Badminton defense: It’s an essential part of your game, but mastering the shots that can protect your court is no walk in the park. And if you’re new to badminton, you might be wondering: Which defensive shots are worth focusing on most?
If this question has crossed your mind, you’ve come to the right place. Below, we’ve compiled four of the most useful defensive badminton shots to master in 2023, along with tips to help you pull them off. Let’s jump in!
4 Useful Defensive Shots in Badminton
Here are four powerful defensive shots to focus your time and training on this year:
1. Block Shots
The badminton block shot is a fundamental defensive technique. It’s a low, soft shot that helps bring your opponent forward and away from their offensive position.
This shot can be somewhat risky — but when used correctly, it can play an important role in helping you recover from a dangerous situation.
When hitting a block, choosing the best angle for your shot is key. Blocks tend to be predictable, but if you can direct the shuttle far enough away from your opponent, you may be able to catch them off guard and reset the pace of the rally.
The basic steps to a block shot are as follows:
- Hop into your ready position. You should be leaning slightly forward and keeping your center of gravity low.
- Use a relaxed backhand grip to hold your racket out in front of you.
- As the shuttle approaches, gently hit it over the net and to your opponent’s frontcourt. (Tip: You don’t need a big backswing here. Instead, try to use a soft swing and let the momentum of the shuttle do most of the work.)
2. Net Lifts
As a beginner, net lifts are often one of the first defensive shots you’ll learn.
The trajectory of a lift starts below the net and goes high and far — all the way to your opponent’s baseline. The goal here is to force your opponent backward and give yourself ample time to reset your position.
Net lifts are most useful when you’re defending against a smash and you don’t have enough time to choose a safer defensive shot.
They can also help you surprise your opponent when they’re expecting a tight net shot. But overall, it’s important not to use lifts too often — because if your opponent can predict them fast enough, they can be easy to attack.
So, how can you achieve a net lift? Here are the basic steps:
- Stand in your ready position with your dominant foot just ahead of your non-dominant foot.
- Lean forward to hit the shuttle with an underhand motion, lifting it high above your opponent’s head. Aim to send it flying as far as possible while still staying within bounds.
Drive shots are popular in doubles defense — and for good reason. When you’re under pressure in doubles, a good drive exchange can help reset the rally in your favor.
They are fast, straight, and far shots that are hit from midcourt to midcourt. Their incredible speed can help force your opponent to hit a weaker shot with an upward trajectory.
Here are the general steps to achieving a drive shot:
- From your ready position, lunge in the direction of the shuttle.
- Keep your racket high in the air.
- Whether you’re going for a forehand or backhand drive, try to adjust your grip so that your racket face will be parallel to the net upon contact.
- As the shuttle approaches, pull your racket back to wind up for the shot. Your elbow should be pointing forward here.
- Use a forward flicking motion to snap the shuttle straight to your opponent’s midcourt.
In a lot of ways, push shots are similar to drives. The difference is that they’re a more guided, directed, and accurate version of a drive, and are helpful for “pushing” your opponent out of position. Because of this, they’re a great counterattack move that can help you transition from defense to offense.
Try a push shot in your next rally by following these steps:
- Position your hand a little further up your racket’s handle than normal. This can make it a shorter “lever,” giving you better control of the shot.
- Start with a split step and lunge in the direction of the shuttle.
- Use a high, controlled swing and a small burst of pressure to push the shuttle behind your opponent.
Tip: These work even better when you use them to surprise your opponent. Watch until the end of the video below to see how a push can be disguised as a lift or net drop:
Other Badminton Defense Tips to Keep In Mind
Choosing the right defensive shots plays a big part in protecting your court, but it’s not the only piece of the puzzle. As you train and progress, here are some more tips that can help you defend like a pro:
- Start with a split step right before your opponent hits their attacking shot. This can help you get in the “rhythm” to defend faster.
- When you suspect that your opponent is going for a smash, opt for a loose neutral grip. This will make it easier to switch to the correct grip once you know where the shot is headed.
- Lower your center of gravity, lean forward a bit, and hold your racket in front of you at about waist height. In most cases, this stance will give you the best chances of protecting your court from a smash.
The defensive shots covered above each have their own time and place in a rally. And whether you’re going for a lift, drive, or even a simple block, being aware of your opponents’ positioning and setup can help you get the most out of the techniques you choose.
Over time, you’ll gain a sense of which shots work best in different situations. But if you could use some extra support along the way, we’ve got resources that can help.