What is the dab in badminton?

In popular culture, dab is popularised as a dance move. However, the literal meaning of dab is to strike something with a light blow. In badminton a dab or a dab kill refers to a particular type of shot.

A dab is played when the player is positioned near the net. The shot does not involve any follow through or back swing. However, it does require substantial amount of power that is solely generated by the wrist. The shot is directed at the mid-court of the opponent and the projectile of the shot is low. It is a rapid shot which is played with the intention of making it uncomfortable for the opponent to return.

A dab kill is targeted at the lower body of the opponent. The only way a dab kill can be countered is by hitting a high defensive clear. However, the player who hit the dab is at a greater advantage as the high clear return allows the player to finish the point with a smash.

A dab, often referred simply as a “kill”, can be played through both the forehand and the backhand wing. The choice of whether to hit a forehand or backhand net kill depends on the position of the player, position of the opponent and the height of the shuttle relative to the net. Dabs are most effective when the incoming shuttle travels loose or slowly over the net.

Quick footwork is the first and most crucial step towards executing a dab. The footwork ensures that the player pounces upon the opportunity to hit a dab off a loose shot. A pan-handle grip with a powerful brisk motion of the wrist ultimately decides the effectiveness of the dab.
The dab kill thus guarantees the point in favor of the player who hits it efficiently.

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