Push Shot Tactics From The Front Court

The push shot is confusing terminology as it is often though of as a soft shot into the mid court. However, the push can be a faster more attacking shot, as it is in the scenario we are to discuss below. From the front court you don’t want to play the push like a drive as it will fly out the back. But you do want to give it enough pace to make it difficult for the opponent. I think aiming for the rear service line is a good indication of the pace you should put on the push shot from the front court.

There’s one thing a lot of players seem to have in common when they find themselves in the front court. They limit their shot choices to:

  • Playing back to the front court, constantly seeking to set up the lift again.
  • Killing the rally when it’s a sure thing.

Now on the face of it, there isn’t anything wrong there. After all, the main roles of the front-court player are to finish points from the front of the court and help to maintain the attack. But while this can be an effective strategy, there’s no variation in your approach. Which means you’re playing the same attacking strategy against all opponents.

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The Problem With This Strategy

The issue here is in the situation when you can’t kill the shuttle. Players will often play a block to the net to seek the lift and keep the attack going. Of course, there is nothing fundamentally wrong with this. However, it does mean your partner must have the stamina and ability to continue the attack and be able to set you up in the front court.

But when the opponent is very adept at defending and can simply absorb your attack, this becomes a difficult strategy. You will eventually tire because you just can’t break through their defense. Then mistakes start to sneak into your game and easy points will be given to your opponents. Most of us don’t have the stamina or ability to play 5 or 6 smashes in one rally, or move around the court for extended periods of time. The opponents simply don’t feel the pressure of your attack.

So in other words, the front court player plays almost too much for their partner. Of course, doubles is a partnership but also it doesn’t mean every shot you have to consider your partner. Sometimes you can do things from the front court which benefits you as well to help finish the rally off.

Push Shot From The Front Court

This is where the push comes in. Few of us think to play this shot because we have the mindset of getting the lift if we cannot kill. But if you can play a push it can help set you up at the front court or force a weak lift. From a net position we play this shot a little harder than the usual push from the midcourt – in the case of mixed doubles for example. It’s more like a flatter kill, or a softer drive.

It is effective for two main reasons:

1. Gives Opponents Less Space

With a block shot at the net, the opponent is usually in a defensive position somewhere in the mid court. So they have space to step forward into the front court and return the shuttle. It’s a bit of a passive shot and fairly comfortable to retrieve – unless it’s an interception.

Push Shot
The block to the net gives space for the oppnent to move forward and retrieve the shuttle more easily

With a push however, the shuttle comes to them. They don’t go to the shuttle. So this means they’re bound to play the shot from the position they’re standing.

In addition it might be difficult to manourve the racket in such a way to properly receive the shuttle. When the shuttle comes to your body your racket might be close to your body as well, especially in a defensive stance which makes it harder to manourve than when your arm is further extended.

2. Gives Less Time To The Opponent:

The push shot is a faster shot which gives the opponent less time to react to it which can complicate their defence and get them twisted up. Sometimes when recovering from the previous shot the opponent won’t be ready quick enough to retrieve the push. So it can result in forcing errors from the opponent and also forcing weak replies back to the net when combined with the above.

Using The Push Shot

The push can be used when the shuttle is above net height but the kill might not be on due to your positioning to play the shot, the height of the shuttle or even your confidence to play the kill in that situation.

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Whatever the reason the push should be used to maintain the attack and pressure the opponent. The faster the shuttle comes back to them the more pressure they’re under. Also, remember that although this is a fast shot, it’s not as powerful as a drive. So don’t try and drive it cause chances are it’s going to fly out the rear court.

Areas such as into the chest, head or racket hip are great choices but as long as you hit into them in a downward direction it can be very effective. Bare in mind though, very good players will be used to this and the shuttle can be returned very quickly. It’s important to keep your racket up to get the next one.

When you restrict the space as highlighted above with this shot, you also restrict their ability to turn the shuttle and play it away from you. Of course it’s not impossible but it is much more difficult. More often than not they are forced to return the push straight.


Of course I’m not saying you shouldn’t play the net blocks and I’m not saying the push should be used all the time. Just be concious of the situation on the court and be aware that it’s not always about setting your partner up from the rear court. It’s both your your roles to work together to win the point. Sometimes that involves setting yourself up as well your partner. And fron the front court, this can be easier to achive.

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