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Badminton Shots – The 11 Shots You Need to Learn

Badminton can be a very challenging sport to master due to its speed and technical nuances. In this post, we are going to describe one of the most important parts of badminton, the shots. We will describe all the shots that can be found in badminton so you have a better understanding of all the different options you have available when playing badminton.

The six more important shots to learn are the service, the clear shot, the smash shot, the net shot, the defense shot, and the drop shot. So, if you are a beginner, you should learn these first because they are the shots that have the highest impact on the game.

These are not the only shots in badminton, though. The complete list comprises 11 shots. These are, apart from the six mentioned above, the jump smash shot, the drive shot, the net lift shot, the net brush shot, and the net kill shot.

The full list of the 11 shots in badminton is the following:

  1. Clear shot
  2. Drop shot
  3. Smash shot
  4. Jump smash shot
  5. Service
  6. Drive shot
  7. Defense shot
  8. Net shot
  9. Net lift shot
  10. Net kill shot
  11. Net brush shot

Now let’s have a look at each of this shot separately so we can learn a bit more about them.

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Clear shot

A shot is called a clear when you send the shuttle from the back of your court to the back of your opponent’s court. The clear is usually a defensive shot. However, depending on the trajectory it follows (with a bigger or smaller arch), it can also become a slightly offensive shot.

It is mostly played in singles as a way to try to have time to return to the base point when you have caught the shuttle in a disadvantageous position. In doubles, it is only played to try to surprise your opponent or when you reach the shuttle in a very forced position. The reason for such limited use is because it is very likely that you will lose the initiative when using a clear shot in doubles.

The clear can be played as a forehand or a backhand shot. However, the backhand clear is one of the most challenging shots to play. To start with, we recommend that you always try to catch the shuttle with your forehand grip, even if the shuttle is going to the corner where you would normally use the backhand grip.

If you are forced to use the backhand grip, we would recommend using a drop shot, as the chances of not managing to return a proper clear with your backhand are very high when you are starting with badminton.

The clear can also be played like a straight shot or like a crossover shot. If your opponent uses the same hand to play as you do, it is always a good choice to attack his or her backhand, so playing straight clears when you are on your forehand side is always a good idea. If your opponent uses the opposite hand, then crossover shots are better.

However, bear in mind that with crossover shots, the opponent has more time to reach the shuttle, so the advantage of attacking the backhand area is not so high in this case.

If you want a bit more information on the clear shot or on how it is performed, you can visit our badminton clear shot page, where we go into detail on all the types of clear shots and how they should be performed.

Drop shot

A shot is called a drop shot when you send the shuttle from the back of your court to the front of your opponent’s court (near the net). The drop shot is a very tricky shot to be performed properly, but one of the most useful shots for both singles and doubles. That is why it is on our list to learn as a priority.

Trajectory drop shot

The drop shot is used both in doubles and singles, although more in singles than in doubles. In doubles, it leaves a door open for your opponent to try to regain the initiative. However, it is also useful to change their position on the court if you have been trying to smash a few times and have not managed to finish the point. In singles, it is also used as a shot to create an advantage so then you can finalize with a smash. It can also, though, be a good way to end up points when it is performed excellently.

There are five different types of drop shots:

  • Basic or slow forehand drop shot
  • Slice or fast forehand drop shot
  • Reverse slice drop shot
  • Basic backhand drop shot
  • Slice backhand drop shot

If you want a bit more information on the drop-shot or on how each one is performed, you can visit our badminton drop shot page, where we go into detail on all the types of drop shots and how they should be performed.

Smash shot

A shot is called a smash when you send the shuttle from the back of your court to the center of your opponent’s court, with a fully descending trajectory. The aim of the smash is to deliver it with as much strength as possible while also making sure the direction is accurate. Smash is one of the most important shots in badminton because it helps finish the points.

Trajectory of a badminton smash
Trajectory of a badminton smash

It is important both in doubles and in singles, although it is more important in doubles. In singles, you can win a lot of points by moving your opponent around until you gain sufficient advantage to send the shuttle somewhere where he or she cannot reach it.

