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Mastering the Basics: A Step-by-Step on how to serve in badminton

Welcome to the world of badminton, where speed, precision, and finesse collide on a tiny court. Whether you're a beginner trying to dip your toes into this thrilling sport or an aspiring pro looking to perfect your game, serving is one skill that will lay the foundation for victory. In this step-by-step guide, we'll unlock the secrets behind mastering the basics of serving in badminton. Get ready to serve up some serious excitement and take your game to new heights!

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Badminton serve

Introduction to badminton serving

Badminton serving is a crucial aspect of the game that can greatly impact each match's outcome. It is the first shot that starts every rally and sets the tone for each player's performance. A strong and accurate serve not only puts pressure on your opponent but also gives you an advantage in controlling the game.

To understand badminton serving, it is essential to know its basic rules. In an official game, both players or teams should stand diagonally across from each other within their respective service courts. The server must hit below waist level when striking the shuttlecock and ensure that both feet are in contact with the ground throughout the serve.

The main objective of a badminton serve is to launch the shuttlecock high and long enough so that it lands into your opponent's service court without touching any boundaries or net on its way. However, this simple-sounding task requires proper technique, footwork, and accuracy to execute it effectively.

There are different types of serves in badminton, including short serves, high serves, flick serves, or drive serves. Each type plays a specific role in different situations during a match. For example, short serves aim to drop close to the net to surprise your opponent while high serves aim for deep shots towards your opponent's backcourt.

In this article, we'll talk about the basics of how to serve in badminton, why it's important, the types of serves, and some useful training exercises to improve your servicing techniques.

Importance of a strong serve in badminton

A strong serve is one of the most important skills to master in badminton. It is your first opportunity to gain an advantage over your opponent and can set the tone for the entire match. A strong serve not only puts pressure on your opponent, but it also allows you to control the pace of the game.

Here are some key reasons why having a strong serve is crucial in badminton:

1. Start on the front foot: As mentioned earlier, a good serve can give you an early advantage in a match. By putting your opponent under pressure from the beginning, you have a better chance of gaining control and dictating the pace of the game. This gives you greater confidence and can help improve your overall performance.

2. Force weak returns: In badminton, players generally try to hit their return shots as high as possible with an arc so that it goes deep into their opponent's court. A powerful serve can disrupt this strategy by forcing a weak or inaccurate return from your opponent, giving you the opportunity to attack and win points more easily.

3. Limit movement for opponents: A well-placed and fast-paced serve has two major benefits - it limits your opponent's movement options and forces them to react quickly. With less time to think about their next shot, they may make mistakes or be unable to execute their desired strategy effectively.

4. Control momentum: Badminton matches are often won or lost based on who has control over momentum throughout the game. A strong serve helps you maintain or regain your momentum by keeping the pressure on your opponent and preventing them from gaining an advantage.

5. Set up attacking opportunities: A powerful serve can also set up attacking opportunities for you. By forcing your opponent to lift the shuttle, you can position yourself closer to the net and be ready to attack their weak return.

6. Confidence booster: Having a strong serve not only affects your opponent but can also boost your own confidence. It shows that you have control over the game and can make it easier for you to perform other shots with confidence.

In conclusion, a strong serve is an essential skill in badminton that can give you an edge over your opponents. By mastering this skill, you increase your chances of winning matches and becoming a better player overall.

Serving Rules

Before we learn the basics of how to serve, it's important to quickly understand the rules around serving, and where on the court the shuttlecock is permitted to land without inflicting penalties. If you want to understand the rules of badminton in more detail, check out this article which covers all the basics around the rules of the game.

Here are some basic rules of serving in badminton:

1. The Serve Must Be Diagonal:

As per official badminton rules, every serve must be hit diagonally from right to left or left to right. This means if you’re standing on the right side of the court, your serve must go towards the left side of your opponent’s court and vice versa.

2. Contact with Shuttle:

The shuttlecock must be contacted below waist level in order for a serve to be considered legal. The server’s racket should pass beneath their waistline while making contact with the shuttle.

