The Badminton Bible

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All original content copyright © Mike Hopley

Winning the rally at the net

Net kills are your main shot for finishing a rally at the net, but you can also play extremely tight spinning net shots.

Winning the rally with a net kill

You must seize every opportunity to play net kills, as they are the most effective winning shot in the game. A good net kill is very unlikely to come back.

Keep your net kills as steep as possible. If the kill becomes too flat, then your opponent may be able to return it — and if he succeeds in flicking this return over your head, then he will win the rally!

You must learn to recognise the opportunity for a net kill early. Net kills require total commitment to a forwards position at the net. You must go for an outright winning shot; if you are hesitant and worry about recovery for the next shot, then you will miss the opportunity to finish the rally.

Don’t be disheartened if you make mistakes, or if some of your attempted kills come back. No shot is 100% reliable; taking risks is part of the game.

Net kill angles

If you kill is extremely steep (landing before the short service line), then it makes absolutely no difference where you place it. Just make sure it stays in court!

If your kill is slightly flat, then you should be more careful about choosing angles. Either play it directly at your opponent’s body, or play it into the open space. Do not play it near him, where he might manage a reaction shot with a desperate swing of his racket.

Winning the rally with a net shot

A very tight spinning net shot can be as decisive as a net kill, especially if your opponent is not near the net.

Extremely tight net shots are preferable to flat net kills (when the kill is more like a drive). You can also reach farther when playing a net shot.

Unless your opponent is at the net, these net shots should always be played straight. If your opponent is at the net already, however, you may consider playing a cross-court net shot instead — but remember this will not be as tight, because you cannot use spin.

After playing a very tight net shot, stay close to the net: you should be looking to play a net kill. Keep your right side angled towards the shuttle, so that you are ready to leap forwards.