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Hitting to the four corners

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We know that the basic singles strategy is to apply maximum movement pressure to your opponent.

The logical way to achieve this is to aim for the corners.

Move your opponent as far as possible

By playing shots to the corners, you maximise the distance your opponent must cover. This is a matter of simple geometry.

Suppose your opponent is standing in the exact centre of the court, and you play a lift. You can choose to play the lift towards the middle line, or towards a corner. Let’s calculate the distances, from the centre of the court to the back line:

  • 3.35 m if you lift to the middle
  • 4.23 m if you lift to a corner

So the distance to the corner is 26% farther than the distance to the middle line.

Force him away from his central base

This is an alternative way of understanding the four corners strategy.

Your opponent wants to remain near the centre, so that he can cover the whole court. Provided he can always reach an ideal base position, he will have little difficulty coping with your shots.

By hitting to the corners, you force him away from his base position. This creates open spaces in his court, where you can hit the shuttlecock.

Of course, your opponent will try to recover to an ideal base position after every shot, by moving back towards the centre. Your job is to challenge his recovery: keep moving him from corner to corner, until eventually he fails to make an adequate recovery. Once he falls out of position, you have good chances of winning the rally.