How to Serve in Badminton

Mike Thomas/Hemera/Getty Images

Having the knowledge and confidence to hit a badminton serve with precision and accuracy can be the difference between winning and losing a match. Typically one of the first strokes a beginner player learns, the serve can be executed with your forehand or backhand. The initial steps to take to master the serve are to grasp the basic rules, to know how to hold the racket and to practice the correct technique.

Rules and Grip

Learn the basic rules, starting by standing in the correct service box without touching any boundary lines. Serve diagonally to the opposite service box. If the score is an even number, serve from right to left, and if it's odd, serve from left to right. The shuttle must be below your waist and the racket's shaft angled down at the moment you contact the shuttle.

Hold the racket with the basic grip for forehand serves. To find this grip, turn the racket on edge, grasp the handle as if you are shaking hands with your racket, and wrap your fingers and thumb around the handle. The sides of your thumb and middle finger should touch each with the gap between your thumb and index finger forming a "V."

Hold your racket with the thumb grip for backhand serves. Kowi Chandra, certified USA badminton high performance coach, refers to this as a "pinching" grip. To find this grip, hold your racket with the basic grip and turn your hand counterclockwise until the pad of your thumb lies along the wide bevel on the side of the handle. If you're a leftie, turn your hand clockwise.

Forehand Serves

Hold the shuttle's feathers with your thumb and index finger to hit a forehand low serve. Start with your non-racket leg ahead of your racket leg and your weight on your back foot.

Take your racket back waist high, transfer your weight to your front foot and swing your racket forward. Release the shuttle somewhat ahead of your lower body and off to your side into the path of your racket. Contact the shuttle with a pushing motion and follow through with a smooth swing.

Change your technique for different forehand serves. For a flick serve, instead of a pushing action, quickly flick your wrist forward a split second before hitting the shuttle. Perform a drive serve by contacting the shuttle with more force and power instead of a push or flick movement. Swing your racket in a bigger arc to hit a high serve. Take your racket back shoulder high, drop it down below your knees, swing up to contact the shuttle and finish over the opposite shoulder. Time the release of the shuttle so it drops a few inches before you hit it high over the net.

Backhand Serves

Hold the shuttle's feathers, stand with your racket leg leading and turn your torso so your chest faces forward. Hold your racket in front of your body and angled down toward the floor or ground. Allow enough space between the racket and your body for the backswing.

Take a compact backswing, move your racket forward and let go of the shuttle the instant the strings contact it. Hit the shuttle with a gentle pushing action, letting go of it at the last second, and continue to push forward and up with a smooth swing.

Change your technique to hit a backhand flick serve. Take a slow backswing and, as you move your racket forward, increase the speed. A split second before hitting the shuttle, flick your wrist quickly and follow through with a smooth forward swing. A backhand drive serve is similar except you use a sharp, forward swing to hit the shuttle and you stop your swing right after contact.


Practice often -- repetition is the key to perfecting the different serves.