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Badminton Drills for Beginners - 11 Exercises to Master the Basics

Image credit: Photo by Jirayua Yaisamer on Unsplash -

Today we’re going to share with you 11 of the best Badminton drills for beginners. These drills are used by players and coaches all around the world.

So, here’s our list of Badminton drills for beginners:

  • Drive step in forehand/backhand
  • Net shot and recover forehand/backhand
  • High left with recovery forehand/backhand
  • Push defence forehand/backhand
  • Forehand clear with recovery
  • Forehand smash with recovery
  • Drop shot with recovery forehand/backhand
  • Alternate forehand/backhand net shot
  • Alternate forehand/backhand lift
  • Forehand/backhand serve with followup
  • Drop and net forehand/backhand

If you want to improve your fundamental skills and move to a higher level then keep reading.

Drive step in forehand/backhand

Practising your drives is essential, especially if you play doubles. It’s a shot that’s played flat and fast from around the mid-court. It’s used to apply pressure to opponents without a lot of commitment that could put you out of balance or out of position.

This drill can be done either with multi-feed or a single shuttle with a partner. Start off by standing in the mid-court area. Do the usual split step before each shot and practice stepping forward to meet the shuttle in front of you.

Make sure to recover by stepping back and doing the split step after every shot. This is good practice for your rhythm of footwork as well as racquet skills.

If you’re just starting out then practice either just playing the forehand drive or the backhand drive. Stick to one side and then switch after a while. Alternating forehand and backhand will come later.

See the video below for a demonstration of this practice with two players.

Net shot and recover forehand/backhand

The net shot is a basic technique that if mastered can give you lots of opportunities in a game. For this drill, you want to focus on your movement to the shuttle at the front as well as the actual net shot.

Steps for this drill:

  1. Use between 12-16 shuttles as one set
  2. Start off with a split step in the centre of the court about 1 meter behind the service line
  3. The feeder throws the shuttle over the net aiming to land it halfway between the front serve line and the net
  4. As the player, you need to chasse forward and play the net shot
  5. Return back to the middle and end with the split step
  6. The feeder then throws the next shuttle

You should practice playing straight net shots and cross net shots. Do three sets for each side, forehand and backhand.

As you build confidence with your net shots then move onto learning spins and tumbles.

The video shows the basic drill and is a good example of movement and recovery.

High lift with recovery forehand/backhand

A similar drill to the net shot drill. Practising the forehand and backhand lift is an essential defensive option when you’re low below the net and the opponent is waiting to kill a net shot.

Use the same instructions as the net shot drill but move back closer to the middle of the court and instead of playing a net shot either play the straight high lift or cross lift. Keep your grip relaxed and try to prepare your racquet in the same way as you would for a net shot.

You only need a short action with the racquet and arm to get enough power to lift the shuttle. This will come in time with practice.

See the videos below for examples of the forehand and backhand lift.

Push defence forehand/backhand

Having a strong defence in Badminton won’t win you games but it will stop you losing games. You want to master the push defence because if you get too used to just blocking the shuttle every time you have to defend then you’re giving the opponent the chance to play to the net.

This drill can be done with multi-feed or using a single shuttle. I’d recommend using multi-feed at first and concentrate or being able to really push the shuttle back into court from a defensive position.

You want to drive the shuttle past the front service line and into the mid-court. This shot is more useful in doubles than singles. It makes it so the opponent has to play their next shot sooner but also from deeper in court.

You want to start with the split step and without moving too much with your feet play the push back starting with just the forehand or backhand side. Use around 12-16 shuttles per set and do three sets for each side.

Forehand clear with recovery

A basic drill that involves some fundamental footwork for travelling backwards. Mastering the basic forehand clear is the groundwork for mastering every other overhead forehand shot. Front mastering this basic shot you have the fundamentals to then play a drop shot and smash as well.

Steps for this drill:

  1. Use between 12-16 shuttles as one set (this is a multi-feed exercise)
  2. Start off with a split step in the centre of the court
  3. The feeder lifts the shuttle high to the back of the forehand court
  4. As the player, you need to push off from the centre
  5. Take one step out to the side
  6. Then chasse back into position to hit the clear
  7. Return back to the middle and end with the split step
  8. The feeder then lifts the next shuttle

This backwards movement is crucial. Being efficient with your footwork means you’ll be able to get to the back quicker with more time to prepare for your shot. See an example of the drill below.

