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Badminton tips by Prospeed Cheong Weng Kwai

Center position-After service, you would usually take up position in the center, where you think the most suitable to take all return shots. Move or shuffle your body a little while waiting for your opponent to return the shot. We called this “dancing.” While dancing, you are actually preparing to push your body easier to hit any shot that comes to you.  If you are good in taking a baseline shot and weak in taking drop shot, then you can shuffle your body slightly towards the front.


Taking a forehand drop shot – Lower down your body a little, gallop and move your body towards the forehand side of the net, remember to give it a push with your left leg tiptoed, then covered the distance with your right. Always try to reach the shuttle, hitting the shot with your racket close to the top of the net. This way it’s easier to control and provides more choices on your next shot. Shuffle your body and dance away for the second shot with a push.


Returning a forehand smash – Bend down your knee a little to get the power, dance and shuffle your body, move your body towards the forehand side where the smash landed. You can do this by getting your left leg close to your right then forcing your right leg to take a big step. Again, you can either lift the shuttle high for a clearance or flick the shuttle to the short line of your opponent. Always shuffle your body and be ready for the next shot.


Taking a backhand drop shot – If you are slightly away from the net and have to take 2 steps to reach the shuttle, gallop and bend down your knee a little, give it a push with your left leg then covered the distance with your right. If you are fast then you have time to either do straight netting, cross netting or sent the shuttle away to any empty space into your opponent side. To take up position for the next shot, moved back with your right leg with a push.


Returning a backhand smash – Bend down your knee a little to get the power, dance and shuffle your body, turn your body towards the backhand side where the smash landed, with your back facing the net. You can do this by forcing your right leg across to take a big step. You can either lift the shuttle high for a clearance or flick the shuttle to the short line of your opponent. Always shuffle your body and be ready for the next shot.


In badminton nothing comes easy! In order to do well in receiving drop shot and smashes from your opponent, you need to practice the footwork at your own pace. The more your practice, the better you are. You can practice the below footwork according to your current physical condition and gradually increase its repetition as you improved.


1)       Starting from the center of the court, jump a little on the spot, move or shuffle your body a little to do the dancing. Lunge your body forward and gallop towards the backhand net by taking a smaller step with your left leg then a bigger step with your right leg.

2)      Return to your original center position, starting with your right leg in a reverse position follows by a gallop with your left and then right.

3)      Now, jump a little on the spot as you shuffle your body, move forward to your forehand net, starting with your left leg galloping in a smaller step then follow by your right leg. Always remember to bend your knee for more power and support.

4)      Return to your original center position, starting with your right leg in a reverse position follows by a gallop with your left and then right.

5)       Bend down your knee a little to get the power, dance on the spot and shuffle your body, turn your body towards the backhand side where the smash landed, with your back facing the net by forcing your right leg across to take a big step.

6)       Return to your original center position by using the same step in a reverse direction.

7)       Now, bend down your knee a little to get the power, dance and shuffle your body, move your body towards the forehand side where the smash landed by getting your left leg close to your right then forcing your right leg to take a big step.

8)      Return to your original center position by using the same step in a reverse direction


Service Tips:

What do you do with an  opponent who has read last issue's article on returning serve in doubles and is now giving you all sorts of problems on your serve? Before you flick every time, here are some ways to neutralize the rushed return:
Serve wide to the alleys. It helps if your partner has a good backhand, since you will be exposing it to a down the line return on a serve to his backhand alley. Also, figure out which "hand" - forehand or backhand - the receiver uses from either court to return serve, then serve slightly wider to that point where he has to change from one "hand" to the other. 
Drive your serve fast and low at the receiver's head or chest. This is particularly effective against a tall rusher who waits in a very upright stance close to the short service line. The return will come back very quickly, so have your next shot ready. 
Come set, and then hold your serve. You must serve within five seconds, but if you vary your hold time from one serve to the next the receiver's timing is thrown off. Usually the guessers start tipping over toward their forehand; serve to the backhand. You are in trouble if this tactic does not stop the rush - the receiver is a fundamentally aggressive player. 
Serve deliberately short. The hard rushers have very little time to decide whether a particular serve will land good or not so they may try to play the serve. The next time try serving even shorter. You are in deeper trouble if this tactic doesn't work either - not only is the receiver aggressive, but also quick and experienced. 
Your serve may be easy to read. One way to deceive the receiver is to take a big backswing and slice across the bird as you serve. With the same stroke you can serve short or long, but the short serve is difficult to master and so is less consistent. The way I prefer is to strike the shuttle with a short, quick-but-controlled stroke, which gives the receiver less time to react. The first and fourth option make the receiver lift the bird more, the other options delay the receiver's rush. Practice your short serve and don't rely on your high serve to get you out of trouble. The high serve invites trouble; you are giving them an opportunity to win the rally by gambling on the receiver making an unforced error. Keep your high serve in reserve, to use at unexpected times. If you are the server's partner, try the following: 
Figure what type of return of serve the receiver likes. Usually players have one or two favorite returns. If the receiver likes soft returns, stand imperceptibly closer to the server. Likewise, if the receiver favors drive returns, wait farther away from the server and keep your racket head up

