There is a big difference between a backyard badminton player that occasionally plays for fun and a serious badminton player that improves every skill to become better.
In this article, I’ll explain these skills to you and tell you why they are important and how you can train them in an efficient way. Without further due, let’s take a look at these 10 skills.
And by the way, if you want to become the best badminton player you can be, I recommend diving deep into badminton techniques. My absolute recommendation is the Badminton For Beginners Book includes tactics, techniques, skills, and, what’s best, drills! It comes as a kindle, audio, and paperback!
- 1. Stance
- 2. Grip
- 3. Serving
- 4. Footwork
- 5. Basic Strokes
- 6. Hand-Eye Coordination
- 7. Perception And Anticipation
- 8. Timing And Rhythm
- 9. Strategies and Tactics
- 10. Equipment Knowledge
- My Favorite Badminton Equipment
Everything starts from your stance. With a great stance, your strikes, speed, power, and overall feel to the game will be at their best. Poor stance, however, decreases the quality of everything because your balance and footing just won’t be right.
Basically, there are three kinds of stances: Offensive stance, Defensive Stance, and Net Stance.
- An offensive stance is made before delivering a powerful strike. This stance is best done by facing your body to the sidelines, racket leg behind, and holding both of your hands up to get the best possible power for your strike. Also, keep your legs shoulder-width for the best stability.
- A defensive stance is made when expecting a smash from your opponent. This stance is best done by facing towards the net, and holding the racket ready on your waistline, lightly pointed forward.
- Net stance is done when your opponent has made a net shot. This stance is best done by placing your racket foot forward and keeping the racket up above your waistline, ready to leap forward to receive the net shot.
Remember that the better your stance and stability is while moving on the court, the more powerful and faster you will be. Also, listen to your body because the stances can vary between people because we have different bodies that will adapt to slightly different positions.
For basic stance instructions, take a look at this great video!
Believe it or not, the way you hold your racket has a tremendous effect on how effective you will be while playing badminton. By holding the racket the wrong way, you can be more prone to injury, have less power and accuracy on your shots, and your improvement can be slower and even damaged, which will be hard to repair later.
In badminton, there are two main kinds of grips: Forehand and Backhand grips.
A forehand grip is the side of your racket. For example, if you are holding the racket in your right hand, then the right side is your forehand side, and vice versa for the lefties.
A forehand grip is like the shakehand grip in table tennis, so as the name gives away, it’s like shaking hands. In the forehand grip, you need to push your index finger forward, unlike in the backhand, where it is your thumb.
A backhand grip is the other side of your racket hand. So if you are holding your racket in the right hand, your backhand side is the left side. Again, vice versa for left-handed people.
A backhand grip is taken similarly to a forehand grip. However, you need to push the thumb forward so it’s flat on the grip instead of against the edge.
An important thing to remember is that you shouldn’t grip the racket too tight because every time you strike, you will put too much pressure on your tightened muscles, which can cause injuries such as tennis elbow. Take a firm but relaxed grip on your racket where your muscles have more trajectory. In fact, your grip should be far more loose than tight.
Do you learn visually better? Well, check out this quick, straightforward video on holding a badminton racket.
Serving is an essential part of badminton, and the right kind of serve can be a matter of a lost or won points. Depending on where you want to land your serve, you can use either a high-serve or low-serve technique.
When you do a high serve, you will strike the shuttlecock downwards from high. A high serve is best made if you want to aim your strike at the back end of the court. Optimally, you want to aim the serve on your opponent’s backhand side because, in nearly all cases, the backhand side is weaker.
When executing a low serve, you will strike the shuttlecock upwards from below. You should aim for the shuttlecock on the front end of the court. The best way to do a low serve is to strike the shuttlecock in a way that it slightly exceeds the net line on your opponent’s side, so it is harder to return well.
Depending on how well your serves went, you might prevent your opponent from smashing or gain a perfect opportunity to smash yourself. However, if your serve is poor, you will have a harder time receiving and striking afterward.
Another important thing to keep in mind while serving is that it needs to be legal, meaning that it needs to follow the rules and guidelines of badminton serving. Learn more about serving rules here.
Anyways, watch the video below if you want to learn how to make the perfect low serve!
