Badminton Strategy And Training


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Clear – High overhead, from one side of the doubles long service line to the other end.  For a defense high clear, the shot is high enough that the opponent cannot reach the shot unless he is standing behind the short service line.  For an attacking clear, the birdie travels on an upward path, attempting to catch the opponent off guard, but has the danger of being returned with a smash or quick drop.

  • Lower the knee slightly, push up, causing the waist to twist, transferring power to the shoulder, transferring power to elbow and causing whipping action at the wrist.
  • When done right, the clear is effortless and very powerful.
  • Use defensive clears to get you out of trouble and give you time to return to center.  Use attacking clears, when you catch your opponent near the front court or they are slow in moving back and leaning forward.
  • Use clears to move your opponent, once you master this skill, hitting 3 to 4  very well placed clears will usually cause your opponent to hit a short clear and give you the opportunity to attack.  You can usually start with clears to gauge how well you opponent can move around the court and the quality of his shots.  If they cannot handle clears well, you will have an easy game against them.
  • Footwork to get to the shot, a powerful hit, footwork to get back to center to anticipate the next shot

Push A flat, fast flying over the net about 6 inches above the tape.  Usually hit without much arm swing.  Most of the power comes from a quick wrist action bring the racquet back and forward to cause a snap action.  Can be hit from forehand or backhand.  80% of the shots should be hit with the backhand grip.  Racquet should be in front of your head to handle either side.  Because the shots are fast, pay attention to the shuttlecock.  Try to watch the it spin, and also think about when you want to hit the shot.  You have a choice of about 12 inches of range to decide when and where to hit.

  • The key to hitting a good push is to pay attention to your racket head, watch the shuttlecock and absolutely no arm swing.
  • Keep your foot loose be ready to shift your weight.
  • Think about where you want to hit the shuttlecock towards.  Do you want to drive the it toward your opponent’s backhand?  How about towards the shoulder of the hitting side?
  • When your opponent is in the defensive position, slowly move forward.  When you are in the defensive mode, move slightly back.

Net Shot Do not grip the racquet tight, you need to keep your finger loose in to feel the shuttlecock during impact so you can adjust.  Try to use a minimal ‘jerk’ action, cutting the shuttlecock and hopefully have it tumble a little over the net.  The tumbling will cause the feature side to present itself to the opponent and they have to wait for the head side to tumble before hitting it.

  • Get to the bird as early as possible and hit it when it’s above the net if at all possible
  • Think about a cross court or straight net shot, they are different movements.
  • A lot of practice is needed in order for the shuttlecock not to bounce up.
  • Try using net shot or push shot for every service return

Underhand swing

Block Shot

Backcourt Drop

Short Serve

Long Serve

Smash Overhead shot, hitting downwards like a clear.  4 keys to a good smash. Consistency in the ability to hit 3 to 4 smashes and not necessary the ‘fastest smash’.  Most opponents can get used to fast smashes, but when you can execute 3 to 4 smashes consistently back to back, your opponent’s return of smashes usually degrades after the first 2 smashes, hence setting up yourself or your partner to ‘finish’ the shots.   Footwork in getting behind the shuttlecock to execute a steep smash and be able to quickly recover to retrieve a drop, go forward and kill off a weak return or come back again for another smash.  Bad footwork will result in a smash to puts you in more trouble.  Jumping and timing to obtain height and hit the shuttlecock early.  Jumping also makes you tired, so if you are going to be  a long game, consider saving some the jumps.  Variation of your smash angels, velocity and cutting your shots will put your opponent in a very defensive mode.  More here and here

Backhand Most players will not have a great backhand, but you still need to have one.  Use backhand for a drop, a clear or a drive.  Do not play fancy smashes from the backhand.  Use around the head shots as much as possible.  The backhand should be setup with the racquet foot pushing yourself in twist motion and your wrist whipping the shuttlecock back.  More here

Backhand Swing

Backhand Clear

Forehand Slice Drop Swing the racquet with 80% speed of a smash, but slice the head of cork shuttlecock with about 30 degree angle.  I recommend start with a cross court first, aiming for the middle of the court instead of the corner, until you get consistent.  For doubles and singles, this is a great deceptive shot that brings your opponents up and it’s as quick as a moderate smash.  When done correctly, this slice drop shot will drop less than 2 feet from the net.  While I’m still trying to perfect this shot, when it does work, opponents are usually very surprised at the shot angle and speed with which it falls. Watch Chandra