Calm your serving partner, say something positive and encouraging. Your partner is probably psyched out by the intimidating return of serve and is undergoing a crisis in confidence, which causes serves to be too high or too low. Remind your partner of the simple tips above.


If you do not have trouble with boy - girl relationships, mixed doubles is the most challenging of the three doubles played in badminton. It combines the power and ability to cover a significant amount of court for the man, and the finesse and touch of a woman.

Mixed doubles is sometimes referred to as "singles with interference." This is because of the impression that the woman cannot compete in the back court or on even terms with the man. The man controls the play so that most of the birds are returned in his direction. The woman is allowed an occasional shot at the net just to say she is playing the game. THIS IS NOT MIXED DOUBLES.

In basic mixed doubles, the man will cover the majority of the shots in the back court while the woman will cut off any weak shot at the net. In some cases, the woman may be stronger than the man and will cover more of the court. In other cases, both may be of equal skills and will play regular doubles with each sharing their time in the back court. For this article, however, the man is assumed to be of superior strength and power and the pair will use the traditional "front and back" formation. Of course, the ultimate object of each individual in the pair is to realize their strengths and weaknesses and maximize their abilities to produce a winning game.

The front and back system in mixed doubles is the basic style of attack with the woman ready to hit down all shuttles at the front of the court and her partner ready to smash from the back. As the woman is closer to the net and has less time to react to the opponents' shots, her basic area of responsibility is in front of the service line. She must be careful not to reach behind her for shots that she may lift to the opponents. She must hold her racket up at all times, ready to make short jabs (not a full swing) on shots close to the net. The man must have finesse and strength to return shots that can not be smashed by the opponents. Both partners must avoid lifting or clearing to the back at all costs, since this front and back formation is very vulnerable to drop shots and smashes, directed down the line or cross-court.

In this formation, the woman should never look around to see what her partner is doing; she should constantly watch the movements of the opponents. This will tell her from what direction of their court to expect their return and also give her a good idea what type of return the opponents will make. Both partners must be adept at setting up the opponents so that one of the partners can obtain a kill. In preparation for a match, a pair must first plan an overall strategy on the strengths and weaknesses of an opponent's game. They must find the answer to any shot the opponents may try - often what works for the opponents also works against them as well. Brains, tactics, and the ability to play consistently (that is, NO UNFORCED ERRORS) often become the winning ingredients.




     In mixed doubles, the serving formation is for the man to always stand behind the woman no matter which partner is serving. When the man is serving, the woman must stand in a position that will not obstruct the sight of the bird to the opposition. For a right handed man serving on his forehand, the woman must stand just in front of and to the left of the T. It doesn't matter which court the man is serving to, she will always be in that position. If the man is left handed and serves with his forehand, she will stand to the right of the T. (If the man uses the backhand serve, the woman stands on the same side of the T as the man.) The purpose of this formation is allow the woman to 1) be close to her base near the T while allowing her partner to serve cross-court and 2) attack a hairpin return anywhere along the net. Any pair may have slight deviations in player positions when starting the serve but consistency is a key element to winning play.

The server in doubles should use the short low serve to the front center corner of the service court as the basic service. This narrows the angle of the return by the receiver. (Serves to the alleys or tram lines allow the receiver a wide angle of service return. One must remember if you are trying to catch your opponents off guard by a wide serve, they may catch you off guard by the sharply angled return. As the old saying goes, "you give angle and you get angle.") This low serve should be used practically all the time and the high flick serve and drive serve held as a threat. If any opponent is susceptible to a high or a particular serve, however, the server should not hesitate to use that serve more than the low serve to the center.

