Friday, 7 January 2011

Badminton's Tactics Are Smashing - Thanks to the Shuttlecock

Shuttlecocks make badminton unique, but paradoxically also contribute to its popular image as backyard recreation rather than an energetic sport - after all, don't real sports use balls?
In actual fact, badminton is incredibly physical - at the international level it is significantly more demanding than tennis, requiring a higher level of fitness and fast, explosive movement. The rallies tend to be long (an international match can average 13-14 shots per rally), because it is hard to score an outright winner against a skilled opponent, so players win by maneuvering each other around the court in an attempt to force a weak return and thus win an opportunity to play a finishing shot. It takes great stamina to endure such hard fought rallies.
The sheer variety of shots and tactics in badminton are made possible by the shuttlecock's unique aerodynamic properties. Feather shuttlecocks in particular will fly straight for some distance without losing much height, and then suddenly start to descend almost vertically. This is why serious badminton players use feather shuttlecocks - although they are fragile and expensive, they add a significant degree of tactical flexibility to the game.
Examples of badminton shots made possible by the shuttlecock
With feather shuttlecocks it is possible, if you judge your shot right, to hit a hard and fast clear over your opponent's head but still have it fall safely inside the court. This degree of control leads to furious rallies that utilize every inch of the court.
Very skilled players can use a special shot which can only be properly executed with feather shuttlecocks - the tumbling net shot. Produced by slicing the shuttle (in a similar way to putting side-spin on a tennis ball), such a shot causes the shuttlecock to literally spin and tumble over the net. It is very difficult to hit one cleanly while it is tumbling, so opponents will usually wait for the shuttle to straighten out, forcing them to lift and thus providing the opportunity to smash.
The Badminton Smash
When the shuttlecock is smashed hard, it barely slows down before it hits the ground, so the opponent only has a fraction of a second to respond. This makes badminton an incredibly fast sport, requiring superb reflexes - the fastest smash recorded, hit by Fu Haifeng of China, was a thunderous 332kph (206mph).
The fact that shuttlecocks float gently before dropping also provides the opportunity for the most impressive badminton shot of all: the jump smash! The drama of skilled players sustaining a string of high speed jump smashes against tough defenses is unique to badminton doubles, and is a truly awe-inspiring sight. And of course, this would not be the case without shuttlecocks!

Michael Hayes is a passionate fan of badminton, and has been playing regularly for over 15 years.
For more information about badminton shots, tactics and shuttlecocks, plus videos which demonstrate this sport's incredible high-speed action, check out
The article I wrote about Badminton Tactics: Badminton Doubles Formations may be of particular interest to you.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Eight Basic Badminton Techniques

If you want to improve your game, you should practice these 8 basic techniques. Even if you just play badminton for fun, you can always learn something new to better your performance.

1. Badminton Grip

The right grip is your basic foundation for badminton. For more power and accuracy, make sure you are holding the racket correctly. There are 2 main types of grips: forehand and backhand.

Use the forehand grip when your shots are in the front of your body, and you hold your hand on the handle as if you where shaking hands. Keep the racket face perpendicular to the floor.

When the shot is behind your body, you should use the backhand racket grip. Hold the handle just like you did for the forehand, but then turn the racket counter-clockwise so your thumb is to the left.

2. Badminton Footwork

Your opponent will try to keep the shuttle away from you, so be prepared to move around the court quickly and accurate with good footwork. You'll need moves like skipping, shuffling, gliding, lunging and even bouncing. It's up to you how to use them during your game. Always keep your knees slightly bent and ready to move at all times. Generally stay in the mid-court area so you can reach all corners of the court quickly.

3. Serving

You can even gain points with the right serve. There are 4 basic kinds of badminton serve: high serve, low serve, flick serve, and the drive serve. You can choose the right serve after watching your opponent. Serving to the back of the court with a high serve is a good idea if you are playing against someone who likes to stay close to the net, for example.

4. Clears

The badminton clear is the most common stroke, and it can be played from either forehand or backhand, as well as overhead or underarm. Regardless of exactly how you use the clear, the objective is to send the shuttle to the back of the court, forcing your opponent back away from the net to open up the forecourt.

5. Drop Shots

The drop shot is the opposite of the above mentioned clear shot, as it is intended to drop right behind the net and force your opponent closer into the forecourt. This can open up space in the backcourt for your next play. This move can be played either forehand or backhand, and usually has a lot of wrist movement to it.

6. The Smash

The badminton smash is a powerful move that you should strive to master. It's a downward shot that comes down steeply into your opponents fore or mid court area. For a faster smash, you can jump and make the shot as you some down. Your opponent will have little time to react, almost guaranteeing you the point. Don't overuse the smash because it will tire you out. You usually use a forehand grip when doing a smash.

