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Backhand low serve technique

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The backhand low serve is easy to learn. You just need to use the right badminton grip and push the shuttle gently over the net.

This serve is one of the first things I teach beginners.

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Grip and racket position

Use a thumb grip with the wrist bent back (radially deviated). For better control and to help you play deceptive flick serves, use a short grip.

Hold the racket out in front of you, pointing at a downwards angle. Make sure you leave plenty of space between your badminton racket and your body.

To help you get this right, try following this simple process:

  1. Imagine the racket strings are a mirror. Hold up the mirror at arm’s length and admire your face; place your thumb on the wide part of the handle, and bend the wrist so that you can see straight into the mirror. This is somewhat like making a thumbs up gesture.
  2. Now turn the mirror downwards — like going from thumbs up to thumbs down. Don’t move your fingers: just turn your arm. The racket should still be facing roughly forwards (not up to the ceiling).
  3. Holding the shuttlecock in your other hand, place it onto the racket strings.

Posture and foot position

Stand upright, with your chest parallel to the net (both shoulders should be the same distance forwards).

In doubles, it doesn’t matter which foot you put forwards. Choose whatever feels most comfortable: right foot forwards, left foot forwards, or both feet side-by-side.

For singles, I recommend putting your right foot forwards, because this helps you to cover the court most effectively. If you put your left foot forwards instead, then it will be particularly difficult to cover your backhand rear corner.

This also applies if you are the man in mixed doubles: put your right foot forwards.

Holding the shuttlecock

Hold the shuttlecock by one feather tip, between your index finger and thumb. Use these fingers to angle the shuttlecock so that it points towards your badminton racket.

Straighten your other fingers, so that you will not worry about hitting them.

I prefer to place the shuttlecock right onto the badminton racket, so that the cork is touching the strings (this is not a fault).

Hitting action

The hitting action should be a gentle push: move the racket backwards and then gently forwards. Let go the shuttlecock at the last moment so that you push from the hand; do not drop and push.

After you contact the shuttlecock, the pushing action should continue gently forwards and upwards. It’s important that you do not allow your badminton racket to rebound backwards: that would be a hit, not a push. Try to keep your racket movement smooth and gentle, with no sudden change of speed.

The backswing should be compact, coming mainly from the wrist and elbow.