8 Best Badminton Singles Tactics to Win the Game

Justin Ma - August 11, 2021 - 0 comments

Do you love playing singles in badminton? Singles matches are popular for a few reasons: they challenge you to be at your best for the entire game. 

You won’t have a partner to rely on as you do in doubles. The best badminton singles tactics require you to be fast on your feet and quick with your thinking.

To win a singles game, you need to place your shots where they benefit you most on your opponent’s court. Aside from that, you’ll need to be strategic about how you play defense. Fortunately, some specific techniques can give you an edge when playing singles. 

Keep reading to discover eight of the best badminton singles tactics to help you win your next match.

Try Out These Badminton Singles Tactics

Badminton singles strategies will differ from doubles strategies, and what works with a partner may not work when you’re alone on the court. In any case, it’s best to go into a game of singles with a few tactics in mind. 

It’s important to note that your singles strategy will depend on how your opponent plays. You might need to switch up your tactics with your opponent and adjust accordingly during each rally.

Here are a few strategies to help you ace your next singles game with all that in mind.

1. Timing and Accuracy on the Court

Your timing, accuracy, and shuttle placement are your best assets on the court. You need to be ready for the type of return your opponent might use based on the shot you hit to them. 

For example, if you hit a lift shot to one side of your opponent’s court, you should stand about a foot or two to the same side on your court. This positioning will help you stay ready for a smash shot on that same side. You should also be able to reach a return smash shot to the other side of your court in time. 

Beyond that, make sure your lift shots are long — your opponent can return them with too much speed if they’re not aimed at the back of the court.

You’ll want to be ready for the standard return for the types of returns you hit towards your opponent. The earlier your return on their shots, the more likely you will gain points!

2. Your Opponent’s Weak Points

If you pay attention to your opponent, you should be able to analyze their gameplay during the match. When you discover that your opponent is weak in returning a particular shot, continue to hit that shot. 

If they successfully return shots in their weak points, they may just be prepared for it. To overcome this, hit the shuttle in different locations around the court. Then, surprise them by hitting the shot that they have trouble returning. You want your opponent to be unprepared to return anything that seems their weakness.

Some opponents practice their defensive moves, and it can be tricky to strategize against them. You may need to use several tactics during the same rally with these opponents.

3. Corner Shots

Corner shots are excellent to keep your opponent running around the court as much as possible. They also work well for an opponent who’s shorter or has less speed.

Lob, drop, and smash shots work best for corner shots. You can use this strategic style to wear out an opponent that seems to have limitless energy.

4. Same Location Shots

f your opponent is quick to reach the shuttle, hitting shots to the exact location that your opponent just returned from can add an element of surprise. 

This singles tactic can give you an edge because it’s slower for an opponent to move back than to move in any other direction. Most opponents will run back to the middle of the court after hitting each shot. And when you hit the shuttle to the same spot, it forces them to move back to where they just came from.

a white shuttlecock lies on the gym floor as two badminton players engage in a singles match

5. Alternating Side Shots 

Hitting shots to alternative sides of your opponent’s body will usually work well on taller opponents. They have more trouble moving into position to return these shots. 

So don’t be afraid to switch it up! Taller people tend to have longer limbs, so returning alternating side shots takes more time. But when you’re playing with a seasoned badminton opponent, it can still be challenging to overcome them — even with this tactic.

6. Line Shots

Hitting your smashes down the side court lines gives your opponent little time to back up or run to the other side to return the shots. This badminton singles tactic comes in handy if your opponent hits high and short shots.

7. Drop Shots

Quick drop shots are excellent for an opponent constantly moving around the court. It’s best to use this tactic when they’re off guard, so they have trouble setting up to return the shot.

8. Cover Your Weaknesses

If you notice that your opponent has figured out your weak spots for returning shots, be prepared — they’ll usually continue sending the shuttle to that location. 

Even if they hit shots all over your court, an experienced opponent will still regularly take the shot for which you have a weakness.

Always expect that they may hit the shot that they know to be challenging for you to return. With that in mind, it’s worth covering some defensive strategies in your singles practice.

Food for Thought:

Badminton singles tactics, in many ways, might seem counterintuitive to a proficient doubles player. Often, players will naively assume that they can win a singles match easily by executing their signature smash. 

However, this illusion is fundamentally flawed. You have no partner to cover the net in singles, leaving your flank wide open to deliberate attacks.

The fundamental strategy behind a doubles attack is to create sufficient pressure so that the opponent cannot defend the smash. Lacking adequate time to position their racket, your opponent loses control of the shot. Meanwhile, the front player is applying intense pressure since they are at the net and ready to respond almost instantly.

Another common theme in doubles matches is the rapid, constant movement across the court. You will often observe the back player jumping almost continuously to maintain their smash rhythm.

For a doubles team, the necessity of constant movement is embraced so long as they can apply enough pressure in return to keep their opponents off guard when making shots. Since two players can canvas the court relatively quickly, this tactic pays off in most cases. 

Ironically, in singles play, this tactic creates an adverse effect. Your opponent will leverage movement pressure while focusing much less on smash shots or single hit strategy. While the size of the court remains the same, your ability to defend it has been effectively halved.

Assuming your glorious smash falls short, your opponent merely has to block the shuttlecock back to the net. But alas! When you realize they have backed you into a coveted corner, it is too late to change the outcome.

Ready to Win Your Next Badminton Singles Match?

Whichever badminton singles strategies you use, remember to choose them based on your opponent’s playing habits and style. 

Every opponent is different and won’t necessarily be defeated by a particular strategy. So, don’t be afraid to switch up your game plan to cover whatever happens in each moment.

It might take a few tries to perfect these strategies and know when to use them. But as you probably know, practice makes perfect — and with dedication, you’ll be winning more singles matches in no time!

Justin Ma

I am passionate about helping people find joy in playing badminton, while also showing them how competitive the sport can be.

Justin Ma


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