In badminton, the birdie, known as a shuttlecock, can only be hit once by each side before it crosses the net to the opposing team. Comprised of 16 feathers attached to a cork or rubber base, the birdie’s distinct cone shape ensures it will always fly cork-first when struck. This projectile, which can be made from feathers or synthetic materials, plays a crucial role in the flow and strategy of the game. Each successful strike is an opportunity to score points, making the precision and rules around hitting the birdie fundamental to mastering badminton.

Understanding the limitations of hitting the birdie is essential for players at all levels. Whether the shuttlecock is constructed with natural feathers or synthetic material, the rule remains the same – it must be hit in a single, fluid motion without any double contact or carries. This one-hit rule maintains the pace and fairness of the game, ensuring that plays are made with skill rather than multiple attempts to control the birdie’s flight.

Badminton Rules Overview

Badminton is traditionally played indoors, with each stroke strategically aimed to send the shuttlecock flying over the net into the opponent’s court. The court dimensions, serving stations, and the laws of badminton, such as how the shuttlecock hits the net or lands within the court lines, all contribute to the intricate nature of the game. 

If a player touches the net or their body or clothing comes into contact with the birdie, points are awarded to the opponent. The game continues in this vein, with each player striving to avoid mistakes that could lead to deliberate distractions or misplaced hits.

Service Rules: Starting the Rally Right

The official badminton rules, including the BWF statutes, stipulate that the rally starts with a service that must be hit diagonally into the opponent’s service box. According to the service judge, you must strike the shuttlecock below waist height and hit underarm, ensuring that the server’s waist is not above the level of service. This initial play sets the tone for the rally, and a correctly executed service can provide a strategic advantage from the onset.

Winning Points and Rallies in Badminton

Points in badminton are won by landing the shuttlecock in the opponent’s court within the court boundaries. During service, particularly in doubles service, you must hit the shuttle into the correct service box and below waist height. If the score is tied at 20-20, play continues until one side gains a two-point lead. Each match is played best out of 3 games, with the intricacies of court dimensions and rules, such as not touching the net with the body or racket, all playing a part in the fast-paced action of badminton.

how many times can you hit the birdie in badminton

Strategies for Efficient Birdie Hits

A well-executed birdie hit in badminton requires understanding the shuttlecock’s flight dynamics. Thanks to its design, which includes synthetic material and feathers, it will always fly cork-first. Mastering efficient birdie hits means leveraging this aerodynamic behaviour to control the direction and speed of the shuttlecock, ensuring it lands in the opponent’s court or sets up for a defensive play.

Types of Shots

Badminton offers a variety of shots, each with its strategic purpose. The clear sends the shuttle high and to the back of the opponent’s court, creating space and time. Drop shots, however, are subtle and land close to the net, aiming to catch the opponent off guard. Smashes are powerful downward shots intended to force errors or win points outright. Mastering these shots involves understanding their timing and execution to keep the opponent on their toes.

The drive shot, executed horizontally across the net, is quick and flat, designed to limit the opponent’s reaction time. Meanwhile, the net shot requires finesse, gently pushing the shuttle over the net to make it difficult for the opponent to return aggressively. Each type of shot requires practice to perfect and can be used to outmanoeuvre opponents when used at the right moment during a rally.


Adequate placement of the shuttlecock in badminton can dictate the game’s flow. By targeting specific areas within the opponent’s court, you can force your opponents into difficult positions, drawing errors or opening the court for a winning shot. Strategic placements include deep corners to stretch the opponent’s reach or tight net shots to exploit gaps in their defence. Understanding the opponent’s movement patterns and weaknesses is critical to effective shot placement.

Consistency in hitting accurate placements is critical. It pressures the opponent and can create opportunities for attacking shots or cause a breakdown in their defensive stance. Players often aim to move their opponents around the court, creating spaces to exploit with well-placed shots. This level of tactical play requires anticipation, control and the ability to execute shots with precision under the duress of match play.

Common Birdie Hitting Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Avoiding common mistakes in badminton can significantly improve a player’s performance. Misjudgements often result in giving away easy points to the opponent. Understanding these pitfalls and how to avoid them is crucial for maintaining control over the birdie and dictating the game’s pace.

