Badminton, like any sport, has a lot of subtleties that are not clear to beginner players unless they are explained to them. These subtleties can have a big impact on your chances to win matches and, overall, to play better badminton.
In this article, we will give you 9 tips that you might not have heard about before. If applied, these tips will help bring your game to the next level. Some of them are straightforward and easily applicable. Others require a bit more work. But all of them
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Tip 1 – The two grips are the most important basic skill to learn
In badminton, it all starts with the grips. If you don’t use the correct grips, you will very soon hit a glass ceiling in your progress. Why is that? Because the grip is a key element on performing your shots effectively. Without a good grip, your ability to generate power and precision in your shots will be severely diminished.
To get started, you only need to focus on two types of grip, as they are the most used and common. Once your level starts raising, you will be able to add much more subtleties to these two types of grip, but you should first do these two grips perfectly.
Forehand grip – The most used and important grip
The forehand grip is the most used and important grip. It is used when you hit the shuttle in the side of the body where your racket arm is. For example, if you are right-handed, all the shuttles that are on the right side of your body will be hit while using a forehand grip. If you are left-handed, it will be the left side of your body.
In order to have a good forehand grip, you need to put your hand as if you were about to shake somebody’s hand. Keeping that position, you have to put your hand in the lower end of the handle of your racket. Here, the racket head should be perpendicular to the floor. This is critical because, otherwise, you will not be able to apply strengths to your shots.
If you have been always holding the racket with the wrong grip, switching to this grip will feel unnatural and probably your game will get worse at the beginning. However, it is critical that you keep working on your game with this grip until it becomes the natural grip. Otherwise, your long term improvement will suffer.
Backhand grip – The Achilles’ heel of most badminton players
The backhand grip tends to be a weak point for most badminton players, even in semiprofessional environments. This issue can be like leakage in a submarine, destroying your whole game.
In order to have a good backhand grip, you need to hold the racket in a completely different way than with the forehand grip. This can be a bit confusing at the beginning and you might have difficulties in changing from one grip to the other. However, with time, you will be able to do it quickly and without having to think about it.
The only similarity between the two types of grip is that, with the backhand grip, you also have your thumb in one side of the handle and the other four fingers on the other side. This grip can also be described as doing a “thumbs up” around the handle, but having the four fingers slightly separated so that, in the end, the index finger and the thumb are at roughly the same height.
Tip 2 – Focus on your footwork to be able to shoot comfortable shots
As important as the grip of your racket is your footwork. Beginners tend to just go running from one place of the court to the other, spending too much energy and time in the process. In order to get an edge on badminton, you need to practice and master the basic footwork that will allow you to move around the court.
With good footwork, you will be able to reach the position of the shuttle faster, which will make your shots easier and more effective. Moreover, you will spend less energy doing it. This is critical if you would like to play badminton more seriously than just in your backyard.
The basics of footwork are very simple, but at the same time take a lot of time to master. Using the proper footwork feels awkward and slow and the beginning, but will have a great payoff on the long term
Tip 3 – A consistent game plays off more than a few magic tricks
At the beginners level, people generally don’t win games but lose them. What do I mean by that? I mean that the number of points added to the scoreboard due to a mistake is greater than the number of points added to the scoreboard due to a winning shot.
In a fascinating book that is not very well know, Simon Ramo, a scientist, and statistician
The book, Extraordinary tennis for the ordinary player, can be bought on Amazon here. Even though the concept is not as powerful in badminton as it is in tennis, it is still very interesting and useful advice.
Tip 4 – Practice your service. It won’t win you games, but it will help you not to lose them
Service is probably the most undervalued shot in badminton at the beginners level. This is probably because you only do it once in every rally and because it doesn’t win any points. However, even though you may not notice it, a bad service will make you lose matches. That is because, if your service is deficient, you will start every point you are serving with a big disadvantage.
If every long serve you do in singles ends up closer to the middle of the court than to the back, you will be giving your opponent a huge advantage as he/she will be shooting from a much more advantageous position.
