I recently took an interest to play badminton but I did not know the basic strokes. I then conducted some research to find out the basic strokes or hits used in Badminton.
Basic Strokes or Hits in Badminton
Badminton is an ideal sport for beginners because anybody like you and I can join in and try to play the sport. If you want to get into shape or develop a new hobby, badminton is a great sport to try.
Normally, beginners are mostly focused on trying to ensure that whenever they strike the shuttle, it goes over the playing net and within the boundaries of the badminton court. Learning the basic skills of this game can help to increase competitiveness and the fun of playing.
A badminton stroke is the swing motion performed by a player before taking a shot. The strokes executed are fundamental in performing a good shot.
There are four basic badminton strokes that every beginner is required to learn. By knowing those strokes, beginners can develop good playing habits, which they can then utilize in the future for the more advanced badminton shots such as smashes, drives, and drops.
The following is a brief overview of the basic strokes used in badminton:
1. Overhead Forehand Stroke: This is probably the most common badminton stroke and many beginners are usually comfortable in using this particularly for stronger badminton shots.
2. Overhead Backhand Stroke: The stroke is slightly harder for beginners because you are required to face your body in a backward position to shoot effectively.
3. Underarm Forehand Stroke: This stroke lets you hit low badminton shots with a lot of force, but it can be difficult to aim in the beginning stages.
Underarm Backhand Stroke: It is easier to perform this stroke than the overhead backhand stroke because you will not have to turn your body backward.
Badminton offers several basic strokes and a high level of skill is needed to perform them properly. In this article, we take a closer look at the mentioned badminton strokes and how to perform them the correct way.
Badminton Stroke Names
As mentioned earlier, the names given to badminton strokes are overhead forehand stroke, overhead backhand stroke, underarm forehand stroke, and underarm backhand stroke. The names describe the swinging motion a player takes before hitting the shuttlecock.
The overhead strokes require the player to add more strength to produce sufficient power while the underarm strokes require less strength; in fact, the concern is how to avoid generating too much power.
What is Forehand Stroke in Badminton?
The forehand stroke in badminton is the shot made by a player by swinging the racket across his/her body with the palm moving first. For the right-handed player, the forehand is considered the stroke that starts on the right side of his/her body, and vice versa for a left-handed person.
It is usually the easiest shot to learn, probably because it comes naturally for most people. Both beginners and more advanced badminton players often perform better forehands compared to the other types of strokes. Players who are skilled in forehands tend to build their playing strategy around it.
Overhead Forehand Stroke
The overhead forehead badminton stroke is very common and is used the most number of times while playing the game. For beginners, learning how to perform this basic stroke first before moving to other kinds of shots is important.
This stroke normally generates the most amount of power. The power of an overhead forehand stroke is derived from the right technique rather than the amount of strength you input into the swing. The bigger your swing motion, the higher the momentum, therefore more power.
To prepare for an overhead forehand stroke, adopt a forehand grip and an attacking stance. For aiming, turn your body sideways, move your racket arm backward, widen your chest to feel more comfortable, and raise your other arm as you take the racket towards the back.
Your other arm that is not holding the racket helps you to maintain body balance, and this is very crucial in this sport. Without a good balance, you cannot execute the right technique for this stroke.
When you are about to do your overhead forehand stroke, stretch out your other arm that is not holding the racket in natural motion and does not swing forward. After you have straightened your other arm you can now swing your racket arm in the forward direction.
Perform a complete swing to produce maximum power, even after you come into contact with the shuttlecock follow through with your swing. Completing the swing helps to increase the accuracy of your shot.
Overhead Backhand Stroke
The overhead backhand stroke in badminton is a weakness for many people as they tend to get the technique for this particular stroke wrong. It is important to note that the badminton backhand stroke is not the same as that performed in tennis or squash. The technique for performing a backhand in badminton is harder than that of tennis.
Just like the overhead forehand stroke, you need to make a full backhand swing to achieve a strong backhand shot. You should have a backhand grip and practice the right way of flicking your wrist. Avoid holding your racket too tightly or tensing your arm muscles. You need your wrist to be flexible enough to perform a quick flick.
To prepare for your stroke, face the front of your court at your original position, and then turn your body towards the back. As you turn your body to the back, lift your racket upwards. Keep your racket-equipped arm close to your body so that you can be able to perform a full backhand swing.
Just as you are about to carry out your overhead backhand stroke, your body needs to be facing towards the back of the court. Lift your racket-equipped arm and make a smooth and quick swing until you strike the shuttlecock. Complete your racket swing fully even after hitting the shuttle as this helps with accuracy. There is no need to add extra power because you can lose your balance very easily and fall.
Underarm Forehand Stroke
The underarm forehand badminton stroke is done when an opponent shoots a drop shot towards you. It is not hard to inject enough power into underarm strokes. This type of stroke does not need a lot of strength. A gentle swing coupled with the right technique will be enough to generate a quality shot. A forehand grip is needed for the underarm forehand stroke.
To prepare for the stroke, lunge forward towards your forehand region. As you do this, lift your racket to the position where you are going to hit the shuttlecock. Your dominant leg needs to be at the front to support your weight, otherwise, you may fall.
Your swing needs to be executed in one smooth motion till the racket swings upwards. Just before you hit the shuttlecock, flick your wrist produce power, but remember to perform just a gentle flick. As the racket comes into contact with the shuttlecock, bend slightly forward to maintain body balance. Complete your swing fully even after hitting the shuttle for better accuracy.