3. Server’s Feet Position:

The server must have both feet behind the back boundary line when making contact with the shuttlecock during a serve. Their feet should not touch or cross over this line until after they have served.

4. The Serve Must Be Underhanded:

Unlike tennis where players are allowed to use an overhand serve, badminton players must use an underhand serve. This means the racket should be below the server’s waist and their arm should not be fully extended when making contact with the shuttle.

5. The Serve Must Be Made Within The Designated Serve Area:

At the start of every game, players must decide which side will serve first. The server must always start from the right side of the court and make their serve within the designated service area. This area stretches from the right-hand court boundary all to way to the short service line.

singles serve score is even
Singles serve (server score is even)

Singles serve (server score is odd)
Singles serve (server score is odd)

6. Serving In Doubles:

In doubles, both players on a team get to serve before it rotates back to the opposing team. During a serve, only one player can make contact with the shuttle at a time. If a server fails to hit the shuttle or if they hit it outside of their designated service area, it is considered a fault.

Doubles serve (server score is even)
Doubles serve (server score is even)

Double serve (server score is odd)
Double serve (server score is odd)

7. Out Of Rotation Serve:

If you are playing doubles and fail to rotate between serves, it is considered out of rotation and can result in losing a point.

8. Re-serve Or Let Service:

Sometimes during a serve, unforeseen events may occur that interfere with play such as another player crossing into your designated service area or an object falling onto the court. In these cases, a re -serve or let service can be called by the umpire. A re-serve means that the serve is replayed while a let service means that the point does not count and the serve continues.

How to serve in badminton?

So now that we've given a brief introduction to the serve, why it's so important, and some of the rules around it, how do we actually serve in Badminton? Let's give a step-by-step to the basics of the serve which will hopefully enable you to put this into practice on the court.

Step 1: Understanding the different types of serves (low/high, short/long, flick/smash) - How to serve in badminton?

Before you even make contact with the shuttlecock, it's important to know which type of serve you're going to make. Therefore it's important to have a good grasp of the types of serves and why you might decide to choose that particular type of serve.

1. Low vs High Serve

A low serve is typically used to surprise your opponent by keeping the shuttlecock close to the net. This type of serve travels flatly over the net with a minimal height clearance. It is commonly used at the beginning of a game or after a series of high serves to throw off your opponent's rhythm.

On the other hand, a high serve involves making contact with the shuttlecock higher up in order to send it over your opponent's head towards the back end of their court. This type of serve requires more power and elevation compared to a low serve. It can be useful when trying to push your opponent towards their backcourt or when you are standing closer towards one side of your half-court.

2. Short vs Long Serve

A short serve is executed by making contact with the shuttlecock slightly above or at net height before dropping it just behind it onto your opponent's court near their front boundary line. This type of serve forces your opponent to retrieve from close range and can be challenging for them to execute an offensive shot.

On the other hand, a long serve involves sending the shuttlecock deeper into your opponent's half of the court. This type of serve is often used to push your opponent towards the backcourt or set up an offensive opportunity for yourself. It requires more power and precision, as hitting it too long could result in a fault.

3. Flick vs Smash Serve

A flick serve is a deceptive shot where you make contact with the shuttlecock at its highest point, sending it high into the air over your opponent's head. You can either use this serve to send the shuttlecock to either side of your opponents' court, making it difficult for them to retrieve, or use it as a setup for a follow-up shot. It can be particularly effective against opponents who are expecting a low serve.

A smash serve involves hitting the shuttlecock with full force towards your opponent's backcourt. This type of serve requires excellent technique and power as you are driving the shuttlecock diagonally downwards towards your opponent's court. It can catch your opponent off guard and also set up an offensive opportunity for yourself.

In conclusion, understanding and being able to execute different types of serves in badminton is crucial in keeping your opponent guessing and ultimately gaining an advantage in the game. Practice and vary your serves to improve your overall gameplay and become a more versatile player.

Step 2: Getting into the right stance - How to serve in badminton?

