The deceptive drop shot: how to catch your opponent off guard
Team Singapore Athlete, Yao Lei returns a drop shot in a doubles game as team mate Shinta Mulia Sari looks on (Photo Credit: SportSG)
By Averlynn Lim
When you’re on court facing an opponent with better physical fitness than you, fret not for fitness is not the only key to winning badminton games. Having the right skills and techniques play a large part too.
Just think back to all the old uncles playing at community centres who trash the younger players half their age! With skilful techniques, you could get a decisive edge over your supposedly fitter opponent and win the game.
If your shots are easy to predict, your opponent can anticipate its direction and get into position quickly, returning shots with ease. This effectively hands control of the game over to him and you lose your advantage.
This is why deception is important. Instead, you want your opponent to be constantly guessing where your shot may end up. This would give him less time to prepare and react when the direction of your shuttle cock is only revealed at the very last moment.
The badminton drop shop
One of the techniques often used in badminton is the deceptive drop shot. There are a couple of variations of drop shots, but they basically hinge on utilising wrist movement.
The aim is to trick your opponent into believing you are going to execute a clear or a smash, thus luring them out of position and to the end of the badminton court in anticipating. Then instead of a smash or clear, you execute a delicate drop shot that instead lands just after the net, throwing your opponent off balance.
Why are drop shots advantageous to you?
Sometimes it will completely throw your opponent off guard. They will remain rooted to the ground resigned to the fact that you tricked them and caught them out of position or off-balance, with no way to return the shuttle.
If they make an attempt to return the shot, chances are the return would be a weak one as they had minimal time to respond and may be already out of position. You could then exploit your opponent’s mid and back court.
By consecutively making your opponent scuttle around the court and return shuttles poorly, you gain complete control of the game. You can continue to dictate the flow of it and this would tire even the fittest of all opponents, giving you the edge through sheer technique.
How do you execute a drop shot?
A drop shot can be executed with both the forehand and a backhand and it can either a slow or a fast drop shot.
A slow drop shot would cause the shuttle to land at your opponent’s frontcourt area, as close to the net as possible. The point of contact would be above the racket shoulder. It is executed with the intent of moving your opponent to the frontcourt which would hopefully allow you to take advantage of their weak return.
A fast drop shot would cause the shuttle to land in the midcourt of your opponent, preferably by the sides. This shot is intended to catch your opponent off balance such that they would have less time to respond.
Steps to a Forehand Overhead Drop Shot
- Use a forehand grip.
- Stand sideways with your non-racket hand facing the net
- Shift your weight to your rear foot, bend your elbow holding the racket and prepare to hit the incoming shuttle.
- As you hit the shuttle, straighten your elbow, tapping the shuttle as you hit it. Keep in mind the angle of the racket which will determine the shuttle's direction.
- Do a follow through and shift your weight from the rear to the front foot.
Steps to a Backhand Overhead
- Use a backhand grip.
- Put your weight on the racquet foot while holding the racket facing the ground and across your body.
- Try to hit the shuttle in front of your body as high as possible, tapping the shuttle as yo hit it while reducing speed at the same time.
Many beginners believe that slowing down their swing would help execute a good drop shot, causing the shuttle to land near the net. But contrary to that, even though the shuttle may land close to the net, it would travel at a decreased speed giving your opponent enough time to react and reach the shuttle. So it's important not to hit your drop shots with too little force.
When executing your badminton shots, always remember to disguise your play so as to keep your opponent guessing. Look like you're going to go for an attacking forehand clear when you're actually about to execute a drop shot and vice versa.
Having a masterful drop shop added to your arsenal of badminton techniques would definitely help bring your game to the next level. Remember its the wrist movement that plays a huge part in deceiving your opponent.
To receive the latest updates on the happenings in the Singapore sports scene, or to find out more about some of the latest programmes on offer at ActiveSG, like our Facebook page here.