top of page

Badminton Singles Tactics #07, Building Shots | Drop shots to create an advantage

Updated: Nov 26, 2023

A building shot is any shot that is played with the purpose of creating opportunities to win the rally. It is a player's process of building the foundations for an attack. The forthcoming articles will discuss the following different types of shots used to build shots and take advantage.

  • Clears to create an advantage

  • Drop shots to create an advantage

  • Net shots to create an advantage

  • Lifts to create an advantage

  • Drives to create an advantage

  • Smashes to create an advantage

  • Smash defense to create an advantage

Drop shots can be among the most deceptive singles shots, offering great opportunity for applying movement pressure to the opponent. Compared to a clear, a drawback is that the player will have less time to reach a base position after playing a drop shot.

Though the player has less time to reach the base position, the drop shot can be considered somewhat riskier than the clear. It often makes sense to wait until you are in a good position before playing a drop shot.

Different trajectories

  • Slow drop shots

  • Fast drop shots

  • Drive drop shots

Similar to clears, drop shots are not all the same. The player needs to understand the effect of choosing faster or slower drop shots. Many players believe that drop shots should always land as close to the net as possible (a slow drop). This is a fundamental misconception that must be corrected.

Often this misconception occurs because players are mindlessly drilled with shot routines: lift, drop, lift, drop. They are told that clears must always be high, and drop shots must always land between the short service line and the net. This idea is simply wrong. Unfortunately, these players are then unable to understand why they lose games, even though they are performing their shots flawlessly. The answer is this: they are still playing routines, while their opponents are playing a proper game of badminton.

In a shot routine, drop shots look pretty when they land really tight to the net. But in a real game of badminton, these pretty drop shots are useless (most of the time).

Slow drop shots

These are sometimes called stop-drops. They are played softly, landing between the net and the short service line. As we discussed earlier, slow drop shots are excellent if the opponent reaches them late, after the shuttle has fallen below net height. Because the shuttle is tight to the net, the opponent will be unable to play a full-length lift. If this happens, the player has a winning advantage.

But strong players will not allow this to happen. They will reach the shuttle early, either playing a net kill or a tight-spinning net shot. The problem with slow drops is that they take too long to cross the net. This gives your opponent time to reach the shuttle early. It’s much easier to play a tight net shot when the shuttle is traveling slowly and the player can reach it close to the net tape.

As a general guideline, the player should not play slow drop shots. There are two important exceptions, however:

  • the player is hitting from nearer the net (not fully in the rear court).

  • the opponent is late recovering from the rear court.

In both these situations, it will be harder for the opponent to reach the shuttle early: in the first case, because the payer is closer to the net and the shuttle will take less time to get there; in the second case, because your opponent is already late moving forwards. So in those two situations, a slow drop shot is often a good choice of shot. By the time the opponent reaches it, it will already have passed below the net tape.

Fast drop shots

These are sometimes called check smashes. Fast drops are hit with more pace so that they land near the short service line. This might seem silly because the landing point is nearer to the opponent than a slow drop; but actually, it’s a much better option.

It’s a compromise: because the shot is faster, the opponent has less time and will be forced to take the shuttle near the floor; but because it lands farther away from the net, the opponent will have the angle to play lifts.

Almost all the drop shots should be fast drops. By playing a fast drop, a player prevents the opponent from taking the shuttle near the net tape and playing a tight spinning net shot. The player places the opponent under considerable movement pressure. The short service line is a good target area for drop shots. Make this a standard target, instead of trying to make the drop shots land close to the net.

Drive-drop shots

This is a special class of fast drop shot, which is worth distinguishing because it fills an important tactical role.

When the player is player under heavy pressure in the rear court and is unable to play a good clear, the player will need to play a drop shot instead. This typically occurs when the player is taking the shuttle from a lower-than-ideal position and from somewhat behind him. the opponent will probably recognize the player's problem and move forwards to threaten the net.

In this situation the player should play the drop shots with extra pace, hitting them to land slightly beyond the short service line. Because of this, the drop shot will travel quite flat and fast into the front midcourt — hence the name drive-drop shot.

By playing these drive-drop shots with pace, the player prevents the opponent from playing a tight net shot. The player may also cramp his shot if he has traveled too far forwards in anticipation of a slower shot.

It might seem bizarre that, when under pressure, the player should deliberately send the shuttle to the opponent faster. But think about the trajectory of the net replies. If the player hit a fast drop shot (drive-drop shot), then it will be impossible for the opponent to play a net shot that lands close to the net. If the player hit a slow drop, however, the opponent is perfectly positioned to play a tight spinning net shot.

It’s about damage limitation: the player cannot entirely neutralize the opponent’s advantage in one shot, but the player can prevent the opponent from playing his deadliest shot (a spinning net shot). If a player can stay alive for one more shot, he has a good chance to neutralize the advantage on the next shot, by playing a clear (or lift). Understanding this tactic is especially useful when the player is under pressure in his backhand rear court.

Different angles

The player can play your drop shots straight, cross-court, or to the middle.

Drop shots to the middle

This is a defensive option. By playing the drop shot to the middle, the player limits the opponent’s angles of reply. Usually, a player would play a high clear instead (also to the middle); but when he cannot play a full-length clear, play a drop shot.

Straight drops

Straight drop shots take the least time to cross the net and are an effective building shot. Straight drops are somewhat safer than cross-court drops because the player's ideal base position is not as far to move.

Straight drop shots are an especially good response to a cross-court clear. A player forces his opponent to cover the longest distance and without much time (because the shuttle is traveling straight, it doesn’t take long to arrive). The player is also able to reach a good base to cover his next shot.

Cross-court drops

Cross-court drops are among the most effective building shots in singles, especially when played to the opponent’s forehand: the movement to this corner is particularly difficult. A player might care to notice which drop shot is more difficult to reach: cross-court to player's backhand, or cross-court to player's forehand? Everyone is different, most players will find the forehand corner harder.must

The drawback of cross-court drops is that they also put more pressure on the movement; The player probably will not have time to recover to an ideal base. For this reason, the player should be cautious about playing them when his movement is under pressure.

A player can think of the cross-court angle as more ambitious than the straight angle. Playing the drop cross-court can do more damage than playing it straight, but also exposes the player more.

Singles Tactics #3, Hitting to the Corners

2,883 views0 comments


Durable & Stable Shuttle

WEIDAN Badminton Goose Feather shuttlecocks which are durable and stable in flight for advanced players

Read more..