The Basics of Competitive Badminton:
While badminton is commonly seen as a
recreational sport favored by old ladies who can't
play tennis, if you were to sit down and watch an
actual professional match, you would quickly realise
this is not the case. Competitive badminton takes a
lot of strength, incredible endurance,
well-developed hand-eye co-ordination, and quick
strategic thinking. While this node isn't intended
to describe every aspect of the game in painstaking
detail, it should serve as a brief primer for
recreational players who hope to take their games to a
new level, as well as show the skeptics some of the real
skills and strategy it takes to play the game
well. I won't really go into all the rules, as these
have already been covered.
- The Smash:
overhead shot with a downward angle. This is a favorite shot of most players, and it takes most
beginners a while to develop this one. Although it is
usually angled toward the ground, it also produces a
pleasing result if targeted at your opponent's face or
upper body. Generally, if a player hits the birdie
(shuttlecock) too high up in the air, his opponent
will retaliate with a smash to win the point.
- The Clear:
This shot is the
only one in badminton that, if done correctly, will
make a high-ish arc. A successful clear involves hitting
the bird to the back line of your opponent's
court. It can be used offensively, to move your
opponent around the court and tire him out, or
defensively, to buy yourself a bit of time in order
to regain your position.
- The Drop:
This shot is an
extremely gentle net shot which is intended to
land just in front of the net in your opponent's
court. DO NOT hit this one too high, or your opponent
will seize the opportunity to smash it in your face.
If done correctly, the drop shot will almost graze
- The Drive:
basically goes in a straight line. On offense,
this shot can be strategically angled toward a
location far away from your opponent, in order to tire
him out. This shot should be nearly parallel to the
ground-- other than the clear, badminton shots should
never make an arc.
As already stated,
the serve should go in the box diagonally across
from the server. If the the serve goes outside this
box, it will be considered a fault. Other ways to
commit a service fault include hitting the serve too
high (anywhere above the waist is illegal, as is
holding the racket so the head is above your
hand), or if the serve falls short of the front
service line (this is a line about 2 feet away from
the net, you'll know it if you see it), or if your
feet pass the front service line.
Things You Should Know:
- The best strategy is to make your opponent run:
always hit the bird where they're not. This means
thinking very quickly on your feet. For example, if your
opponent is in the front right-hand corner of the
court, then your best option would likely be to hit it
to the left-hand back corner.
- It is also good strategy to hit it to their
backhand, since for most players their backhand
isn't as strong as their forehand. This means that
if you're playing against a right handed player, you
would aim the the birdie toward their left-hand side.
This would either force your opponent into making a
backhand shot, or running around the birdie to make a
forehand, which would tire them out.
- I can't stress this enough: Don't make
arching shots. This is begging for a smash in
- The majority of your shots should be done
overhead, although you may sometimes be forced to
hit some underhand. Some extremely advanced players
will often use an underhand clear, but unless you
really know what you're doing, you should probably
stay away from that.
- If you're a beginner, you'd probably want to
start off with a heavier racket. This will give you
more power when developing your smash, but will
somewhat hinder your ability to hit certain shots.
- Be prepared to move anywhere, anytime. Be alert
and pay attention.