Underarm Backhand Stroke
This stroke is fairly easy to execute than most of the other strokes. It is normally used when an opponent shoots a drop shot to your backhand region in front of the badminton court. Generating enough power while performing an underarm backhand stroke is very easy, but you should try as much as you can not to generate too much power. Too much power might cause the shuttlecock you hit to land outside the bounds of the court.
In this stroke, you will be hitting the shuttlecock in front of your body, so you should lunge toward your backhand region. The racket needs to be in the ready position, and your dominant hand needs to be at the front when you swing an underarm backhand stroke.
Lift your racket at the pre-loading phase to accumulate power. Swing upwards and make sure that you complete your swing even after making contact with the shuttle. A gentle swing will work; you do not need to exert a lot of strength into your swing because you can lose your body balance. Before your racket hits the shuttlecock, you need to flick your wrist so that you can generate the right power for your stroke.
When we pick up a new sport, it is very easy to stagnate at a particular level and resign ourselves to the fact of never being amazing at it. Do not be that person. If you can learn and master the fundamentals of badminton, you can also learn advanced skills too. Since badminton footwork is an important part of badminton that directly affects your badminton strokes, improving your footwork is an important part of the training process.
The most helpful footwork training exercises include jogging, skipping, shadow playing, and silent footwork. These exercises help with improving endurance and fitness levels. Try to jog 3 or more times every week for thirty minutes on end. The more stamina you have the more you will be able to constantly retrieve shots easily.
Try to skip for 10 minutes or more a day because this will help you stay light on your feet. Practicing shadow playing will help you to visualize how to play until it becomes natural. If you have silent footwork, the better you can absorb the pressure and maintain body balance.
Other than exercising your footwork, you also need to exercise your strokes. Such exercises include playing half-court singles and rear-court singles, working on your weak strokes, and training your smashes and lifts.
Playing half-court singles is a common form of exercise among players in this sport because it allows you to concentrate on your technique rather than your footwork or endurance. Because half of the court is removed, the sort of strokes you can use is limited and the movement needed is reduced too. This is a fast-paced exercise in a limited space that trains you to have faster reflexes while concentrating on certain strokes.
Playing rear-court singles allows badminton players to enhance their drive and clear strokes. This exercise allows you to get familiar with the correct technique required when hitting the shuttle and the power needed to hit the shuttlecock high in the air all the way to the back of the playing court.
To work on your weak strokes have someone to consistently serve shuttlecocks at you until you’re able to switch between different strokes effortlessly. Tell your playing partner to serve the shuttlecock towards all sides of your body because this will force you to employ different strokes to return the shuttlecock. After this, he/she can concentrate on your weak strokes. Backhands are a weakness for many beginners, therefore if you notice you are struggling in that area, focus on improving them.
To train your smashes and lifts, one player should act as the lifter, continuously lifting the shuttle high in the air into a smashing height for the other player, who then tries to smash the shuttle back downwards. This type of stroke training lets players practice their smashes and lifts.
Services and Strategies
There are 4 types of serves in badminton: high serve, low serve, drive serve, and flick serve. The low serve is passed gently over the net so that the shuttlecock lands at the front of the opponent’s service court. This serve is used more times in double than any other serve, but it is also used in singles. The high serve is passed upwards with great power to allow the shuttle to travel very high and fall straight downwards at the back of the opponent’s service court. This serve is used in singles, but never in doubles.
The flick serve is passed upwards, but at a lower height than the high serve. The idea is to lessen the reaction time of the receiver, thus forcing him/her to hit the shuttle when it is at the back of the body. Flick serves are used majorly in doubles than in singles. The drive serve is passed flat and quick over the net. The point is to provoke an instant reaction in the hopes that the opponent will mis-hit the shuttle.
Each of the mentioned serves is played at different angles: serving straight, serving wide, or serving at the receiver. A straight serve is very effective for a low serve. Wide serves are used in doubles mostly where the court is wider. Some wide serves, particularly backhands are usually complicated and need extra practice. Serving at the receiver is mostly helpful for low serves, where the opponent might not be sure whether to execute a forehand or a backhand stroke.
Having the ability to employ badminton strategies in your game is important to win the crucial points. Simply knowing how to smash with great power will not lead to success if you do not have a set plan. There is a need to use certain strategies to outwit the other player.
In singles, you can try to serve long and high to the receivers backcourt. This move forces the receiver to move back to the baseline thus opening up his forecourt. Attempting a disguised low serve several times can allow you to catch the receiver off guard and win you a point.
In doubles play, you can try the attacking formation. Here, if you are serving low stand between the front and midcourt area and let your partner cover the backcourt. This strategy prevents the serving side from being in a defensive position.
When you defend in doubles, attempt to hit the shuttlecock deep into the opponent’s court so that you can prevent the opponent in the front position from intercepting the shuttlecock from the middle to the frontcourt. When an opportunity arises, drive the shuttlecock to the region between the opponents or force a return to the frontcourt area of your opponents to force them to lift the shuttlecock.
In mixed doubles, the women normally play at the front area of the court, and the men receive the shots that go past the women. The man needs to hit downward or straight shots whereas the woman partner needs to play net kills and constricted net shots.
All in all, badminton is not just a physical game; it requires mental strategies as well. You may come to a level where physical skills and fitness may not be sufficient to beat the opponent. Having the correct badminton tactics will give you an added edge.
What are the common injuries experienced while playing badminton? Common injuries in badminton include jumper’s knee, ankle sprains, back pain, patellofemoral pain syndrome, collateral ligament injuries, thrower’s shoulder, shin splints, Achilles tendon rupture, and plantar fasciitis.
Badminton demands the use of overhead strokes more times than other racket sports, therefore to minimize injuries the players must build their body strength, mobility, and shoulder stability. You can learn how to prevent getting injured while playing badminton here.