The badminton serve: It’s a move that can help you kick off your rallies with a head start, or cause you to lose points early on — all depending on how you play it.
This makes it one of the most crucial shots in badminton, and it’s usually one of the first skills you’ll learn as a beginner. But there are many steps that go into each serve — from form to positioning and the swing itself — and it can be tricky to figure out.
Luckily, a few simple drills can help you master your serves and start each rally with an advantage. Read on to discover seven of the best badminton serve drills to add to your routine, along with a few bonus tips at the end.
7 Badminton Serve Drills to Improve Your Skills
Ready to start sharpening your badminton serves? Here are seven drills worth trying:
1. Low Forehand Serve Drill
This two-person drill can help you with the form, power, and accuracy of your standard low forehand serve. Here’s how it works:
- Have your partner stand crosscourt from you, with two shuttles spaced evenly apart on their service line.
- The space to the right of the first shuttle is Zone One. The area between the two shuttles is Zone Two, and the space to the far left is Zone Three.
- Have your partner randomly call out a zone number. Then, use your low forehand serve to try and land the shuttle near the line in the correct area.
- Repeat for as many shuttles as you have on hand — anywhere from 30 to 50 reps is a good start.
2. Low Backhand Serve Contact Point Drill
If you have trouble angling your low backhand serves (or you tend to hit the feathers instead of the cork), try this drill to improve your contact:
- Stand with a shuttle in one hand and racket in the other.
- Every few seconds, raise the shuttle by the feathers up to your racket as if you’re about to serve. Focus on aligning the bird at the perfect angle to your racket’s sweet spot, but don’t actually swing.
- Repeat for 30 to 40 reps to begin building muscle memory.
3. Low Serve Height Drill
If you want to hit your low serves just above the net every time, this is the drill to add to your training routine.
To start, you’ll need a couple of posts or sticks and a string, cord, or piece of tape to make a makeshift “net” without the mesh. (Alternatively, you can even use an old net that’s been trimmed down.) Then:
- Using tape or string, attach the posts of your new makeshift net to the real net’s posts. Align them so that there’s a small gap (about a foot wide) between the two.
- Grab a few dozen shuttles and hop into your service position.
- Using your low serve, aim to hit each shuttle through the small gap above the net.
4. Accuracy Drill with a Partner
This two-person drill is one of the simplest ways to practice your serve accuracy. You can customize it to fit any type of serve you like — and all you’ll need is a partner and two shuttles to get started.
Here are the steps:
- Start by standing several feet away from your partner. (Feel free to adjust the distance depending on which type of serve you’re using.)
- With each of you holding a shuttle, get into your service position.
- Serve to each other at the same time, aiming to land your shot near your partner’s feet.
- Pick up your partner’s shuttle after it lands, and continue to serve back and forth for 40 to 50 reps.
5. Standard Crosscourt Service Drill
The standard crosscourt service drill is one of the most straightforward ways to practice any serve. Simply:
- Stand in your service position with a pile of shuttles to your side.
- Hit any serve (low, high, flick, etc.) that you like, aiming for the diagonal service box on the other side of the net.
- Feel free to mix it up or stick to one kind of serve until you run out of shuttles. Work to improve your accuracy, power, angle, and height with every shot.
6. Bucket Placement Drill
Bucket placement drills are some of the most fun and challenging ways to improve your serve precision. Simply:
- Place a bucket in any location where you want to improve your aim. For example, you might place it right inside the centerline if you want to get better at short, centered serves. Or, you might put it closer to the baseline if you want to work on your high serves.
- Grab a few dozen shuttles. Then, pick a type of serve and try to land each shot in the bucket.
7. Left-Right Backhand Serve Drill
Need an exercise to improve the precision of your backhand serves? This left-right service drill can help:
- Like the above drills, start with a few dozen shuttles by your side.
- Grab a shuttle and serve it to one side of the service box. Then, grab another and aim to land it on the opposite side. As you practice, you’ll get a feel for how your forearm and wrist pronation can change the direction of the shot.
- To ramp up the challenge, you can place two buckets on either side of the court and alternate aiming for each.
The drills above can help you sharpen every aspect of your badminton serves — from your form to placement and even your wrist pronation. But before you go, here are a few final tips that can make your serves even better:
- Watch out for common service faults — such as not pointing your racket downward or accidentally touching court lines.
- Hold the shuttle by the feathers at an angle, with the cork pointing down toward your knees. This can help you avoid any unwanted wobbling when you serve.
- Train persistently, and don’t give up. Regular practice is one of the single best ways (if not the only true way) to improve your serves. Stick to your routine, and you’ll inevitably see results!
Looking for more ways to improve your serves and other on-the-court skills? Be sure to join the Badminton Justin community for training drills, tips, and step-by-step guides today.