I was looking online for a good definition of what a smash shot in badminton is but I couldn’t find it, so I decided to create this post to answer the question precisely and thoroughly.
A smash shot in badminton is an offensive shot performed from the back part of the court. It has a downwards and straight trajectory, directed to the middle court of your opponent.
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In the image below you can see a drawing of the trajectory of a badminton smash. If you want to learn a bit more about what a badminton smash is or when to use one, be sure to read on.
What is a smash shot in badminton? The in-depth answer
As I said before, a smash shot in badminton is an offensive shot that is hit usually at the back of the court and that has a downwards and straight trajectory, landing in the center of the court of the other player.
The trajectory is downwards because this is an offensive shot so the main goal is for the shuttle to reach the floor as fast as possible.
The trajectory is straight because smashes are the fastest badminton shot. As a result, the shuttle does not have time to slow down too much and do the more standard curved trajectory.
The landing is usually in the center of the court because the shuttle travels very fast and straight and, because the net is in the middle, it cannot land closer to the net than that. In the image above this is very clear.
The badminton smash is the most offensive of the badminton shots. In doubles, it is the default shot whenever you are in an attacking formation. On the other hand, in singles, it is used more sparingly, whenever the player sees an opportunity to finish the rally or wants to put pressure on the opponent.
In the following sections, we will explore a bit more about what types of smash can be found in badminton. We will also see when you should use a smash shot in badminton and where you should direct it to.
What are the different types of smash in badminton?
The smash in badminton can be divided into four main types of smash:
- Forehand standard smash
- Backhand standard smash
- Forehand overhead smash
- Forehand jump smash
Forehand standard smash
The forehand standard smash is the most typical smash that you can find. It is a smash done with a forehand grip, on the racket side of the body.
If you are new to badminton and you are not sure what a forehand grip is, you can check our badminton grip post, where we explain it in detail.
Depending on how high the shuttle is when you hit it, the trajectory will be more or less steep. The higher you manage to hit it, the more angle you can give it and the more difficult it will be for your opponent to return it.
Backhand standard smash
The backhand standard smash is the least typical smash you can find. It is a smash done with a backhand grip, on the non-racket side of the body.
It is the least typical because it is extremely difficult to perform. Backhand shots are usually the weakest spot for all players because it is very difficult to get enough power. Since power in smash is a critical component, backhand smash are not widely used.
Forehand overhead smash
The forehand is a smash done with a forehand grip, on the non-racket side of the body. It is the approach most used whenever a smash is done on the non-racket side. This is because it is easier to perform than a backhand standard smash.
In this shot, the idea is the same as the forehand standard smash, with the difference that the shuttle is on the other side of the body. Therefore, your racket will go over your head in order to hit the shuttle.
Forehand jump smash
The jump smash is a smash done with a forehand grip, on the racket side of the body. The difference with the forehand standard smash is that, to perform a jump smash, the player jumps and hits the shuttle while in the air.
This shot is performed in order to hit the shuttle higher up and be able to give a stepper angle to the trajectory.
If you want to know a bit more about the jump smash, you can check our Badminton Jump Smash post, where we explain everything you need to know about this shot.
When to smash in badminton?
Now that you know what a smash in badminton is and which types there are, it is a good moment to talk about when it is a good idea to smash in badminton.
When to smash in singles?
In singles, smashing should be used strategically and carefully. It is a very important skill to have, but it can also backfire if you do not use it properly. Even though it depends on your specific skills and those of your opponent, there is one general rule.
You should use smash in badminton only whenever you see an opportunity to finish the rally or create an advantage and you are in a comfortable position that will allow you to return fast to the center point after hitting the shuttle.
If you don’t follow this rule, the smash can easily backfire. Let me explain it with an example. If you reach the back of the court a bit forced and try to hit a smash from there, two things will happen.
First, because you are in a forced position, you will not be able to put as much power and precision into the smash. As a result, your smash will be weaker and less accurate.
Second, because you are in a forced position, it will take you a bit longer to go back to the center of the court. Because you hit a smash, the shuttle will arrive to your opponent court very fast and, if your opponent manages to return it, you will have a very short time to reach it. Being in a forced position, it is more likely that you will not manage to reach it.
When to smash in doubles?
In doubles, the story is very different. As we mentioned in our badminton tactics post, tactics in doubles are based on having and keeping the initiative of the point. Therefore, the smash serves a different purpose here. It is used as a tool to finish the points, but it is also used as a tool to keep the initiative.
So, in doubles, you should be smashing whenever you are in the back of the court and the shuttle is high enough that you will manage to give it a downwards trajectory.
Since you have a partner covering the court with you, it is less critical whether you are in a forced position or not. In doubles, it is critical that the trajectory is steep enough so that your opponents have a hard time returning the shuttle comfortably enough so that they can gain the initiative.
So, in doubles, smash whenever you can because the critical thing is to be always attacking.
Where to smash in badminton?
Now that we know what a smash is and when you should be using it, it is time to check where to send the shuttle.
We know that the trajectory needs to be downwards, but we have not discussed yet where should you be directing it in the width of the court.
In singles, if you are in one of the two back corners, you should be mostly smashing straight to the side lines. This is the safest choice because it gives your opponent less time to react and it leaves the shuttle closer to your location.
However, diagonal smashes need to be part of the mix. Otherwise, your opponent will move the base point a bit more towards the parallel side and will have an easier time returning your smash.
You need to be careful with this, though. Smashing diagonally leaves a lot of empty court to your opponent. If your opponent manages to block your smash and return it straight, it will be on the other side of the court and you could easily lose the initiative of the rally.
If instead you are in the center of the court, you can pick sides. It is also sometimes a good idea to smash to the center of the court as a surprise tactic.
In doubles, if you are smashing from the center of the back court, the best option is to direct your smash to the weakest defender. In doubles, directing your smash to the body of your opponents is common practice and it is not considered rude.
Another good location to smash is to the center of the court, between your two opponents. Because both opponents can hit the shuttle in that area, it can become a point of conflict and yo can gain advantage from that.
If you are in one of the corners, however, it is always safer to smash straight. Smashing diagonal in doubles is even more dangerous than in singles. Therefore, it should be done only in very rare circumstances where, for whatever reason, you might see a big advantage by choosing that shot.
And with this, we have arrived at the end of this post. Do you still have any doubts about what a smash in badminton is and what are the different types of smash? Or about when is it a good idea to perform a smash and where you should direct it? If so, let me know in the comments below and I will do my best to clarify it.