A POV of a woman holding the shuttlecock above her strings.

In this article, you’ll learn everything about the four different types of shots in badminton.

Having knowledge of these shots will make you a better badminton player. Plus, once you’ve practiced these shots for a while, you can use any of them to win a point or two on the court.

Without further ado, let’s jump into this guide.

Key Takeaways:

  • There are four primary shots in badminton — serve, clears, drop shots, and smashes.
  • A serve is how you start a game. Badminton rules dictate that you serve in a certain way or else the opponent will be awarded a point.
  • Clears are mostly a means to prolong the rally whereas drop shots and smashes are meant to either win a point or elicit a tame return from the opponent.

1. Serve

A serve or service is how you begin the game. Badminton rules dictate that a serve should be hit in the upward direction with an underarm action. This means you cannot smash the shuttlecock to start a rally.

While a properly hit serve will deny the opponent the opportunity to hit a potentially point-winning return, a poor serve would give them the chance to play an attacking shot, increasing their chances of clinching a point.

How to Serve in Badminton

Here’s how you can perform a forehand badminton serve:

  1. Stand inside the service court, a few feet behind the short service line. Make sure both of your feet are firmly planted on the floor and that no part of your body is touching the service line.
  2. Serve from left to right if your score is an odd number, and vice versa. If your score is an even number, or you’re just starting the game, you’ll serve from right to left.
  3. Hold the shuttlecock with your non-dominant hand. Make sure the shuttlecock is beneath your rib cage, otherwise the referee will declare the serve illegal and the opponent will be awarded a point.
  4. Hit the shuttlecock with an underarm action. Remember, overhand serves like the ones you see in tennis are illegal in badminton.

Check out our full guide to the types of serves with instructional steps for each.

2. Clear

A clear is a badminton shot hit from your baseline towards the opponent’s baseline.

Clears are mostly a means to prolong the rally and are usually hit high and deep into the opponent’s side.

How to Hit Clears in Badminton

Just as it is with serves, there are multiple types of clears in badminton, including forehand clears and backhand clears.

While forehand clears are a means to create space for you in the front or middle of the opponent’s court, backhand clears are usually hit when you don’t have the opportunity to hit a forehand clear.

Here’s how you can hit a forehand clear in badminton:

  1. Stand in a position in which the incoming shuttlecock will land right just in front of your feet.
  2. Shift your body weight onto your dominant/racket leg.
  3. Pull back your racket arm and stretch it as back as you comfortably could, with your non-racket arm pointing upwards.
  4. Hit the shuttlecock when it’s still a few inches above your head. Complete the arm movement after hitting the shot before getting back into the base position.

Check out our full guide to the types of clears with instructional steps for each.

3. Drop Shots

A badminton drop shot is when the shuttlecock just crosses the net before dipping sharply towards the floor.

A properly hit drop shot will either extract a weak return from the opponent or force them to give away a point.

How to Hit Drop Shots in Badminton

You can hit two types of drop shots in badminton: backhand drop shots and forehand drop shots.

A backhand drop shot is usually played from close to the back line whereas a forehand drop shot is mostly attempted from close to the net.

Let’s look at how you can hit a forehand drop shot in badminton:

  1. Stand on the balls of your feet with your knees slightly bent.
  2. Maintain a forehand grip on the racket.
  3. Take the dominant leg back and stand with your side facing the net.
  4. With the racket slightly inclined, hit the shuttlecock. Be gentle with the hit as your main goal with this shot is to force the shuttlecock to just cross the net before going down.

4. Smashes

Smashes are adrenaline-filled shots in which the hitter uses all their body strength to hit the shuttlecock downwards.

Properly hit smashes are one of the most difficult shots to return in badminton since they give the opponent little to no time to react.

How to Hit Smashes in Badminton

There are three types of smashes you can hit in badminton: forehand smash, backhand smash, and jumping smash.

A forehand smash is the most easier to execute since it doesn’t require you to align your body shape in a certain way. If you’re still a beginner, learning how to play a forehand smash should be at the top of your training list.

Here’s how you can hit a forehand smash:

  1. Raise your non-racket hand until it’s above your chin.
  2. Shift your entire body weight onto the back foot.
  3. Once the shuttlecock is a few inches above your head, extend your elbows and hit the smash with all the strength in your forearms.

Check out our full guide to the types of smashes with instructional steps for each.

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