Badminton Forehand & Backhand Clear

The purpose of the forehand clear is used to force your opponent to the rear court. It can be played as an attacking shot or as a defensive shot. The attacking clear is hit faster and flatter into the rear corners.

The defensive clear is hit much higher and despite giving your opponent time to get behind the shuttle – it also gives you more time to get back to a base position.

The overhead clear is played with a throwing action. To execute the shot turn sideways on with the non racket foot forward. Prepare the racket by lining the racket head and the non racket hand up, pointing towards the shuttle. Follow the line of the shuttle back with racket  and hand until just before the shuttle is in hitting range. At this stage draw the racket back behind the shoulder and form a throwing position – not dis-similar to that of a javelin thrower.

Reach up and attack the shuttle as early as you can hit it, ideally directly above or slightly in front of the hitting shoulder (somewhere between 12 and 1 o’clock).At this stage the body should turn in, transferring your body weight forward, bringing the racket hip then shoulder through. The follow through should leave the dominant side slightly closer to the net when you have finished the stroke.

During the throwing action the racket should make the sound of a ‘whip’ or a ‘swoosh’ as the racket accelerates forward. Advanced players will not only flick the wrist but also pronate the forearm to gain extra racket head speed. (THIS IS OF EVEN MORE BENEFIT WHEN MASTERING A POWERFUL SMASH).

With practice a player can perfect their timing and hit a full length overhead clear with a relaxed grip, enabling them to play the shot over and over without exerting too much energy. Performing the overhead forehand clear is not only important for the shot itself – but it also forms the technical basis for smashes and dropshots. These three strokes between them make up a large percentage of the shots in a game of badminton.

Backhand clear

As with the forehand clear, the purpose of this shot is to get the shuttle over your opponents head and force them as close to the rear court as you can. A backhand clear is usually only played when a player is not in a position to play a forehand (’round the head’) shot and as such, this is a defensive shot. This is one of the toughest shots to play in badminton. As the shuttle is struck behind the body the ‘thumb’ grip (often confusingly referred to as a backhand grip) should not be used. To enable the correct hitting action the thumb should be diagonally across the grip or placed on the ‘bevel’ of the grip.

Prior to striking the shuttle the player needs to chassis back towards the rear court and only turn away from the net as the shuttle passes over their head. The player should be looking to lunge with the racket foot in the direction of where the shuttle is due to land. The foot should touch down just before or as the shuttle is struck.

The racket preparation for this shot should be in the form of a loop action whereby the racket head goes over the hand, around and down before accelerating upwards in a ‘whip’ like action. At the same time extend the shoulder and elbow so that the racket arm is fully extended above the racket shoulder, with the racket pointing up at the sky. Aim to make contact with the shuttle at the highest point and above the dominant foot – or a near as possible, turning the racket shoulder towards the net in the process. Flick the wrist at the last moment to produce more racket head speed and power.

As a lot of the power comes from the flick of the wrist there is not  much follow through on this shot and the racket head should generally finish its swing at the highest point. After hitting the shot switch the feet to once again face the net. Then move back to the mid-court, into the ready position.

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