Footwork is a big chunk of how good of a player you can be. In fact, some people say that it is the most important skill of all, and I would say it certainly is one of them.
If you have good footwork, you are better at covering the court faster and with more stability. Naturally, this makes your strikes and overall performance better, and you will even save precious energy with correct footwork.
Important rules of thumb in badminton footwork are that you should only take 2 to 3 steps forward and backward. You should take only one step to the side, and you need to remember your starting point.
Below you can find the basic 6-step footwork that is used in badminton.
- Front forehand corner: Located closest to the net on your forehand side corner.
- Front backhand corner: Located closest to the net on your backhand side corner.
- Forehand defense: Located in the middle of the court on your forehand side.
- Backhand defense: Located in the middle of the court on your backhand side.
- Back forehand corner: Located closest to the backline on your forehand side corner.
- Back forehand corner: Located closest to the backline on your backhand side corner.
Check out this great video about the six-corner footwork in badminton.
5. Basic Strokes
The basic badminton strokes include many different strokes from both the forehand and backhand sides. These strokes can be:
- Basic groundstrokes
- Serving shots
- The lift (Lob)
- Overhead smashes
- Drop shots
- Clear shots
- Net shots
Learning these strokes well requires great stance, footwork, and grip. With the strokes listed above, you can come through the vast majority of situations in the match, so it’s essential that you learn them.
Check out the video below and learn how to do these shots properly so that you can be closer to victory in your next match!
I remember when I first started badminton and played with an old children’s racket, hah. Then, I bought a beginner-friendly racket such as the Yonex Nanoray, and the difference was uncanny. I highly recommend getting a well-valued racket from the start, so nothing holds you back on the court.
6. Hand-Eye Coordination
Hand-eye coordination is really hard in badminton, as it is in all racket sports. Even ESPN has ranked all racket sports really high in the difficulties of hand-eye coordination.
If you aren’t familiar with what hand-eye coordination means, it means the ability to connect your hand with an object which in badminton’s case is the racket to the shuttlecock.
The best way to improve hand-eye coordination for badminton is to play badminton. Really, badminton is a fast-paced sport so it will have a great improvement effect on it. However, there are also non-badminton ways to train hand-eye coordination, such as:
- Playing catch
- Playing videogames
Even aerobic exercise, such as swimming, has proven to increase brain capacity, which can improve hand-eye coordination.
However, some people are born with better hand-eye coordination capabilities and skills than others, but all in all, it can always be improved!
7. Perception And Anticipation
Perception and anticipation are both extremely important skills in badminton, and they might give you an advantage in the match. First, let’s talk about perception, which is an easier skill to master.
Perception means your ability to be aware of something through your senses (sight, hearing, feeling).
This can include how well you can hear the fatigue of your opponent’s steps, see the shuttlecock’s speed or feel the course of the game.
Having a better sense of the game and the things that are happening than your opponent is a drastic advantage so keep these in mind. You can use nearly all your senses to gain an advantage in badminton.
Anticipation, on the other hand, is the ability to predict something that isn’t yet happened.
This is a tricky skill to learn, and you need to pretty much use your intuition for it. However, when you advance and get more hours of badminton behind you, you can spot a little do tell from your opponents so you can anticipate what he or she is about to do next.
However, two different opponents will probably play very differently, so you can’t anticipate right 100% of the time. What you are about to do is turn the game to your advantage because even a couple of well-anticipated moves can give you the point advantage where your opponent won’t recover.
Keep playing, and your perception and anticipation will improve.
8. Timing And Rhythm
You will see a drastic leap in your overall skill level when you get your timing and rhythm to a good skill level. Timing your strike and movement right and having a certain rhythm in the play feel exhilarating and great, and that will give you a good confidence boost on top of everything.
These skills will also improve over time, so if you are a beginner, you might not have these skills yet where you want them to be.
When you see a badminton player that plays well and everything he does flows naturally, it’s likely than to the timing and rhythm. Now, what are the benefits of timing and rhythm?
When you don’t strike your shuttlecock too early nor too late, but just at the right moment, you can have the optimal power and accuracy to your shot, which is likely to go as planned.
