Badminton can seem confusing to those unfamiliar with it. The rules go out the window when I play with my high school friends. They’re not serious and have never had training so we giggle especially when someone misses or gifts away an easy shot.
But on a more serious note, I’ve noticed a few things and I wrote this (non-exhaustive) list mainly as a fun sort of induction for them. I hope it helps to highlight some aspects of the game as food for thought!
Low serves: The most common serve in doubles, the server hits the shuttle low over the net to land near the short service line. The main quality indicator of this serve is that it flies low over the net (hence the name). It’s more of a controlled forearm/wrist action than a wild arm swing. But if unsure, just…hit it.
Divorce zone: Narrow rectangle near the tramlines between rear- and front-court players. It is one of the target areas in mixed doubles because it causes confusion between two players. Named thus because doubles partners sometimes argue about who should have taken the shot in this area. It’s a grey area but generally I’d say pushes which go past the front court player are the rear court player’s responsibility.
Tapping a doubles partner on the bum with a racquet: An informal sign that can either mean encouragement or a nudge to move your partner out of the way to get ready for a point. I don’t do it myself but many players do this. It’s probably best done with friends, otherwise a tap on the shoulder or back may be more appropriate.
Deceptive net play: When played with deception, cross court slices can be extremely effective at disrupting an opponent’s footwork. What looks like a straight net reply becomes a cross-court net shot, or vice versa. This shot requires a controlled wrist action. A good cross-court drop shot should fly just above the net and more advanced players will intercept it at the centre of the net off the top of the tape. Less advanced players or players taken by surprise will try to hit it near the floor.
Lucky net cord: Many players, including professionals, lift their hand in apology when their shot catches the top of the net and goes over, respectfully suggesting the point was won by luck. When the shuttle catches the white tape, sometimes it’s because players strive to keep the shuttle as low and near to the net as possible. It’s an exquisitely small margin of error.
Attacking the serve: To move forward quickly when receiving a low serve. The aim is to attack the serve at its highest point as it flies over the net. If a weak serve, a good return immediately puts the serve receiver on the offensive. The speed can force an error or a loose shot which can be easily killed.
Clear: A high and deep overhead shot to the opposite baseline is designed to either change the rhythm of a game or give the hitter time to prepare for the return. An attacking clear is lower but still over the receiver’s reach and is designed to push the receiver back quickly. Men are generally stronger than women and often push women to the back of the court with deep lifts or clears. I have to confess I use this strategy against my high school friends since their movement isn’t fluid and their shots lack power. If they read this, they’ll probably line up to kick me.
That’s all for now. Have fun and enjoy the game!