Strong badminton defense means knowing how to handle the most powerful shot in the game: the smash.
Whether you’re playing singles or doubles, a skilled opponent’s smash will be fast, powerful, and steep — but as long as you know how to defend against it, you’ll be able to protect yourself from losing valuable points on the court.
Keep reading to discover four of the best badminton smash defense tips, along with some common mistakes to avoid.
4 Best Badminton Smash Defense Tips
Practice these four tips to level up your smash defense on the court:
1. Position Your Body Correctly
When you hit a weak shot — like a short clear or lift — you can almost always expect an attack from your opponent. In these situations, you’ll want to choose the correct defensive placement to ensure you don’t leave any wide-open spaces on your court.
For singles, this means stepping closer to the middle of your court (although you don’t necessarily need to be directly in the center.) For doubles, you’ll want to be midcourt side-by-side with your partner. This placement will give you the best coverage against a potential smash.
Key tip: Once you’re in the right place, you should also adopt the defensive stance — aka standing wide and low, with your eyes on the shuttle and racket at about waist height.
2. Understanding Smash Defense Differences in Singles Vs. Doubles
How you defend against smashes will vary depending on whether you’re playing singles or doubles.
In doubles, as long as your defensive positioning is on point, you won’t need to worry as much about the placement of your opponent’s shots. Instead, speed will be the bigger threat. And because you’ll need to move as quickly as possible, your backhand grip will be your best bet for the majority of your doubles defense shots.
Singles, on the other hand, is more about placement than it is about shot speed — and you may need to occasionally use your forehand grip to block an opponent’s smash. That being said, it’s best to start with a loose neutral grip so you can easily switch to the correct grip depending on your opponent’s smash placement.
3. Train Your Reaction Speed
As most players know, your reaction speed plays a crucial role in your ability to defend against a smash. After all, the quicker your reflexes, the better your odds of retrieving the shuttle before it hits the ground.
There are many exercises that can help improve your reaction speed on the court — but an easy first step is to start practicing wall rally drills.
These simple drills involve adopting your ready stance and hitting a shuttle at a wall as many times in a row as you can — offering a simple but effective way to improve your reflexes, grip transitions, and overall defense.
4. Knowing Your Defensive Shots
The fourth key badminton smash defense tip is knowing your defensive shots. By mastering multiple defensive techniques, you’ll improve your shot variety, be more unpredictable, and be better equipped to return a wider variety of smashes.
Three main defensive shots to practice include:
- Block: A reflexive backhand shot that counters a smash into your opponent’s front or midcourt.
- Lift: Uses an upward motion to send the shuttle high and far into the opponent’s backcourt.
- Drive: A flat, fast, midcourt-to-midcourt shot that can counterattack a smash.
Common Badminton Smash Defense Mistakes To Avoid
Finally, here are some common badminton smash defense mistakes to look out for as a beginner:
- Not strategizing how to get out of defense. Don’t just limit yourself to lifts or other high, floaty shots when you’re defending against a smash. Instead, look for opportunities to eventually go for a counterattack — like a drive or short, straight block.
- Not crouching low enough. Many players find that their defense improves when they remember to get into a low, wide stance.
- Not split stepping before you defend. A split step right before your opponent smashes the shuttle can give you some extra momentum before you move to retrieve the shot.
When it comes to badminton smash defense, it all starts with your positioning. Be sure to use side-by-side midcourt positioning in doubles, and move near the center of your court in singles. From there, you’ll need to get into a low, defensive stance to give yourself the best coverage.
Ultimately, it’s important to remember that improving your smash defense won’t happen overnight, and it can take weeks and months of consistent training. Luckily, we have resources that can help you along the way.