You started playing badminton recently, or even some while ago and you are probably still a beginner and slowly want to move towards being an intermediate player. What are the skills that you need to do just that?
In this piece we look at the gamut of basic skills a badminton player needs at a basic level and what would he or she need to focus on to start that step-up journey.
The skills mentioned in the article below range from those that you can improve upon yourself to those which you might need some form of assistance – either through a coaching clinic or by watching quality badminton coaching videos or even one to coaching coaching sessions.
Again, this is meant for only those badminton players who are just starting out or have begun some time back and need to start thinking about their next step.
It must also be quickly understood that while some of the basic skills needed to play badminton as a beginner are easy to pick, they would still be difficult to master. Without that, making the move up to intermediate level would be a hard nut to crack.
Having said that, it’s said that in just over two months of consistent practice you can get good at a skill – if not master it – and we believe the same in our experience too that it’s no difference with badminton.
Practice consistently and you will improve!
With that, we dive right into what are the kind of basic skills you need to practice as a badminton beginner aiming to become an intermediate player.
Oh and before that, if you are a beginner looking to understand which badminton rackets you could try out, here’s our piece on that. Intermediate players can look here for their rackets list.
Which are the Skills to Focus on as a Badminton Beginner Looking to Become an Intermediate Player?
Here’s a list of skills that you need to know as you begin that transition from being a beginner into becoming an intermediate player at badminton.
- Forehand & Backhand
- Drop Shot
- Clear Shot
- Net Shot
- Drive Shot
- Block Shot
- Footwork Patterns
- Court Awareness
- Smashing Variations
- Deception Shots
- Net Play
- Defensive Skills
- Fitness & Endurance
- Mental Game
Above is an all-encompassing list of skills that you should look to pick up with time as you grow from being a beginner and get into your groove.
Some of the aforementioned skills are basic and are needed to even start playing badminton, while others are picked up as one starts to get better as a beginner badminton player.
Let’s get down to them one by one.
Please note that this article is more an item checklist of things you need to improve upon as a beginner badminton player who is looking to get to the next level. If you are looking to understand how exactly you can improve on these things, that’s beyond the purview of this article but rest assured we will be linking to a deeper explanation on how these individual skills can be improved upon which will make for separate articles.
One of the more fascinating things about badminton is players can opt for different methods to hold their rackets, or in other words, can grip their rackets in multiple ways.
Understanding which is the best grip for you and for a particular situation during gameplay will go a long way in helping you improve your game.
- The forehand grip
- The backhand grip
- The bevel grip (which is bit of a combination of the above two)
- The hammer/panhandle grip (which is used for a late backhand)
One of the most essential requirements to get good as a beginner badminton player is improve on one’s footwork. Getting one’s footwork right happens over time and with practice but is a vital part of the game.
Some coaches reckon that footwork is one of the most important components of the game and it’s the chief reason why badminton players can make things look way easier than they actually are.
There are specific training drills designed to improve on player footwork in badminton and it’s imperative that special attention is paid to this aspect of the game.
One of the starting points of playing badminton, or for that matter any racket sport, is the serve and in all likelihood it will also be one of the most practiced aspect of a badminton player’s game.
Understanding the different types of serves in badminton in crucial as one looks to use them against different styles of opponents and at different situations in a match.
There are four different types of serves in badminton:
- High Serve
- Low Serve
- Flick Serve
- Drive Serve
Forehand & Backhand
In conjunction with what kind of a grip one can have in badminton, a beginner needs to also improve on his or her forehand and backhand skills.
These are two basic shots in badminton and once you have practiced enough with your badminton grip, you need to be able to gauge whether to use your forehand or a backhand while attempting a shot.
One of the most important shots in badminton is the smash. It is also one of the most powerful shots not just in badminton but in the world of sports. Malaysia’s Tan Boon Hoeng holds the record for a 493 km/hr smash in badminton having done so in test conditions in 2013.
And as you would have guessed, it usually attempted as a way to finish off the point which makes it a vital tool to have very early in your game.
There are two ways to play the drop shot – at the net and from the back of the court – but both are played to achieve the same purpose and that is to surprise the the opponent by bringing him or her close to the net.
The drop shot is an offensive shot and its trajectory is downward, pushing the shuttle towards the ground quicker than otherwise.
While the smash is an attempt at winning the point, one of the other basic shots in badminton that a beginner must practice and know when to use is the clear shot.
