In coaching, we talk about the forehand throwing action, because the correct hitting action is just like an overhead throw. Practising throwing can help you learn overhead technique.
A good throw starts by drawing your arm back and turning sideways. This posture should be familiar, because it’s your overhead preparation. From here, you throw upwards and forwards.
An effective throw makes use of the whole body, not just the arm. The hips turn, then the shoulders, and then you have the last part of the arm movement. It all happens very quickly, but there is a sequence of movements that will always happen in the same order.
In fact, it starts even earlier, from the ground. This is where force is first generated: up from your feet, pushing against the ground.
Many people throw using just the arm. In this case, most of the power is coming from the elbow and wrist; the rest of the body is hardly used.
When I see someone throw like this, I know their overheads will be bad. There is a strong connection between how well someone can throw, and how well they can hit an overhead.
Length of the racket path
With a good throwing action, the racket head travels a surprisingly long distance. This lets it build up speed.
With a bad throwing action, the racket head travels a shorter distance. That means it doesn’t have time or
room to accelerate and build up speed.
It’s often worth spending some time practising your throw, especially for beginners. Try doing a little throwing practice, and then hit some clears. It should feel like you are throwing the racket at the shuttle.
Throwing shuttles is okay, but not ideal. They are too light, and you can strain your arm with lots of repetitions. I recommend something a bit heavier; I find a small soft toy works perfectly!