When playing badminton singles, you have the entire court for yourself to protect. When playing singles, since you have to rely solely on your ability, you have to be able to be fit enough to run across the court and perform the different types of shots well. At the same time, you need to be able to maximize the use of the court to make your opponent uncomfortable and get wear him down.
Positioning on the Court
The rule of thumb when playing singles badminton is to always try to stay on the center of the court. This is on the midline and just a step behind the service line. Immediately shift to this position once you serve or you’ve returned the shuttlecock when the opponent serves. Being in the center-court position allows you to minimize the movements you’ll need in order to reach the four farthest corners of the badminton court. Whenever you’re able to return the shuttlecock by just taking one step away from the center, always try to go back to the center court. However, this is not always recommended because you also have to consider the type of shot you anticipate from your opponent. For example, if you’re on the offensive and you’re continuously driving the shuttlecock to your opponent, you can expect their returns to get weaker so you can adjust your base forward accordingly. At the same time, if your opponent has a strong clear, you can adjust your center backwards. Also, consider your strengths and weaknesses. If you’re able to recover quickly and change directions quickly, go ahead and always get back to the center. But if you’re more of a strength player and prefer to drive the shuttlecock and put pressure on your opponent, you can opt to stay a step back or two from the center. Note also that when positioning yourself nearer to the net, you only need your badminton racket to reach the net and not your feet.
The badminton serve is very crucial because it sets the tone for how the rally will go. When serving, there are three things you need to consider: (1) Where is your opponent standing: If your opponent is standing too close to the service line, you can opt for a high serve to immediately get him off-balance. (2) How does your opponent play: When your opponent has a really strong shot, you can opt to serve low so he can’t maximize this strength immediately. Also, take note if your opponent is more comfortable with his forehand swing than backhand swing. Most players have a preference and usually, the backhand swing isn’t as comfortable for most players, so try a high serve towards the direction of their backhand so they’ll either return it not as strong as they would with their forehand, or they’d have to immediately adjust their position to clear with a forehand. (3) What type of rally do you want to play: As you play, you’ll get a better sense of how your opponent will be able to return the shuttlecock if you target a particular location.
Types of Shots to Use
The usual advice when playing badminton would be to vary your shots to deceive your opponent. However, what’s lost is how exactly you can do this. Use the drive to pressure and wear down your opponent’s returns. Ideally you take control of the tempo so you can be on attack mode. You can do this by putting pressure on your opponent so that you will be the one with more time to adjust between your shots. The drive is very effective in this sense. Once your opponent wears down and returns a soft shot, you can then opt to smash or drop depending on how high the shuttlecock’s angle is. The higher the angle and the slower the flight, the better your chances of landing a strong smash. If the angle is too low, you can opt to return it softly to drop just over the net. If you’re playing a best of 3 set or more, better to reserve your smashes to those shots when you’re confident that you’ll be able to land them and score so you can conserve energy.
Movement pressure is a key strategy in badminton singles, since the floor space each player has to cover is much larger. Try to use the entire space of the badminton court by hitting the shuttlecock towards different directions to force your opponent to keep moving and using different types of shots. This will keep your opponent off balance and wear him down as the game goes along.