Late Preparation

One of the most detrimental mistakes in badminton is late preparation. This occurs when players react too slowly to their opponent’s shots, resulting in rushed and often inaccurate returns. To avoid this, players should focus on their footwork, staying on their toes and ready to move in any direction. Anticipating the opponent’s moves helps prepare early to return the shuttlecock effectively.

Incorrect Grip

The grip is the foundation of all badminton strokes. An incorrect grip can lead to losing control and precision, negatively impacting every shot. To counter this, players should select the grip that suits their hand size and playing style, whether a PU synthetic grip for better handling or a towelling grip for sweat absorption. Regularly changing grips to maintain optimal feel and control is also advisable.

Overreliance on Power

While powerful shots can be game-changers, an overreliance on power at the expense of accuracy and strategy can lead to unforced errors. Players should balance power with placement and control, ensuring that each shot is strong, purposeful, and well thought out. Developing a diverse range of shots will prevent predictability and allow for a more nuanced game plan.

Inadequate Footwork

Inadequate footwork in badminton can lead to many problems, including delayed reactions, poor body positioning, and missed opportunities to hit the birdie effectively. A player’s ability to move swiftly across the court, reaching the shuttlecock in time to execute a strong shot, is crucial. Good footwork allows for better balance, agility, and precision. Without it, players may struggle to keep the rally going, often leading to a point for the opponent when the server or receiver wins.

Weak Clears and Lifts

Weak clears and lifts in badminton give the opposing player a tactical advantage. A clear should travel high and deep into the opponent’s court, making it difficult for them to execute an attacking shot. Similarly, lifts are used defensively to move the opponent to the back of the court. However, if these shots lack power and height, the opponent can easily take control of the rally. It’s essential to strike the shuttlecock firmly with its cone-shaped form and feathered or synthetic material to ensure it flies cork-first and reaches the desired distance.

how many times can you hit the birdie in badminton

Training Drills for Improving Birdie Hits

Training drills are integral to badminton practice, helping players improve their contact with the shuttlecock and develop more effective game strategies. Through repetitive and targeted exercises, players can refine their shots, enhance their footwork, and increase their reaction times, contributing to a more potent and precise game. Drills that focus on consistency, footwork, reaction, and placement are crucial to effectively mastering the art of hitting the birdie.

Footwork Drills

Improving footwork in badminton involves specific drills that target agility, speed, and correct movement patterns. Drills such as shadow badminton, where players mimic strokes without the shuttlecock, help in enhancing footwork precision. Ladder drills can increase foot speed and coordination, while court sprints improve endurance and the ability to reach the shuttlecock quickly. These exercises contribute to more efficient movements on the court, allowing players to be in the correct position to hit effective shots.

Reaction Time Exercise

Enhancing reaction time is vital for badminton players to respond swiftly to their opponent’s shots. Reaction time exercises can include partner drills where one player hits random shots at different court areas. At the same time, the other reacts and returns them as quickly as possible. Another effective drill is the ‘flick and catch’ exercise, where a coach or partner flicks the shuttlecock towards the player, who must catch it with one hand. This helps in sharpening reflexes and anticipatory skills.

Targeted Placement Practice

Targeted placement practice drills in badminton focus on a player’s ability to hit the shuttlecock to specific court areas. This can involve exercises like hitting the shuttle into marked zones to improve accuracy. For instance, players can practice dropping shots, aiming to land the shuttle close to the net, or hitting crosscourt clears to stretch the opponent’s position. Such drills help players develop control over the shuttle’s trajectory, making their game more strategic and unpredictable.

Consistency Drills

Consistency drills are designed to help badminton players maintain a steady and reliable level of play throughout a match. Drills such as repetitive overhead hitting, where the player must clear the shuttlecock several times without error, build endurance and precision. Rally simulations that require maintaining a rally for as long as possible without making mistakes encourage players to develop a rhythm and focus on consistent shot quality, which is essential during competitive play.


In badminton’s dynamic world, understanding gameplay’s intricacies is vital to mastering the sport. From the initial serve, where the server serves diagonally into the opposing service court, to the swift exchanges, where the shuttlecock is not allowed to bounce on the court’s surface, each instant of being hit is crucial. 

Badminton players, whether they compete in singles or mixed doubles, must navigate the badminton courts with precision and strategic foresight. By avoiding common mistakes and practising targeted drills, players can enhance their ability to hit the birdie effectively and dominate the game. Ultimately, the combination of skill, strategy, and adherence to the rules culminates in the exhilarating experience that is badminton.

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