Badminton Serve

Badminton Serve

There are roughly two types of badminton serve: the high serve and the short serve. Both can be played as either forehands or backhands. According to the rules of the game, the serve must be played underarm and never overarm like a tennis serve, and the shuttlecock must be hit below hip-height. These requirements, which are monitored by the umpire, restrict the type of stroke that can be played. Because the serve must be played underarm, the opponent can usually respond with an attacking shot.

Badminton Serve

The aim of the serve should therefore be to avoid immediately being put on the defensive, and it is important to vary the serves so that the opponent cannot anticipate them. Good shuttlecock handling skills and finesse are required to serve well. As this is the only shot that is not influenced by the opponent, it is controllable and should be practiced until it is ingrained. A low service error percentage is a basic prerequisite for winning a match.

In elite badminton, the backhand serve predominates in both single and doubles, as the opponent has a shorter reaction time due to the shorter backswing involved. Serves with a longer backswing are also used occasionally. The leisure and club player could do no worse than follow the example of the pros.

Women’s singles players are an exception; they usually try to avoid playing backhands. They prefer the forehand because of the greater power required to hit long backhand strokes.

When serving, the player usually stands at the front of the court in front of the t-junction. There is a difference between singles and doubles though. Doubles players stand right on the edge of the front service line, directly on the t-junction. This ensures that if the opponent plays a short return they are able to kill it at the net, all that is required is a slight forward lunge. However, if the opponent plays a long return, the doubles partner covers the back of the court and is therefore on the case. In the singles game, the serving player does not go right back to the “T”, as he must be able to deal with both a short and a long return by his opponent. He therefore stands slightly behind the service line.

The server must realize that in badminton he has the advantage and this advantage must be exploited by varying the shot. The server has the active role, and the opponent can only react. The ideal serve is one that puts the opponent on the defensive. This is the case when the opponent can only reach the shuttlecock in such a way that he must react with a defensive shot (an underarm shot or a defensive clear). This is particularly so in the case of a short serve, however, this must be played accurately and low over the net. If the serve is too high, it can be “killed” by the opponent.

The server should observe how the opponent positions himself to receive the serve. If he stands wide in the middle of the court, the most effective ball is always the short serve, as the opponent can only reach the shuttlecock with a lunge and must play an underarm shot. However, if the opponent stands well to the front of the court at the net, and holds the racket above the top of the net waiting to “kill” the shuttlecock, then a long serve would always be the best solution. The flick serve (Fig. 28, # 4) is the best form of attack in this situation.

The flick is hit sharply and flatly into the opponent’s half of the court, and is a kind of feint. Bear in mind that the flight path of the shuttlecock is within the opponent’s reach, making this a risky shot. Experienced players recognize after two or three times when their opponent is planning to play a flick and react like lightning to smash the shuttlecock, almost certainly killing it. For this reason, the flick should only be used as an alternative to the short serve to make it more difficult for the opponent to guess which serve is coming next.

Badminton Serve

In the high, long serve . . .

  • the shuttlecock should be hit approximately up to the back boundary line (Fig. 28, #3).

  • the height of the court should be exploited so that the shuttlecock can drop steeply (Fig. 28, #1).

  • the shuttlecock is held by the thumb and index finger of the left hand.

  • the shuttlecock is allowed to fall slightly to the right of the body.

  • the racket is brought right back during the backswing.

  • the hitting arm is accelerated through close to the lower leg.

  • the player’s weight is initially over his right foot, he then bends forward during the backswing and his weight is over his left foot at the end when hitting the shuttlecock.

  • the left foot is parallel to the center line while the right foot is placed at an angle of up to 90°.

  • during the movement, the hips shift forward and to the right.

  • after the shot, the racket follows through toward the left ear and the elbow is at

    head height.

  • the shuttlecock is hit with a whipping stroke at approximately thigh-height to the right side of the body.

  • just before the direct shot, another acceleration takes place from the wrist.

  • just before the shuttlecock is hit, the upper and lower arm turn out

  1. Intheshortserve…

    • the shuttlecock should end up just behind the opponent’s service line (Fig. 28, #2).

    • the backswing can be identical to that for the high, long serve.

    • a shortened backswing can be chosen in which the racket is placed to the right

      beside the body and the shuttlecock is hit after a brief acceleration.

    • the wrist hardly moves, thereby reducing the momentum of the movement.

    • the shuttlecock is hit to the front and right of the hip

  1. In the backhand serve . . .

    • the bodyweight is on the left foot, and the toes of the left foot are almost touching the service line.

    • the upper body bends forward slightly during the backswing.

    • the racket stays in front of the body.

    • the shuttlecock is usually held by the feathers and dropped by the left hand

    • an extremely short backswing is performed from the elbow.the shuttlecock is hit just below hip- height (this is stated in the rule book).

    • the elbow of the hitting hand is placed to the right in front of the body.

    • the racket points downwards.the shuttlecock can be hit with a lightning quick movement at the last moment – instead of just behind the net – with a flick into the back of the court.

The Flick Serve . . .

  • an extremely short backswing is performed from the elbow.

  • the shuttlecock is hit just below hip- height (this is stated in the rule book).

  • the elbow of the hitting hand is placed to the right in front of the body.

  • the racket points downwards.

  • the shuttlecock can be hit with a lightning quick movement at the last moment – instead of just behind the net – with a flick into the back of the court.

    Fig. 30: The backhand serve

  • can be played either as a forehand or a backhand.

  • the backswing is relatively slow, so that the opponent will expect a short ball.

  • at the last moment before the shot, there is a sudden acceleration that sends the shuttlecock right to the back of the opponent’s half of the court.

  • the final momentum comes from the wrist.

  • the opponent should be deceived (feint).

  • the trajectory should be as flat as possible so that the opponent has no chance of reaching the shuttlecock.

  • there is a high risk of error (if the shuttle is hit too high, it will be smashed back).

    Serve reception . . .

  • the racket is held up high in front of the body.

  • the racket head is above net height and particularly in doubles is stretched right


  • the strings are parallel to the top of the net.

  • the left hand is held up in front of the body.

  • the player places the left foot right up to the service line in order to be able to “kill” a high serve with a jump.

  • the right foot is placed behind the left foot.

Drill 1: Blind flight: a towel is draped over the net as a screen, so that the player only sees where the shuttlecock is coming from at the last minute.

Drill 2: Lighting quick reaction: the player stands with his back to the net and may only turn around when a signal is given and must react like lightning in order to return the serve.

Drill 3: Hold your nerve: the player serves a short, flat serve alternately to the left and right; the partner tries to “kill” each shot at the net. Accurate serving is therefore a must.

Drill 4: Aim high: two players compete playing high serves, to count, shots have to land between the two rear service lines. Variation: forehand and backhand serves.

Drill 5: Short process: player A plays a short serve, player B plays a short return which player A must then “kill”.

Other related blogs

Badminton Ready Position

Badminton Hitting Areas

Types of badminton Stroke

Author: Charles Yin

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