The stick smash is a unique type of smash in badminton that has a steeper downwards trajectory compared to a standard full power smash. It is used to add variety in your attack and often requires less ‘effort’ to play, so it can also be a good option for when you’re getting tired!
The key to hitting a good stick smash is to have the same relaxed preparation as any other overhead shot, then at the last millisecond, ‘snap’ your wrist over the top of the shuttle, creating a quicker, steeper attacking shot. Power generation should only come from the forearm and wrist.
So, we’ll now discuss why you should play the stick smash, as well as the 5 steps to mastering it!
There are 4 reasons for this:
With a full power smash, you use a full body rotation as this helps generate more power. However, you don’t use a full body rotation for the stick smash, so you are in more control of your body and can therefore hit more accurate shots.
2. Steep Angles
In a full power smash, you hit through the shuttle more, with your strings a bit flatter, which means your smash will often land deeper into court. However, with the stick smash you ‘snap’ your wrist and forearm which creates a steeper angle, helping to add variation into your attack.
The stick smash can be a very deceptive shot. The preparation should look exactly the same as your drop shot and clear so that when you smash at the last second your opponent might be caught out!
4. Improved Recovery
Since you are much more in control of your body when playing the stick smash, your recovery will be much faster too.
You can play this shot either on the forehand or round-the-head side and it’s most common to play the stick smash from either a scissor kick movement or jump out movement.
The great thing about the stick smash is that you can play it from a variety of positions – for example if you’re early and behind the shuttle, or if you’re taking it a little late.
You can learn more about the correct footwork to the rear-court here.
You should be relaxed, in a forehand grip, with your racket arm up in roughly two 90-degree angles (as shown in the picture below). Your non-racket arm should also be up to help with your timing and balance.
Being relaxed in your preparation is very important for the stick smash so your opponent doesn’t know you’re going to smash until the last millisecond, making your shot much more effective!
For the stick smash, you want to throw your elbow forwards and then when it’s roughly in line with your body, your elbow almost stops and you then rotate your forearm and at the same time, squeeze your grip and ‘snap’ your wrist over the top of the shuttle.
The key differences between the full power smash and the stick smash are:
Unlike most overhead shots, for the stick smash, you don’t follow through. Stopping your elbow means you can’t have a big follow through and also the ‘snap’ of your wrist forces the racket to rebound, creating a crisp hitting action.
The most likely reply to the stick smash is a block to the net, because your opponents won’t have much time to react. And because of the steepness of the shot, it’s hard to create the power to re-lift it too.
If you are in control of your body with your bodyweight moving back into court after you’ve landed, you can anticipate this block and move straight to the net to kill it!
And you can also watch our YouTube video below on how to do the perfect stick smash which includes more visual examples and explanations.