Timing is also important in footwork because you can position yourself right on time to the place, giving you the best possibilities to succeed in your strike.
In essence, timing is more connected to hand-eye coordination, whereas rhythm is connected to the natural feel of the game.
Rhythm, on the other hand, doesen’t need as much mind and thinking as the timing does. Developing a natural rhythm in your game is essential if you want consistency in your strokes, footwork, and everything else.
Think about it as lifting weights at the gym, dancing to a beat, or walking down the street. All these things require a rhythm for a consistent, beautiful, and efficient execution, and so does badminton.
9. Strategies and Tactics
Tactics and strategies are needed in many things, and badminton is one of them. When talking about strategies and tactics, war often comes to mind. While this is true, as the book The Art Of War states, it can be used in everything, even when the book talks about it in terms of war.
Well, what’s the difference between strategies and tactics?
Strategy is a plan for winning the match, which is the whole picture of the game. For example, you could make a strategy in that you will try to strike the shuttlecock in a way that your opponent is likely to hit the net. You should have multiple strategies if your plan A won’t work because it’s obvious you need to change something.
Tactics, on the other hand, are a smaller piece of the pie. For example, you can think a couple of strikes ahead and think if you strike on the left corner, the opponent will return in a certain way which allows you to strike it to the right close to the net.
It’s important to think about the whole big picture and the smaller steps that will take you closer to victory. You must think about this because a good player always has a plan b, c, d, and so on. If you attend the match underprepared, your chances of winning are less.
Tactics are single actions on the court, whereas a strategy is the big picture of the whole game and the plan for it.
10. Equipment Knowledge
Last but not least, you need to know about the equipment that you can use in badminton. If you are a beginner, you don’t need to worry about this just yet. However, if you are an intermediate player or just someone that is really passionate about badminton, and wants to maximize performance on the court, then it’s smart to know about different kinds of equipment.
When it comes to badminton rackets, there are different string materials, frame materials, grips, and weights that are all designed for different types of players and skill levels.
After some badminton experience, you can determine your playstyle and get that kind of racket which will undoubtedly improve your overall performance on the court.
There are feather and nylon shuttlecocks. Nylon shuttlecocks can be used outdoors because they won’t be harmed by the elements, such as heat and moisture. Feather shuttlecocks have better aerodynamics which is better suited for indoors and competitive badminton. Since badminton is an indoor sport, feather shuttlecocks are the best choice for competitive players.
However, depending on what kind of player you are, it’s important to get the right kinds of shuttlecocks.
Badminton shoes are essential because of many things. The right shoes designed for your foot type can reduce soreness and pain while playing badminton, increase performance and speed, and improve the overall feel of the game.
A great thing about badminton shoes is that you can use them in various other sports as well.
Then there are different kinds of clothing and accessories, such as head or wristbands, that you can implement into your game. All of this affects how you will feel on the court, which is related to how well you will play.
Further Reading: Why Do I Love Badminton? (11 Reasons Why You Should Too)
My Favorite Badminton Equipment
Thanks for reading this article. I hope it brought you great value that you can implement into your own life! Below you can find some badminton equipment that I love and think you could like!
- Racket: My favorite badminton racket is the Yanox Carbonex 8000 because it fits well with my controlling playstyle. This racket is made from graphite & aluminum and weighs around 85 to 90grams, so it’s medium weight and durable. I love the control and accuracy of this racket, and the design makes me want to play badminton.
- Shuttlecocks: I like to play with yellow nylon shuttlecocks because most courts I play badminton on have a light environment, and I’m not playing at a competitive level. So, I don’t want to spend insane much money on feathers shuttlecocks because they often break. That’s why Yonex Mavis 350 shuttlecocks are my absolute favorite.
- Badminton shoes: When it comes to badminton shoes, they need to have excellent support, shock absorption, and cushioning. As you can see, I’m a Yonex lover, and that’s why I play badminton with Yonex Power Cushion Eclipsion Z badminton shoes!
- Fan Equipment: If you’re a fan more than a player, you don’t want to miss Fan Equipment by Fanatics. You can find items from various sports that bear your favorite team’s logo, such as jerseys, gift ideas, or other surprising things.