In order to effectively serve in badminton, it is crucial to start with the right stance. Your stance not only affects your balance and power, but it also determines how accurately you can hit the shuttlecock. In this section, we will discuss the key elements of a good serving stance and how to achieve it.

1. Begin by standing in front of the service line: The service line marks the boundary between the back and front courts. To start off, stand on this line facing your opponent's court. Make sure you are positioned at a comfortable distance from the net - not too close that you might hit it with your racket, but not too far that you lose leverage.

2. Position your feet shoulder-width apart: Having a stable base is essential for any shot in badminton, and serving is no exception. Keep your feet hip-distance or slightly wider for better balance and stability.

3. Distribute weight evenly on both feet: Your weight distribution can determine the strength of your serve. Make sure you are not leaning forward or backward as this can affect the trajectory of your shuttlecock.

4. Bend your knees slightly: Keeping your knees bent allows for more flexibility and agility while serving. It also helps with generating power from your legs during the swing.

5. Point your non-dominant side towards the net: This means if you are right-handed, point your left side towards the net and vice versa if you are left-handed. This will help align your body towards where you want to serve and make it easier to generate power.

6. Hold your racket in a ready position: Keep your racket hand up, with the racket head pointing slightly upwards, and the non-racket hand on your hip for balance.

Step 3: Holding the racket correctly - How to serve in badminton?

Holding the racket correctly is crucial in mastering the basics of serving in badminton. The way you hold your racket not only affects your serve, but it also impacts your overall performance on the court.

1: Grip

The first thing to consider when holding a badminton racket is the grip. There are two main types of grips – forehand grip and backhand grip. The forehand grip is used for hitting shots on the front side of your body, while the backhand grip is used for hitting shots on the backside.

To find your forehand grip, place your palm flat against one side of the racket handle. Your index finger should be placed on top of the handle, slightly pointing towards the head of the racket. Then wrap your other fingers around the handle, making sure they are evenly spaced out and not too tightly gripped.

For a backhand grip, hold the handle with a handshake position so that your thumb will be placed at an angle across from where it would be in a forehand grip.

We touched upon the different types of serves in the intro but let's explain some of these in more detail within the context of gripping the racket.

Forehand Serve

The forehand serve is the most commonly used serve in badminton. To execute this serve, you will need to hold the racket with a forehand grip. To achieve this grip, hold the handle of the racket as if you were shaking someone's hand with a firm handshake. Keep your thumb relaxed but make sure it is positioned on one side of the handle while your fingers wrap around it on the other side.

Backhand Serve

The backhand serve is generally used when you are returning from close to or behind the back boundary line or when you want to surprise your opponent by changing up your usual serving style. For this type of serve, hold your racket with a backhand grip by placing your thumb at an angle towards the centre of the handle while gripping it with all four fingers.

Short Serve / Flick Serve

The short serve or flick serve is a deceptive shot that aims to make your opponent think that you are performing a short service but instead hit it long over their head. This type of serve requires precision and control which can be achieved through using either a forehand or backhand grip depending on your preference. The only difference between a short serve and a flick serve is the amount of force you apply while hitting the shuttle.

High Serve / Lob Serve

The high serve, also known as the lob serve, is used to hit the shuttle high in the air to buy more time for yourself or to surprise your opponent. This type of serve requires you to use a backhand grip as it provides more power and control for higher shots. Make sure your thumb is positioned towards the centre of the handle while holding it with all four fingers.

2: Keep a Loose Grip

It's essential to maintain a relaxed and loose grip when holding a badminton racket. This allows for better control and flexibility when swinging or adjusting for different types of shots during play.

Many beginners tend to have a tight grasp on their rackets, which can negatively affect their performance by reducing maneuverability and power behind their shots. A loose yet firm grip also helps prevent hand fatigue during long games and practices.

Step 4: Executing the serve - How to serve in badminton?

Once you have established a good stance, it's time to focus on the execution of the serve. There are different types of serves, but here we will focus on the most commonly used - the high serve and low serve.

How to perform a high serve:

1. Drop your non-racket hand: As you start your swing, drop your non-racket hand from your hip down towards your side. This will help with generating more power.

