Most players have difficulty clearing the full length of the court. This is an essential skill. Let’s take an overview of the whole technique.
- Importance of hitting a good length
- Technique vs. strength
- Grip and preparation
- Movement, hitting position, and follow through
Why length matters
When you consistently clear to a good length (and height), your opponent’s attacking shots become much less dangerous.
Ideally you should be able to clear out the back of the court! It’s very useful to have spare power.
It’s not about strength
You might think you need to be physically strong to do this, but that’s not true. I’ve seen six-year-old kids hitting a full length! It comes down to technique and training.
Adult players — especially men — can often get away with poor technique, because they are physically strong. But relying on brute force will cause problems with consistency, accuracy, and movement; and your clears will break down when you’re under more pressure.
An overview of the technique
There are many different elements that need to work together, which is why this skill takes a long time to perfect. Most of these ideas are covered in more depth in our section on general overhead technique.
You need a suitable grip, or you have no chance. I recommend a forehand grip.
Movement and hitting position
You must be able to move backwards quickly, on balance, and to exactly the right place. It’s important to reach a good hitting position. If your hitting position is even slightly wrong, it will make everything much more difficult.
The best hitting position has the shuttle directly above your racket shoulder, or slightly out to the forehand side (depending on footwork). You are reaching up for a high contact point.
Specifically for a high clear, the contact point should be directly above you. This is different from some other shots, such as a smash, where the contact point should be slightly in front of you.
Prepare with a side-on position
Before moving to the shuttle, you need to prepare your racket and body in a side-on position, rather than staying square-on to the net.
This helps your movement, and also helps you generate force by turning your shoulders and
throwing your arm and racket at the shuttle. We call this the overhead throwing action, and it’s one of the most important skills in badminton.
After you hit the shuttle, follow through with your arm. Your arm should initially follow the direction of your clear, but then let it relax across your body.