The 5 Basic Badminton Skills (With Examples, Videos and Images)

Written by Muhammad Arsalan Tariq | 28 November 2020

A man with a blue shirt returning a shuttlecock on his forehand and an overlay saying,

The 5 basic skills in badminton involve your:

  1. Grip
  2. Serve
  3. Footwork
  4. Stance
  5. Stroke

To be a good badminton player, you need to master all of these.

So, if you’re looking for:

  • Explanations for what each skill means
  • Examples of how to utilize the skills
  • Videos and images to demonstrate what to do

You’ve come to the right place.

Let’s now dive into the…

Table of Contents

1. Grip

All the different types of badminton grips side by side in one image.

Like any racquet game, having a proper grip in badminton is essential.

The correct grip will allow you to have more control and will help you dictate where you place your shot.

There are numerous ways of holding a badminton racket depending on whether your shot is forehand or backhand.

For example, you could use the:

  • Forehand grip: Anything on your racquet side (right side if you’re right-handed, left side if you’re left-handed) whether it be overarm or underarm.
  • Backhand grip: Anything to your non-racket side (left side if you’re right-handed, right side if you’re left-handed) whether it be overarm of underarm.
  • Universal grip: A type of backhand grip where your thumb has moved to the edge of the fatter face of your grip. This is used for backhand cross-court net shots, backhand clears, and backhand straight drop shots from the rear court.
  • Panhandle grip: Where your thumb and the finger pinch the top of the racket in order to tap/net-kill the incoming shuttlecock.

Make sure to hold your badminton racket lightly no matter what type of grip you use.

In fact, the grip should be so light, that someone can come along and pull it away from your hands.

This will help you prevent wrist injuries and improve the angle and flexibility of your shot.

2. The Serve

A man in his back hand serve stance, ready to serve.

Service is another necessary skill you need to master for badminton.

A good serve is likely to get you points and may give you some advantage during the rally.

There are two types of services used in badminton:

a. High Serve

High serve is used when you want to force your opponent to run to the back of the court by hitting the shuttlecock toward the rear end of the court (sometimes the corner).

A good high serve will usually save you from receiving a smash from your opponent.

b. Low Serve

The low serve is used to bring the opponent forward by hitting the shuttlecock toward the front of the court.

If you managed to send a fabulous low serve, the opponent would have to dash forward and move under the shuttle to return it.

Depending on the quality of the return, you might be able to return the shot with a net kill/smash.

Let’s move on to number 3 on our list of basic badminton skills:

3. Footwork

An illustration of a badminton player in all areas of the badminton court, representing good footwork.

Footwork is another vital skill for badminton.

You have to continually adjust your speed according to the speed of the shuttlecock.

The players have limited space to move around, so good footwork is imperative.

With proper footwork, you will be able to conserve energy and face shots coming toward you from any direction.

4. Stance

A badminton player demonstrating the defending and attacking stances side by side.

While returning strokes from the opponent, the stance is a crucial skill required in badminton.

Proper posture will allow you to return the opponent’s strokes efficiently and enable you to get an advantage in rallies.

There are three basic stances in badminton:

a. Defensive Stance

You can use the defensive stance to defend opponents smashes.

To take the defensive posture, face the net with your body and put the racquet at about your waist height.

You can also use this stance to perform a high clear since you’ll need to make a fast, unconscious decision when returning the shot.

Using the defensive stance, you could perform a lift to buy some time.

This time will help you regain your posture and prepare for the opposing player’s reply.

Lifts allow the opponents to send a return smash but this doesn’t make them an ineffective defensive stroke.

By using the lift from a defensive stance, you can look for the perfect opportunity to counter-attack your opponent, such as by playing a net shot.

b. Attacking Stance

The attacking stance will allow you to return a short or high lift from your opponent.

To utilize the attacking stance, try to get behind the shuttlecock, raise your arm, and then transfer your body weight to your racquet leg, and hit the shuttlecock as a smash.

By utilizing the attacking stance, and depending on the opponent’s stroke, you can also send a drop shot.

Drop shots can be used when receiving the shuttlecock from the front or back part of the court.

c. Net Stance

The net stance in badminton is used to return the opponent’s stroke after sending a net shot.

Place your racquet foot forward and your other foot backwards. Place the racquet in front of your body slightly above your waist for the net stance.

One way to get into the net stance is by first using a tumbling net shot.

The tumbling net shot makes the shuttlecock tumble and spin right above the net and into your opponent’s court.

After sending a tumbling net shot, your body will naturally put itself in the net stance.

When you are in the net stance, get ready to perform a net kill move to an attacking stance to perform a winning smash.

5. Strokes

A professional badminton player in mid air, diving towards the net to return a net shot.

Strokes are fundamental to becoming a good badminton player and executing superior shots.

Broadly categorizing, there are two main kinds of strokes:

a. Forehand Shots

Forehand shots should be played when the shuttlecock is on your racket side.

Your index finger will control the forehand stroke as you swing overarm or underarm.

Swing the wrist along with your index finger as support to play a forehand stroke.

b. Backhand shots

Backhand shots should be played when the shuttlecock is on your non-racket side with your thumb controlling the strokes.

While playing badminton, your light grip will mean you’ll be able to switch between the forehand and backhand grip at ease.

To play a backhand shot, hold the racquet with the back of your hand in front and swing your wrist forward while using your thumb as support.

What are open and closed skills in badminton?

Depending on the pace, there are two types of skills in badminton – open skills and closed skills.

Closed Skills in Badminton

A closed skill in badminton is the one that is internally paced.

It means that you can decide the pace and position of the shuttlecock.

For example, during the service, you can determine where you want your shot to land.

Furthermore, both you and your opposing player are stationary when you are serving.

In addition to that, you will always serve diagonally or cross-court. So, there are not a lot of external factors that can affect your service.

Open Skills in Badminton

As opposed to the closed skills, open skills in badminton have more variables and are externally paced.

For example, during a rally, the speed and position of the shuttlecock will always vary.

There will be a lot of external factors in place during a rally.

The factors include the power of the shot, the trajectory of the shuttlecock, the position of the opponent, the area of the court from where the stroke was hit, etc.

All these factors will decide where the shuttlecock will land in your court.

For open skills in badminton, you need to make quick decisions and return the shuttlecock efficiently.


I hope you have found these top 5 basic badminton skills useful, and you’re able to put them into good practice.

Remember, any professional badminton player has spent countless hours practising each and every single one of these skills, no matter how ‘basic’ they seem.

A solid foundation is the first step to anything. Whether it’s a building, your body, or your badminton skills.

Now I’d love to turn it over to you: 

  • How often do you practice these badminton skills?
  • What’s the first skill that you’re going to practice in the near future?
  • Do you prefer a forehand or backhand serve?

Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below or a direct message on Instagram.

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Muhammad Arsalan Tariq

Muhammad is a talented badminton player who has been playing since he was 10 years old. With his consistency and dedication to the game, Arsalan has joined Healthy Principles' writing team in order to evolve and enhance badminton advice online.