The Badminton Grip: How to Hold a Badminton Racket and More

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A picture showing how a fore hand grip is like a handshake with your racket.

The badminton grip, or the way you hold a badminton racket, is one of the most fundamental elements of badminton technique. It is also one of the most common mistakes that beginners make and can greatly affect their performance on the court by reducing power, minimising control and increasing the risk of injury.

There are four different grips in badminton, with each grip used to hit different shots. In this article, we will explore the four types of grips in badminton, the proper way to hold a racket, the shots each grip is used for, the importance of your grip in badminton, and how to adjust grip for different shots. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced player, understanding the grip in badminton can help you improve your game and take your performance to the next level.

Types of grips and how to hold your racket

So, let’s look at the grips. There are four main grips in badminton: the forehand grip, the backhand grip, the bevel grip and the pan handle grip. Each grip is used for specific shots and can greatly affect a player’s performance.

Forehand Grip

The forehand grip is most often described as a hand shake with your racket, which is actually a good description.

A picture showing how a fore hand grip is like a handshake with your racket.
A picture showing how a fore hand grip is like a handshake with your racket.

To properly hold a badminton racket, start by placing the base knuckle of your index finger on the front of the racket handle. The thumb should be placed on the back of the racket handle. The other fingers should be wrapped around the handle, with the base knuckle of the middle finger resting on the back of the handle. The fingers should be relaxed, allowing for a comfortable grip.

As you can see from the image, you want to have a ‘V-Shape’ with the neck of the racket running right through the base of the V. You also want to have a little space between your index finger and middle fingers.

When holding your racket, in any of the 4 grips, your grip should be loose. Holding the racket too tightly has a number of negatives.

  1. Becomes more difficult to change grip quickly mid rally
  2. Limits your control over your shots. Soft fingers, better control.
  3. Limits your ability to generate power

So make sure that you relax your muscles and hold your racket gently.

The forehand grip is used for:

  • Overhead forehand shots e.g. clears, smashes and drops
  • Forehand drives
  • Forehand lifts
  • Forehand net shots

Backhand Grip

If the forehand grip is like a handshake, the backhand grip is like holding a frying pan. With your strings parallel to the ceiling and floor, place your thumb on top of the grip, with your other fingers wrapped around the handle like the image below. Like with the forehand grip, your fingers should be loose and not gripping the racket tightly. 

The backhand grip can limit your arm rotation and therefore it is not used for backhand shots from the rear of the court. 

But the shots you do use the backhand grip for are:

  • Backhand serve
  • Backhand net shots and kills
  • Backhand drives
  • Backhand lifts 
  • Doubles defense

Bevel Grip

The bevel grip is a halfway house between the forehand and backhand grips. This is because you place your finger on the bevel (or ridge) of the grip making your racket face twisted half way between the forehand and backhand grips, like in the picture below. This is actually the grip that is used for backhand shots from the back of the court and not the backhand grip. The bevel is the short diagonal part of the racket as seen on this image below.

The octagonal shape of a badminton racket handle

The reason for using the bevel grip for backhand shots from the rear of the courts is because in this situation, the shuttle is most often behind you. If you are using the backhand grip, it is not possible for you to bend your wrist enough to successfully play the shuttle from behind you with the appropriate amount of accuracy and power. By switching to the bevel grip, it bring your racket head further round, back towards the court, making it easier for you to play the backhand shot from behind you, see the picture below.

If the shuttle is level or in front of you, it is best to use the standard backhand grip.

If the shuttle is really far behind you then you should use the next grip we are going to talk about, the panhandle grip.

The bevel grip is used for:

  • Backhand shots from the rear court (when the shuttle is behind you)
    • Clears
    • Drops
    • Smashes
  • Forehand and backhand net shots
  • Defensive shots (If you are stretching to reach them)

Pan Handle Grip

The pan handle grip is the most common grip used by complete beginners as it is easier to hit overhead shots and it gives you power for your shots when only using short movements. 