2. Pivot and shift weight onto your back foot: Your back foot should be placed diagonally behind you as you pivot slightly towards your dominant side (right foot for right-handed players).

3. Swing your racket arm backwards: Bring your racket arm backward in an arc motion, keeping it close to your body. This is known as the backswing.

4. Shift weight forward and swing at an angle towards the shuttlecock: As you shift back onto your front foot, start swinging forward at an angle towards where you want to serve. Keep the angle gentle, as an overly aggressive swing can cause you to hit the shuttlecock off-target.

5. Follow through with your swing: As you make contact with the shuttlecock, continue your swing towards your dominant side and let it flow naturally. This will help with control and increase the power of your serve.

How to perform a low serve:

1. Keep your non-racket hand on your hip: Unlike the high serve, you do not need to drop your non-racket hand for a low serve.

2. Shift weight forward onto your front foot: Since a low serve is meant to be short and close to the net, shift most of your weight onto your front foot at the start of your swing.

3. Use a short backswing: Instead of bringing your racket arm far behind you, keep it close to your body for a shorter backswing.

4. Swing downwards towards the shuttlecock: As you bring down your racket arm, aim for a downward angle towards where you want to place the shuttlecock.

5. Follow through with your swing: Just like in a high serve, continue swinging naturally towards where you want the shuttlecock to go.

In conclusion, serving in badminton requires a combination of proper technique, footwork, and body positioning. By mastering these basics, you can improve the accuracy, power, and overall effectiveness of your serves on the badminton court. Practice regularly and be mindful of these tips to become a more efficient server in no time!

Common mistakes while serving in badminton

1. Starting with the wrong stance: A good serve starts with a good stance. Make sure you are in the correct position before attempting to serve.

2. Not using your non-racket hand: Your non-racket hand helps with balance and generating power during your serve. Make sure to use it effectively.

3. Leaning too far back or forward: As mentioned earlier, having equal weight distribution is crucial for a good serve. Leaning too far back or forward can affect the trajectory and accuracy of your serve.

4. Using an overly aggressive swing: Trying to hit the shuttlecock too hard can result in you losing control and hitting off-target.

5. Not following through with your swing: A proper follow-through allows for better control and power in your shot. Make sure to finish your swing naturally instead of cutting it short.

Practicing drills to improve your serving technique

Now that you have a good understanding of the basic technique and footwork for serving in badminton, it’s time to take your skills to the next level through practice drills. These drills will not only help you refine your serving technique, but also improve your agility, accuracy, and consistency.

1. Target Practice

The first drill focuses on improving your accuracy by aiming for specific targets on the court. Place several cones or markers on different areas of the service court – corners, center line, backline – and try to serve with precision towards each target. This drill will challenge you to control the direction and placement of your serves while also building muscle memory for those specific targets.

2. Serve and Move

In this drill, we incorporate movement into our serves, just like in an actual game situation. Stand at one end of the court and serve diagonally crosscourt towards the opposite corner while following through with a quick shuffle step towards where you served. Repeat this pattern several times until you reach the other end of the court. This drill will help improve your reaction time and ability to recover after a serve.

3. Rapid-Fire Serves

This drill is all about building speed and consistency in your serves. Set up two cones on either side of the service line about 2-3 feet apart from each other. Standing behind one cone, quickly move between both cones as you serve repeatedly without stopping in between serves.

4. Drop Serve Drills

The drop serve is an essential serve to have in your arsenal as it allows you to catch your opponent off guard and set up for a quick attacking shot. To practice this, stand at the service line and aim to hit the shuttlecock just above the net, causing it to drop downward towards the front of your opponent’s court.

5. Practice Match

The best way to truly test your skills and improve on your serves is by playing practice matches against different opponents. This will give you real game experience and help you identify any weaknesses or areas for improvement in your technique.

Remember, consistent practice is key to improving your serving technique in badminton. Make sure to incorporate these drills into your training routine and continue challenging yourself with new targets, movements, and scenarios. With time and effort, you will see a significant improvement in both the power and accuracy of your serves.

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