Feature_Image_Badminton_Drive

What is a Drive in Badminton & How and When to Perform One

A badminton drive is a shot played in the middle court that can be seen as an offensive shot. When performing a drive shot, the shuttle will pass very close to the net and not raise too high. Depending on the type of drive you perform, it can have three types of trajectories before crossing the net.

It can have a descending trajectory, a horizontal trajectory or an ascending trajectory. In all cases, though, the shuttle will not raise too high from the net so the most offensive response you are likely to get from a drive is another drive.

The drive shot is mostly used in doubles, where keeping the initiative is very important and thus drives are used whenever a more offensive shot cannot be used. In singles, it becomes a very risky shot as it accelerates the end of the rally and can easily turn to your disadvantage if your position in the court is not very advantageous. As a result, whenever it is used in singles, it lasts a short period of time, either because the rally is finished or because one of the two players changes gears and becomes less offensive.

If you want to beat that other player in your club that always manages to find your weak points, you should sign up for the Badminton Famly+ online training program. You can read our in-depth review of this e-learning platform created by a world champion following this link.

What are the different types of drives?

As we mentioned at the beginning of the post, there are mainly three types of trajectories that a drive can take. As you can shoot a drive both with your forehand and with your backhand, there are in total six different types of drives.

If you are new to badminton and you are not sure what forehand and backhand mean, or how you need to grip your handle when performing each of these, you can check our extensive badminton grip guide, where we explain what they are and how do you need to hold your racket for each type of shot. The drive shots can be divided as follows:

  • Forehand drive
    • Offensive forehand drive
    • Flat forehand drive
    • Defensive forehand drive
  • Backhand drive
    • Offensive backhand drive
    • Flat backhand drive
    • Defensive backhand drive
Trajectory offensive drive
Trajectory of an offensive drive

How to hit a forehand drive?

As we explained above, there are three different types of forehand drive and, even though they share some characteristics, the way to hit the shuttle is different on each. Therefore, we have divided this section into three subsections to show you how to hit each type of forehand drive. As with the other shots we have explained in this blog, each shot is divided into three steps.

In this post, we focus mainly on the movement of the arm in order to perform the shot. If you are new to badminton, we recommend that you also check our badminton footwork guide, where we explain how you should be moving your legs and the different movements you can perform to reach the area of the court we discuss here.

How to hit an offensive forehand drive?

An offensive forehand drive can be hit when you catch the shuttle above your head’s height. In this case, you can aim at giving it a descending angle from the start, making more difficult for your opponent to react to it. In order to perform a badminton offensive forehand drive, follow these steps:

Step 1 – Getting ready

The first step is the preparation of the shot or the position you are in before you start with the motion to hit the shuttle. In this position, you should be in the center of the court with your racket leg slightly forward and your non-racket leg slightly backward.

Step 2 – Moving towards the shuttle

Step two is what could be also called the movement itself. It is the process between your “ready” position and when you hit the shuttle.

In here, you adopt the forehand grip and move your racket leg forward.

During the movement phase, you should be bringing your arm up, your elbow a bit to the rear and roughly at the same height as your shoulder and the wrist extended back so that your racket is behind your body and almost parallel to the ceiling or floor.

Step 3 – Hit the shuttle

The last step is hitting the shuttle. In this step, you need to complete the offensive drive. To do this correctly, you should be finalizing the movement you started in step two by landing on your racket leg while at the same time hitting the shuttle.

To hit the shuttle correctly, you need to bring your racket forward, mainly using your wrist to do so. The reason for using only the wrist is speed. Because this is a very fast movement, you will not have time to move your whole arm and, because you are closer to the net, you do not need the same strength that you would need for a smash. As a result, even though you are only using the wrist, the shot will be powerful enough.

At the moment that you are going to hit the shuttle, you should grip the handle firmly, same as with you would do in most shots that are hit from the rear of the court.

In order to perform a parallel shot, keep your racket head perpendicular to the net at the moment of the impact.

In order to send the shuttle to the other side of the court, rotate your arm approximately 45 degrees so the head of the racket is not perpendicular to the net at the moment of the impact.

How to hit a flat forehand drive?

A flat forehand drive can be hit when you catch the shuttle at around the net height. In this case, you should not perform an offensive drive because the chances of your shuttle ending in the net are very high.

Trajectory flat drive
Trajectory of a flat drive

Therefore, the recommendation is to perform a flat forehand drive. If you perform this correctly, your opponent will have a harder time gaining the initiative of the point. In order to perform a badminton flat forehand drive, follow these steps:

Step 1 – Getting ready

The first step is the preparation of the shot or the position you are in before you start with the motion to hit the shuttle. In this position, you should be in the center of the court with your racket leg slightly forward and your non-racket leg slightly backward. This is the same as the offensive drive.

