shot you are quick enough to react to his return

Now we have learned forehand drive in its entirety lets look at various types of backhand drive

Types of Backhand drive

Flat Backhand Drive

It referred to the drive which is played when both players are in a neutral position

As you can see that both players are in same neutral position

How to perform Backhand Flat Drive

Step 1: Correct Grip

During flat drives, your thumb should be placed fully on the handle

One thing to keep in mind that the higher you hold racket during flat drive the better your drives will become

So if you are a frontcourt player in doubles than most of the time you should be holding a racket from the upper side

Whereas for singles player this might not be helpful so in that case hold racket from the middle when a situation like these arises

Fun Fact: You can hit 80 % of the shuttle(flat drive) which comes around you body with a backhand grip

Step 2: Getting into position

It is one of the easiest to learn because you only net to take a proper stance to get in position

Split step in Badminton

As shown in the picture bend both your knees to an extend to lower your center of gravity and keep your racket at level of the chest

Step 3: Racket movement

During flat drive power is generated from the thumb and your racket swing

In backhand flat drive movement of arm is required, as you can see in the picture first step is to take the racket backward and next step is to make contact with the shuttle by arm movement

Defensive Backhand Drive

It refers to the drive which is played(backhand side) when a player is defending the smash, In some region, it is called counterattack

How to perform a Backhand defensive drive

Step 1: Correct way to grip handle

I think this is the step where most of the beginners make mistake

What they do is use standard backhand grip, which is not correct at all

In the above picture, you can see that my thumb is partially placed on the side of handle

The reason for this is that it provides more rotation of your wrist

It is much easier to make a cross drive with this grip, you can learn all these grips in detail by reading this guide

Step 2: Getting in position to play this shot

In contrary to forehand drive defense it is easier to generate power from your racket even if the shuttle is away from your body

There are two types of body position which is used in this scenario

When the shuttle is in your reach

If you can reach the shuttle without using your racket leg then this is the correct way to do it

how to defend smash

Now as you can see that my racket leg is only working as a balancing element whereas the non racket leg is more into play

The benefit of following this technique is that it allows you to stay close to your base position, so recovery in this position is much faster

When the shuttle is close to the lines

As i mentioned earlier it is much easier to hit backhand defense drive when your racket leg is fully stretched as compared to the forehand side

The reason is for backhand side length of swing is much longer than that of forehand side

When the shuttle is close to the lines that stretch your racket leg while keeping in mind these things

  • Keep your non-racket arm extended to maintain balance
  • Touch the ground with your toe (non racket leg)

How to use Backhand Defense drive

Using straight drive on your opponent’s cross smash is very effective in singles

In Doubles Defense Drives are only used when a player sees a gap between front court player and backcourt player

Using Drive in Doubles on the very first smash will get your shot intercepted by front court player

Backhand Net drive

Definition: It refers to the drive played from net area(backhand side) to your opponent’s backcourt

There is one mistake which many players make while using this shot(read how to use section)

How to perform Backhand net Drive

Step 1: Learning the correct grip

Unlike backhand defense drive grip in this shot will be totally different

As you can see that thumb is placed wholly on the racket handle this is because in net drive not much racket movement(for changing direction of the shuttle) is required as compared to defense

Step 2: Getting into position

backhand net shot

Everything else will be same as shown in the picture except the face of racket

Instead of being flat to the ground keep the face of racket facing toward the net

Step 3: Racket movement to hit this shot

In net drive it is always good to use only your wrist because it makes your shot more deceptive and opponent gets less time to react

As you can see in the above picture I am only using wrist action not the arm movement to swing racket

How to use a Backhand net drive

Never play net drive from your backhand side(net area) to your opponent’s forehand side(backcourt)

In other words, playing cross drive from backhand is not a good tactic because it can be intercepted very quickly (this is applicable if you are playing against opposite-handed player means you are righty and he is a lefty)

In Doubles instead of hitting net drive to backcourt try to aim it between both players

Some Drills to Improve your Drives

Hitting the wall

Find a wall in your house which is flat now make it like the above picture

Your objective is to hit shuttle in between these two lines while being in a defensive stance and keep your racket above the waist

The lower mark should be at your chest level and the upper mark should be at your eye level

Basic standing drill

This is a must especially if you are a beginner or even an intermediate player because even professional players do this exercise but for there warm up

All you need is a player , now start doing flat drives as fast as you can

I have attached a video in section where i explained the concept of flat drive

I also have an article which contains 21 unique drills

Thank you for reading…

Categories: For beginner


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