The team should score a larger percentage of points when the woman is serving, since the man is fully prepared for the return and can clearly see the whole court from his starting position. He knows exactly how and what his partner will do on each service and can anticipate the service return. It is therefore very important for the woman to consistently deliver an accurate and low short serve especially to an intimidating male receiver


  Service to the Woman:


     Many teams have a predetermined plan to serve high to the woman in order to push her away from her base of operation at the net. While overhead returns are often the weakness of woman players, this tactic has dubious value against the best woman players. Firstly, most women do not rush serves but stay back in their receiving court and "play it safe." They are consequently in position to smash any high service and not necessarily in position to return a low serve. Secondly, a high serve, unless it catches a receiver by surprise, immediately gives the opponents the attack. By probing during the first game, players must be able to determine which serve, either high or low, to backhand or forehand, will produce winning points

 Service to the Man:                                                                                     


     A good low serve to the man is the one essential ingredient to winning a match. An occasional "flick" serve will tend to prevent intimidation. No matter how advanced the players, a basic principle is that serves to the backhand draw a return to the server's backhand, and a serve to the opponent's forehand will tend to elicit a return to the server's forehand. This is less apt to hold true when the receiver has a longer time to hit the serve and does not apply at all when a serve is too high.  

  Receiving Serve:


     Many mixed teams position themselves differently for the return of service. Sometimes the woman will stand behind the man when he is receiving, posing as a regular doubles partner. In this situation the man will attempt to "kill" all weak serves or make such an aggressive shot that his partner will be able to smash any subsequent return by the opponents. Other times the woman will stand beside the man in the traditional front and back formation. In this position, the man must not be too aggressive and over commit to the front court, as he must be able to cover any return to the back court. His return of serve therefore has to be softer or longer while still forcing a lifted return, the better to gain time to cover the back court. He will let his partner return all shots at the net.

The return is dependent on the formation the opponents are using. If they are a "front and back" pair, then the half-court down the alley should be prominent in the receivers' scheme of attack. The half-court is a controlled drive played to pass the net player but hit so that it will fall in an area just behind the front service line. It is designed to draw the man closer to the net and catch him out of position and at the same time induce the woman to turn away from the net, over-reach for the shuttle, and get in her partner's way. If the half court is too high or short, the opposing woman can cut in and clip off the shuttle at the net. If the shot is too deep it affords the opposing man the opportunity of hitting the shuttle at head height and taking the initiative. These half-court returns mixed with long flat drives to the body of the man or to the corners of the deep court, together with occasional drop-shots played to the corner of the net away from the woman, are the best returns against another "front and back" pair. Cross-court drives should be used sparingly since the woman is primed to return these shots into winners to an open court.

  Return Of Serve By The Woman:


     Against another "front and back" team, a woman should rarely, if ever, play a drop-shot from a high serve. The opposing woman will be waiting at the net ready to cut off even the best of drop-shots. (Against a "sides" pair, a drop-shot from a high serve is a good basic return since none of the opponents will be up guarding the net.) The woman should always remember to play a return of a high serve that will allow her time to reach any part of the net for her next shot. A sharply angled smash down the side line will be the best and safest return. She must guard against cross-court smashing too much or she will find it extremely difficult to reach a well-returned drop-shot, angled away from her to the opposite corner of the net.


  The Rally:


     During the rally the man uses well-disguised half court shots down the line in an attempt to get the opponents to lift or cross-court the bird. In turn, the woman attempts to kill any misguided half-court shots for winners. The initiative can be lost sometimes by hitting the shuttle too high in the air or by the woman cutting in too soon and not putting the shuttle away decisively, but more often than not it is lost by the man cross-courting too soon. If a rally is temporarily stalemated by each side's playing well placed half court shots or long drives, the man should not attempt a cross-court drive until the shuttle can be met around shoulder height. When hit at this height the shuttle can be made to travel downward fast enough to prevent the opposing lady from intercepting the shuttle or the man to do much to counter the shot. One must take care hitting cross-court shots as the counter attack by the opponents may be directed down the line into your now open court, or may be hit more sharply cross court back at you. Furthermore, the man who returns a well placed half-court shot with a cross-court has a good chance of hitting his own partner with the shuttle. When both teams are executing good half-courts down the line, neither of them able to cross court and both reluctant to lift to the back, the woman who first recognizes this stalemated half-court duel and "poaches" or cuts off the next half court will usually win the rally.

