For badminton tips and tricks #4, we are going to discuss ways to improve your backhand. I already have a post on a few backhand drills you could look at but here are some more unique training methods that I used to help improve my backhand.
Backhand has always been a weakness of all badminton players, even Taufik Hidayat who’s supposedly the backhand god. If you’re playing a backhand shot at the back of the court, it likely means that you are on the defensive and don’t have the time to use an overhead shot.
Even if it seems like your backhand is stronger than your forehand, which many beginners do, it isn’t. That’s just not enough practice with overhead swings. Our backhands are physically weaker than our forehand, and that’s for everybody. So don’t worry, you’re not the only one.
However, because our backhand is weak, we must make it stronger. Have you ever heard of the saying, “You’re only as strong as your weakest link?” It totally applies here. If you can’t at least recover with a backhand shot, people will always try to take advantage of it.
That’s why I have some more tips to help you improve your backhand skills.
Swinging A Racket
One of the tips I have for you that I rarely see anyone talk about is using your backhand to swing your racket in the air. First watch a video on someone doing a good backhand swing, find some pictures, or ask your coach (if you have one) how to play a backhand shot. Then grab a racket and swing it in the backhand motion that you saw in an open space.
Doing this is so great because it builds strength and form into your shot and you can do it just about anywhere. In fact, you can take it one step further and remove the racket.
Just imagine you have a racket in your hand and make that backhand swing anywhere you would like. You can do it in your room, at school, at work; anywhere as long as you won’t feel embarrassed and won’t hit anybody.
Another great way to build strength in your backhand is to use this method with training racket. Swinging with a training racket will significantly develop your strength in your backhand, and you’ll feel so much power in your backhand swings with an ordinary racket. With a training racket though, you need to make sure your technique is really good. If you’re messing up your swings a lot, you should definitely stay away from a training racket.
I have a post on if you need a training racket to help you make a decision.
With the swinging the racket drill, if you can, you should also take the step and lunge that you would do in an actual game. This will help improve your feeling and technique even more.
Practicing With Drills
Like I mentioned in the introduction, I already have a post on different backhand drills you can do.
I’m going to first talk about doing a backhand swing during footwork. One of the common reasons why players fail their backhand shot is not because of their shot or swing technique, it’s actually because of their footwork. The footwork is definitely awkward in the beginning, and it’ll take some time to find a solid footing.
I recommend you get on the court and do some pointing footwork and instead of doing only the scissor-kick jump smash at the backhand back corner, I suggest you incorporate a lot of backhand shots.
As you improve overall footwork, it’s time to get a feel of the shuttle. Just swinging a racket or doing pointing footwork may help your backhand, but without actually practicing with a shuttle, you’re going to miss the shuttle because you just can’t time the shot or don’t know where to stand and hit the shuttle.
This is when I recommend someone feed a shot to your backhand corner, and then you play a drop, clear, or if you’re at the point, a smash. With these drills, you should start in the middle and always move back to the middle just so you get the feeling of the footwork as well.
Once you start getting more advanced and more stable with your backhand, you should build your own drills based on what actually happens during your games and matches. Personally, I found that I needed to play backcourt backhands usually after I play a net shot or after a short serve. An example of how I can make this into a drill is I’ll play a net shot, and then another player will feed to my backhand where I’ll play a backhand and then go back to the front and play another net shot and repeat.
If you want to see more drills, definitely check out Badminton Backhand Drills.
It’s All In The Feeling
One time I asked one of my coaches on how to play a backhand clear and honestly, he gave me quite a vague answer. He told me, “Playing a backhand clear is just like how you play a regular clear. It’s all about the feeling.” I didn’t really understand at the time, but a few months later when I was feeling like I couldn’t play any type of shot, I remembered his words and realized what I was doing wrong.
I wasn’t playing like myself. I put way too much pressure on myself to win and tried to copy exactly what the pros were doing to win, but it made me extremely tense. All my shots became weak, and I couldn’t last long. I felt like I was worse than when I just started playing.
I thought about my coach’s words again and thought about them more deeply. I thought about how I was playing in grade 6 and my younger years. That was when I had my epiphany. All my good shots stemmed from being relaxed. I was trying too hard to play a good backhand, and unfortunately, that was the reason why my backhand shots sucked.
The moral of this story is first to relax and then find that sweet spot for your backhand. I recommend you start out by trying to clear just like how you just started playing. Once you can play a clear, then drops and smashes are just an adjustment of angling and power.
Finding your sweet spot and getting good at badminton requires consistency. If you genuinely want to get good with your backhand, you need to practice as much as you can.
That’s one of the main reasons I told you about that swinging a racket in the air drill. For me, I don’t really get to practice on the court as often as I would like. Badminton drop-in centers are costly and quite far from me. They’re also full all the time which really is a bummer.
Most of my improvement actually comes from training at home and outside. And that’s why I have these ways to train without a gym. So practice as much as you can. It doesn’t have to be a court if you genuinely want to get good.
Go Out and Practice!
What are you waiting for? Go find a video or something and learn a proper hitting technique. Then go out on a court or inside your house and practice that swing along with the footwork.
If you can, grab a friend to help feed you shuttles on a court so that you can get the shuttle feeling in and do it lots!
Do you have any questions, comments, or experiences that you want to share? Leave them down below and as always, have a great day!