What is the hairpin net shot in badminton?

The objective of badminton is to hurl the shuttle with a racquet within bounds on the other side of the net. A rally ensues till the one unable to make the return or hit within bounds or commits a fault, loses the point.

Professional shuttlers are trained to hit some advanced shots that are often unreturnable. One such technique is the hairpin net shot. As the name suggests, net shots are those which are played near the net. These shots result in the shuttle landing in close proximity to the net on the opponent’s side of the court. Drop shots are a common example, however, they can be hit from any area of the court.

A hairpin net shot is a difficult net shot to execute. In this, a player who is in close proximity to the net, lifts the shuttle such that it marginally crosses the net. The shuttle then sharply drops down such that it lands near the net on the opponent’s side.

The name of the shot is derived from the shape the parabola of the shuttle makes. The player can perform the hairpin net shot from both their forehand and backhand wings.

Returning a hairpin net shot is incredibly tricky. The shuttle, that barely crosses the 7 ft 6 inch height of the net, finds itself very close to the net on the other side. The best way to return the hairpin net shot is by hitting a high clear defensive shot. Sending the shuttle high gives time for the returner to get back into position for returning what is likely to be an incoming smash.

Hitting a drop shot in return is another option but required very advanced skills. This is because the hairpin net shot does not carry any pace on the shuttle. Players have to generate all the pace from their wrists in order to return it with a drop shot.
Hairpin net shots can be mastered with regular practice, making it a skillful weapon in the professional shuttler’s artillery.

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