In doubles, points are usually won differently, by keeping the initiative and managing to finalize the rally with an offensive shot. Without your smash to help with that, it becomes very difficult to succeed in doubles.

The smash can be performed both with your forehand and your backhand. It can be played straight shot or as a crossover shot. If you want to know a bit more about this shot, for example how to increase the power of your smash, you can check our badminton smash post, where we explain, between other things, the key to a powerful smash.

Jump smash shot

A shot is called a jump smash when a smash as discussed in the previous section is performed while jumping. This is the most spectacular shot in badminton. It is also one of the most photographed ones. It is, however, a difficult shot to perform. You have to perfectly time your jump with the fly of the shuttle in order to hit the shuttle at the right moment in your jump.

It is a shot used both in doubles and in singles. In singles, it should be used whenever you see a chance to finish the point in the next two or three shots and should be used carefully whenever you cannot perform the jump slightly towards the front. In doubles, it is used very often as it is the most offensive shot in badminton and, therefore, a good way to keep the initiative in the point and try to finalize it. The only caveat to it is that, if your jump is very high, you might start having difficulties in keeping the initiative if your opponents manage to return the shot in a non-defensive way.

If you want to know a bit more about the badminton jump smash shot, you can check our badminton jump smash post, where we explain when and why to perform the perfect jump smash together with a step by step guide on how to do it and how to improve it.

Service

A shot is called a service when you hit the first shot of a rally. It is the only shot that you have to make every single point (as long as you are the one serving). It is a very important shot because it shapes the starting of every rally. A bad serve, especially in doubles, will diminish your chances of victory dramatically. A good and consistent service will be the foundations for your victories.

The service, like all the other shots, can be performed with your forehand and with your backhand. However, in recent years, most players use the backhand to perform the serves. This is true for almost everyone playing doubles. In singles, you can still find people serving with the forehand, although the better the player, the less likely they are to serve with the forehand.

If you are starting, though, serving with your forehand is probably better, because covering a serve with your backhand in singles if you are not very fast with your footwork can become challenging.

In The Badminton Guide, we have written a detailed post on how to serve in badminton. If you would like to learn more about this shot, for example learning how height can your racket be when you serve, you can check out our Badminton Service post.

Drive shot

A shot is called a drive when you hit the shuttle from the middle of the court and you direct it to the middle of your opponent’s court. The drive can be seen as a slightly offensive shot because the aim is not to give the initiative of the point even when your position is not the most advantageous.

Trajectory flat drive
Trajectory flat drive

The drive is performed mostly in doubles as a way to try to keep or gain the initiative of the rally. It is an “in-between” phase where none of the couples have a clear initiative of the point.

In singles, it is not very used because of its unpredictability. You should try to only use it if you see you have a clear advantage in this type of shot as compared to your opponent. Moreover, you can also use it if you see you have an advantageous position and you can finish the point in two or three exchanges.

If you are curious about the different types of badminton drive shot and you would like to know how to perform them all, you can check our badminton drive post.

Defense shot

A shot is called a defense shot when you hit the shuttle from the center of your court and you send it to the back of your opponent’s court with an upward direction. As the name suggests, this is a defensive shot.

This shot is used both in singles and in doubles. In doubles, the defense shot has the aim of not losing the rally and waiting for a shot from your opponents that is weak enough that you can try to turn dynamic of the rally and gain the initiative. In singles, where the initiative is not so important, it can be used as a way to move your opponent around the court.

If your defense is very strong and your physical condition much better than your opponent, a good tactic is to try to lengthen the rallies as much as possible in order to tire out your opponent. I have seen this done with great success, but the key is to have both a great defense and to have a much better physical condition than your opponent.

The defense shot can be played both with your forehand and with your backhand. In doubles, where you are covering less part of the court, your aim will be to hit the defense shot whenever possible with your backhand. With the backhand grip, you will manage to turn the tides and gain the initiative of the point much faster. In singles, the grip you use will depend on the side of the court from which you have to hit the shuttle

If you want to know a bit more about the defense shot, be sure to check our defense shot post, where we go into detail on all the different types of defense shots and when to perform them.

