Badminton is innovating every day in terms of equipment and rules – but the basics remain untouched. The way you hold the handle of the racket says a lot about your professionalism and understanding of the game. It may seem as simple as a handshake but there is more to the story.
We don’t want you to give up on a shot just because you can’t get into a position to hit it – It’s all about the adaptability of your wrist. Using incorrect grips can handicap you against certain strokes, shortlisting your range of shots. Not to mention, the vulnerability of getting injuries with lifelong consequences.
However, it’s never too late to mend!
Today, we will start from scratch and discuss all the basic grips to give you a head start in your journey to become the master of badminton.
Without further adieu, let’s get started!
Basic Badminton Grips
Before we get started, there is one thing that you should know. There is no permanent grip that will alone suffice for all sorts of shots. The adaptability of adjusting your grip depending on your position for the next shot is the single most important thing to give an upper hand on the court. Here are the 5 basic grips for badminton:
1. Forehand grip
Forehand grip is the oldest, simplest, and most commonly used grip in badminton. It is an ideal grip to start your game. As the name implies, this grip is best to play all sorts of forehand strokes without posing any safety threat.
It is merely a handshake with the handle of the racket pointing towards you such that your thumb and index finger make a V-shaped gap while the other three fingers wrap around the handle with little gaps in between to provide maximum stability and control. Remember not to clench too strongly to the handle else your flexibility will be compromised.
Forehand grip is the out of all, the most uncomplicated grip ideal for serving and playing overhead clear shots. It gives your wrist the freedom to move in a 360-degree arm rotation, keeping your opponent oblivious of your next shot.
2. Backhand grip
It can be hard to answer shots that go opposite to your best hand. This is when the backhand grip scores you a point against all odds. In badminton, a weak backhand can very quickly get highlighted as a shortcoming and get exploited by the opponent. A nightmare! Isn’t it? Here is what you need to do.
Place your thumb on the wider side of the handle while your index finger gently wraps onto the handle closer to the middle finger. The rest of the fingers remain the same as with the forehand grip.
The backhand grip is powered by the thumb. It is important to keep the grip loose in general and clench it only while playing your stroke. The face of the racket should be facing the upcoming shuttlecock to generate an ideal angle to play a range of shots – From soft drop shots to strong overhead clears, Everything! Master the art of backhand grip to turn your weakness into your strength.
3. Neutral grip
As the name speaks for itself, the neutral grip is an intermediary between forehand and backhand grip. It is an ideal grip while waiting for a shot so that you can switch easily to a range of shots in a matter of milliseconds.
All you need to do is follow the footprints of a forehand grip while increasing the distance between the thumb and index finger. This will leave you in the middle of forehand and backhand grip to never let an opponent take you by surprise.
In the end, it depends on individual preferences whether to make a neutral grip part of your game or not. Some proceed perfectly without it, while others find themselves in a better position using the neutral grip.
4. Smash grip
Yes! There is a separate grip for smash which a majority of badminton players confuse for forehand grip. It does have a resemblance with forehand grip, but as we always say, details matter in badminton!
In forehand grip, the face of the racket is slightly tilted to give an angle to the shuttlecock so that it makes it over the net. Now imagine playing a smash shot using a tilted face. It will not only mess up with the precision of the shot but will also take away the power from it.
We don’t want that to happen, right? So here is the thing:
Begin with the basic forehand grip and rotate the handle slightly towards yourself (Clockwise for left-handers and anti-clockwise for right-handers). It will give you a position where the face of the racket will be slightly leaning on your side.
The slightly angled face at rest position will cancel out the slicing effect of the forehand grip and allow you to smash the shuttlecock with a flat face.
5. Net Tap Grip
Keeping the opponent on their toes is a treat to watch. A Net Tap is one of the most dangerous shots in badminton that takes a very delicate flick of a wrist to execute. The ability to play this shot effectively depends on how well you hold the handle.
The Net Tap Grip is similar to the way you hold a pan. This means that your thumb and tip of your index finger will provide you with the little force of tapping while the rest of the fingers will provide enough friction to avoid slipping off the handle. Maintain some space between your palm and the handle to give your wrist the flexibility to move and adjust for the due flick.
Playing this shot with fingers gives you better control over the speed of the shot so that it barely crosses the net- A Net Kill is fit as a fiddle too!
As of now, you must be well-aware of the fact that there is no single grip that can answer all sorts of shots. However, trying different combinations of finger positions can unlock that possibility. With adequate practice, you will master the skill of changing between these 5 basic grips of badminton within a second or even less.
This will spare you some time to plan a surprise for your opponent in your next shot.