7. The Drive

If the ball is too low for a smash, you can use a drive instead. The drive shot moves horizontally, rather than arching upward. The shuttle would just skim the top of the net, moving either diagonally across the court or straight from your position. You're trying to get the shuttle behind your opponent, making it difficult for them to return with a good shot.

8. Badminton Net Play

Net play shots are usually done with just a wrist movement, and lack the power of most other techniques. The intent is to gently knock the shuttle over the net, usually when your opponent can't reach the net in time to counter. Any light shot near the net is hard to return, especially if you get the shuttle tumbling.

Chau Yap is the editor of, the resource that's helping you play badminton like the pros. Learn how badminton coaching holidays can dramatically improve your techniques at his site.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Get Additional Fun For Your Money by Using a Badminton Combo Set

Just in case you want to have the most fun for the money then you should certainly buy a badminton combo set that will in addition includes a volleyball. When you are playing for fun or competition you may get a set to suit your demands. And you will obtain double the exciting for your money. Think of the enjoyment you may get on the next backyard barbecue. Start off with a badminton competition and follow it up using a volleyball competition. And here is what precisely to take a look for when you will get a badminton combo set:

Net And Poles: You will certainly need to make for sure you obtain a good net and poles in a badminton combo set. It really is one thing battering this net along with a shuttlecock manufactured of feathers but a volleyball will be an definitely different story. It will be much heavier so you will be going to need sturdy poles for supporting the net. Start looking for aluminum or metallic poles that are simple to assemble. And search for a net that has a suitable binding around all the edges to keep it from unraveling.

Racket: If you invest in a badminton combo set its generally with the purpose of having fun at backyard gatherings as well as at the beach therefore make for sure you receive a set with four rackets so anybody can play. Look for aluminum or metal rackets for their light weight and durability and make sure all strings are taut, secure as well as evenly spaced across the face of the racket.

Shuttlecocks: Shuttlecocks are generally built of 2 materials - either feathers or vinyl. The vinyl will give you much more durability and be much less expensive.

Volleyball: Needless to say you need the ball if you want to play volleyball. Many individuals take the volleyball very seriously therefore make certain the ball integrated in your badminton combo set is of regulation size.

For more information, tips and advice on Badminton visit Badminton Racket

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

How to Choose a Franklin Badminton Set

There are several items to take into consideration, prior to purchasing a Franklin badminton set. Badminton, like most any other sport, can be played for fun and recreation or it can be played competitively. The kind of set you purchase should be based on what you are planning to use your set for. Badminton is actually quite a straightforward game, and requires little in the way of equipment. Therefore, even if your badminton set is for recreational purposes, you can still purchase one of the better quality sets, without having to spend a whole lot of money.

SportCraft, Park & Sun, Halex, and Franklin, are the 4 primary manufacturers to purchase badminton sets from, when you would like to add badminton as an enjoyable pass time. Each brand has it's own special features and benefits and I personally prefer Franklin for it's durability and ease of use. You can expect to pay a higher price for the Park & Sun sets, which are made to last, and appeal to the badminton enthusiast.

When choosing a set for your own enjoyment it's still important to pay attention to quaity and the most important thing you want to look at is the quality of the net poles. The set that you purchase should include aluminum poles that assemble without difficulty. If you want to enjoy your set, you do not want to have to continually reset the poles because the weight of the net is too much for them. And, with the less sturdy PVC poles, this is exactly what typically occurs. Along with pole readjusting, you will likely spend much time and money duct taping and tying up the rickety poles to try to add support. With the Franklin badminton set, you have the benefit of a carrying case, so that you can conveniently carry and store your badminton set when it is not in use.

For more information, tips and advice on Franklin Badminton Set visit Badminton Racket

Monday, 3 January 2011

Playing Badminton - Top Health Benefits of This Increasingly Popular Sport

Badminton is one of the preferred sports of many individuals today, primarily because it is quite easy to learn and very enjoyable to play. Aside from this, badminton provides a lot of benefits to an individual's health and well-being. Here are some of them.

1. Playing badminton lowers the body's level of bad cholesterol build up. This would, in turn, lower the risk of strokes and heart attacks. It also strengthens the muscles of the heart, promoting a normal and regular heart rate.

2. Studies show that badminton playing for about 30 minutes daily after a good warm up can make an individual live longer, mainly because all of the systems of the body are strengthened.

3. Badminton sessions can enhance the normal and healthy circulation of blood as blood vessels are unblocked.

4. Also, through regular badminton workouts, an individual can also lower his or her blood pressure. This is very useful for those who are already suffering from hypertension. They would be able to naturally treat their condition, without having to use any medication.

