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Forhand Clear - how to get power?
October 18, 2013
2:00 pm
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Phil.Oxford
Basingstoke
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Hi guys

I'm a grass roots BE Level 2 coach but I have a couple of 13 yr old girls who struggle to clear to any length.  We've worked on arm extension, grip, side stance etc but, naturally, they're not good throwers!  We've experimented with “throwing rockets” etc.  Anyone know of a good tip(s) for helping generate power in a FH OH clear? The left hander in particular tends to follow though on the racket side, rather than completing across the leg.

October 19, 2013
2:40 pm
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Matthew Seeley
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Sounds like a job for… RACKET HEAD COVERS! What do you think Paul?

 

I would say that the most important thing, with players starting to learn to play their shots (especially younger players) is to learn to hit with a nice crisp and uncomplicated hitting action, being very relaxed and not worrying about power. Focus ONLY on the last part of the stroke – the final use of the forearm/wrist/fingers. This will help to teach the timing for the shot, rather than worrying about power. To be honest, the way the player follows through and how much body power they use is unlikely to make much of a difference! The main thing to get right is how to unload the power you have into a crisp hitting action! Focus on the point of contact, rather than how the rest of it looks!

I will let Paul talk about the details… but I think practicing using a racket head cover would help your players to get it right.

 

As a simple way of teaching the stroke, I particularly like this video:

The most important thing when teaching these shots to new players is not to focus too much on how far it goes, but on doing it right!

I know a coach who gets excellent results, and the first shot she teaches is a fast relaxed drop shot (using a simple tapping motion of the wrist/forearm/fingers) just letting the racket flop over the top and hit the shuttle down. This basic shot doesn't have the same “negative” effect for players who struggle with power – it doesn't matter how hard you hit, you just need to hit it right! But once you have learnt the basics of the shot, you then have the technique for a clear or smash or slower drop!

Good luck!

October 20, 2013
4:12 am
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11tatic
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I watched the video and is that really how you hold a racquet? And when you hit the shuttlecock, don’t you compress your fingers in one place or does the grip stay the same? Last question, is it normal to get muscle pain at the upper part of the back?

October 20, 2013
11:45 am
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Matthew Seeley
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Yes – that is basically the correct grip for holding a racket for overhead forehand shots. When you hit the shuttle, you will change from a loose and relaxed grip to a slightly squeezed “firm” grip, to ensure the racket does not fly out of your hand, and also to help add a little power to your stroke. However – for a beginner, don't even think about this sort of stuff. Just use the correct grip, and try to get a nice relaxed high contact.

Finally – no, back pain is not normal. I suggest you may need to check your contact point – are you far enough behind the shuttle? Or are you arching your back in order to play the shot. The player in the video above is a high level (national) player, and can play to an almost professional standard.

October 21, 2013
11:31 am
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Roger
West Midlands UK
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Sound advise from Matt as usual and a great video.

Using a shuttle on a pole or hanging from basketball rings is a really good method of teaching players to reach up for any overhead shots.

One thing that I have found useful to ensure that the elbow is facing forward is for the players to touch lightly between the shoulder blades with the edge of the racket head. If they do this then the rest of the arm and wrist naturally falls into place. I'm with Matt on the importance of how to follow through and leave it to the natural swing of the players.

Don't forget that it's better to get your players hitting shots with a faster swing rather than trying to hit harder.

I also use attainable  targets on court to give a sense of achievement, very important with young players.

Lastly I have seen top women players gripping the rackets at the lowest possible point on the handle to give more leverage on OH power shots.This is could help BUT, players have to be proficient at grip changes.

October 22, 2013
10:59 pm
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Paul Stewart
Cheshire, UK
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Phil – email me and I'll help you out.

 

I have been doing extensive testing for some time and can reveal that the methods we use at Lilleshall have, without doubt yielded the best results I have ever seen. No doubt Matt will testify to this as he's been with me at the time.

 

What I have basically done is reverse the sequence before building it and therefore teaching from just before impact and then working backwards. I've got some more work to do on this and believe I nailed the mid-way step to add into the mix for 2014.

 

We had a left-handed girl on our last course who hit pan handle and bent arm – classic bad technique. Within half an hour, and I mean half an hour without exagerration she was booming shuttles on the floor with a change in grip and extended arm. I've never seen anything like that in my 25 years coaching.

 

Paul

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