What Is the Ready Stance in Badminton?

Justin Ma - October 20, 2021 - 0 comments

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In badminton, the position you take in the crucial moments before your opponent hits the shuttle is called the ready stance (or ready position.) And knowing how to use the ready position effectively can give you a major advantage on the court.

Below, discover everything you need to know about the badminton ready stance, including variations and essential tips to remember. 

Winning a rally is so much easier when you’re ready for every shot!

How Does the Badminton Ready Stance Boost Your Game?

Being skilled at different stances will make your motions on the court fast and efficient because it cuts down the time it takes for you to reach the shuttle. 

And by practicing the different ready positions, you’ll become more skilled at predicting your opponent’s shots in the future. 

What Are the Different Badminton Ready Positions?

Below are the main ready stances that you might find helpful during a game of badminton.

Feel free to adjust these stances to fit your strengths, weaknesses, and the situation at hand.

Standard Ready Stance

The standard ready position (or forward attack stance) is used when you’re playing offensively. This position makes it a breeze to hit powerful overhand shots.

It’s best to use this stance when your opponent hits a high shot (like a lift or a clear) because it puts you in the perfect position to deliver an excellent smash shot.

To set yourself up in the standard ready position:

  1. Position your legs a little wider than shoulder-width apart, with your racket foot in front. 
  2. Face your body towards the side of the court. 
  3. Face your racket head forward. 
  4. Keep your arms slightly raised and adjust as needed depending on the shot you expect from your opponent. 
woman badminton player waits in the standard ready position while her partner serves from the back

In doubles, the standard ready position is similar, except you should face the flat side of your racket towards the net. This is because a double’s game will have quite a few smash shots — and you’ll want to be prepared for them!

Defensive Stance

The defensive stance is most often used when you need to cover both sides of your body and is especially useful when your opponent hits smash shots. 

For the defensive stance:

  1. Place your racket at about waist height. 
  2. Point the head of your racket forward slightly.
  3. Lift your non-racket arm to help keep your balance. Your body should be facing forward, towards the net.

When you get the defensive position down, you can return shots skillfully, no matter which side of your body the shuttle comes to.

female athlete in black and red jersey demonstrates the defensive badminton stance

Net Stance

The net stance gives you the best opportunity to hit the shuttle as quickly as possible. 

To get into this stance:

  1. Put your racket foot in front of your other foot, a little over shoulder-width apart. 
  2. Hold your racket in front of you, just above your waist.
  3. Lean forward so you can jump towards the shuttle. 
  4. Lift your non-racket arm to balance yourself if needed.

With this stance, you’re usually setting yourself up to hit a net kill shot after you’ve sent your opponent a tumbling net shot

female athlete in blue and white jersey demonstrates the net stance used in badminton

Service Receiving Stance

The service receiving stance is exactly what it sounds like — the position you’ll use to receive a serve. This stance prepares you for an underhand service shot from your opponent and can be useful if they hit a lift shot your way.

To get into a service receiving stance:

  1. Put your non-racket foot forward. 
  2. Lean towards your front foot. 
  3. Hold your racket in front of you with the racket’s head just above head height.
  4. Face your body towards the net.

This stance is sometimes referred to as the backward attack stance since it can also be used when you need to move backward during a rally.

Tips to Keep in Mind

Below are some tips to help you get the most out of the different badminton ready positions.

  • Be prepared for the type of shot that will arrive on your court. Over time, you’ll learn to predict the most likely possible shot from your opponent, and it will become easier to choose your stance.
  • Ask yourself if your opponent’s shot is going to be above or below the tape. This factor alone can help determine the proper stance for many of your return shots.
  • Sometimes your opponent may have a limited return area, which can also help you choose the best stance to use.

When Shouldn’t You Use a Stance?

You might find yourself in a few instances where you should keep moving and not return to any of the stances outlined here. 

A scenario where your opponent has only one good option for a shot is an example of a situation where you would not adopt any stance. 

In this case, you’d just keep moving towards the location that you know the shuttle will end up at.

Keep Your Knees Bent

Remember not to lock your knees and keep them slightly bent with any stance. Being fluid is important during a match because you’ll need to be able to jump into motion when the shuttle heads your way. 

All in all, keeping your knees bent will help you move quickly while supporting your balance on the court.

Practicing Your Badminton Ready Stances 

The best way to practice badminton ready positions is to use them in rallies. You can even do partial rallies — but you’ll need a partner!

If you don’t have a partner, you can also try shadow badminton. Simply pretend your opponent is going to hit a particular shot to you, get in the correct ready position, and swing your racket at the pretend shuttle. 

To take things a step further, you can hit a certain shot back at your shadow opponent, like a lift or a smash. Then, get in a position that fits the shot you imagine your opponent will hit. 

Ready to practice badminton ready positions? Find a buddy and take turns practicing your stances. Or try them by yourself with your own shadow badminton game

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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