Singapore National Players Danny Bawa Christnanta and Vanessa Yeo at the OUE Singapore 2014 (Photo by Lawrence Tan/Sport Singapore)
Many of us would have caught badminton replays of Olympians on TV, jumping in slow motion with their racket arm recoiled. In a split second, the shuttlecock pierces through the air downwards to the opponent’s ground to the vehement cheers of the crowd, signifying a point scored.
That shot there, is called a smash and when executed with power and speed it is one of the most difficult plays to return. Unlike a net kill (GC014 link), a badminton smash requires a great deal of power and is a move which can easily kill of the rally and win you points.
Like most badminton shots, a smash can be performed with both the forehand and backhand. Which is why mastering both grips is of utmost importance!
How to perform a forehand badminton smash:
- Adopt a forehand grip.(GC011 link)
- Stand sideways with your non-racket side facing the net.
- Shift your weight to the back foot, bend your elbow, lock your wrist and prepare to swing forward.
- Make contact with your shuttle at the highest point possible and swing your arm forward with force, straightening your elbow as you hit the shuttle.
- Jerk your wrist downwards when the racquet is in contact with the shuttle, to give the shuttle more power to angle it downwards towards your opponent’s court.
- Do a follow through with your racquet.
To perform a backhand smash:
- Adopt a backhand grip.
- Have your back face the net.
- Shift your weight to your racket foot, and lift your arm with your forearm being parallel to the floor.
- Keep the racket arm close to your body and hold the racket pointing down.
- As with the forehand smash, hit the shuttle at the highest point of contact and flick down your wrist to generate more power.
- With a backhand smash, a follow through is not needed
Apart from these two popular smashes, there is the “Around the Head Smash”. This is played at the non-racquet side of your body and it is very similar to the forehand overhead smash except for a few minor adjustments.
To perform a Forehand around the Head Smash:
- Stand squarely to the net, shifting your weight to your non-racket side of your body.
- Bend your elbow, bringing your racket behind your head. After swinging forward, transfer your body weight to the other side of your body, back to base position.
Other things to bear in mind when performing smashes
To add more power and a steeper angle to a smash, players often use a jumping motion followed by a smash. This move is simply called a jump smash. However, this is far more advanced so beginners are encouraged to master the technique of a basic smash first.
The wrist plays an important part in deception regardless of what shot you are planning to execute, even in smashes. Always keep your opponents guessing with deceptive shots, so the direction of your shots will not be easy to predict. This would ultimately help you get an edge over your opponents.