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Badminton Smash – The Why, When, Where & How of the Smash

Why is smash important in badminton?

Smash is one of the most important skills in badminton because it is the most effective way of finalizing points. Especially when playing at a high level, smashing becomes key to the success of the player. If a player cannot smash effectively, it will hit a glass ceiling where he/she will not be able to beat opponents of a certain level.

If you would like to know a bit more about what a smash in badminton is, be sure to check our post “What is a Smash Shot in Badminton?“, where we answer the question in detail, including the types of smash and when to use each.

While that is true of singles, it is even more important in doubles, where a powerful smash is key even at a semi-professional level. That is because in doubles attacking is mandatory in order to succeed, whereas in singles other badminton tactics can be used in order to beat the opponent.

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How to smash in badminton with power

In order to be able to smash in badminton with power, there are a few ingredients that we need to add to achieve it. However, it will come as a surprise to the beginners to know that it has nothing to do with raw strength. What will make the difference between a powerful smash and a weak one are not how big your biceps or triceps are, but how good your technique is when you perform the shot.

Badminton smash grip – One of the keys to a successful smash

The grip is a key element to a successful smash, as well as any other shot. In order to be able to smash powerfully, you need to smash using a perfect forehand grip. If you are not sure what a forehand grip is, please check our badminton grip guide. In there, we explain what a forehand grip is and how to hold it.

Even though this grip might feel awkward at the beginning if you are not used to it, it is very important that you start using it as soon as possible. The longer you stay using the wrong grip, the more difficult it will be to change your habit.

Badminton smash movement – How to generate more power by using all your body

Once you have a perfect forehand grip, it is time to focus on your position to hit the shuttle. This is also critical as you need to be using your whole body in order to generate enough power to shoot an effective smash.

The movement can be easily divided in three main stages, each of which need to be performed perfectly in order to deliver a successful smash.

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 standing with your left foot forward and your right foot on the back if you are right-handed. If you are left-handed, your right foot should be forward and your left foot on the back. In either case, you have to be facing sideways and not facing the net. This might seem a bit counterintuitive at first and difficult to do, but it is key to generate power. Make sure you keep your weight on your back foot.

In addition to the position of your legs, your non-racket arm should be up and in front of you in order to generate balance. The exact position of the arm will depend on your own feeling, as each body is different and you might feel more comfortable with the arm more or less raised.

Regarding your racket arm, your elbow should be forming roughly a ninety degrees angles.

Step 2 – Moving towards the shuttle

The 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 should be bringing the racket up using your elbow, so that the racket goes over your head. While you do that, it is also important to start switching the body weight from the back foot to the front foot and start moving towards the front. This is done so you can also use that inertia and transfer it into the smash.

Step 3 – Hit the shuttle

The last step is hitting the shuttle. Here, you finalize the whole process by hitting the shuttle using the inertia that you have gathered with the whole movement.

In order to do that effectively, you should be rotating the shoulder and your forearm.

Marsh Legions has a very clear video explaining this step.

Upon contact with the shuttle, you should be stepping forward with what was your back leg. By this time, your weight should be in what was your back leg and is now your front leg. It is also important to tighten the grip just at the moment that you make contact with the shuttle. This requires practice as you need to feel the grip and see the specific force you need to apply in order to get the maximum power into your smash.

Badminton smash hitting point – Where should you be hitting your smash?

In addition to your grip and your movement, it is also important to know exactly where you want to be hitting the shuttle in order to get the best possible smash.

The answer to this is that you should be hitting the shuttle as high as possible while at the same time slightly in front of you.

Why as high as possible? Two reasons. The first reason is that the higher the shuttle, the more angle you will be able to apply to your smash, thus making it more aggressive and more difficult to reach. That is why the jump smash we talked about in a previous article is so effective. The second reason is that the higher the shuttle is, the more you will be using your arm as a lever. The longer the lever, the higher the power you will be able to apply.

Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.

Archimedes

And why slightly in front of you? Because that is the perfect location where you can generate the most power with your movement. If the shuttle is a bit behind you or just on top of you, you will hit it before the whole smash movement is complete. Therefore, you will not be able to generate as much power. If the shuttle is too much in front of you, then you will need to outreach too much with your arm. As a result, you will not be able to generate as much power.

When to smash in badminton?

Now that we have talked a bit why and how to smash on badminton, it is important to note when (in which situation or position in the court) you should be smashing. As we mentioned in the badminton tactics article, smashing is a very aggressive shot and should be used carefully in singles. Therefore, you should only be performing this shot if you see a chance of finishing the rally in the next two or three shots.

In doubles, as the whole point of the match is to keep the initiative, you should be trying to smash whenever you are in the attacking side.

Where to smash in badminton?

Knowing where to direct the shuttle is as critical to the success of your shot as the performance or the situation in which it is performed.

In singles, if you are in one of the two back corners, you should be mostly smashing straight. This is the safest choice and the one that leaves less openings. However, it is good to sometimes smash diagonally, especially if your opponent is moving too much out from the center of the court into the straight smash location. Be careful, though. Smashing diagonally leaves a lot of empty court to your opponent. If your opponent manages to block your smash and return it straight, it will be in the other side of the court and you could easily lose the initiative of the rally.

In doubles, as there is another person playing in the same court as you, things are a bit different. As we also mentioned in our badminton tactics article, you have several options. If you are smashing from the center of the back side, the best option is to smash to the weakest defender if there is a big difference in between them.

Another good location to smash is to the center of the court. Because both opponents can reach that point, it is sometimes unclear for them who will hit the shuttle and that can play to your advantage.

If you are in one of the corners, however, it is always safer to smash straight. Smashing diagonal in doubles is even more dangerous than in singles. Therefore, it should be done only in very rare circumstances where, for whatever reason, you might see a big advantage by choosing that shot.

This video from Coaching Badminton explains very well the pros and cons of all the locations where you can smash in doubles.

Final words

And with this, we have arrived at the end of this article. Is there something else that you would like us to explain about the badminton smash? Then let us know in the comments below!

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