All original content copyright © Mike Hopley
The basic footwork pattern is essentially the same for both front corners: split drop, step with your left foot, and lunge with your right foot.
Pattern summary: split, left, right.
Start with a split drop. As you land, you should shift your weight towards your right foot, so that your left foot will be free to push off and make the first step.
Take step with your left foot towards the front corner. Try to cover as much distance as you can with this step, rather than just relying on a deep lunge at the end.
Finish the movement with a lunge into corner. Remember to maintain good lunging technique.
On the backhand side, you will need to turn your body as your right foot crosses over for the lunge.
In many situations, a chassé will be more effective than a cross-over step. Chassés are faster when you have a short distance to cover, such as when you are already in the forecourt (after you played a net shot, for example).
Chassés are often used for travelling to the forehand front corner. A good example would be when you play a high serve, and your opponent plays a fast drop shot to your forehand. You would normally be best using a chassé here.
If you are travelling a longer distance, however, you should use steps instead. For example: suppose you just played a clear from your backhand corner, and your opponent plays the same fast drop shot to your forehand. In this situation, because you are travelling from the rearcourt (a longer distance), you would use running steps.
Similarly, if your opponent plays a slow drop shot, you will normally need running steps and not chassés (the distance to cover is longer, but you have more time).
Chassés are not effective for reaching drop shots in the backhand corner, because you need to turn your body for the final lunge. Normally you would use running steps here. Chassés are often the better option for reaching net shots, however (a shorter distance to cover than drop shots).
Sometimes, when travelling to the forehand front corner, it’s more effective to cross your left foot behind your right foot. This is often the case when your movement is more sideways than normal (as when you have just played a shot on the backhand side of the court).
Crossing the foot behind may feel odd at first, but it’s a useful variation. It can often save you from being forced into awkward over-rotation of your body in order to perform a normal cross-over step.
Danish leapinto the backhand net corner
This is an obscure footwork pattern, which I’ve heard originated in Denmark. It is best suited to tall players. You won’t get many chances to use this.
If you are able to anticipate your opponent’s shot to your backhand front corner, then you can sometimes position your feet to point towards that corner: the left foot is in front of the right foot. Note that this is the opposite way around from your normal ready position.
From this position, you can reach the backhand front corner by making one huge leap. You push off from your right foot with a powerful leap towards the corner, turning your body while in the air, and land with a lunge on your right foot.
Even when your ready position is biased towards the forehand side (as when your opponent is in the rearcourt on your forehand side), you can use this leap to reach the backhand front corner. It’s not easy, but it is possible.
If you succeed in using this footwork pattern, you will take the shuttlecock very early. The problem with this footwork is that you must be confident that your opponent will hit to the backhand front corner. The
Danish leap ready position is terrible for reaching the backhand rear corner or the forehand front corner.
Copyright © 2008–2013 Mike Hopley. All rights reserved.
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