Net shot

A shot is called a net shot whenever you hit the shuttle from the front of your court and you send it to the front of your opponent’s court. Usually, these shots travel very close to the net because, if they raise too high, your opponent will most likely finish the rally easily.

This shot is performed both in singles and in doubles. It is risky in both modalities because you need a very precise shot in order to not lose the rally. However, it is riskier in doubles because, having less court to cover, one of your opponents can be very close to the net.

Whether you use forehand or backhand to perform this shot will depend on where in the court you are. As it is the case with the serve, the backhand net shot is usually easier to perform in a precise way.

If you want a bit more information on the net shot or on how it is performed, you can visit our net shot post, where we go into detail on all the types of net shots and how they should be performed.

Net lift shot

A shot is called a net lift shot when you hit the shuttle from the front of your court to the back of your opponent’s court with an upward direction. This, as the defense shot, is a very defensive shot.

This shot is used both in singles and in doubles. In doubles, the net lift shot has the aim of not losing the rally and waiting for a shot from your opponents that is weak enough that you can try to turn dynamic of the rally and gain the initiative. In singles, where the initiative is not so important, it can be used as a way to move your opponent around the court. If your physical condition is much better than your opponent’s one, a good tactic is to try to lengthen the rallies as much as possible in order to tire out your opponent. Make sure you have a good defense though, as your opponent might become more offensive once he or she realizes that you just want to lengthen the rallies to gain an advantage.

The net lift shot can be played both with your forehand and with your backhand. In doubles, where you are covering less part of the court, your aim will be to perform the net lift shot whenever possible with your backhand. With the backhand grip, you will manage to turn the tides and gain the initiative of the point much faster. In singles, the grip you use will depend on the side of the court from which you have to hit the shuttle.

If you want a bit more information on the net lift shot or on how it is performed, you can visit our net lift shot post, where we go into detail on all the types of net lift shots and how they should be performed.

Net kill shot

A shot is called a net kill shot when you hit the shuttle from the front of your court and you hit it in a downwards direction. This is a very offensive shot which, usually, you can only perform after you have gained a great advantage in the point. It usually means the end of the rally and a winning point, especially in singles because the court to cover is much bigger and your opponent is, most likely, not well positioned.

This shot is used both in singles and in doubles. As we said, in singles this shot usually means the end of the rally. In doubles, the chances are a bit lower but, in any case, in the majority of the cases, a net kill shot will mean a winning point for whoever has performed it. The main risks of this shot are hitting the net with your racket or sending the shuttle outside of the court (usually at the rear end) or to the net because the movement has not been properly performed.

The lift shot can be performed with both the forehand and the backhand. The most important tip is to use only your wrist to perform the shot. First, because this needs to be a very fast movement in order to catch the shuttle in the right position. Therefore, you need to use the minimum amount of time so you need to perform the shot with the minimum range. Second, by using only your wrist, it is easier to give the shuttle the right angle. If you use your full arm, you may very easily not give a steep enough angle to the shuttle and it might end up outside of the court.

If you want to know a bit more about the net kill shot, be sure to check our net kill post, where we go into detail on the different types of net kill shots and how to perform them.

Net brush shot

A shot is called a net brush shot when you hit the shuttle from the front of your court with a motion similar to the one of a windshield wiper. This shot is also sometimes called net kill swipe shot or net swipe shot. This is a very risky shot because you are getting very close to the net and any miscalculation can end up in a fault and, therefore, in a lost point.

This shot is used both in singles and in doubles, although you can see it more often in doubles because of the closer proximity of the some of the players to the net and the attempt to always have the initiative of the point. You can perform the brush net shot with both your forehand and your backhand. In this case, it is much easier to perform the shot with your forehand so, if you want to start practicing this shot, I recommend that you start with the forehand one first.

If you want a bit more information on the net brush shot or on how it is performed, you can visit our badminton net brush shot post, where we go into detail on all the types of net brush shots and how they should be performed.

Final words

And with the brush net shot, we have arrived at the end of this post. Are you missing any shot on the list? Would you like to know more about any of them? Let us know in the comments below!

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