Step 2 – Moving towards the shuttle

Adopt the forehand grip and move your racket leg forward.

During the movement phase, you should be bringing your arm up, but do not bring your elbow to the rear. Your wrist should be extended back so that your racket head is behind your body. In this case, the racket should be roughly 45 degrees to the ceiling or floor.

Step 3 – Hit the shuttle

The last step is hitting the shuttle. In this step, you need to complete the flat drive. To do this correctly, you should be finalizing the movement you started in step two by landing on your racket leg while at the same time hitting the shuttle.

To hit the shuttle correctly, you need to bring your racket forward mainly using your wrist to do so. The reason for using only the wrist is speed. Because this is a very fast movement, you will not have time to move your whole arm. The key here is to stop the wrist movement when the racket reaches the point that is perpendicular to the floor. This is to ensure the shuttle performs a flat trajectory.

This is a tricky movement to explain precisely and also to perform. It might help to imagine the movement you would do if you were playing darts and try to do something similar with the racket. The key is to keep practicing and keep in mind that you need to block your wrist whenever it reaches the angle of 90 degrees with the floor.

How to hit a defensive forehand drive?

A defensive forehand drive can be hit when you catch the shuttle a bit below the net height, but high enough that a drive is still an option. In this case, you should not perform a flat drive because the chances of your shuttle ending in the net are very high.

Trajectory defensive drive
Trajectory of a defensive drive

Therefore, the recommendation is to perform a defensive forehand drive. If you perform this correctly, you will still manage to keep playing a drive rally and hopefully gain the initiative of the rally soon. In order to perform a badminton flat forehand drive, follow these steps:

Step 1 – Getting ready

This is the same as the other two forehand drives.

Step 2 – Moving towards the shuttle

Adopt the forehand grip and move your racket leg forward. You will also bring your center of gravity a bit down compared to the offensive and the flat drives in order to make your shot easier.

During the movement phase, you should be bringing your arm to the side, so that your arm is forming almost a straight line (your elbow should be slightly bent) facing slightly downwards. Your wrist should be extended back so that your racket head is behind your body. In this case, the racket should be almost parallel to the floor or ceiling. Your racket head, however, should be rotated 90 degrees so it is perpendicular to the floor or ceiling (or roughly parallel to the net).

Step 3 – Hit the shuttle

The last step is hitting the shuttle. In this step, you need to complete the defensive drive. To do this correctly, you should be finalizing the movement you started in step two by landing on your racket leg while at the same time hitting the shuttle.

To hit the shuttle correctly, you need to bring your racket forward using your whole arm and blocking your wrist. The movement does not need to be very extensive because you are playing a fast shot, but it is important to keep your wrist blocked so it is easier to control the direction of the shuttle.

This is a tricky movement to explain precisely and also to perform. It might help to imagine the movement you would do when pushing to open a door. The key to master this shot is to keep in mind that you need to block your wrist and move the whole arm together.

Although not is so much detail, Coaching Badminton explains here the three different types of forehand drive so you have a visual representation of the explanation above.

How to hit a backhand drive?

As we explained before, there are also three different types of backhand drive and, even though they share some characteristics, the way to hit the shuttle is different on each. Therefore, as we have done with the forehand, we have divided this section into three subsections to show you how to hit each type of backhand drive. As with the forehand drive shots, each shot is divided into three steps.

How to hit an offensive backhand drive?

An offensive backhand drive can be hit when you catch the shuttle above your head’s height. In this case, you can aim at giving it a descending angle from the start, making more difficult for your opponent to react to it. In order to perform a badminton offensive backhand drive, follow these steps:

Step 1 – Getting ready

The first step is the preparation of the shot or the position you are in before you start with the motion to hit the shuttle. In this position, you should be in the center of the court with your racket leg slightly forward and your non-racket leg slightly backward.

Step 2 – Moving towards the shuttle

Adopt the backhand grip and move your racket leg forward.

During the movement phase, you should be bringing your arm up, your elbow a bit to the rear and a bit lower than your shoulder and the wrist extended back so that your racket is behind your body and almost parallel to the ceiling or floor.

Step 3 – Hit the shuttle

The last step is hitting the shuttle. In this step, you need to complete the offensive drive. To do this correctly, you should be finalizing the movement you started in step two by landing on your racket leg while at the same time hitting the shuttle.

To hit the shuttle correctly, you need to bring your racket forward, mainly using your wrist to do so. The reason for using only the wrist is speed. Because this is a very fast movement, you will not have time to move your whole arm. Because you are closer to the net, you do not need the same strength that you would need for a smash. Therefore, using only the wrist is still a good option.

At the moment that you are going to hit the shuttle, you should grip the handle firmly, same as with you would do in most shots that are hit from the rear of the court.

In order to perform a parallel shot, keep your racket head perpendicular to the net at the moment of the impact.

