How To Play An Attacking Punch Clear In Badminton - Step-By-Step Guide

The punch clear, otherwise know as the attacking clear, or offensive clear is a type of clear that can be used in badminton for both singles and doubles. It is a deceptive shot that has a flat trajectory and aims to force a weak reply or win the point.

To hit an effective punch clear, it is essential to be in a good position and have the same preparation technique as your smash or drop shot. You need to be behind the shuttle, produce a fast racket speed, and keep your strings flat as you strike the shuttle

We’ll now go through everything you need to know about hitting the perfect punch clear, including…

  • When you should use the punch clear
  • The preparation for the punch clear
  • The hitting action for the punch clear (2 types!)

When Should You Use The Punch Clear?

You should only use the punch clear when you’re on balance and in a good, threatening position. If you don’t look like you can smash or play a good drop then this shot is NOT going to be effective!

Correct: Moving forwards into the shot
Incorrect: Taking shuttle behind you

The punch clear is generally used more in singles and mixed doubles, specifically when the male opponent is punch clearing cross-court to the female opponent. As a female, you have to be more ‘ready’ for the male smash since it’s likely coming to you, so the punch clear can be an effective alternative shot.

There will be times where you can use it in men’s and women’s doubles too, especially when you’re playing opponents who’s movement isn’t their greatest strength! 

💡 Just because you rarely see professional men’s doubles players playing clears doesn’t mean YOU shouldn’t, as it’s unlikely your opponents will move as well as the pros!

And as with any shot in badminton, remember not to over-play it! If you do, your opponents will begin to predict your shot, therefore making it less effective.

Preparation For The Punch Clear

The punch clear is quite an advanced shot, so hopefully if you’re here you already know the basics of hitting a standard clear. As a quick refresher:

  • You should be in a loose forehand grip with your hand further down the grip handle to create a longer lever (this loose grip is really important for the punch clear!)
  • Your body should be facing sidewards in your preparation, your racket arm should have roughly two 90 degree angles and your non-racket arm should be up to help with your timing, balance and rotation (as shown below).

Now, there are two VERY important parts of your preparation for the punch clear, that if you don’t get right, then your shot will be much less effective!

  1. You NEED to be BEHIND the shuttle.
  2. You NEED to have the same technique as your smash or drop shot.

This is because it’s an aggressive, and hopefully deceptive shot, and if it doesn’t look the same then it’s not going to work!

If you look threatening, your opponent will be waiting for the downwards shot, with their body weight leaning forwards. The punch clear then makes them completely shift their bodyweight in the opposite direction and this takes a lot of time and effort! So, this shot will then hopefully either force a weak reply or even be an outright winner.

Hitting Action

As we just mentioned, it needs to look the same as your smash or drop.

  • If you want your punch clear to look the same as your smash then you need to have a fast racket swing speed and then at the last millisecond, rather than bringing your racket down over the shuttle to make it travel in a downwards direction, you keep the strings flat.

  • If you want it to look the same as your drop then you would have a slower swing speed, but at the last millisecond you need to increase your racket speed whilst also keeping the strings flat.
Flat strings at contact point

As you strike the shuttle, you need to squeeze the grip to add power into the shot, which is what also helps create the deception.

Generating enough power is important because even if your punch clear is really deceptive, if it lands short, then it’s not going to work!

How high should you hit your punch clear?

  • If your opponent is really small, then you can play a flatter punch clear.
  • If your opponent is taller, then you might need to play a higher shot so that it goes over their head and they can’t easily intercept it!

Learn More

Now that you’ve learned when you should and shouldn’t use the punch clear along with the preparation and hitting action, we hope you can implement it effectively into your game!

Click here if you’d like to learn more about how you can improve your attack in badminton, or if you’d like to read about how to play the basic badminton clear, you can do so here.

And if you prefer to see more visual explanations of what we’ve discussed above, you can watch our YouTube video on how to play an attacking punch clear below.