Badminton Strategy for Singles: How to Beat Your Opponent with Smart Strategies

A good badminton strategy is a vital part of the game. It can be the deciding factor in winning badminton rallies.

Besides having good badminton skills, different sets of strategies are important to help you deal with different opponents.

We will be discussing some very well played badminton strategies used by professional singles players.

Badminton Strategy 1: Height Advantage

Taller players have an advantage in firing drop shots and smashes from steeper angles.

However, tall badminton players also have weaknesses such as:

  • Weaker badminton drives. Drives are fast badminton shots exchanged horizontally right above the net.It’s harder for taller players to play good drives. They have to squat lower to hit those drives with an overhead forehand stroke, which can be fairly uncomfortable for them.
  • Weaker defence especially around the throat area.
    Tall players can retrieve shots sent to the sidelines because they have longer arms. However, it’s hard for them when the shot goes straight to their throat area.If you manage to fire a powerful smash right to a tall player’s throat area, it will be difficult for a tall player’s long arms to defend those shots.

    In contrast, short players could easily squat down and counter a weak smash with an overhead stroke.

Shorter players are much better in exchanging badminton drives. Therefore you should capitalise on this if you’re shorter than your opponent.

In essence, if you are:

Taller than your opponent
  • Avoid badminton drives
  • Play good drop shots or net shots to force high lifts from your opponent. This allows you to smash from a steep angle
Shorter than your opponent
  • Force your opponent to play badminton drives
  • Aim your smashes at your opponent’s body (aim for the throat area if you can)

Badminton Strategy 2: Decide to be Offensive or Defensive

When playing singles in badminton, the player will need to constantly return to his/her footwork base (usually at the centre of the court) after retrieving a shot.

You can sometimes read your opponent’s mind by looking at the position of his/her footwork base.

Opponent Standing Nearer to the Front of the Court

If your opponent’s footwork base is slightly in front of the court (see picture above), you can assume your opponent is eager to attack.

In most circumstances, you’ll subconsciously position yourself towards the front of the court if you are more eager to attack.

If you lack the confidence to attack, you will position your footwork base slightly towards the back of the court.

Don’t fall into a psychological trap like this!

If you think your opponent is eager to attack, engage in more net plays.

A player that is eager to attack is usually less relaxed and not so calm (physically and mentally).

That means there’s a higher chance for you to force an error out of your opponent.

Avoid giving this type of opponent a high lift/clear because he can fire a powerful smash towards you (since he’s set his mind to play aggressively).

Attack your opponent when you have the chance. By standing nearer to the front of the court, your opponent is not in a good position to defend.

Opponent Standing More to the Back of the Court

In the picture above, the player’s footwork base is at the back of the court. You can pretty much expect that this player lacks the confidence in playing the game.

Psychologically, you can assume that this player is not confident at playing along the net, hence avoiding standing too near at the forecourt.

You can also assume the player is taking a very conservative/defensive position because by standing deep into the baseline, you are able to defend against smashes.

If your opponent’s footwork base is positioned slightly towards the back of the court, you shouldn’t smash so often to this player because his mindset is already ready to defend.

Since your opponent is standing so far back, a drop shot might be able to ‘catch’ him. You should perform more high lifts/clears to this player because he lacks the confidence to attack. Challenge his mind!

However you must beware as he builds up his level of confidence. Once you see his confidence rising, you should stop lifting to your opponent and re-formulate your badminton strategy.

Understand How to Defend in Badminton
It’s also useful for you to learn badminton defence.

Understand that when you stand further to the back of the court, your defence against smashes will be more effective.

Badminton Strategy 3: Variation of Pace

This badminton strategy is commonly employed in professional badminton games.

The idea is to suddenly take out the pace when the rally is being played at a very high pace.

I’ll show you a video example of winning a rally by changing the pace of the rally.

The video above shows you a rally between Lee Chong Wei and Lin Dan in the men singles final of the Yonex All England 2011.

Towards the end of the rally, the tempo of the game increases as Lin Dan injects extra pace to fire a cross court smash to the Malaysian, which forced a dive from Chong Wei.

At that point, the tempo of the game was very high. Considering that both players are equally fast enough for each other, the high-paced game could just go on.

However for the winning shot, Lee Chong Wei decided to hit the drop shot although he had a clear chance of playing the smash.

Chong Wei’s drop shot took the pace out of the rally.

Lin Dan was surprised by the sudden variation of pace and could not keep up to that, hence he was not able to retrieve the drop shot.

Another example of removing the pace off a rally is to hit a surprise drop shot after exchanging several quick drives with your opponent.

In order to control a rally, you must control the pace of the game. Dictate the pace and make your opponent play at your pace.

By doing this you’ll be the one controlling the rally.

Badminton Strategy 4: Hit to Your Opponent’s Backhand Area

A common weakness among the majority of badminton players are backhand strokes.

Therefore you’ll gain an upper hand in the game if you clear the shuttle deep into your opponent’s backhand area.

Your opponent can choose to:

  • Use the backhand. This can potentially force a weak backhand from your opponent.
  • Move slightly further away from his footwork base and use a forehand stroke. By doing this, your opponent will need to move further away from his footwork base.

No matter what your opponent does, you’ll have the advantage if you hit the shuttle to your opponent’s backhand area.

Badminton Strategy 5: Break the Rhythm of Faster Opponents

This badminton strategy is probably the most difficult strategy to put into action.

Use this Badminton Strategy Against Faster Opponents

Some badminton players, especially younger and faster players perform at their very best when the game is played at a high pace.

As such, these players get comfortable and will find their rhythm on the court when the game is played at a high pace.

Therefore use this strategy against younger or faster opponents.

Take the Pace out of the Game

The basic idea is to PREVENT your opponent from dictating the pace. Don’t let your opponent get his rhythm!

Similar to the strategy of varying the pace of a game, this strategy is to  prevent the game from going into a fast pace.

The objective is to make your opponent frustrated when he’s not getting the tempo.

A frustrated player is more likely to commit many unforced errors.

In many instances, these types of opponents will try to increase the pace of the game and force you play at a higher tempo.

Hit Higher Badminton Clears to Slow the Game Down
This is when you need to use your skills to prevent the game from going into a high tempo.

For example, hit higher badminton clears than you usually do. Keep the shuttle in the air for as long as possible.

Make your opponent wait for the shuttle to come down. Slow everything down.

Hit Drop Shots to the Centre of the Court
Another thing that you can do is position your drop shots at the centre of the court instead of aiming for the corners.

This will ultimately prevent your opponent from moving.

He will not need to move much to retrieve your drop shots. As such, he will not be able to get his rhythm when he’s not required to move much on the court.

Use a Variety of Shots
Besides drop shots to the centre, vary the types of shots. Otherwise, your opponent might catch you off-guard if you keep using the same types of shots.

Execute a Half-Smash
Perform the HALF-SMASH right to the centre of the court, towards your opponent’s body. ONLY do a half smash. A full smash is not ideal because it will put some pace into the game.

A half smash is simply what it means, a badminton smash NOT at its full power.

After hitting the half-smash, you should be able to maintain good body balance and quickly return to your footwork base.

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