Every young player needs a backhand from the rear court
I picked the wrong one and it caused problems
Which Backhand do you try to develop first: clear, drop, long drop, straight or crosscourt ?
Initially, I tried to develop 2 strokes : the short drop and the clear. Neither really worked and certainly nether gave the players the confidence and success in matches that they wanted.
Of course, the clear never went deep (long) enough and the drop would go either into the net, be too high and be killed. It was a stressful time 🙁
The name of these strokes may differ from coaching group to coaching groups
Everyone knows the name of the “clear” – a stroke that is hit towards the opponents’ rear court, often high and struck hard.
The other strokes have different names: Drop / Drag / Pull / Long Drop
Why are you coaching the Clear and short drop?
That was the question I was asked by my mentor. I had no other reply than, “well it’s in the manual”
Forget the manual! Coach what works best in a match for your player, was the reply!
So I started coaching the “Long Drop” with all my beginner players and it worked!
You may know this stroke by other names (the Drag, the Pull, etc) but whatever its called the aim is for it to travel flat, quick and land just past the service line.
This is the stroke I recommend should be developed before the backhand clear
Its not a soft (floaty) straight drop that lands before the opponents’ service line. Strike it fast and flat !!!
I quickly found these advantages for young players (10-14 yrs)
- Players loved the larger target area (just before and about 1m past the service line)
- As long as they hit it flat’ish, the speed wasn’t really that critical
- The opponents couldn’t kill or hit a tight net
- Crosscourt pull could be developed very easily (see below)
- Players loved the fact that they could not only return the shuttle but could reduce any opponent advantage
- If it was hit with a little slice (by choice or accident) the stroke was even better and died in the forecourt (especially the crosscourt)
- Often the ‘tougher’ (flatter/faster) my feed the better the stroke
Quickly progress to the crosscourt version
It’s just a grip change a slight turn of the shoulder caused by “looking out of the corner of your eye to see where it’s going!” ….. more of that great coaching cue in a later post 😉
One final point: please coach all your strokes and especially this backhand in a positive way
Smile at mistakes, progress the difficulty, overpraise miss-hits that become great shots, and allow for progression 🙂
And do all this before you teach the clear