The Badminton Bible

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All original content copyright © Mike Hopley

Deception in the rearcourt

Rearcourt deception usually involves faking a powerful shot before playing a soft shot. This is the opposite way around from typical forecourt deception.

This method can occasionally be reversed, however.

Deceptive drop shots

Drop shots are your main option for deceptive rearcourt shots.

Try to make your preparation look the same as for a smash or clear. Ideally, you would adopt a side-on position, ready to play a full-power smash. Your initial arm movement should also be fast enough to maintain this illusion (although you will need to slow it down at the end).

Use slice and reverse slice to take the pace off your drops and change their direction. On the forehand, slice is mainly used for cross-court drops from your forehand corner; reverse slice is used for most other angles. On the backhand, slice may be used for the cross-court and reverse slice for the straight angle.

Body or arm deception

When attempting to deceive your opponent about drop shot angles, you can use either your body angle or your arm swing (or both).

A typical example of using body angle is the forehand cross-court drop: usually you would play this shot after getting behind the shuttle in a side-on posture, as though about to play a straight smash. Here, your body is pointing straight, but you use slice to send the shuttle cross-court.

A typical example of using your arm swing is the forehand straight drop: from the same position, you can make a cross-court arm swing while using reverse slice to redirect the shuttle straight.

Deceptive clears

Sometimes you can reverse the usual deception, by faking a drop shot and then playing a clear.

Make a slow swing, and then accelerate it at the last moment. A more sophisticated version of this deception involves introducing another fake:

  1. Fake a smash (perhaps by exaggerating your side-on preparation).
  2. Fake a drop shot by slowing down the swing. Make it obvious.
  3. Play an attacking clear (a punch clear), using a short hitting action.

It’s not a good idea to apply slice to clears (in an attempt to deceive your opponent about the angle). This deception isn’t especially useful, and it leads to inaccurate clears.

Deceptive smashes

Smashes aren’t your most effective option for a deceptive shot, but you can use slice to change the angle and slow down the smash, so that it lands farther in front of your opponent than he is expecting.

Slicing the smash can upset your opponent’s defensive rhythm.