There are 3 different events in badminton: singles, doubles, and mixed doubles. It’s always fun to play a mix of all 3 of these events, but when you are looking to improve your game and master the sport, it is smart to pick one event to focus on. In this post, I will introduce all 3 different events and teach you how to pick the right event for your playstyle and preferences. Note that this is still general advice – the best thing you can do to truly know which event you should play is by trying them all for yourself and making a final decision!
What is Singles?
Singles is a one-on-one match using the narrow sidelines of the badminton court. The singles event is divided between men and women (Men’s Singles and Women’s singles).
Characteristics of Singles
Singles matches are known for long rallies that involve different playstyles with many different changes of pace during the rally. Players will have to continue rallies going with clears and lifts, try to win points with smashes and pushes, and even play defense throughout each rally. Singles players have strong full-court footwork and are all-around players, comfortable with all types of shots and playstyles.
Should I Play Singles?
- You have good physical endurance. Singles matches require you to travel the full length of your court by yourself through long rallies.
- You are consistent. To be successful in singles, you cannot make easy mistakes and you have to return as many shots your opponent hits as possible.
- You prefer playing alone. Again, you are by yourself in a singles match with no partner. You have to trust yourself to be able to play the game – win or lose.
- You are comfortable hitting all the badminton shots. You need to use a variety of shots in singles to be able to win the point.
- You need to be patient. Singles rallies can go on for a long time. Make sure you have enough patience to not force shots in the middle of a rally.
What is Doubles?
Doubles is a two-on-two event using the wide sidelines of the badminton court. The doubles event, similar to singles, is divided by Men and Women events as well (Men’s Doubles and Women’s Doubles). This means, it is a pair of men vs a pair of men, or a pair of women vs a pair of women.
Characteristics of Doubles
Men’s doubles generally involves extremely strong smashes with fast reaction and net play from the front players. There tend to be much fewer lifts or clears and the rallies generally focus around a flat game. Women’s doubles have extremely long rallies with many more clears and lifts, as well as smashing and following up over each rally.
Should I play Doubles?
- You have a partner you get along well with. You don’t want to argue with your partner on the court and you have to trust your partner when you are playing with them.
- You don’t tend to blame others. Similar to the previous point, you must not blame teammates when playing doubles.
- You are an attacking player with a big smash. The smash shot wins you the most point in doubles. You must have a strong smash and follow up to win points in doubles.
- You have fast reactions. Many of the rallies involve high speed drives while you stay at the front-court. You need fast reaction time to intercept these shots and take over the rally.
- You have strong half-court defense. You need to be able to own your half court and return smashes that your opponents hit.
What is Mixed Doubles?
Similar to doubles, mixed doubles is also a two-on-two event. However, there is no separation between Men and Women events – the mixed doubles event is played with one man and one woman on each team.
Characteristics of Mixed Doubles
Some characteristics of mixed doubles is precise shot placement leading into sudden smashes, a flat game, and many cutoffs by the front player. It is generally also played with the man covering the back court and the woman covering the front court. Men in mixed doubles have a big smash, and women have strong technique and fast reactions to cover the front court and intercept shots.
Should I play Mixed Doubles?
- You have a partner that you get along with. Hopefully this is not your significant other (don’t want to get into fights because of badminton!)
- You enjoy playing flat games. There will be many drives during a match of mixed doubles.
- You have good placement. Aside from drives, most of the rest of the game involves precise placement of drop shots to be able to open up the court and get smashes.
- You have good defense. Similarly, if you are attacking your opponent will also have their opportunities. Be comfortable controlling your own half court.
My Preference is Singles!
Personally, I enjoy playing singles. I find that my physical strength and all-around playstyle are the most suited for singles, and I find the most joy competing on the court freely by myself. Don’t be afraid to try each of the events many times before you find the one that you want to focus on. For most of my career, I played all 3 events before finally deciding to focus all my efforts on singles alone. At the end of the day, it’s just fun to be on the court playing badminton!