The correct racket grip is the foundation for effective strokes and essential for improving your playing level. This is the only way to achieve the ideal backswing, the ideal power transmission and to be able to hit the shuttle in the right place. The so- called frying pan grip (Fig. 15), in which the player holds the racket like a pan or a flyswatter, is totally unsuitable. This is a typical beginner’s error and can cause so- called tennis elbow if not corrected. In the correct position, the racket head is held at about 90° to the frying pan grip position.
Beginners should start off using only the universal grip (Fig. 14), which allows all strokes to be played safely and effectively. It involves the player holding the racket so that when he holds it out in front of him he can only see the shaft and the frame, not the strings. The hitting surface is then in a sense an extension of the palm of the hand. The hand is wrapped around the handle and the lower edge of the hand is level with the end of the racket handle. Beginners should try very hard to adopt the correct universal grip right from the start, as once any errors become ingrained they are very hard to eliminate later on, and frustration is the result when an incorrect grip means that the ground strokes cannot be mastered successfully.
Depending on the game situation, experienced badminton players vary their grip in order to be able to play certain strokes more effectively. In the short grip (Fig. 16) the player grips the racket as high up the handle as possible, thus shortening the lever between the hitting surface and the hitting hand and enabling the shuttle to be hit with extra power. This grip is used when the shuttle needs to be “killed” at the net, i.e. hit as safely as possible into the opponent’s court.
This grip can also be used effectively in the drive, because this is also a powerful stroke that does not require a long backswing. The shuttle is often pushed rather than hit. The player’s forearm is almost at right-angles to the racket shaft.
Another variation of the universal grip is the long grip (Fig. 17) in which the player holds the handle right at the end. This allows for great acceleration, as the lever between the hitting hand and the racket head is lengthened. The grip can be used in principle for all strokes, but make sure that the hand grips the handle sufficiently to stop it slipping out of the hand. The long grip is least suited to the smash.
In general, the racket is held loosely between strokes. It is only gripped tightly when a stroke is being played. At the elite level, players use variations of the universal grip to suit the situation and turn the racket up to 30° to the left or right. This changes the hitting angle so that the shuttle can deliberately be hit in different directions. This procedure is also suited to feints, as the opponent cannot tell the difference between the actual and anticipated stroke.
In the universal grip . . .
the hitting surface forms an extension of the palm of the hand.
thumb and index finger form a “V”.
the hand is completely wrapped around the handle.
the lower edge of the hand is level with the end of the handle.
In theshort grip…
the hand grips the racket at the top of the handle.
the player can hit the shuttle harder (particularly for drives and play at the front of the court/net).
In thelong grip…
the player grips the racket at the end of the handle.
in extreme cases the palm of the hand is lower than the handle.
in forehand shots, the index finger stabilizes the stroke.
in backhand shots, the thumb increases the pressure of the stroke.
Tip: Hold the racket loosely in the hand and only grip tightly when playing a stroke. Drill 1: Racket twisting: turn the racket in the hand in order to develop a feel for it.
Drill 2: Feel for the shuttle: hit a shuttle vertically up into the air and then hit it repeatedly with forehand and backhand.
Drill 3: Wall duel: hit a shuttle hard against a wall so that it bounces back and can be hit again.
Drill 4: Grip roulette: deliberate change between universal, short and long grips during a change-clear drill (see Chapter 8).
Drill 5: Shuttle lifting: experienced players can lift the shuttle from the floor using the racket and don’t have to bend down to pick it up. Lifting the ball with the racket is a good coordination drill for hand and racket. The tip of the racket is swung underneath the cork base, enabling the shuttle to be lifted onto the hitting surface.
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