Similar to the backhand grip, have your strings parallel to the ceiling and floor, but instead of placing your thumb on top of the grip place it on the side of the grip. Then wrap your other fingers around the handle with your index finger pinching the grip on the other side of the grip, like the image below.

Although many beginners use the pan handle grip for most shots, it severely limits forearm rotation which means that ultimately you miss out on a load of the power generation when you swing the racket.

Despite the bad reputation the pan handle has, it is still a very necessary grip all the way up to even professionals.

Like we mentioned in the bevel grip, if the shuttle is behind you, it is not possible for you to bend your wrist enough to successfully play the shuttle from behind you. If the shuttle has gone really far behind you, and you effectively have to turn your back completely to the net, the bevel grip will no longer be enough to guide the shuttle back into the court. This is where the pan hand grip will come in.

The pan handle grip can also be used for net kills, to get a short, sharp and powerful movement to kill the shuttle at the net.

  • Backhand shots really far behind you
  • Net Kills

Importance of correct technique

The obvious importance of using correct technique is that you will hit better shots and improve your overall performance. A poor grip can inhibit wrist movement and negatively affect a player’s performance.

As well as this, it is also important to use correct technique to avoid injury. A correct grip can prevent badminton injuries, such as hand and wrist strain, tennis elbow and shoulder pain, which are common among badminton players who grip the racket too tightly. 

Biggest mistakes

Some of the biggest mistakes that some beginners make can easily be fixed.

Forefinger on the top of the Racket

This is probably the most common mistake that beginners make when holding a racket. Putting the forefinger on the top of the racket means that you can’t rotate the racket or squeeze the grip; both are ways in which badminton players create power in their shots.

Picture of the beginner mistake finger on top of the racket

Not changing your grip in a rally

Many beginners naturally adopt a pan handle grip when picking up a badminton racket. This feels a natural way to hit an overhead shot if you have not been shown the correct way. This often also leads to the player only using this one grip for all shots. As you can see from this article, this wouldn’t allow you to play many shots, such as a back hand, leading to a massive reduction in performance. 

Over-wrapping your grip

If you overwrap your racket, meaning that you have a really thick grip, you could end up gripping too tightly, leading to hand and wrist fatigue that could lead to injury. Also, a thickly wrapped grip can also have the potential to hide the bevel of your racket handle, so you won’t be able to feel your hand position as well. Being able to feel where you are holding on your racket grip can help you with swift and easy grip changes between types of shots.

Tips for Swapping Between Grips in a Match

Smooth and quick transitions between grips in a match can up your performance level no end. Here are some tips for how to improve your ability to swap between grips successfully. 

Have loose fingers

Holding the racket loosely can help when transitioning between your grips. It allows you to swap at a much faster rate than if you are gripping your racket too tightly. When gripping tightly, you have to first release your grip on the racket before then swapping to an alternative grip, wasting valuable seconds, of which you don’t have many in badminton.

Don’t use a thick grip

As we have already talked about, having a thick grip can disguise where on the handle you are holding the racket. Not knowing where you are holding the racket can also waste value seconds between grip changes and can also lead to holding the grip completely wrong for the shot you want to play. If you can allow changing grip to be a thoughtless act, then you will have mastered holding the badminton racket. Make this as easy as possible for yourself by not having an over-wrapped grip.

Practise, Practise, Practise

As we just mentioned, the ideal state for changing your grip is to make it subconscious. Being able to change grip without thinking about it is mastering changing grip, something that the pros all do. You too can also attain this state, but it will come with regular practice. Next time you are just sitting in front of the television, why not hold your racket and keep swapping between each grip and eventually it will become second nature to you. 

Summary

In conclusion, the grip is an essential element of badminton technique that can greatly impact a player’s performance on the court. Understanding the different types of grips in badminton, how to hold a racket properly and how to adjust grip for different shots can help players of all levels improve their game. A proper grip allows for correct shot technique, which is crucial for generating power and control as well as helping to prevent injuries. By mastering the grip in badminton, players can take their performance to the next level and achieve their full potential on the court.

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