Drives are fast badminton shots exchanged horizontally right across the net.
When your opponent hits a shuttle straight towards you, your natural reaction will be to return a stronger and harder shot back. This is a common mistake as you’ll not only hit the shuttle pass your opponent’s baseline, you also risk the chance of missing the shuttle!
Another common mistake when engaging in badminton drives is that many players tend to subconsciously move forward after each drive as they realise that they’re putting constant pressure on their opponent.
This is extremely dangerous because when you move forward, you leave the back of the court wide open – which makes you vulnarable. If your opponent clears or lobs, there’s no way you can retrieve those shots.
Therefore the key to a good badminton drive is to learn how to slow down!
Learn WHEN and HOW to slowdown. After 1 or 2 drives, hit a badminton lob or drop shot. If your opponent does not know how to slowdown, your clear or drop will definitely ‘catch’ him off guard and this will set you up to win a point.
Generally taller players are WEAKER in executing drives compared to shorter players.
Taller people definitely have the height advantage in producing better quality jump smashes, but they’re weaker in terms of delivering drives.
Since drives are exchanged horizontally across the badminton net, taller people will have to squat down lower to hit the drives with a forehand stroke. When you need to squat low, you’ll feel slightly uncomfortable with the position and hence returning weaker drives compared to shorter players who don’t even need to squat much.
Therefore, it’ll be wise to avoid engaging in drives with opponents shorter than you. If he/she forces you to play the drive, return 1 or 2 drives at most and then lob or hit a drop shot.
You can hit a badminton drive with a forehand or backhand. However, make sure you DO NOT perform a complete (full swing) forehand or backhand stroke.
Since drives are very fast shots exchanged between two players, there will be NO TIME for you to perform a complete stroke. Besides, a complete swing will definitely be too strong and your drive will probably send the shuttle OUTSIDE the court.
Therefore the KEY in performing the drive is to use your wrist action.
Bend slightly forward until the height where your eyes are approximately level with the top of the net. Adopt the defensive stance.
Hit the shuttle when it’s IN FRONT of you. The movement is similar to tossing an object forward. Imagine yourself tossing an object into a rubbish bin in front of you.
Extend your non-racket arm for better body balance. Believe me, when you spread out your non-racket arm, you’ll generate more power for your drive.
In order to generate even more power and to perform the shot ‘smoothly’, allow your bodyweight to follow the momentum of your swing.
However, avoid throwing your whole body to the front or you’ll lose balance. Make sure as your body moves forward, your feet should stay firmly in position. You might lose some degree of body balance as you do this. That’s why you should use your non-racket arm to help you maintain balance.
Notice that the wrist points downwards after hitting the drive. you’ll only be able to generate a fast return if you make use of your wrist.
The technique to perform a drive using your backhand is similar to the technique using the forehand. However, quickly switch from a forehand grip to a backhand grip.
1) Slow down and control your shots.
2) Do not get too excited and move forward after executing a drive. Your opponent might lob it to the back of the court.
3) Taller players should avoid engaging in drives with shorter players.
4) Do not perform a full arm swing like a badminton stroke. Hit the shuttle when it’s in front of you. Use your wrist movement to generate the power for your badminton drives.
5) Always have your non-racket arm (balancing arm) extended to maintain body balance at all times.