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Coaching Tips

Double Olympic champion in Ladies Singles, Zhang Ning, shows her forehand netshot technique. The shuttle is struck deliberately slightly off the centre of the racquet strings.

Tang Xian Hu is the former Coach of the China National squad. Generally respected as one of the greatest players of his generation, he went on coach successes such Xia Xuan Ze, Ji Xin Peng and Lin Dan. Here, he teaches the forehand netshot (putonghua only)

The overhead clear is a tactical stroke to move the opponent around the court. Playing a good clear makes the opponent move more distance and opens up areas of the court. Clears can be slow or fast in speed. To get greater speed and distance in the forehand clear, try to whip the racquet head into the shuttle at the point of impact during pronation. Having speed and distance in the clear will also push your opponent into working harder physically and puts more pressure on the opponent..

Getting the right contact point with the shuttle on an overhead stroke is extremely important. Often, there are variations in a person's technique that reduces the effectiveness of the the overhead shot. Prepare by turning the body and shoulders perpendicular to the net. Be objective and also get somebody to video yourself - do you really turn enough?

Secondly, many people don't realise they are striking the shuttle with a bent elbow. This means the shuttle is struck at a lower height - the stroke becomes weaker and there is less disguise on the shots when you want to vary it between dropshots, smashes and clears. Think about getting your elbow to the level of your head as you play the overhead stroke and getting the elbow straight as possible when you strike the shuttle.

Thirdly, extra power comes from turning the racquet head from inwards to outwards just as it strikes the shuttle - also known as pronation. To do this well requires finger dexterity so hold the racquet loosely in the fingers until just before the point of impact.

- 300+ km per hour smash

- Hai Feng Fu of China explains the smash technique. Hai Feng is the reigning Olympic and World Champion in Men's Doubles.

- He holds the fastest recorded smash under actual matchplay.

- Note his preparation - in particular, see how he turns sideways, perpendicular to the net. As he jumps, his left shoulder stretches back even further before rotating forward.

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