If every short serve you do in doubles ends up too high over the net, you will give a big advantage to the other couple, which will start every point you serve with the initiative that is so critical in winning doubles matches.
And how can you improve your serve? Well, the key is getting the fundamentals right and then practice, practice and practice. You can check our badminton service guide for more information.
Tip 5 – The best defense is a good attack, especially in doubles matches
You may have heard that sentence in other sports, but the saying also rings true in badminton, especially when we talk about doubles. As we mentioned in our badminton tactics article, attacking is critical if you want to become a successful doubles badminton player. This is critical because keeping the initiative is the best strategy in order to win doubles matches.
In singles, this is also true, but you should not be as drastic about seeking the initiative, as there is much more room for recovery and for other tactics. Due to the court being covered only by one person, you can also gain an advantage by moving your opponent around, something that does not happen in doubles.
Therefore, use this tip cautiously in singles, but follow in energetically in doubles. You need to understand that doubles is all about the initiative and that there most points are won while attacking. If you don’t manage to have or recover the initiative in most points, you will probably end up losing the game.
Tip 6 – Always return to the base position
Always returning to the base point is also a critical skill you need to master in order to improve your badminton game. Why is this so important? It keeps you always close enough to all the court so that you can keep up with the rally. If you don’t return to the center of the court, it is very easy for your opponents to keep the initiative of the rally and direct their shots to the furthest point away from your current position.
This tip needs to be developed together with tip number 2, which is the footwork as an overall skill. Without a good footwork, it will not be possible for your to always return to the base point in a timely manner.
However, you can have excellent footwork but, if you don’t have the habit of always returning to the center, you will sometimes stay in the position where you hit the last shot. By doing that, you will be giving your opponent a huge advantage in the rally.
Tip 7 – Keep a good body balance
Keeping a good body balance can be extremely complex once you start moving all over the court. The shuttle moves very fast and you need to keep your position right in order to be able to hit the shuttle in a timely manner. If you are not able to keep a good body balance, you will end up hitting sub-par shots whenever the situation gets a bit complex.
The best way to keep a good body balance is to, first use your non-racket arm as a balancing mechanism. With it, you can make sure that your trunk stays upright. In the video below you will see how the players always have their non-racket arm on the move. Whenever they are near the net, the non-racket arm will go to the back of the body. Whenever they are on the back of the court, the non-racket arm will be standing in front of the body and raised. You can think of it as a sort of counterbalance for the racket arm.
The second tip to keep a good body balance is to keep your center of gravity as low as possible. If your center of gravity is low, you will be able to react much faster to the shots of your opponent and without having to apply that much force to move your body. However, it takes strong legs to keep your center of gravity low, so it will not be an instant change, but a slow progression.
Tip 8 – Maximise your strengths
Another tactic and tip we talked about in our badminton tactics article
Once you are aware which are your strengths, you should make sure your game brings those strengths to their maximum potential. For example, if you are playing singles and you are in great physical condition, you can try to play very conservatively in order to exhaust your opponent.
This strategy will make you lose a few points and the beginning, but it will help you win the match whenever your opponent tires out of moving so much around and doesn’t have the stamina to be moving around so fast anymore.
Tip 9 – Focus on the overchest backhand of your opponent
This is a very common tip that can be very useful, but you have to use it with caution. If you have been playing badminton for a bit, you will know that the over chest backhand is stroke is the one that most people have difficulties with.
The over chest backhand stroke is, for those who don’t know, when you hit the shuttle with the backhand grip in any position higher than your chest. For more information about the over chest backhand stroke, check our badminton basics article. For more information about the backhand grip, check our badminton grip article.
Therefore, a good tip is, whenever you play singles, to focus your game on that zone of the court. If you do that, you will usually gain advantages in the rallies much
So, in order to make a good use of this tip, you need to have a fairly consistent (at least for your level) over chest backhand stroke.
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And with this last tip, we have arrived at the end of this article. In here, we have described 9 badminton tips that will help you improve your badminton game. Is there any tip that has helped you to improve your game? Would you like a bit more information about any of the tips above? Then let us know in the comments below!