How to Smash Harder in Badminton
When badminton players reach a plateau in their improvement, many begin to ask themselves questions. One of the more common questions is, “How do I smash harder?” While the smart-aleck in you wants to say, “Lift some weights!” it’s not that simple. Although added strength could help, it may actually work against you as you try to improve your smashes. In this guide, you’ll learn technique-based tips to help you improve the velocity of your smash.
Smashing Starts with the Legs
It may seem like an odd concept, but smashing starts with your base, or foundation, which are your feet and legs. When you prepare to hit a smash, your energy should be focused on your lower body — your leg should be bent and ready to unleash energy like a spring. As you jump, your energy will be channeled up your legs and into your upper body. While you’re airborne, your upper body should be relaxed. A stiff, tense upper-body will severely diminish your ability to unleash your energy at the moment of contact.
The advantages of jump-smashing come only at the cost of exerting a bit more energy. Raising the point of contact simultaneously gives you a better angle to smash and forces your opponent to react sooner. Also, jump-smashing significantly increases the velocity of your smash, which is just as important as its placement.
Hitting the Sweet Spot
Although the sweet spot isn’t something you actively aim for, it’s something you should notice while you’re hitting. To check if you’re hitting the sweet spot consistently, pay attention to the repercussions of the racket when you strike the shuttle. Hit some clears with a partner and try to swing with the same amount of force every time. After a few shots, you should begin to notice a difference in the “feel” or vibrations of the racket when you hit it. A shot from the sweet spot will have little to no vibrations. This means the force you generate is focused on driving the shuttle forward. A shot missing the sweet spot will vibrate the racket more, meaning the force is dispersed throughout the racket.
Tuning Your Stroke
While the stroke is only part of the equation, it’s one of the more important factors. A finely-tuned stroke will yield amazingly efficient results. A solid stroke starts with correct body rotation and finishes with a sharp snap of the wrist. Aim to contact the shuttle at the highest point and follow through with your shot. Your dominant foot should start back, and after you finish your stroke, it will be in front.
Using Your Wrist
The power of your smash will rely on your entire body working in unison, but your wrist will play the most important role. The snapping action of your wrist is the main source for power in badminton. The action of your wrist should be similar to that of cracking a whip. Even though your racket is stiffer than a whip, it still has enough flex to simultaneously store and release energy. By using this snapping motion, you’ll generate a tremendous amount of power.
There’s a huge difference between moving forward as you smash the shuttle, and moving backwards. Position yourself slightly behind the falling shuttle so that you can move towards it as you smash. Taking a smash with the shuttle directly above or slightly behind will hinder your ability to produce power. If you move backwards, you’re actually being counter-productive by moving in the opposite direction as the shuttle.
Focusing Your Energy
Focusing your energy is related to first section, which talks using the legs to channel energy through your body. This may sound vague and a bit abstract, but it’s a legitimate strategy. Like every object, your body can store and release energy. Your muscles’ ability to relax and contract is the reason you are able to generate an amazing amount of power. The steps below will give you a general idea of how your body will channel energy into an explosive smash:
- Bend your knees and balance on the balls of your feet to prepare your jump.
- Spring into the air while staying balanced and keeping your upper body relaxed.
- Begin to rotate your upper body as you prepare to hit the shuttle.
- At your peak, you should be able to hit the shuttle.
- Contract your body and release your energy with the snap of your wrist.
- This should result an efficiently, powerful smash.
Placement & Power
In your quest to smash harder, don’t sacrifice your ability to place smashes. A powerful smash is no good if it becomes too inconsistent to rely on. Make your strides incremental as you try to smash harder and harder. Strength training is an option, but simply improving your technique will make a noticeable difference in your game. Apply these tips to your smashes and you’ll impress your friends and opponents with your newfound power!