Forehand Reverse Slice Drop Pending a write up here.  Watch Chandra

Mental Game Of Badminton

  • You have plenty of time to hit the shuttlecock either above your head, let it drop to shoulder height, at your waist or even near your knee.  It’s better to take your time rather than force yourself to hit a shot that you are not ready yet.  I have notice this especially around a flick serve during doubles.  When I receive a flick serve, I find myself having plenty of time to look at the shuttlecock, thinking about where I want to hit it, my foot moving my body back and then hitting the shuttlecock where and when I actually decide to hit it.  This is same with the backhand.  Don’t rush shots, the shuttlecock travel slowly unless it’s a smash or a drive.
  • Don’t try to kill every single shot, instead think about setting yourself and your partner up for a more pressured shot and eventually leading to a weak return.  Involving your partner in a rally is important so that they don’t get ‘cold’ and not be rotating with you both in movement and hitting.  Hitting more shorts per rally also helps expose your opponent’s weaknesses.
  • Hit to your opponent’s weakness.  All players have weaker backhands, exploit this until they can move and rotate well to cover that part.  If opponents over compensate to the backhand, then you can attack the forehand.  Try to identify the weaker player in terms of defense and repeatedly attack that player, until they rotate to help each other.  If there is a weaker player in attack and counterattack, pick on that player.  Not only will this get your points quickly, it will also cause unforced errors as the opponent try to overcompensate.
  • Hit to confuse your opponent.  In doubles, that would be the center line.  Any shots to the center line will cause the slightest confusion for teams as they try to decide who should take a shot.
  • Keep on emphasizing ‘pushing’ shots toward the back to keep teams off balance and take the offensive mindset. (From my friend James)
  • Focus How do you know when you are focused? Do you see the white cork spinning? Do you feel the shuttlecock hit the string of the racquet? Did you wait that slight half a second before hitting the shuttlecock and considered where to hit to depending on where your opponent is standing or how they are leaning, where their racquet head is facing?  Do you know where your partner is?
  • Singles: Don’t take shortcuts with singles.  Get a consistent long service shot and hunker down a defense.  That first serve for singles setups all other subsequent shot.  Practice to get a long and high serve to the back service line to push your opponent. Seeing 20+ high serves and not being able to kill it immediately forces your opponent to make very good shots.   Some keywords to keep in mind:  Out last, consistency, shot quality, footwork, endurance, identify weakness.
  • Doubles:  Involve your partner, know your partner’s weakness and strength and play towards the strength and try to cover for their weakness.  More to come here..



  • Start with a forehand under handed clear, trainer keeps on dropping to the forehand, continue and adjust grip and footwork and focusing on seeing the spinning head of the shuttlecock
  • Follow up with backhand under handed clear to the back, trainer on dropping to the backhand, continue and adjust grip and footwork and focusing on seeing the spinning head of the shuttlecock
  • Drives with a backhand grip, trainer hits mostly to the backhand. Ask to hit the shuttlecock 12 inches above the net.  Do not swing racquet head, bring racquet head back and snap forward
  • Half smashes.  The trainer clears consistently high and towards the forehand.  The trainee focus on consistently hitting down in half smashes.  Focus having non-racquet foot forward, swinging from the waist, bringing shoulder and follow with arm and loose grip. Before contact squeeze


  • Outlast your opponent
    • You defend 2, 3 or 4 corners, your hitting partner stands at one corner in the front.  You can only hit net or drop shots from any of the 2, 3, 4 corners.  This will force you to move around the court to toughen your footwork, force you to hit shots under pressure and build your mental toughness when dealing with what seemingly is endless moving and hitting.  When you get good at this, you can ask your hitting partner to increase their quality of shots and the pace of the shots.  Variation: Use predictable patterns to start, but add variety and unpredictability when you get better.
  • Footwork
    • In singles, the quality of shots and the ability to hit to all 4 corners is important to draw your opponent to hit a poor shot.  This drill starts with you repeating a pattern of shots that your partner will mirror.  Start with a A) high clear, B) your opponent drops, C) you net tumble, A) your opponent high clear, repeat and progressively improve the shot quality but focus on the number of repetitions.  Keep in mind how you can change the pace of the clear or drops to help you achieve a comfortable pace of footwork.  Do not focus on winning the point, but on how you can achieve.  Variation: Y) Instead of a drop, switch it to a half smash.  X) To increase difficulty, try cross court or alternate corners.
  • Consistency
    • Start with a whipping high serve that has to land behind the short service line and preferable near the back service line. If you cannot control this shot, move back and try again until you can hit with a repeatable motion and get a consistent distance every single shot.  Your entire game is dependent on how well you can hit this shot.  A consistent high serve repeatedly can really tire out your opponent’s neck, force them to make mistakes and gives you a chance to set up your next shots
  • Serves
    • Have another serve you use during the last 5 points  of a singles game. You use this as a surprise to throw your opponent off and have to adjust quickly. This could be a high driving serve, a flick serve or just a short serve to the far corner. Practice this serve but don’t use it in the game until the end
  • 2 on 1
    • Start with 2 players front to back, and you are by yourself on the other side. The 2 players will net tumble or smash.  You will defend with net tumble or clear. The 2 players will vary their shots dependent on how well you can defend. The goal in the beginning is to lengthen the number of shots and later to increase the quality and speed of shots in the attack.  This is good for strong players.


  • Attack and Defense
    •  One doubles team will always be in attack formation (front and back), the other team will always be in defense.  The defense team can only hit clears, the attack team can only hit smashes and fast drops.
  • Rotation
    • From the ‘Attack and Defense’ drill, the attack team member who is smashing will come up to the net after a smash to the corner or cross court and the other member will rotate back and ready to smash, continue this rotation to practice being able to switch attacks and rotate to cover each other.  James calls this to Korean style

Training Videos

Advance Drills

Agility Training

Professional Players In Slow Motion



Basics for Beginners

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