All original content copyright © Mike Hopley
The tap technique is used when the shuttle is quite close to the net.
By using a short tapping action, you can play an accurate net kill without hitting the net with your racket.
I consider this the
main technique for playing net kills:
it’s the one you should learn first, and use most often.
Prepare by raising your elbow and bending back your wrist. There should also be a slight bend at the elbow.
Keep the backswing compact. The racket head should stay in front of you, rather than passing behind your shoulders.
Hit the shuttle by straightening your arm at the elbow, and flicking your wrist forwards. Use a tapping action, so that the racket head stops after impact or rebounds backwards; in other words, try to stop the racket head from continuing forwards and hitting the net!
Forearm rotation will help you get more power.
The idea is to begin your hitting action with the racket face angled somewhat sideways, and then twist your forearm so that you contact the shuttle with the racket strings facing directly forwards.
Here’s another way to think about it: when you are preparing to hit the shuttle, the outside edge of your racket frame should be slightly nearer the net than the inside edge. When you contact the shuttle, the racket should be square-on to the net.
(The outside edge is the edge nearer the side tramlines; the inside edge is the edge nearer the middle of the court.)
For backhands, pronate your forearm on the backswing and supinate it on the forwards swing (twist inwards, then twist outwards).
For foreands, supinate on the backswing and pronate on the forwards swing (twist outwards, then twist inwards).
When you are are reaching out sideways for a net kill, it’s harder to get the power. The problem here is that your elbow and wrist can’t help you as much, as they are pointing in the wrong direction (sideways, not forwards).
To compensate for this, you will need to use more forearm rotation. You’ll also need to adjust the angle of your grip, so that the racket faces forwards on impact (rather than out the side).
If you don’t use forearm rotation, then you will be hitting with a flat racket face throughout the stroke. This will cause you to lose power.
Hitting flat is often connected with using your grip incorrectly. This is a very subtle point, but important.
I said earlier that you should move towards a panhandle grip for forehands, and a thumb grip for backhands. I chose those words carefully!
Notice what I didn’t say. I didn’t say you should use a panhandle or thumb grip. Why not?
When playing net kills, a common error is to prepare for the shot using a
full thumb or panhandle grip — going
all the way to these extremes.
For example, a full thumb grip has the thumb placed directly along the back of
the racket handle.
On the backhand side, for example, preparing with a full thumb grip restricts
the rotation of the racket, and also restricts the interaction of thumb and
fingers on the racket handle. As a result, you will use a
flat bat hit,
which is less powerful.
It’s quite likely that you will finish the stroke with a panhandle or thumb grip. But that doesn’t mean you should start with one.
The grip should change during the stroke, as you tighten your fingers and snap the racket handle into your palm. Done correctly, this action will help you use forearm rotation effectively.
On the forehand side, for example, players commonly establish a full panhandle grip early in the stroke, preventing them from using forearm rotation effectively. As a result, they rely too much on the wrist movement, which is weaker.
Copyright © 2008–2013 Mike Hopley. All rights reserved.
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