Badminton Skills, Strategy, & Drills

Grip & preparation to hit

Types of grips:

  1. Forehand: Required for stroke on right side of body and strokes above head. Grip like shaking hands with racket. V formed by thumb and forefingers is at left edge of top bevel.
  2. Backhand: Turn so thumb is on side bevel if swinging with elbow up. Or keep same forehand grip if backhanding with elbow down.

Drill: Students practice hitting forehands and backhands over net standing on short service line. Make sure students use proper grip.

Court positioning:

  • For singles play stand directly in center of court.
  • Stand in ready position: relaxed, knees bent, racket up, feet shoulder width apart.
  • Footwork
  • Moving to side spring sideways and shuffle step to shuttle.
  • Right baseline: Drop step and shuffle.
  • Left baseline: Drop step with left foot and crossover with right turning with back to net. Turn 360 under shuttle to return.

Drills: Practice proper footwork while partner hits to each section of the court.


Serve rules: Whole head of racket must be discernibly below hand holding racket when shuttle is contacted. Both feet must be on ground and may not be sliding during the contact.

Basic serve position:

  • 3 feet behind short serve line and to right or left of centerline.
  • Hold shuttle at base with forefinger and thumb.
  • Extend left arm forward about level with shoulders.
  • Avoid brining racket up to shuttle to hit it. Let the shuttle drop.

Types of serves:

  1. Low serve: Used as change of pace and to keep opponent guessing. Make stroke almost entirely with forearm guiding shuttle and may want firm wrist. Must barely clear clear net.
  2. High clear: Hit very high. Utilize wrist and forearm pronation to get power.


  • Place targets on court that server is assigned to serve to. Work for highest percentage hitting targets.
  • Practice serves against opponent: Opponent attempts to return serve but play is stopped immediately after return.
  • Practice short serve and long serve against opponent: Any time the opponent cannot return the serve in the server gets a point. Any short serve that the opponent does not smash also earns the server a point.


  • High arcing shot that travels deep in the court. Use to keep the opponent back away from net. Gives person time to reset and move up to net.

Underhand clear:

  • Use wrist to swat birdie high.
  • Hit it hard
  • Move into attacking position


  • Practice underhand clear with toss to self.
  • Partner serves short and receiver hits high underhand clear.

Overhead Clear

  1. Racket back behind head.
  2. Lead with elbow
  3. Snap wrist.
  4. Hit hard and high.


  • Partner serves high clear and receiver must return with overhead high clear.
  • Play a game with high clears only.

Drop Shot

Slow shot that drops just over the net.


  1. Disguise shot as an overhand high clear.
  2. Use similar arm motions but little wrist rotation. Locked wrist.
  3. Contact shuttle farther ahead of body.
  4. Shuttle should land as close to net as possible.


  • Use in combination with clears to keep opponent guessing especially in singles.
  • Use to move opponent out of center of court.


  • Players practice hitting drop shot from endline by hitting the shuttle straight up to themselves then executing the drop shot.
  • Partner executes high clear serve to be returned with drop shot by his partner.
  • Use same drill as above but receiver gets one point if shuttle lands between short serve line and net. Server gets a point for a shuttle that lands anywhere else.


Smash is a hard hit downward shot intended to win a point.


  1. Disguise shot as a clear or drop shot.
  2. Contact shuttle at highest comfortable point.
  3. Rotate wrist and forearm quickly to snap the birdie down.
  4. Rotate trunk and shoulders forward to throw weight into shot.


  • Players practice hitting a smash from a shuttle lobbed by a partner from the other side of the net.
  • Partner practices short serves. Opponent must smash short served that are too high over net.
  • Play rally’s where only high clears and smashes are allowed.


Drive is a flat sidearm stroke that travels low over the net and deep into the opponents court.

Forehand drive

  1. Similar to sidearm throw in baseball
  2. Turn body so left shoulder is pointing at net.
  3. Contact shuttle between shoulders and waist.
  4. Use wrist rotation and weight transfer to drive shuttle.

Drills: Players hit forehand drives from shuttle hit underhand from partner on same side of net. Partner should stand to side of person hitting drive so they are not in the path of the shuttle flight.

Backhand drive

  1. Adjust grip so thumb in on back bevel
  2. Turn body so right shoulder is pointing at net.
  3. Elbow points at oncoming shuttle.
  4. Use wrist and elbow release along with weight transfer for generate power.
  5. Other technique is to keep same grip, keep elbow down, and supinate arm to generate power.


  • Players hit backhand drives from shuttle hit underhand from partner on same side of net. Partner should stand to side of person hitting drive so they are not in the path of the shuttle flight.
  • Play rallies where players are only allowed to hit drives. No high clears or drop shots.


Hairpin is a shot played from close to the net the barely clears net and lands close to net on opponents side.


  1. Be quick to move to shuttle.
  2. Racket should fact up.
  3. Use wrist to finesse the shuttle barely over the net.


  • Practice hitting hairpin shot with partner on other side of net.
  • Keep score with partner. Only hairpins or smashes are allowed.
  • Partner practices hitting drop shots from around end line and opponent must return a good drop shot with a hairpin shot.


General Strategy

  • For offense shots are directed downwards such as drop shot, smashes, and low serves.
  • For defense shots are directed upwards such as high clears, high serves, underhand drop shots.
  • Drives can be offensive or defensive.

Singles Strategy:

  • Position yourself on court where greater percentage of serves will come. Move to right side of center if you hit to opponents back hand. Move forwards if shuttle is hit deep.
  • Try to make the opponent over anticipate your shots.
  • Ready position for serve should be stance staggered and close to center line on right side and a few feet off center line on left side. Be close enough to smash a poor low serve.
  • Most effective shots are high deep serve, overhead clear, underhand clear, and hairpin.
  • Force opponent to play backhand from deep court.
  • Hit to forehand corner in order to open up the backhand side.

Drill: Practice rallies using strategies just talked about by playing king of the court. Plays is started with a high clear. The winner of the point stays on the court. Loser is replaced by waiting player.

Doubles Strategy:

  • Most effective doubles serves include the low serve and drive serve.
  • Side by side defensive formation: Each player covers half of court. Stronger player plays middle shots. Disadvantage is opponents can exploit weaker defender or tire one opponent by playing all shots to one side. Defends better against attack by opponents.
  • Up and back: There is always a player at the net to put away poor returns. Cross court shots are more easily blocked by player at net. Mid-court and sidelines are more vulnerable.
  • Combination: Utilizes up and back formation but teammates switch to a side by side formation when they have to play a shuttle upwards that may be attacked by the opponents.

Drill: Students play a game of doubles alternating between side-by-side formation and up and back for each point.