Steps to success
Racket meets shuttle for a smooth flight over the net; sounds simple enough. The game of badminton begins with timing: drop the shuttle, swing the racket, and make contact. Once the shuttle is in play, a series of forehand and backhand strokes command the volley for points.
Technical difficulties are to be expected; proper coaching and practice rectifies shortcomings. Beginning badminton players lack the speed and agility necessary to cover the entire badminton court. Young badminton players often find it difficult to cover rear court shots; some have a weak backhand shot. The game of badminton is about momentum: energy and drive power serves, returns, and footwork in a game of speed and accuracy.
Improper grip of the badminton racket decreases power and accuracy. Shake hands with the badminton racket, holding the head with the non-playing hand, racket face perpendicular to the ground, racket handle resting in the v-shape between the thumb and forefinger. A loose forehand grip allows for greater flexibility.
Smooth footwork reaches the shuttle quickly. Create a base: keep knees slightly bent and feet at shoulder's width apart. Stand on the balls of the feet, holding the badminton racket in front of the body, ready to move in whatever direction the birdie (shuttle) flies. Playing frontcourt shots requires a small step and a lunge toward the shuttle; mid-court shots require extending the racket leg or non-racket leg to reach the shuttle; rotation of hips and shoulders and positioning the body behind the incoming shuttle works best for backcourt shots.
Bad service forfeits points. When playing badminton singles, use the high serve (played with a forehand underarm swing), causing your opponent to play the backcourt. A low serve is engineered by forehand or backhand play and lifts when returned.
To initiate a forehand serve, lead with the non-racket leg, bring the racket to waist level and swing forward. When swinging backhand, face the opponent, lead with the racket leg, swing back then forward. The flick serve uses the wrist to flick the shuttle over the net, and is done with forehand or backhand motions. Using the forward underarm action drive in a badminton serve sends the shuttle over the net at a flatter angle, catches the opponent off guard, and wins points due to poor service return.
When the shuttle is in play the most important badminton shot is the forehand or backhand clear. The overhead clear forces the opponent to the backcourt, allowing time to return to base positioning. The attacking clear travels fast and flat toward backcourt. Other clears include: the around-the-head clear, which is a forehand overhead badminton clear launched from the non-racket side of the body, and the underarm clear launched from frontcourt to rear court using wrist action.