As you may know, badminton doubles games can be a lot different than singles. Having an extra player on your team means you’ll need to switch up your strategies to win the rally.
And while you might feel confident in your singles defense, it’s essential to learn how to sharpen your badminton doubles defense, too.
Below are four badminton doubles defense strategies, as well as some extra tips that’ll have you playing like a pro during your next game.
Badminton Doubles Defense Strategies and Why They’re Important
There are optimal ways to handle certain situations in most sports — and it’s no different in badminton doubles.
Your partner will likely base their positioning and moves on what they expect you to do on the court. And you’ll probably be doing the same!
With that in mind, here are the badminton doubles defense strategies that can help you sync up with your partner and play well against your future opponents.
1. Defend After the Serve
In doubles, the serving team will typically use shorter serves to avoid putting themselves in a defensive position right away. Essentially, they don’t want to set you up for any fantastic offensive shots.
By hitting shorter serves in doubles, your opponents are attempting to force you to hit lift shots. And this will set them up for attack shots (like smashes) later on.
Pay Attention to Your Placement During Serves
To defend against short serves, you’ll need to place yourself strategically on the court, and you’ll usually want to be towards the front.
This placement gives you the best chance to ensure that a high short serve doesn’t get past you. But be prepared — because, in doubles, these serves can be difficult to return without adding too much lift to your shot.
Your opponents are likely going to hit a solid offensive shot after you return the serve. So, your partner should stand near their midcourt area, ready to defend against a powerful smash.
2. Prepare for Strong, Fast Smashes
Since there are two people on each side of the court, it’ll be easier for your opponent to hit a great smash shot. They won’t have to run for the shuttle, and they can use that extra energy for a high-speed, powerful smash shot.
Placement For Defending Smash Shots
To defend against doubles smash shots, you’ll typically want to stand closer to your side of the court. When you’re side-by-side but still at a distance with your partner, you will both move faster laterally.
Beyond that, pay close attention to where a smash shot is headed. The direction of your opponent’s smash will determine which one of you should be near the front of the court.
Expect a Smash from Your Opponent After Lift Shots
If you hit a lift shot to your opponent, it’s vital to know that you’ve just set them up for a solid offensive shot.
So, after a lift shot, get ready to defend. You or your partner should place yourself on the straight line across from your opponent, prepared to return their next shot.
Smashes in Mixed Doubles
In mixed doubles, the male teammate will generally stand in the mid or backcourt area, with the woman in the front. The person in the back — usually the man — is most likely going to hit smashes towards the woman on the other team.
So, be prepared to defend some hard smashes if you’re playing mixed doubles as a woman!
3. Position Your Feet Defensively
When it comes to foot positioning, you and your partner should stand in midcourt in the distanced side-by-side position, with your body facing forwards towards the net. Keep a wide stance with both of your feet on the same parallel line as the net.
This is the general defensive foot position, but you may have to adjust it a bit based on your next potential move. Sometimes, you might have one foot a little in front of the other.
Doubles defense movements are usually sideways. Most of your side-to-side movements will be paralleling with your partner’s but on your half of the court. This foot positioning helps to ensure a cross-court smash won’t be too hard to get to in time.
However, a straight smash with a heavy downward trajectory could put your team in a tough spot. When your opponent pulls off a shot like that, you’ll both need to work hard to reach it in time.
4. Play a Block Shot
If you’re stuck playing defensively and want to set yourself up to get the offensive position again, try playing a block shot.
A block shot gently sends the shuttle just over the net, where it starts to fall. And if the shuttle is below the net when your opponent receives it, they may be forced to hit a lift shot in return.
Be In Sync with Your Partner Before You Hit a Block Shot
It’s crucial to be on the same page with your partner as to which one of you will play the block shot. Pay close attention to your partners’ swing speed and intent when they’re in the frontcourt.
While one of you sets up to hit the block shot, the other person should get ready to go to the mid or rear court, near the block shot’s potential return line.
This placement will allow the rear court player to hit a nice smash shot so that your team can regain the offensive position.
Ready to Be a Great Doubles Partner?
It’s an almost unspoken etiquette between badminton players that everyone playing doubles follows at least some of the double’s “rules.”
If you stray too far from the best move for a particular shot, your partner may get frustrated. Remember — you’re working together as a team to win the game, and singles strategies might not cut it here.
Getting your basic badminton doubles defense moves right will keep your partner happy. After perfecting these strategies, you’ll be everyone’s first choice for a partner!
To learn more about doubles techniques and tips, check out this article on some of the best general strategies to win your next game.