5. It can also help overweight individuals to lose weight and achieve their ideal weight for their age and height. This is because the metabolic rate is increased as they play badminton which, in turn, speeds up the burning of the calories and prevents fat from building up in the body. 

6. Sportspeople who play badminton regularly can also reduce the chances of getting osteoporosis later on in life, especially for women. This is because badminton can improve bone density and bone strength, lowering the chances of breaking bones easily.

7. Lastly, badminton can relieve your stress, depression and anxiety. It could improve the quality of your sleep and your efficiency in doing your regular routine. It can also help in improving your self-confidence and optimism. 

For those who are interested in learning how to play badminton in Singapore, there are actually a lot of badminton schools that offer badminton lessons, training and coaching. They have skilled and experienced instructors who would be teaching students all about badminton rules, how to play on a badminton court, how to use a badminton racket, badminton techniques such as the badminton smash, badminton tips, badminton skills, along with the history of badminton and the proper gear and equipment to use in badminton such as badminton shoes.

You could try visiting this website or contacting their Singapore Hotline at +(65)9018-2177 for one of the best companies which teach badminton lessons in Singapore.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Secret Badminton Skills You Must Possess to Out Maneuver, Outplay and Outscore Your Opponent, Part 1

Have you ever badminton played against an opponent you believe you should beat, but never have?

Have you suffered the frustration of knowing you are that close to a momentous win and yet can't seem to make the breakthrough?

Or, have you walked off the badminton court wondering what happened, losing easily to someone you consider you're as good as, and yet the score suggests a huge gulf in standard of play?

If you've answered yes to any of the above questions, then this series of badminton skills articles may be the answer you're looking for.

So What's The Secret Badminton Skill?

In all standards of play, whether you're a beginner, intermediate, club, league or professional badminton player, you need to understand how to read your opponent, identify their weaknesses and be able to use this information to create a tactical game plan.

So how do you do this?

Here's a few ideas for you...

In this article, you'll discover how to understand the bigger picture and then, in the next two articles you'll hear how to analyse the components of skill and design tactics to expose and capitalise on your opponent's weakness.

1) Style of play

No doubt you've played with and against a number of badminton players. Each player has their own style of play, favourite shots, weaknesses, likes and dislikes.

The aim in this section is to simplify style and help you assess which style you and your opponent fits. Once you understand this, it's a lot easier to begin building a game plan to beat them. Let's take a look at the various styles and how to identify them.

Aggressive Attacking

This style of player is easy to identify. They try to attack everything. They like a fast-paced game and favour the big smash to finish off the rally at the earliest opportunity. There's an almost brawn over brains mentality here although it's being a little cruel to say this.

When serving to this style of player, they are ready to pounce on any loose shot. They have an aggressive attacking stance, toeing the service line and try to psyche you out and force a loose low serve or flick to allow the big smash return. Have you met this style of player yet? They can be very intimidating.

Attacking Thinker

This style of player is tricky and hard to beat. They can attack well and use a range of well-placed shots to achieve a desired result. They like to mix the pace, searching for openings, work well in a pair to create a weak return. There's more finesse in their game, using a "whole court" approach to find the gaps in your game.

When serving to this kind of player, you need to pay attention to the variety in return they command. There's less aggression in their game, preferring the well-placed return to the booming smash. Be on your guard, especially around the net and watch out for push returns. They will still latch on to a poor serve and bury it, however, they lack the aggression on court to send you back on your heels.

This type of player likes a more medium-fast paced game, although they are far more adept at changing the pace to create their openings.

Aggressive Defender

Whilst this term may seem odd, there's a reason I use it. There are players who like to counter-hit. They like to set up certain situations, specifically to play for a certain return where they can inject pace into their defensive shot creating an unstoppable shot or causing a weak return.

Their defensive capabilities are good and they love to move the shuttle around the court quickly to expose weaknesses or open up a weak return, especially in the rear court.

Serving to this type of badminton player will usually result in fast pushes to the rear court or at the server's partner in doubles. They like to send an opponent the wrong way, so have developed good deception skills in order to use fast pushes to win points.

This style of player prefers a fast-paced game and they really like to drive the shuttle into the corners to create their openings. They love to hit "through" the attacking net player deep into the rear court.

Defending Thinker

This style of player is good at moving the shuttle around the court, but in a more defensive manner. They are happy to lift the shuttle and then maneuver the shuttle to expose the gaps in their opponents attack. Again, they like to use deception to fool their opponents and enjoy a slower pace of game, lifting high into the corners, blocking and pushing returns in order to create their openings.

