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.

BASIC SHOTS:

  • The Smash:
    A powerful 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 net.
  • The Drive:
    This shot 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.

The Serve:
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 face.
  • 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.