In order to send the shuttle to the other side of the court, rotate your arm approximately 45 degrees so the head of the racket is not perpendicular to the shuttle at the moment of the impact.

How to hit a flat backhand drive?

A flat backhand drive can be hit when you catch the shuttle at around net height. In this case, you should not perform an offensive drive because the chances of your shuttle ending in the net are very high. Therefore, the recommendation is to perform a flat backhand drive. If you perform this correctly, your opponent will have a harder time gaining the initiative of the point. In order to perform a badminton flat backhand drive, follow these steps:

Step 1 – Getting ready

The first step is the preparation of the shot or the position you are in before you start with the motion to hit the shuttle. In this position, you should be in the center of the court with your racket leg slightly forward and your non-racket leg slightly backward. This is the same as the offensive drive and it is also the standard ready position.

Step 2 – Moving towards the shuttle

Adopt the backhand grip and move your racket leg forward.

During the movement phase, you should be bringing your arm up, but do not bring your elbow to the rear. Your wrist should be extended back so that your racket head is behind your body. In this case, the racket should be roughly 45 degrees to the ceiling or floor.

Step 3 – Hit the shuttle

The last step is hitting the shuttle. In this step, you need to complete the flat drive. To do this correctly, you should be finalizing the movement you started in step two by landing on your racket leg while at the same time hitting the shuttle.

To hit the shuttle correctly, you need to bring your racket forward mainly using your fingers to do so. In addition, you will move the wrist a little bit. The key here is to stop the movement when the racket reaches the point that is perpendicular to the floor. This is to ensure the shuttle performs a flat trajectory.

This is a tricky movement to explain precisely and also to perform. It might help to imagine the movement you would do when playing darts and trying to do something similar with the racket. The key is to keep practicing and keeping in mind that you need to block your movement whenever it reaches the angle of 90 degrees with the floor.

How to hit a defensive backhand drive?

A defensive backhand drive can be hit when you catch the shuttle a bit below the net height, but high enough that a drive is still an option. In this case, you should not perform a flat drive because the chances of your shuttle ending in the net are very high. Therefore, the recommendation is to perform a defensive backhand drive. If you perform this correctly, you will still manage to keep playing a drive rally and hopefully gain the initiative soon. In order to perform a badminton flat backhand drive, follow these steps:

Step 1 – Getting ready

This is the same as the other two backhand drives.

Step 2 – Moving towards the shuttle

Adopt the backhand grip and move your racket leg forward. You will also bring your center of gravity a bit more down compared to the offensive and the flat drives in order to make your shot easier.

During the movement phase, you should be bringing your arm to the side, so that your arm is forming almost a straight line (your elbow should be slightly bent) extended slightly downwards. Your wrist should be extended back so that your racket head is behind your body. In this case, the racket should be almost parallel to the floor or ceiling. Your racket head, however, should be rotated 90 degrees so it is perpendicular to the floor or ceiling (or parallel to the net).

Step 3 – Hit the shuttle

The last step is hitting the shuttle. In this step, you need to complete the defensive drive. To do this correctly, you should be finalizing the movement you started in step two by landing on your racket leg while at the same time hitting the shuttle.

To hit the shuttle correctly, you need to bring your racket forward using your whole arm and blocking your wrist. The movement does not need to be very extensive because you are playing a fast shot, but it is important to keep your wrist blocked so it is easier to control the direction of the shuttle.

This is a tricky movement to explain precisely and also to perform. It might help to imagine the movement you would do when pushing to open a door. The key to master this shot is to keep in mind that you need to block your wrist and move the whole arm together.

Although not is so much detail, Coaching Badminton explains here the three different types of backhand drive so you have a visual representation of the explanation above.

When is a drive used in badminton?

As we briefly mentioned at the beginning of the post, drive shots are shots that are quite common and recommended in doubles, but very risky in singles. Below we explain when you should use it in each category.

If you want a more elaborated answer on this, be sure to check our post “When Is a Forehand Drive Used in Badminton?”

When is a drive used in singles?

Drive shots should be used sparingly in singles. This is because they are very risky shots. Due to the speed of the shot and the position from where it is shot, you will most likely have difficulties reacting to your opponents shot after you shoot a drive.

Therefore, drives should be only used when you feel like you have an advantage in your position and you believe you can finish the rally in the next shot or two.

When is a drive used in doubles?

Drive shots are very common in doubles. This is because in doubles, due to having two people on the court, there is less court to cover for each person so the rallies are usually faster.

Drives are excellent choices when you don’t have a very advantageous position in the court but you want to keep the initiative or at least not give it fully to your opponent. Drives can convert a situation where you are hitting the shuttle below net height into a situation where you have the initiative of the point and can continue attacking.

Last words

And with this, we have arrived at the end of this post. Is there anything unclear from the above? Would you like more information on anything related to badminton drive? Then let us know in the comments below!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *