“50 badminton tips”… “75 best badminton tips for beginners”… “101 badminton tips and tricks”…
What do these three headlines have in common?
They tend to lead us to think that there must be something good among that many tips… right?
If you’re anything like me, you might even begin reading only to get overwhelmed by the seemingly million things to remember, as if being overloaded by the sheer volume of information makes us a better badminton player in itself.
At best, we’ll walk away remembering a thing or two. At worst, we closed the window before making it half way through the article. Either way, not something practical we can easily take to the court.
To make things a little more practical, let’s look at examples of things beginner badminton players tend to put too much emphasis on before we dive into three tips — just three — that you can bring on the court to score more points as you are learning the game and all the different strokes.
Tips on badminton for beginners are a dime a dozen and we tend to benefit from less, hand-picked insights, rather than getting all the information dumped upon us all at once as it leads to feeling paralyzed by all the options and getting stuck.
Badminton for beginners: 4 deceptive (but popular) traps that will waste your time
Let’s begin with examples of things beginner badminton players tend to assume but really aren’t as they appear.
The awesome thing about not being a beginner anymore is that we tend to see ourselves in other players and we see them making the same mistakes we used to make.
Learning from others is the biggest benefit for us all because we can avoid some of their mistakes, and learn what they’ve learned faster than they did before we build on top of it. That’s how we’ve built houses, cities, and education… and badminton is no exception.
1. A fast and powerful smash comes from big arm muscles
This is one of the most counterintuitive things about the sport. We don’t see the top players look anything remotely like bodybuilders. As this video shows the top player Marcus Ellis:
Not exactly the same as, say, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
That’s because they’ve optimized their body for the game and surprisingly, we tend to generate a lot of shooting power from the legs rather than the arms through technique and body rotation.
In fact, players argue that big bodybuilder-type muscles tend to be a disadvantage because they add extra weight that can slow us down and hinder our jumps.
2. Learn trick shots before mastering the basics
Trick shots such as shooting from between the legs, with the back towards the net, or even deceptive shots like the one in this video are so cool to watch.
They look amazing and effortless but take a ridiculous amount of time to learn in order to pull off well. The problem with them is that if they aren’t flawlessly executed, they just look kinda stupid… especially, if we can’t pull of any other serious shots well either.
As a beginner, that time is better spent mastering the basics.
3. Buying the best racket instead of practicing
Why do we tend to think rackets make all the difference?
As if we can buy our way to instantly playing better instead of practicing to actually learn the techniques properly. Not to mention that if we had access to that, all it required for our opponent is money in order to access the same. Not exactly a competitive advantage.
Sure, rackets are different and some are better for certain players than others but something that would make a bigger difference tends to be the racket’s strings and tension. However, we tend to be better off getting some cheap gear at first in order to truly figure out if we enjoy playing before going all in — often we get excited by buying new gear and the idea of playing more so than actually playing.
If you want to spend some on gear, you’ll likely be better off getting some decent badminton shoes for good grip to avoid injuries.
4. Getting stuck due to being afraid of learning bad habits
People say: be careful of learning bad habits as you have to unlearn them later.
I look at it in a different light: it’s true but don’t stress until you know how much you like it and wanna go further with it. In fact, which of these is worse: never progressing and stopping something you enjoy altogether or learning a little slower because you’re having too much fun?
Fun is the most powerful thing if we want to stick with exercising and getting good at the sport because we don’t have to push ourselves to play. Instead, we’ll automatically be drawn to it by joy.
It can feel overwhelming with all the things we are supposed to know, so let’s make things simple with just three simple badminton tips and tricks to remember.
Three easy-to-learn badminton tips to win points
There are those of us who go to school to learn stuff and then there are people like Tim Ferriss and Josh Waizkin who perfected the art of learning something new (Josh Waizkin was the child that the famous movie “Searching for Bobby Fischer” about a child genius was based upon).
They’ve learned foreign languages in record time, martial arts, chess, and a whole lot more. As far as I’m aware neither took up a badminton challenge but we can still use their techniques to learn badminton faster than most, by reverse engineering what drives results and plan accordingly.
First, if we have a specific goal and know a place we wanna go it tends to be easier and faster to reach than if we randomly wander around in the wilderness. One of the best goals I’ve heard is to get on the court and play again tomorrow. That’s it.
To get good at badminton, the most important thing is to practice a bunch and the easiest way to do that is by having fun as you’ll naturally be drawn to it. We tend to have the most fun in badminton when we make some cool shots and score some points. There is nothing better than hitting that perfect shot!
In order to optimize for fun, there are a few things you benefit from learning first. Out of all the different shots in badminton, I’ve found that there are just a few that are effective while also being easy to learn. Smashing looks cool and feels amazing when you pull it off but it might not be the easiest shot to learn right off the bat. It isn’t usable to return most shots from the opponent, so you’ll easily get stuck.
Badminton tips for beginners #1: the net shot kill
This shot does not require much power or technique compared to many of the other shots in badminton, but it does require you to be quick on your feet as the reaction time makes a difference.
This shot is often used to return a short serve or another shot close to the net. The trick is to hit the shuttle before it dives below the height of the net because you’ll otherwise be forced to shoot it far upwards (called a lift), which gives the opponent more time to react and the chance to attack.
Instead, the idea is to quickly touch the shuttle and push it towards the ground if possible. Often you barely need to touch it as it’s so close to the net.
Here are some of my favorite videos explaining this type of shot in detail
Badminton tips for beginners #2: a twist to the standard shot
The most common shot we all know is shooting over the head, also called a forehand clear. It’s the most standard beginner shot and we can add a little twist to it to make it better.
This is what the shot typically looks like:
The twist is to turn the racket a little to the side just before hitting the shuttle in order to shoot to one of the sides instead of directly at the opponent as it makes them move around. Then follow it up by shooting to the other side and wear them down slowly by making them run from side to side.
Keep in mind that beginners often don’t think about that, so they’ll likely return the shuttle straight down the line, meaning if you move to the side you’ll be ready to return their next shot before they even shoot.
If your shots go high up but not as far as you’d like, try shooting a little later than you normally would. You might be hitting the shuttle too early.
Badminton tips for beginners #3: cover the entire court
The most underrated tactic for beginners is focusing on defense, so you can stay longer on the court and get more “swings” (practice).
To do that, we need to figure out how to easily cover the whole court and be able to reach all the different types of shots.
A friend who started playing told me that she felt defeated when she couldn’t reach the second shot and continue the rally. On the other hand, she had more fun when she learned to move around the court and reach the shots even if she didn’t hit them that well.
To get there, the big epiphany came from learning two specific things:
- To go back to the center of their side of the court after each shot
- Use lounges to get the hard-to-reach corner shots
There’s more to good footwork than just that but those two things will make a big difference as a beginner player. I wasn’t able to find a video just covering that, so here are a few examples that go into more detail.
With these three badminton tips, the net shot kill, the twist to the standard shot and by covering the corners you’ll be able to win more points playing with your friends and other beginners.
- We tend to learn faster when we are truly having fun and in badminton, that usually comes down to winning points and playing good shots
- By being strategic about how we learn, we can master the different aspects faster than if we just learn a little about everything here and there
- There are many counterintuitive things to badminton like how much technique plays into a powerful shot compared to big muscles
- Read how to improve your badminton skills next
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