Feature Image Badminton Service

Badminton Service – How to Serve in Badminton?

Serving is critical in badminton because it is the first shot of every rally and therefore it has the power to shape how the rally develops. Serving consistently gives you a good chance of staying in the game, whereas not being able to serve consistently will diminish your chances of success, even if you are superior to your opponent in all the other parts of the game.

In this article, we will explain how to serve in badminton, the different types of services and when you can or have to use each of them. We will also answer common questions about serving that some people have.

Types of serves

There are basically two types of serves, with two subcategories in each type of serve:

  • Forehand serve:
    • Forehand high serve
    • Forehand low serve
  • Backhand serve:
    • Backhand high serve
    • Backhand low serve

Forehand high serve

The forehand high service is used only in singles. Its usage has declined a lot in men’s high-level matches as it can give too big an advantage to the other player. However, it is still very used women’s singles as the women’s shots tend to be less definitive. Moreover, it is still used vastly in semi-professional and amateur environments, and rightly so.

It is very useful because it brings your competitor to the back of the court, where the shots are less definitive and it gives the server more time to react to the first shot.

Swift Badminton has created this very interesting video with five tips to improve your forehand high serve.

Forehand low serve

The forehand low serve was used in doubles years ago, but it is now practically extinct due to its lower reliability as compared to the backhand service.

Currently, it is only used in singles, more as a surprise shot than as a standard resource. It can also be used as a standard resource if your opponent attacking skills are superb, but if that is the case, my recommendation would be to switch to backhand serve instead, as it is a much more effective serve for low serves.

Sikana English explains in this tutorial how to shoot a forehand low serve.

Backhand high serve

The backhand high serve is used both in singles and in doubles, even though the reasons behind them are quite different.

In doubles, the backhand high serve is used as a surprise shot. Because the main aim in doubles is to have the initiative, serving high should never be used as a standard resource because you will most likely lose the initiative with it. However, when used sparingly, it can be a very effective shot, especially if your opponent is getting very close to the front line to receive.

In singles, the backhand high serve is used more often as keeping the initiative is not as important. However, most professional players use it much less than the backhand low serve.

Backhand low serve

Mostly used for doubles in the past, the backhand low serve is now the default serve both for doubles and singles, especially in men’s singles.

In doubles, the reason is very simple. This serve is the most effective one in terms of trying to keep the initiative of the point, which is vital to success in a doubles match. Serving high as a regular resource in doubles is a badminton suicide. As serving low is the best option, the backhand serve becomes the default option due to its easiest performance and highest reliability.

In singles, it has become a much more popular option in the past years. With players getting better and better, serving high in singles has become riskier because it gives the opponent a lot of time to prepare its first shot of the rally. Therefore, a lot of the top players are now using mainly the backhand low serve as a default.


Swift Badminton has created this very interesting tutorial on how to do the perfect badminton low serve.

What is service fault in badminton?

According to the Laws of Badminton from the Badminton World Federation, for a service to be correct, the following needs to happen:

– Neither side shall cause undue delay to the delivery of the service once the server and the receiver are ready for the service.

– On completion of the backward movement of the server’s racket head, any delay in the start of the service (Law 9.2) shall be considered to be an undue delay;

-The server and the receiver shall stand within diagonally opposite service courts without touching the boundary lines of these service courts;

– Some part of both feet of the server and the receiver shall remain in contact with the surface of the court in a stationary position from the start of the service until the service is delivered

– The server’s racket shall initially hit the base of the shuttle;

– The whole shuttle shall be below the server’s waist at the instant of being hit by the server’s racket. The waist shall be considered to be an imaginary line around the body, level with the lowest part of the server’s bottom rib;

– The shaft and the racket head of the server’s racket at the instant of hitting the shuttle shall be pointing in a downward direction;

– The movement of the server’s racket shall continue forwards from the start of the service until the service is delivered

– The flight of the shuttle shall be upwards from the server’s racket to pass over the net so that, if not intercepted, it shall land in the receiver’s service court (i.e. on or within the boundary lines);

– In attempting to serve, the server shall not miss the shuttle.

– Once the players are ready for the service, the first forward movement of the server’s racket head shall be the start of the service.

– Once started, the service is delivered when the shuttle is hit by the server’s racket or, in attempting to serve, the server misses the shuttle.

– The server shall not serve before the receiver is ready. However, the receiver shall be considered to have been ready if a return of the service is attempted.

– In doubles, during the delivery of service, the partners may take up any positions within their respective courts, which do not unsight the opposing server or receiver

Extract from the Laws of Badminton from the Badminton World Federation

In addition to that, a fault will be called during the service if the shuttle:

– Is caught on the net and remains suspended on its top;

– After passing over the net, is caught in the net;

– Is hit by the receiver’s partner;

Extract from the Laws of Badminton from the Badminton World Federation

Can the shuttlecock hit the net on a serve?

Yes, the shuttle can hit the net on a serve. There is no problem with the shuttle hitting the net on a serve as long as it then lands inside the boundaries of the court. According to the Laws of Badminton from the Badminton World Federation, the service is considered fault only if:

  1. The shuttle stays on the top of the net after hitting the net;
  2. After passing over the net, the shuttle is caught in the net;

However, there is no problem hitting the net if the shuttle then lands within the boundaries of the court.

What is the badminton service height?

Until now, the rule has always been that you need to serve below your waist height. Therefore, the height of the badminton service was dependent on the height of the server.

However, the World Badminton Federation is now experimenting with what they call the Fixed Height Experiment. In it, the whole shuttle has to be below 1.10 meters from the surface of the court at the instant of being hit by the server’s racket. This has caused a lot of opposing reactions, especially from tall players who now have an intrinsic advantage as they can serve from a higher point.

ViktorAxelsen did this video where he showed his opposition to the fixed height rule.

Can you smash a serve in badminton?

As we have shown in the previous section, in order for a service to be correct, you need to serve below your waist height. Moreover, the shaft and the racket head of your racket have to be pointing in a downward direction when hitting the shuttle. If you are unfamiliar with the different parts of the racket, please check our badminton measurements article. These two items make it impossible to smash a serve in badminton without committing a fault.

How to serve in badminton doubles?

In doubles, the key to success is to keep the initiative in the point, so always be trying to attack. As a result of that, you need to perform a type of service that gives you the best chance of having the initiative of the point or of recovering it as fast as possible.

For that reason, the best and most common service for doubles is the backhand low serve. For more information about this specific type of serve, check the beginning of the article.

The long forehand service is, on the other hand, the worst option possible as it gives all the initiative to the opponents. It is the closest, as we said before, to a badminton suicide.

Final words

And with this, we have arrived at the end of this article, where we have captured all the important items regarding badminton service. Did we miss any item that you would like to know? Would you like us to explain further any point from the ones already above? Then let us know in the comments below!

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