Hitting the sweet spot is something you develop over time. It’s something everyone struggles with at the beginning but gets easier as you progress. Top Badminton players rarely make a mishit and they make every shot look natural and easy.
So, how do you hit the sweet spot in Badminton? To hit the sweet spot every time in Badminton you need to practice hitting with a controlled and smooth stroke. The sweet spot is usually located in the middle top third of the racquet head. So you want to hit the shuttle a little higher than the middle of the strings.
Of course, it’s always easier said than done. Keeping reading to find out what the sweet spot is, where it is and practices you can do to improve your consistency.
If you don’t already know the sweet spot on a Badminton racquet is the zone on the strings that has the best sound and feeling, produces the most power and produces the least shock vibrations back up the racquet.
The sweet spot has a dead centre which is the most optimal place to hit shuttlecock and then expands out from there in the shape of the racquet head. The sweet spot can be quite large or very small depending on a number of factors:
1) The head shape of the racquet
2) The technologies and materials used for the racquet
3) The string tension in the racquet
Racquet heads come in two forms, oval and isometric shaped. The oval-shaped racquet head is more common with lower-end Badminton racquets. They have a smaller sweet spot then the isometric racquet head found in higher-end Badminton racquets.
Some racquet technologies and materials try to widen the sweet spot whereas others try to reduce it. The benefit of a smaller sweet spot is that the power generated is more concentrated in that area. The downside is that it becomes a lot harder to hit the sweet spot consistently with more room for error.
The string tension affects the sweet spot size too. The tighter the strings the smaller the sweet spot will be. The difference in size between 24 to 25lbs or 27 to 28lbs in tension won’t be that big but the difference between 24lbs and 28lbs will be quite a lot. That’s another reason why high string tensions are only recommended to advanced players because of the risk of breaking the string by missing the sweet spot by beginners is much higher.
Now that we know what the sweet spot is, where is it? For nearly all racquets the sweet spot is located just above the centre of the racquet strings. The isometric head shape is designed to create a wider sweet spot in all directions from that point.
This is the point where the strings can repel the most. Think of it as a trampoline, the bounciest part is in the middle where the trampoline has the most area to stretch. If you bounce near the edges of the trampoline you don’t get as much bounce.
If you’re having trouble finding the right spot, a simple exercise is to hold a shuttle in the air in front of you, hold your racquet out and just let the shuttlecock bounce of the racquet strings. Try and listen to the sound and feel the feedback of the racquet. You’ll soon be able to feel which ones are landing on the sweet spot and which aren’t.
It’s something you pick up over time as you get better. You’re able to remember the feeling when you hit the sweet spot. As your muscle memory builds you’ll stop thinking about hitting the sweet spot. To help you get there faster here are some practices to help you improve your consistency faster.
1) Playing half-court midcourt clears
2) The wall drill practice
3) Play with a hanging shuttlecock
The object of this exercise is simple. Just play basic straight clears to your partner or have your partner do this as a multi-feed exercise. The reason for playing the clear just to the midcourt and not back to back is to focus on the swing.
Only hitting as far as the midcourt keeps the focus on hitting the shuttlecock clean because you don’t need to worry about getting enough power to hit it to the back. It’s a progressive exercise which means when you start to be more consistent you can then start to play the clear longer until you’re playing back to back confidently with very few mishits.
Hitting the sweet spot will give you more power naturally. From there all we do is either speed up the racquet swing with the smash or slow it down for drop shots.
This is a great practice for many reasons but it can also help with improving consistency when hitting. All you need to do is take a shuttlecock and start hitting it against the wall, any way you want. It’s more effective for practising defensive shots below the body rather than overhead shots but you can do both.
If the wall is textured or has grooves and gaps in it like a brick wall the shuttlecock will bounce off at various angles so you’ll have to adapt. This provides consistency with just enough variation to not make it too static.
You can play the shots as fast or as slow as you need. Same as the other practice, the better you get the faster you’ll be able to do the practice.
This one requires some setup but could be the best method for practising solo. The practice involves having a shuttlecock suspended from a high ceiling or you could use a long fishing pole set up with a stand.
An alternative is to use a fishing pole and rig a stand so the fishing pole acts as a scaffold to hang the shuttlecock from the fishing line. You can set this up for forecourt shots like lifts, midcourt shots like drives, rear court shots like clears, drops and smashes and everything in between.
Obviously this requires some equipment but it will enable you to focus on one shot. The consistency of the positioning of the shuttlecock should go a long way to improving your timing and technique. Like all the other practices speed up the swing to practice with more power and slow down to reduce the power.
Black Knight is an equipment that produces a one of a kind racquet, a sweet spot trainer. It’s a racquet designed to help just with this problem. The sweet spot trainer is like any other racquet apart from one big difference. The racquet head is a lot smaller than the average racquet.
The idea is that using this racquet in your practices will focus you on hitting the shuttlecock cleanly because the racquet head is so small that it’s easier to mishit the shuttlecock and lose power and accuracy.
It’s got a smaller margin for error. Use the racquet for a couple of practices or with a specific shot you’re trying to improve then switch back to your normal racquet. You should find using your normal racquet a lot easier and more forgiving after using the trainer.