The badminton clear is one of the first shots you’ll learn when you get started playing badminton. It might seem like a fundamental shot, but it’s actually crucial to playing badminton well. Here are 4 different uses of a badminton clear that can improve your game.
Time and Space
The most common use of a clear is to create time and space for you to react to your opponent. Since a clear is characteristically a high and relatively slow shot, you get time to go back to the middle and respond to the next shot your opponent is playing.
Most of the time, you’ll need to give yourself time to get back to the middle when your opponent is pressuring you heavily. Say your opponent has just smashed and you dived to return the shuttle, but then your opponent plays a push shot. Almost always, a good clear is needed for you to get back to your ready position.
Sometimes, it also depends on your playstyle. If you like to play it slow, playing high clears will slow down the pace of the game and make it easier for you if your playstyle corresponds to that. In the next section, I will talk a little more about this concept.
Clears are also great at disrupting rhythm. When you play a rally, you want to be the one in control of the rally pace and where the shuttle is going. At the same time, your opponent also wants to do the same thing. If you let your opponent get into their rhythm and you become the player that’s responding to their pace, you’ll probably lose the rally.
A good clear is excellent at disrupting your opponent’s rhythm; especially if they like to play fast and low. Clearing is like a reset or restart button in games. When you do it, the rally basically restarts since you’ve neutralized the rhythm of the rally. Thus, you can try to create your own pace again.
You do have to be careful about resetting with a clear. If you’re pressured really hard and you’re moving all over the place, it may not be possible to play a high clear that goes all the way to your opponent’s backline. On lots of occasions, it may only reach the mid-court where your opponent has the best opportunity to smash and end the rally.
That’s why strength and speed are so important. The power to play an excellent clear even when pressured and the speed to get to the shuttle faster will help a lot. You might want to try a training racket if you find yourself failing clears and do some footwork drills to improve stability and speed.
Another use of the badminton clear is for creating a stamina battle. Do you know why female singles players play a lot of clears and high shots against each other?
It’s because both players know that their stamina and arm strength are generally lower than men and they’re trying to make it a stamina battle. It’s why kids who can clear well perform a lot better than other average players because it becomes a stamina battle is created where whoever has the weaker arms will eventually falter.
Playing lots of clears also puts immense pressure onto your opponents. It keeps them guessing on whether you’ll play a drop or smash or some other shot; therefore, your opponent will always move back to the middle to try to anticipate your attack and lose stamina. And if they don’t move back to the center, merely play a drop shot and force them to.
This strategy isn’t for everyone though. I talked about how you can stall your opponents out by clearing a lot, but as you’re doing so, you’re going to lose the same amount of stamina. Only clear battle if you know that your physicality is better than your opponents or if you know that your opponents are not good at clears.
Attacking or Pump Clear
Continuing with the idea of using the clear as a way to win rallies, there’s a particular type of clear known as the pump clear that can mess with your opponent and cause them to lose the rally.
This clear requires that you’re on the offense. The idea is that if you have been smashing or dropping a lot when your opponent clears or lifts, he or she will expect you to do the same again and be ready. You can keep your opponent guessing by playing a pump clear.
This clear isn’t as high, and it’s much faster and flatter. It’s like a drive but higher up. Usually, you should play these straight and towards your opponent’s backhand side. If they’re not ready for it, you’ll win the rally off of it or at least create an opportunity to net kill.
Also, add in a jump for more of a deception to confuse your opponents!
The problem with this clear is its speed and height. If your opponent is ready, playing this kind of clear will mean a stronger smash or drive from your opponent. And it doesn’t give you the time to be prepared. That’s why you have to make sure that you’re on the offense.
For the same reasons, it’s also why you don’t play this type of shot cross court. Playing shots cross court gives your opponent more time to move back up and intercept this shot.
The pump clear works best if your smashes and drops are scary as well. It’ll give your opponent a harder time anticipating what you’re going to do which will lead to more domination from you on the court.
And those are some of the uses of a badminton clear! To recap, most of the time a good clear will reset the pace of the rally and give you time to react to your opponent. Other times, you can use it as an attacking strategy either by stalling out your opponent’s stamina or by playing a deceptive pump clear that throws your opponent off guard.
Do you have anything to add? I would love to hear what you have to say in the comment section down below! As always, good luck in your games and have a great day!