Oh my goodness, if there is one question that subscribers to the Badminton Secrets Newsletter have asked me over the years, it is ‘how do I do a backhand clear?’!
Now, as you know I’m not a badminton coach so I’m not going to tell you all about the right point to take the shuttle or where your elbow should be pointing etc.
But what I do know a lot about is how the mind works and I’m going to share with you here the quickest, most effective way to practice a backhand clear.
There is always the temptation to say that it just takes practice to do any shot, with the backhand clear probably taking the most!
And this is true to an extent – just going out there with a partner and practicing over and over will improve your stroke, and don’t underestimate the power of this.
But your mind works in a funny way and needs much more than blind repetition.
It needs constant feedback as to how well you are doing, so that it can adjust and thus improve.
So whilst you are practicing the shot over and over with a partner, adjust a little bit of the way you play it; take the shuttle a little earlier, stand a little more side-on. And then assess whether that helped your shot or not, disregarding those actions that didn’t.
Then have a break and really think about what position your body was in when it was playing the backhand clears. Try to recreate it in your mind and play back a slow motion recording of the exact movement that you went through. This enables your mind to break down each little part so that when you go back on court, it is able to help you put the parts back together and perform the shot even better.
Once you have reached a point where you feel it is not getting any better, no matter how many times you adjust, that is the time to stop for the day, to give your brain the chance to process what it has learnt.
The more you can do this, the more you’ll find your backhand clear getting much stronger and more effective. If you can combine it with also getting feedback from someone else, whether a coach or just another player, you’ll be amazed at how that once impossible shot just got better and better!