At the start, badminton seems like an easy game. Just hit the shuttle over the net right? That may be the fundamental way of thinking but as you play and learn more, badminton is truly a dense sport.
It can be overwhelming to realize how many skills you lack so I decided to create a checklist for you to go over. If you’re able to do everything on this list, then great! Perfect everything and you could become world no. 1 but if you don’t know anything, here at Get Good At Badminton, I am dedicated to help you improve.
A quick note before we get into the checklist, I am assuming you already have the correct technique for your grip and footwork, if you don’t, I recommend checking some of my other articles to prepare yourself as they are the true fundamentals.
Badminton Skills Checklist
Types of Badminton Shots – Knowing Your Swing
- Serve- The first part of playing badminton. Serving. You can serve either backhand or forehand but it must be below the waist. Usually serve short with backhand and long serves with forehand. Short serves for doubles and mens singles and long serves for womens singles but you can also do short with women and long with men in singles play.
- Clear- One of the most basic badminton shots. Often used to give yourself time but is also used to pressure weaker players. Learning this makes it very easy to learn other shots as well.
- Drives- Drives are great for pressuring opponents and there are also many times when your opponent will force you into driving so definitely need to know how to do these. The variations below are extremely important for doubles.
- Offensive- offensive drives are when you’re hitting the shuttle like a net kill except with less power. Used a lot in doubles when there’s not enough time to fully kill the shuttle or when moving into offensive position.
- Defensive- defense drives are usually used when offensive drives are being played against you. It’s not an optimal place to be in but being able to play defensive drives for a while can stall opponent’s stamina.
- Net Shot- Net shots are extremely important because with the first two items on the list, you will technically be able to play a shot from anywhere on the court.
- Smash- The smash is one of the signature shots in badminton. Often the killing blow of the rally, your smash can change your opponents play style (more on this later) and allow you to get point.
- Drop Shot- Being able to play drop shots can mean effortless points. It’s a great tool to play variations (more on this later too).
- Fast Drop- A fast drop is as it sounds, it’s a faster drop shot than the standard tight drop. This shot is not as close to the net and its bit of extra speed propels it forwards a little further away from the net to force the opponent to make a worse net shot which can give you time. This one is more straight and doesn’t curve as much.
- Tight Drop- The opposite of the fast drop, make sure the tight drop is close to the net. This one is usually used for winning points because opponents have to travel further.
- Lift- The lift is used most of the time defensively as a measure of getting time for yourself. If you can’t lift then likely half of the time, you will lose around the net.
- Flat Lift- A variation from your standard high lift. This shot is mainly used in doubles (can also be used in singles). You usually play this shot straight along the sideline to make your opponent’s smashes flatter almost like a drive for easier defense and plans to turn it around.
- Blocks- Blocks are fundamentals to defense. Basically when someone smashes the shuttle onto your side, you want to play a shot that lands at the front part of their court; aka net shot from mid court.
- Net Kills- With the smash, the net kill is a shot that will guarantee you points. Being able to smash it down when you’re very close to the net will almost always lead to a point. This shot is great when they make bad net shots and/or blocks.
I want you to be able to do all these types of shots with your forehand and backhand, and also be able to hit it cross court and straight. Already sounds like a lot right? The more you play, the faster you will get these and many of these shots are in relation with each other. If you can clear, make some adjustments to where you hit the shuttle and/or how much power and you’ll have your drops and smashes as an example.
If you need any help learning these types of shots or practicing them, there are lots of resources on this website.
Quality of Shots – Refinement
Take all the shots above and refine them. What I mean is practice these shots all the time and make sure they do what they’re supposed to do.
Serves: Short serves must be very tight to the net and service line. Long serves must be very high and reach all the way to the back line.
Clears and lifts (if not playing flat): High and all the way to the back line
Net shots, Tight Drops, and blocks: As close to the net as possible
Drives: small distance above the net and being able to hit everywhere mid court back
Net kills and Smashes: powerful and accurate
Try to make sure shots are going exactly where you want them to. Especially those around the sidelines. Make sure you become accurate in hitting very close to lines but not out of boundaries.
