When we start out playing badminton, coaches and other mentors will tell us to try not to use our backhands, they might even not practice our backhands at all. This is because your coaches and mentors want you to not get lazy and use your backhand when you can use your forehand since the forehand will always be stronger than the backhand.
But there are definitely situations where you will be forced into use your backhand. Players will even specifically target your backhand so here are some badminton backhand drills to improve your backhand.
Before we get into actual drills, make sure you have the right technique. This includes footwork, grip, and swing. Let’s start off with grip.
When you’re doing backhand swings, you want to hold the racket like a thumbs-up. The thumb should be on the flat side of the grip. There are also different variations where you put your thumb on the angled side to supposedly generate more power but personally it makes no difference to me.
Then we go into the footwork and swing. All of your backhand swings will start with a lunge toward the backhand side. After that, we want to make a swing. To generate power in a backhand swing, it comes from the flick of your wrist and forearm at the same time. It takes some practice to get used to.
One mistake that I have personally experienced before is slicing too much. In the beginning, make sure you keep the racket going in one motion without any slicing. Slicing will weaken the power and there’s only certain times when slicing is good.
In many of my articles, I reference a standard, very easy drill. An example is person A serves, person B smashes, person A blocks, person B lifts, and repeat. In this case, try to do these drills with your backhand. Stand a little further away from your backhand corner and then try to do the shots with only your backhand. E.g. clears, drives, drops, smashes etc. Drives should be already solid if not better than your forehand so I recommend doing clears and drops with your backhand in the beginning. Then moving to smashes as these are the shots players have the most trouble with.
You can also your partner just lift over and over again to your backhand. In which you can focus down a specific backhand shot.
The most basic feeding drill is having someone repeatedly lift to your backhand. You can try a pattern where you clear, drop, and smash. You can also add in variations where you hit it cross court or straight. If you’ve got this down, you can probably move onto some more complicated drills.
Doing more complicated drills will help you determine how you will use your skills in a real game. There’s one main drill that I like for practicing your back court backhand shots. Have the feeder feed a shot to the player towards the front of his forehand side. Then you want to feed another shot into their back court backhand area. This is a really good drill because almost all the time that you’re playing a back court backhand will be because you played a forehand shot towards the front first.
Another drill is the multi-feed drill. While this doesn’t specifically work on your backhand, it improves speed. The feeder will hit shots anywhere on the court and the player can hit any shot back. This will give the player some idea of when it’s possible to use a forehand and when they must use a backhand.
I’ve saved the best for last. It’s likely you don’t get to spend more than 6 hours on a court every day but there’s still a way to practice your backhand even without having to be on a court or even have a shuttle!
This is my personal way of getting good backhands. First understand the swing and grip then when you’re at home or anywhere with enough space, pull out the racket and make backhand swings. It will allow you to build muscle that’s good for backhand swinging and if the technique is right, you will understand how to swing on the court with a shuttle as well.
This way of practicing does not apply only to the backhand. You can do this drill with anything you want to improve. Another tip is watch yourself in the mirror, then you can see if your swing has problems or not.
So that concludes some of my backhand drills for you. One thing to never forget though, is no matter how much you train your backhand, it will never be as strong as your forehand. For this reason, when you’re still able to use a forehand, it definitely takes priority.
Another note is that all these drills can be done in sets of time or quantities. I personally prefer doing time for basic drills and quantities for feeding drills. 3 minutes is a good time for a set if you’re going to do it by time and depending on how much practice you need, you should feed in 16 to 25 shuttles per set. Then you should do about 2-3 sets.