Which Is The Best Badminton Grip?
To the novice, the right badminton grip would seem to be nothing more than holding the racket more or less naturally, and using that same grip throughout the game. In baseball and tennis we are taught a standard grip, but we are also taught to make sometimes subtle changes in that grip to take into account what we are trying to do with the bat or racket at a given instance. It's the same in badminton, maybe more so. No matter what the sport, you're usually using a specific grip to accomplish two things, control the direction of object you are trying to hit, and hit the object with power. With the wrong grip you usually cannot do one or both of those things.
A badminton grip should be relaxed and natural. Not so relaxed that you drop the racket of course, but still very relaxed. To hit an abject with power you need to be relaxed to get maximum wrist and arm speed, while achieving maximum control. You only grasp the racket tightly at the moment of impact. The badminton racket gets its power from a snap of the wrist. If your hand and wrist are not relaxed, you cannot provide the wrist action necessary to give that snap.
The Basic Badminton Grip - The standard or basic grip consists of holding the racket as if you were shaking hands with someone. This grip will get you through most of the game and is the grip of choice for delivering a forehand shot. Spreading your fingers apart very slightly instead of having them touch will give you better control of the racket. One of the things you will constantly be trying to do, even unconsciously at times, is to turn the angle of the face of the racket to direct your shot. A relaxed grip with slightly spread fingers allows this to happen.
The Backhand Grip = Long before you've really "mastered" the standard grip, you'll discover that it isn't the best grip for all situations. It's really best for the forehand, but can be awkward if the shuttlecock is coming directly at you, and lacks power if attempting a backhand shot with it. For the backhand to be most effective your thumb needs to come into play. In the standard grip your thumb is wrapped around the handle. For the backhand grip the thumb is straightened out and provides a rigid support for the racket. If the thumb isn't held straight, you won't have good control of the angle of your racket head and won't have as much power either. Your backhand will be rather sloppy.
The Thumb Grip - The thumb grip often comes into play when in close to the net. The thumb is placed at the back of the handle as is the case with the backhand grip, but only the pad of the thumb makes contact. The result is greater control over the racket in tight situations, where the path of the shuttlecock is close to your body. The way the thumb is positioned though restricts the movement of the wrist so you cannot use the thumb grip for powerful backhand shots. You do not want to anyhow as the thumb grip is more of a fine tuning grip.
The Panhandle - The other main grip, possibly one you have been using all along if you are a beginner, is the panhandle grip. This grip is similar to holding a frying pan and is the grip of choice when the shuttlecock is high over the net and directly in front of you. The panhandle grip is the one most often used for making smashes or kills. It is not a good grip for forehand shots, as you do not have the control over the racket head that the standard grip provides.
Want To Advance? Go Back To The Basics - As you progress in the game you may wish to learn one of several so-called bevel grips. These are similar to the standard grip but the position of the bevels on the racket handle come into play. These can rather subtle changes from the standard grip to the point of sometimes seemingly to be no different. What you are doing here is fine tuning your grip in response to the task at hand. As a more advanced player you'll need to practice being able to change grips quickly and constantly, all the more reason for holding the racket with a relaxed grip. The more advanced the grip types you choose, the more you need to keep coming back to the basics.