 Strategy Against a Sides Pair:


      When playing against a "sides" pair, the "front and back" man should not be drawn into a driving or smashing battle since he will quickly be "pooped." He must remember his opponents intend to chase him all over the court, cutting out his lady partner entirely in some cases. They will play half court shots, long flat drives, and deep high clears from side to side in the hope he will smash or drive prematurely and be caught off balance by quick change-of-direction shots.

Drop-shots are the basic form of attack against the "sides" system, starting from the return of serve and continuing through the rally. Both the man and the woman should direct many of these drop-shots to the center of the net to draw both "sides" players forward. All drop shots should be played to fall steeply over the net. The man should smash down the center of the court to avoid sharply angled returns, or toward the weaker of the two opponents. Any consistent misses by that person will certainly disconcert the partner and they may change their style of attack (which may be good or bad). Cross-court shots of all types should be used sparingly




      To succeed in mixed doubles it is essential that each partner's mind should work in perfect harmony with the other's. Since many shots travel through the woman's reach, both partners must telepathically agree on who is going to take the shot. On the other hand, one must hit shots that confuse the opponents by making them go for the same shuttle. This forces them to make errors, which eventually makes them lose all confidence in each other's abilities on the court. Once you have induced this type of degeneration in your opponents, your odds of winning are greatly increased.

Al and Beverly have been more successful than not in making their opponents lose all confidence in each other on the court, since they are still happily married and still playing with each other in tournaments, a very rare feat in competitive mixed doubles. Badminton players for over 30 years, they are past Washington and Oregon State Veterans Mixed Doubles champions and were 1992 US Nationals Masters Mixed Doubles finalists. Both Al and Bev are and have been prime promoters of badminton in Washington. Al twice has been WSBA president; Bev coached badminton at Bellevue High School for 17 years. 

Source: Washington State Badminton Association Newsletter Newsletter, Winter 1996

Author: Al Allott


Increased Stamina  :                                                                            


     So now you're hitting more accurate and consistent shots, and your footwork is better. A strange thing is about to happenュyour stamina is going to increase. Rallies in half-court singles tend to be longer. Both players usually hit the so-called "high percentage" shots, i.e. shots that are more likely to stay in and keep the rally going. This translates into longer rallies, particularly of the up-and-back variety. Lots of clears followed by drop shots, net play, and then more clears mean that in order to win the rallies, you'll have to hang in there. Because it's fun and competitive, you're less likely to become bored or tired. Instead, your focus improves your stamina. 

 Killer Drops and Net Play  :


     With less ground to cover, your opponent will always be a fraction of a second closer to any drops you hit. It follows then that in order to win the rallies, you're going to have to hit tighter net shots. Anything less will give your opponent the advantage. You will naturally begin hitting drops that are quicker, rather than of the "floater" strain. And when at the net, fearful that your opponent will pounce like a rabid tiger on the typical lethargic, plump, and juicy sky-high net shots that've become your full-court singles game's calling card, you'll again be forced into hitting more razor-sharp and accurate net shots. 

 Stronger Smashes  :


     One consequence of better footwork, improved accuracy, and increased stamina is that when you do smash, these factors help you maximize the effectiveness of your shots. That is, by getting your feet and body into the correct position, and by hitting a clean, crisp stroke that you know will be more accurate, your smashes tend to become stronger and more effective. Also, in order to conserve energy, smashes are used sparingly, and usually only when the opportunity arises (a weak clear by your opponent, or you see they are slightly out of position, etc.).

 Wall-of-China Defense :


     Accountable for a smaller area of court, you are better able to anticipate and return your opponent's smashes. Since all smashes by definition of half-court singles are straight ahead, you will be able to concentrate on pure defense rather than running to retrieve them. And, if you're going to win the rallies, you'll soon find yourself getting those smashes back. Your options are limited: either clear the shuttle deeply, drop it, or drive it back straight at the smasher. I favor the last approach, because someone who has just smashed has some forward momentum that can be used against him to elicit a weak return.

So, if you want to improve your game and have fun in the process, play half-court singles.

