What Is A Drive In Badminton?

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While attending a recent badminton game, I heard the word ‘drive’ which piqued my curiosity. After some research on what is a drive in badminton, I discovered there are several different types of shots in badminton, and each has a term to go along with it.

What is a Drive in Badminton?

A drive in badminton is a shot played while standing behind the baseline, sending the shuttle to your opponent’s backcourt. It is executed from many different locations on the court and has a low error risk. It also makes for a good starting shot to get into an offensive rally.

Most drives are played cross-court (right-to-left or left-to-right). This article will cover what a drive is, how it can change the course of a game, and why it is essential to learn how to hit this specific shot.

Man attempting to hit a shuttlecock with a racket

What You Need to know

A drive is made by hitting the shuttle with an open racket face to travel without a spin in a straight line. At the same time, the player should pivot forward from the hips to generate momentum and reach the shuttle at its lowest point.

You can practice swinging in front of a mirror or video yourself on your phone to see what your movements look like.

How to Be Effective

Players must learn to play the shuttle low and hit it at a horizontal angle. Advanced players use drives to set up an attack, going in quickly behind a well-placed drive for a kill or drop shot. 

Novices may find themselves in deep trouble while attempting a drive against an opponent with more experience or speed. 

What Are The Different Types of Drives?

There are two main types of badminton drive shots:

  • Forehand Drive
  • Backhand Drive

The difference lies in which side you execute a drive from (forearm or upper body). However, each type has many variations depending upon how quickly your shuttle travels and where it hits with respect to where it would land if shot normally.

Forehand Drive

A forehand drive in badminton is a shot that goes over the net with your dominant hand. The shuttle is hit diagonally across yourself and then bounces once on your opponents’ side of the court.

How Can I Learn to Drive With My Forehand?

It’s essential to make sure you have a good grip on your racket for this shot.

Man preparing a drive shot

For the forehand drive:

  • Hold the badminton racket with your thumb and index finger extended down the handle so that they are pointing toward you. 
  • The rest of your fingers should still be tucked underneath the handle. 
  • Once you have got used to this grip, you can use more power by rewinding your arm across your body before hitting the shuttle.

Backhand Drive

In badminton, a backhand drive is when the player hits one of their opponent’s shuttlecocks with a reverse action. This type of shot is effective as it rarely comes down and makes for difficult return attempts by your opponents.

How Can I Learn How to Drive With My Backhand?

The backhand is generally weaker than the forehand for most players, mainly because it takes longer to wind up your arm and start the swing when you’re hitting backhands. 

The easiest way to get more power when you’re starting is to increase the height of your shot – this means that you need less power when hitting it. That’s why it’s important not to get frustrated if you have trouble with the technique.

If you want to try and add some spin onto your drives with your backhand:

  • Hold the racket with your thumb and little finger against the top of the handle.
  • With your index finger pointing down toward your wrist. 
  • When you prepare to hit, twist your hand so that these three fingers point towards the shuttle. 
  • Then wind up for a forehand shot across the front of your body, stop halfway through and turn into a backhand shot.

When Should I Use a Drive?

A drive is an excellent choice for starting a rally from any position on the court. It’s more common when closer to the net because it requires a low, horizontal shot. Also, it’s best for playing against opponents who are farther back in the court.

Man playing badminton in an outdoor court

A drive is a low clearance, so it is easier for your opponent to reach and return. However, if you have hit your first shot into the net or out of bounds, using a drive will leave you stranded very close to the back boundary line.

Related Questions

How Popular is Badminton?

Badminton is a popular sport that more than 338 million people play at least once per week in 35 countries worldwide. I have seen a significant increase in global badminton fans in the last couple of years, which is great news for those who love playing this sport. 

Is it Harder to Play a Backhand Drive Than a Forehand Drive?

It takes plenty of practice to become comfortable with playing a backhand drive, however, your body will naturally turn in the direction of your shot even if you are not trying to do so. Therefore, having your wrist turned at the moment of impact will add more power to your shot.

Will Learning to Play a Backhand Drive Make Me a Better Player?

A backhand drive is one of the strokes in badminton, and as such, it can help you develop your skillset. For an inexperienced player learning how to play a backhand drive can take time, practice, and patience. 

What Are the Differences Between Badminton Drives and Other Strokes in Badminton?

Badminton drives are unique in that they do not use the wrist to add power and spin.

Final Thoughts

Drives are considered a beginner shot because of their simplicity and ease of execution. However, it takes time to develop the timing and coordination to use them effectively. Playing consistent cross-court drives with both your forehand and backhand, you will be already good enough to surprise most of your opponents.

Tim Frechette is an avid athlete, having played sports like soccer and basketball his entire life. He brings a wealth of athletic knowledge to his writing.