If you’ve got a solid handle on your badminton fundamentals, chances are you’re ready to start leveling up your game.
Of course, basic clears, drops, and smashes can help you do fairly well as a casual player. But what about when you want to add some flair and finesse to your techniques? What are some of the most advanced skills in badminton, and how can you pull them off?
Below, we’ll cover five advanced offensive and defensive skills to add to your badminton arsenal, along with tips to help you achieve them. Let’s dive in!
1. Backhand Clear Shots
As you might know, the badminton clear shot is a high, deep shot that’s hit from your baseline to your opponent’s baseline.
From the forehand position, clears are pretty simple to use. But high, deep backhand clears can be a lot tougher to execute. Fortunately, just learning the concept behind these shots can make things easier.
Here’s how to do a backhand clear when you need to force your opponent out of offense mode:
- Jump into your split-step and keep a relaxed grip on your racket. A bevel grip works best for backhand clears, but you may need to adjust it slightly depending on the desired angle of your shot.
- Travel to your backhand side using a chasse step, and pivot with your racket leg to face backward.
- As you lunge, tighten your grip and use your backhand swing to hit the shuttle. The tricky part here is positioning yourself so that you can use the full rotation of your shoulder (and a full follow-through.)
- Use power from your forearm and wrist to create a high shot that lands near your opponent’s baseline.
Tips for Better Backhand Clear Shots
- Mix up the pace of your backhand clears. Use a medium swing speed for slower recovery clears, and add more snappy wrist movement when you want to speed things up.
- Don’t overuse clear shots. They’re a great defense when you need to “reset” the rally. But if you use them too much, you can become predictable and put yourself at a disadvantage.
2. Spinning/Tumbling Net Shots
A spinning net shot is an advanced badminton technique that sends the shuttle tumbling just over the net into your opponent’s court.
Here are the steps to do one:
- Get into a standard forehand (handshake) grip while keeping your hand and fingers relaxed.
- Use proper footwork to move to your frontcourt.
- Extend your racket arm up in front of you at about shoulder height. Allow your racket face to tilt slightly down toward the net, with your wrist in a comfortable position.
- Keep your elbow loose, straighten your posture, and extend your non-racket arm out behind you for balance.
- As you lunge, tighten your grip and use a slicing motion to send the shuttle tumbling over the net. (Tip: To get the slice right, it can help to think of your swing motion as the bottom half of a circle. Don’t worry about power too much; instead, focus on a swift, controlled technique.)
3. Deceptive Shots
Becoming a master of deception in badminton means faking out your opponents, scoring more points, and ultimately winning more matches.
The basic concept behind most deceptive shots is to do something — like using a double motion or twisting your racket at a certain angle — to make your opponent think you’re about to go for a specific move. Then, at the very last second, you can surprise them with an unexpected shot.
To start, here’s a quick intro on frontcourt deception shots to try in your next match:
4. Crosscourt Defense
When you’re feeling serious offensive pressure from your opponent, crosscourt defense can help you gain the upper hand. Two defensive crosscourt shots to learn include the forehand and backhand cross block.
Here are some tips to help you do one of these tricky shots successfully:
- Start with a loose forehand or backhand grip, and raise your racket out to the side you plan to defend. In other words, lead with your racket.
- Jump into a split-step. Then, depending on where the bird is flying, either step once or shuffle to get in position.
- With your arm extended to the side, wait until the last possible second to twist your forearm inward and flick your wrist in the crosscourt direction.
5. Backhand Smash
The backhand smash is one of the most powerful and explosive advanced skills in badminton — but it takes a strong technique to pull it off.
Before jumping into the backhand smash, you’ll need to have a solid handle on your standard smash and backhand swing. Then, you can practice this shot using the following tips:
- Start with a relaxed bevel grip. Keeping your thumb shifted towards the edge of the handle can help to improve wrist movement and smash accuracy.
- Use proper footwork to move towards the backhand side of your backcourt, pivoting at the last second to face away from the net.
- When the time comes to swing, pull your racket arm back with your elbow pointing up towards the net.
- Then, in one swift motion, use your forearm and wrist power to whip your racket and hit the shuttle in a downward trajectory. The racket should move in a rapid “arc” motion with your wrist movement — first pointing downward, then up to make contact with the shuttle, and finally following through.
The Takeaway on Advanced Offensive and Defensive Skills in Badminton
If you’re ready to take your techniques up a notch from basic clears, lifts, and smashes, the skills in this post are a great place to start.
Crosscourt defense, backhand smashes and clears, deception, and spinning net shots can all level up your game — but chances are, it’ll take a lot of trial and error to get them down fully. The good news is that you’ll inevitably see progress as long as you practice consistently, stick to it, and have fun!