Serving to this player is certainly less pressure. They tend to stand off the service line, preferring to cover their rear court rather than attack a low serve.

The Complete Player

The complete player is one that is a bit of a chameleon. They can play all four styles, although have a preference in terms of their most comfortable style. They will have weaknesses and some of these styles are almost alien to them, because they are so good at their preferred style of play.

With this type of player, it's important to recognise the style they favour and either better it or learn to play against it.

Rally Points Scoring System Has Changed The Game - Have You Adapted?

The change in the scoring system for most players brought about a change in their style. In essence, they either adapted or were defeated (Darwen's law about the survival of the fittest - fitness in these terms meaning adaptable to their surroundings).

The rally point system does not suit the slow starter so much, and certainly in professional arenas the defensive thinker is extinct. Players at this level must be able to adopt all styles and adapt them to their game instantly, choosing the style of return to meet the situation they are in, within a fraction of a second.

In league badminton, especially lower leagues, this is not seen as much. Consequently, matches are won and lost based on which style of player outplays their opponent. The rally point system still favours an attacking player, especially the aggressive attacker, although time and again, it's the softer shot that finds an opening.

What To Do Next

Take a good look at the players in your club and see if you can work out which style of player they usually fit.

When you've completed this task, think about your own game and your preferred style of play. Does it remain the same, or does it change depending on your partner and the opposition? Note your findings.

Having identified these different styles think about what you would do to counter a style you have difficulty playing against. Also assess your style of play and why you believe you're having problems beating this style of player...this could be very interesting, so come on, join in and let's learn something together!

Paul Stewart is an Advanced Badminton Coach based in Cheshire, UK but also coaches in Lancashire, UK.

He was Head Coach for Greater Manchester Junior Badminton Association between 1995-1999 regularly running 2 squads at weekends. The highlight of coaching these squads was attaining a medal for third place at the 1999 ICT tournament. The ICT is considered the pinnacle of the county junior calendar and is the most highly sought after for team places.

He has a weekly coaching session for league badminton players and is also coaching county juniors as one of the assistant coaches in the Middlewich cell of Cheshire County Juniors.

Further badminton coaching & training articles and videos can be found on his badminton blog

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Badminton Racket Basics

Badminton rackets can be expensive so it would be wise to know the basics before you buy. If you are a novice player you do not need to spend a lot on a racket. A less expensive badminton racket will do just fine. Aim to spend about £30 maximum. There are many good rackets around at this price.
There are some basic fundamentals to look for in any badminton racket, the most important are the weight, the balance, the head shape, the flexibility and the grip size.
Most racquets weigh between 80-100 grams. More weight should give you extra power, but less maneuverability. A heavy racquet will be more difficult to swing through the air, but it will be more stable than a lighter racket. A lighter racket will offer more swing speed and maneuverability, at the cost of power and stability. The lightest badminton racket i have come across is the Karakal SL-70 and it weighs just 70 grams. This is the weight before you add the strings and your overgrip, so you need to be aware of this.
Yonex are the most popular badminton racket manufacturer and have their own unique system for determining the weight, the U system, which ranges from U= 95-100g all the way to 4U= 80-84g. Various racket makers have their own way of doing things and will be different to Yonex. A novice player should not bother about the weight so much, it is far more important to concentrate on your badminton skills.
The balance of a badminton racket refers to just that. There are three kinds, head heavy, head light, and evenly balanced. Head heavy rackets offer more weight at the top of the swing, giving more power and stability on contact with the shuttle. Head light rackets will enable you to swing the racket quicker, but less weight means less power and stability. Even balanced rackets give you a neutral feel.
The classic head shape is usually an oval shape, but you can also buy isometric head shapes. The isometric head is more square, which creates a larger sweet spot. If you can hit the shuttle in the middle of the racket head you will be hitting the sweet spot. With an enlarged sweet spot you will have more chance of getting power from off centre shots. For a novice this could be a useful advantage
The flexibility of the racket relates to how much flex there is. A stiff racquet will have less flexibility and as such it is unforgiving for a beginner. A flexible racket will obviously have more flex and this will give a beginner a bit more power, as you will have a kind of sling shot effect, but the downside is you will have less control. You should only buy a stiff flex racket when your technique is up to scratch, otherwise you may get shoulder problems, as the vibration from hitting the shuttle travels through your arm and into your shoulder joints.
Grip sizes also come with different systems. Yonex badminton have their G system, which ranges from G2 (the largest)to G5 (the smallest). Other brands use small, medium and large. Your grip size is your own personal preference, everyone is different.
These are the badminton racket basics and i hope this will help you when you choose your next racket.

Visit the badminton racket blog to find all the information you will ever need about badminton rackets