Footwork Speed and Efficiency – Getting to the Shuttle
In conjunction with being able to play all the shots, footwork speed and efficiency is extremely important too. How are you going to hit the shuttle without being there?
Make sure your footwork technique is perfect and do a lot of agility drills. You want to be light on your feet and have quick reactions to shots.
Here’s an article on improving footwork: Badminton Drills and Exercise For Improving Footwork
To help with your speed and stamina, you want to be efficient as well. Try not to move all of your body into one place that often and always make sure you go back to the ready position which is around the middle. Stretch out with lunges at the front court so you don’t have to move away too far and immediately go back to the middle after playing any type of shots.
Another quick note I want to mention is jumping. While jumping can seem all deadly and give you huge power, don’t emphasize the height of the jumps. Emphasize the explosiveness and be prepared to go back to ready position if your jump shot does not give you the point. It also uses more stamina so only jump when you know that’s your win condition.
Stamina – Outlasting Your Opponents
I talked a little about stamina when I was talking about footwork speed and efficiency. A game goes up to 21 points, win by 2, and a match is best out of 3. You have to have the stamina with speed and shots to win. This is because the higher level you get, there will be people with skill as good as yours. The only way to beat them is to outlast them (also strategy which is next).
Strategy – Going Above and Beyond
Strategy is going to propel into the next league. Having a good strategy can lead to wins almost all the time. This one is a lot more complicated and it comes with experience playing matches. I will explain some basic ones.
Quality and Knowing Variety of Shots
I can’t stop emphasizing being able to play all types of shots with good quality. Being able to do this is a fundamental to everything else. But I’ve already talked enough about this above. I want to tell you about a few tips and tricks for becoming even more advanced.
Deceptions- Deceptions are when you fake a type of shot and then play all different shot. Examples are net shotting after faking a net kill, driving with a net shot fake, and the most famous, drop shot after faking a smash. There are many more deceptions you can play. A basic of playing these shots are knowing the angle of racket when you approach the shuttle and hesitation.
Slicing- Slicing is something you can add to net shots or drop shots to make them extremely tight to the net. Be careful with this one though because the more you slice, the less power it has so know when to use it. Usually you slice drop shot when faking a smash and slice on very close net shots. Like everything, this comes with practice.
Trick Shots- Okay so this one isn’t that important at all but they can be really fun to play and if you’re pro, you may be forced into playing these types of shots. Some examples include behind the back, under the legs, and more. These really aren’t that useful except for the occasional deceptions.
Speed and Stamina with Footwork
I’ve basically talked all about the importance of speed and stamina with footwork in the checklist so I’m going to be brief. Just make sure to go as fast as you can and have the stamina to do so. I have an article on Improving Your Footwork here at Get Good At Badminton.
Strategy is what’s going to propel you into the next level. There’s an infinite amount of strategies you can play because you can keep creating them so really I can’t tell you much in this article. But with a strategy, your goal is to get points easier, and to get points, you should play to your opponent’s weaknesses and play to your strengths. Since everyone is different, I’m just going to give some general strategies.
Variations- Playing variations is basic to all strategies. You can’t play the same shot all the time! Playing different shots will make your opponent have to become super alert and use all their energy.
Playing to Backhand- The backhand is everyone’s weakest shot. If you’re able to force players to play a backhand shot then you get a lot of advantages. Usually you want to push shots to their backhand after playing a shot at the forehand.
Making Them Run- Play shots to corners to make people run. You want to make your opponent lose as much stamina as possible without affecting yours too much. This way the game will get easier and easier. Add in variations and you can make people’s footwork unbalanced.
With these 3 general strategies, you can win a lot of games but there are many more dependent on your strengths and weaknesses. For example, if you know your smash is very good, play close net shots to force a lift that you can smash on.
Here are some more strategies for singles badminton players.
See the checklist above and see how many you can check off! It’s likely you can’t check everything off because you can never be perfect. But if you couldn’t check off anything at all, look through guides such as this one and play a lot. Practice, practice, practice. The more you play, the better you become.
If you have any questions or comments, please leave them down below and as always, good luck in your games and have a great day!