In fact, badminton experts reckon the clear shot is one that players need to master at very early stages of learning the sport.
It is a shot played towards the backcourt area by keeping the shuttle in the air for a while which allows the player to get back his or her bearings. It’s usually played when under an attack from the opposition.
There’re two basic types of clear shots – the overhead clear and the underarm clear – and both can be played with both, the forehand and the backhand.
As the name suggests, the net shot is one played close to the net with one of two reasons behind it.
It is played with the purpose of bringing the opponent very close to net which can be followed by the player finishing off the point with a smash.
On the other hand, it can also be played when one thinks the opponent is far from the net and in an unbalanced position so as to not be able to get there quickly enough.
Now we are moving into the realms of intermediate level badminton.
So yep, if you are looking to pick up a few extra skills as a beginner and try and them out every now and then, especially if you feel confident about playing the aforementioned beginner skills, then the drive shot is a good place to begin.
Typically played by shorter players, the drive is a horizontal shot in badminton which is used to speed up the game. It typically is used in the build up to a smash to finish off a point or can be used to prevent your opponent from hitting a smash.
This is a defensive shot played against an opponent’s smash but it can also be used as an offensive shot by closing the face of the racket at the net against a drive shot.
This shot is typically played from the middle of the court because of what’s being played by the opponent – both, the drive and smash are played at some speed and need the players to be slightly behind the net to be able to block them.
We have already discussed the importance of footwork as a badminton beginner but as one begins to grow into the sport, this aspect starts to become more and more vital to one’s game.
At the intermediate level, some of the badminton footwork you need to pay attention to includes the following:
- Side Step
Each of these footwork styles has a distinct use in the game and improves that aspect that much more. For instance, hitting a smash without sharpening your ability at jumping will have much reduced efficacy.
Court awareness is that intrinsic feel of where the player is positioned vis a vis the sidelines and the baseline.
It is a difficult trait to develop as a beginner but as one becomes more and more involved in the game and wants to improve one’s play, one’s court awareness comes into the picture.
Some coaches advocate the need for players to have the court so ingrained in their play they need to feel the court is moving with them as they are moving around at it.
Here’s an interesting training drill for you to understand what court awareness actually means.
As a beginner it’s important to master the smash because that is the one shot that could well be your point-winner.
Moving from the beginner to the intermediate level, a player will need to pick up the various types of smashes – yes, there are at least half a dozen of them! – and use them as the need and opportunity arises.
Some of these smash variations include:
- Forehand Smash
- Backhand Smash
- Jump Smash
- Around the Head Smash
- Stick Smash
- Half Smash
- Slice Smash
As the name suggestions, deception shots are those that deceive your opponents into believing that a particular shot is coming their way while it ends up being another, thereby making it difficult for them to respond with an appropriate shot.
If you have reached a level of play in badminton where you are even thinking of attempting deception play it means you have gone beyond the realms of a beginner. Because as you would see from the video below, it’s takes special skill to fool your opponents with it.
Players who have reached a level of racket control that they can win points with net play have also reached at least an intermediate level of play.
Excellent footwork is one of the prerequisites for good net play, and so is racket control. One also needs to have the ability to hit the shuttle when it’s at its highest point in the trajectory with the exact strength to send it on its way.
Some of the ways of net play include the tumbling/spinning net shot, the net kill and the net lift.
Sharpening one’s defensive game is an excellent way of drawing out an error from an opponent. A good defensive play can bring out errors from one’s opponent as he or she could look to try harder to win a point off of you.
The best way to improve on one’s defensive skills is by anticipating when your opponent could go on an offensive and then take suitable counter-measures for it which includes getting into a defensive stance for starters.
Be ready to play your defensive shot on both the sides, the forehand or your backhand after having bent to as low as you can in order to reply back with an underarm shot.
Fitness & Endurance
Over time it’s necessary to improve on one’s fitness and endurance as one looks to move through levels between beginners to intermediate.
Amongst beginners, the skill levels might not be much of a distinguishing factor as compared to one’s fitness and endurance as a match goes the distance.
One of the most underrated aspects of badminton is the mental side of the game.
Mistakes will be made at crucial junctures in any sport, and badminton is no different, but the ability to plough through those tough times without losing one’s belief in one’s own ability goes a long way in distinguishing a good player from an excellent one.