Forehand smash with recovery

The smash, especially the forehand smash, is one of the fastest shots in Badminton. Even a beginner can hit the shuttle with some speed so it’s important to stay in balance and be able to recover and reach the opponents next shot if they get your smash back.

This basic drill can be done using the same instructions as the forehand clear drill. You want to make sure you master the basic overhead technique so that you can gradually increase your racquet speed without compromising good form.

The video below by ShuttleLife shows the Badminton smash broken down from beginner all the way up to advanced jump smash.

Drop shot with recovery forehand/backhand

The last overhead technique you need to practice, the drop shot drill follows the same instructions as the forehand clear drill.

The key to mastering the drop shot is being able to control the racquet head speed when hitting the shuttlecock. As you get more comfortable with the basic drop shot then moving onto more advanced techniques such and slicing and creating deception become possible.

Try and make sure that your racquet preparation for the drop shot, clear and smash all start the same. This helps with consistency and makes it harder for the opponent to read what you’re about to do.

I’d recommend beginners try and learn how to play the backhand drop shot as well. I wouldn’t recommend trying to learn a backhand smash or clear just yet. Instead, learn the basic backhand drop shot for situations where you can’t get behind the shuttle to play a forehand shot.

This video by KC Badminton goes through the basic drop shot in good detail. Watch below.

Alternate forehand/backhand net shot

This drill is a little step up from the basic forehand/backhand net shot drill from earlier. It’s the same drill except after first playing the forehand net shot you want to recover and as soon as you do the split step then the feeder throws the next shuttle but this time to the backhand side.

Alternate from playing forehand and backhand, make sure to do the split step each time and try to avoid moving straight to the next shot before getting back to the middle.

You want to recover exactly the same way as before and be behind the front service line near the centre of the court.

This builds good muscle memory for change of direction and timing your movement with recovery.

Below is a video from Better Badminton showing how to play the backhand net shot.

Alternate forehand/backhand lift

This is the same drill as the alternate forehand and backhand net shot but using the forehand and backhand lift. Move the base position you start at back to around the middle of the court.

If you’re struggling to cover both sides after recovering have the feeder throw the shuttle to land past the service line and gradually get closer to the net as you improve your footwork.

This practice takes more effort as you’re travelling more distance for each shot. Keep your timing and you’ll find this gets easier as you’re able to move more efficiently.

The video below shows this routine being done with a single shuttle and with only one side but note the movement and position of the player playing the lift.

Forehand/backhand serve with followup

Crucial for getting better at doubles is having a consistent serve. Backhand is arguably better but you can practice this if you serve forehand as well.

The drill is to simply practice your serve, have around fifty shuttles lined up for this, and work on where you can place the service and also shadow or have someone return your serve.

The two things to concentrate on when you’re serving are:

  1. Focusing and delivering a quality serve
  2. Being ready for how the opponent will return the serve

If you serve well then the opponent is less likely to be aggressive when returning the serve for fear of putting the shuttle out of hitting the shuttle in the net. It’s well worth practising as a good service creates the outset of the rally.

Drop and net forehand/backhand

Combing two different shots with the drop shot and net shot this drill is better once you’ve practised the two individual strokes separately. It’s a natural extension of the two separate practises brought together.

This can be done as a multi-feed or with a single shuttle. Like all drills, it’s better to do this a multi-feed to start out with and then progress to single shuttle.

The steps for the drill are:

  1. Use between 12-16 shuttles as one set (this is a multi-feed exercise)
  2. Start off with a split step in the centre of the court
  3. The feeder lifts the shuttle high to the back of the forehand/backhand court
  4. As the player, you need to push off from the centre
  5. Take one step out to the side
  6. Then chasse back into position to hit the drop shot
  7. Return back to the middle and end with the split step
  8. The feeder then plays the next shuttle to around the front service line
  9. The player chasses forward and plays the net shot
  10. Recover and do the split step once again
  11. The feeder plays the next shuttle high to the back
  12. The drill repeats from step four

Coaching Badminton has a good video demoing this drill below.

Now it’s your turn

So which drill are you going to try first?

Let us know on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

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Written by Liam Walsh who lives in Manchester, England. Working as a Software Engineer but moonlighting as a dad, Badminton player/coach and creator of BadmintonsBest.

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