The badminton serve marks the start of a rally, it’s Simple yet, very difficult! If you’ve been playing for a while you’ll quickly realize the importance of a good service, especially in the game of doubles.
Service is a HUGE chapter, so let me warn you that this page only touches on the tip of the iceberg. Having said that, theory will stay theory without practice, so after reading this article please be patient and Practice, A Lot. I had to practice many times at various stages of my career, I was playing daily at 11 years old. At age 12, in preparation for the national age group tournament, I practiced an hour daily for about a month. 4 years later when I was a national player I practiced an hour and a half daily, for 3 months and about 500 shuttles daily, even with that I still have not come anywhere close to mastering the badminton serve because there is just so much to it.
Point is, your service can always be better. After reading this article if you haven’t served differently or had a ‘Aha!’ moment, then I’ve failed my mission.
Before you start watching the videos I compiled for you(Yay videos!) , I need you to understand why something so ‘simple’ is so important? Read the chart below
|Consequences of Bad Serve||
|Advantages of Good Serve||
What Should Be My Focus Now as a Beginner?
Similar to the gripping of the racket, my advice is to work on one type of service at a time because every mistake is a point for your opponent, so consistency is key.
The best players are very mechanical with their serve and relies less on their ‘feel’ because as humans we all have good & bad days. The trick is to use a reference as a guide and stick to it.
Different Types of Service
There’s three proper types of service and one foul type of service that are commonly seen.
– High Serve
– Short Serve (Called low serve too!)
– Flick Serve
– Unofficial Drive Serve(Will tell you more later)
It’s hard to show you how they’re done with words so I’ve handpicked quality service videos to demonstrate how it’s done!
Forehand high serve by Badminton England
A Detailed breakdown with explanation of the High Serve
A few things points to note from the video.
1) Drop the shuttle from shoulder height, don’t throw it downwards so that it’s flight is stable
2) Do a full swing (Think of drawing a semi-circle) to maximize power and consistency, instead of using just the wrist.
By Lin Dan – two time Olympic Gold Medalist , World Champion
Simple, Short and excellent video by a World Champion. No flaws here! (Duh!)
He says the only reason he uses the backhand serve is because all the world-class players use this serve and he goes on explaining the steps.
Steps to Serve
1) Racket Head move backwards
2) Use the strength from your thumb (More power & control)
3) A big advantage is the flick serve ( Opponent dare not stay too front)
4) Demonstration of Flick Serve
By Badminton England
Another professionally done video on how to do the forehand short serve. My advice is to make sure you do one well first before moving on to the other!
By Bwf and HowCast Respectively
Two well done videos explaining what the flick is all about. One explaining the forehand and the other, the backhand flick serve.
Unofficial Drive serve
So why do i call this an unofficial drive serve? This is not to be confused with the flick serve! Personally I feel it’s an underhand trick people use to win that i definitely don’t endorse because it causes unhappiness and dispute among players which are not worth it. The problem with this serve is that it causes an unfair disadvantage to the receiver not because of good strategic nor tactical serve.
Whenever a player does this in competition, it often results in 1) Service Faults 2) Opponent complaining to the umpire. During friendly matches, it spoils the atmosphere because you come across as ‘playing dirty’ and this may result in angering your opponents and/or causing them to use the same trick on you. (Not a friendly sight)
Although I see people out there teaching this ‘Serve’ I personally don’t see why we need to rely on this form of serve in order to win Cheap points, hence I dubbed it an ‘unofficial’ technique.
Apparently I am unable to find a proper video of the drive serve (many were just simply flick serve termed wrongly).
This video explains the drive serve but demonstrates the flick serve half the time, only the lady did the drive serve (Not a good one for you to see the ‘cheat’ in it sadly)
Guess that someday I’ll have to find the time to make a drive serve for you all you all to see! (Finally seeing me huh!)
What’s a ‘Good’ Serve
A good serve is one that has a clear objective and is a strategy for the next shot. To give you a very very basic example (for those new to badminton), when I serve to the back of the court, making sure all the shuttle falls at the double lines at the back of the court is simply serving.
A good serve would be adjusting the height so that the shuttle is just out of your opponent’s reach (so they have no choice but to move to the baseline to take the shuttle) but have less time to do a full jump smash ( Hard smasher maybe?).
Of course this are very advanced serving tactics/techniques out there which I won’t cover just yet (Maybe soon!) because my aim here is to get the basic idea of service correct to help set you up to learn on your own effectively.
Improving to the Next Level
This paragraph is for those who have been playing for awhile now as after you’re able to consistency serve over you may be wondering what’s next? Well now you need to analyze every time you serve. Is there a pattern to the way people receive shuttles?
A simple example, in doubles if you do a short serve near the T section in the middle and often realize people flick the shuttle right above your head. A natural fix is to raise your racket up to intercept the shot. Alternatively If they keep avoiding you and does a straight net shot, then after the serve quickly re-position yourself to go for the straight shot since it’s a recurring pattern.
As you analyze more frequently in all aspects of your game, you’ll analyze faster and sharper and eventually you’ll even notice certain habits that are very common among groups of people,e.g; at certain angles they can only execute certain shots/ players from the same training academy having similar style.