Source: Washington State Badminton Association Newsletter Newsletter, Spring 1996

Author: Rob Brown


 Badminton Strategies and Tactics for the Novice and Recreational Player


     Now that you have graduated from backyard badminton, you can no longer rely on physical ability alone to win games. It is time to develop tactics and strategies a game plan to out-think and beat your opponent. By identifying and focusing on his or her weaknesses, you are beginning to use your mental acumen to win. If you play without thinking you will lose without realizing why you lost.

  In general  :


     Study your opponents. Discover what shots they are prone to make errors on, which shots are their favorite ones, and which shots they are limited to in specific situations. You are looking for patterns and tendencies. Perhaps by their body language and movement they telegraph what shot they are going to execute. Correctly anticipating what the opponents will do with the shuttle will help your own game enormously. Even feeding the shuttle to an opponent's favorite put-away shot will work to your advantage because you gain time: you will be ready for it and may return it before he has recovered.

Your opponent has other qualities that dictate how you play. I play quickly and aggressively against a player who has more stamina and patience than I do, likewise I play more conservatively against a player who has less stamina or is more inconsistent. One coach I knew classified players according to how they moved, and hit shots that he thought would upset their timing and rhythm. I, on the other hand, know only enough to hit fast, low shots against slow-footed players and try to fake more against quick players.


  Singles :


      Use the length of the court and pin your opponent to the back line before trying a drop shot to the net. It is much easier to retrieve his shots when he is forced to hit from deep in his court. Move your opponent to all four corners to tire him. It is much easier to hit winning shots against a tired player, even a fresh player who is slightly tired from a long rally. Dart in and out of your own corners so that you can cover your court for his next shot.

Singles is a mental and physical battle. A lapse in concentration can easily lead to losing a run of points, which in turn is discouraging and may lead to losing even more points. To win in singles one must be fit, focused, and hit good clears and drops without errors. Smashes should only be used for ending the rally within the next two shots. The classic singles rally would use drops and clears until the shuttle is too far away from the opponent to him to effectively clear a return, and then with a smash win the rally outright.


 Mens and womens doubles :                                                                            


     Avoid lifting or clearing the shuttle, which is like punting in football. By clearing, you are giving the opponents a chance to win. If you do clear, your team should adopt a side-by-side defensive position. The whole point of the rally, starting with the service, is to hit shots that force the opponents to lift. This is why when you are serving your partner stands behind you because you hope to make the receivers lift with your good short serve. This is also why when you are receiving serve your partner stands behind you because you hope with your aggressive return you will make someone on the serving team lift to your partner.

If your opponents clear to your side, the person who will hit the shuttle must hit downwards (either smashing or dropping) while the partner must be moving to the front as soon as he realizes the shuttle is not his. This is the up and back offense position, the better to control the net. From now on the smasher gets all the deep ones, while the net man cuts off or puts away everything else.

If you have the offense, it is safest if you do not smash cross-court, since their down-the-line return will be directed at your undefended open space. Find out how your opponent directly across the net from you waits for your smash. If he waits on his backhand, smash wide to his forehand or close to his forehand hip or shoulder. If he waits on his forehand, smash to his body or his backhand. If he stands deep, hit drops or cut smashes. If he stands close and waits with his racket up, try a quick clear.

If you are on defense, try to flatten the smash out so that the smasher cannot smash again. You can return cross-court with the aim of tiring the smasher or forcing him to hit a laterally off-balanced shot, but the cross-court must avoid the net man.


 Mixed doubles  :


     In the classic mixed formation, the woman stays in front of the man, playing along and just behind the short service line, while the man retrieves shots hit to his half-court or backcourt. In mixed it is even more imperative not to lift, since the woman is so close at the net and vulnerable to smashes. Classic mixed is a slower game with more finesse than in regular doubles, the better to bring both partners into the rally. Again, each team is trying to hit shots that make the other team lift. Avoid shots that your opponents can meet above the tape, unless you manage to get the shot behind the striker.

If you do lift, the woman should not stay at the T and duck, but run away cross-court from where the shuttle is on the other side and take a position about 2-3 feet behind the short service line, squatting down and keeping the racket head up. She is only responsible for smashes and drops directed at her; the man gets everything else, including the down-the-line drop.

Since you are playing in an up-and-back formation, hitting cross-court is risky since you are vulnerable to a down-the-line return. Hit cross-court only if both opponents are on the same side of their court as the shuttle is on your side, or if you know you can hit a winner through the opposing woman. 

Source: Washington State Badminton Association Newsletter Newsletter, Fall 1996

Author: Eugene Kumekawa