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Badminton net kills

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Net kills are the most aggressive shots in badminton: rallies are frequently ended by a net kill, in both singles and doubles.

This guide will teach you how to play them.

A net kill is when you hit the shuttle downwards from the net area, with the aim of winning the rally immediately. Net kills are played with pace, but they don’t require much power.

Net kills should be played as steeply as possible. Ideally, a net kill will land before the front service line; this is almost impossible to return.

Steepness is more important than power. If you try to hit the shuttle too hard, it will often go flat. These flat kills are much easier to return, and they often go out at the back!

Know the rules!

During a rally, you’re not allowed to reach over the net with your racket. So when playing a net kill, you must make contact with the shuttle on your side of the net.

However, providing you contacted the shuttle on your side, you may complete your stroke with your racket passing over the net during the follow-through movement.

You’re also not allowed to touch the net, which is easily done when trying to kill a tight shuttle. The techniques in this article will help you avoid hitting the net on your kills.

Controlled aggression

Playing good net kills is not just about technique; it’s also about your state of mind.

You need to be aggressive, and seize any opportunity to play the kill. You should be looking for chances to kill the shuttle, rather than just playing a kill when it’s easy.

This aggression should be controlled. Get to the shuttle early, and seize your chance to play the kill; but don’t take a huge swipe at it. Your aim is to get the shuttle on the ground, not to drill a hole through the floor! We’ll discuss this more when we look at technique.

Reach the shuttle early

To play a net kill, you must reach the shuttle while it is still above net height.

Don’t be lazy! It’s often tempting to let the shuttle drop and play a net shot instead — or even worse, a lift. We’ve all done this, but it’s a bad habit. Train yourself to make that extra effort.

There are some situations in badminton where a tiny delay can completely change the outcome; this is one of them. Delaying even a fraction of a second can make the difference between a winning net kill and a defensive lift.

Take on the challenge!

When the shuttle is falling tight to the net, players often lose the courage to play a net kill. Nervous of hitting the net, they play a net shot instead, because it’s safer.

Think about this for a moment: is the net shot really safer? It seems so at first, because it’s easier to avoid hitting the net. So yes, you are less likely to make an error.

But when you play a net shot, your opponents can usually return it. You probably still have an advantage, but how much is that worth? Advantages can disappear in one shot.

This means your safe net shot has given your opponents a good chance of winning the rally. You had a chance to end the rally immediately, and you blew it for fear of making an error!

Take on the challenge, and attempt the kill. Don’t be put off when you make mistakes: you will get better with practice and experience.

When to avoid a net kill

I just told you to be aggressive and attempt the kill, even when it’s difficult. This is generally good advice, but there are exceptions.

If you can keep it steep, a net kill is always the best shot. But sometimes the shuttle has fallen too low, making a steep angle impossible.

In this situation, you can play a flat net kill, which will travel deeper into your opponents’ court. You could also call this shot a steep net drive.

Unlike steep net kills, flat net kills often come back. If your kill is very flat, your opponents may counter-attack immediately. Depending on the situation, it may be better to play another shot instead — such as a tight, spinning net shot.

Playing hand