This guide will teach you how to serve effectively in badminton.
I will describe the different types of serve, and explain the techniques for performing each of them. I’ll also offer tactical advice, so that you can select the serve that most troubles your opponent.
How much does the service matter?
The badminton serve is not a devastating weapon; the serving side and the receiving side have roughly equal chances to win the rally. You are unlikely to score many aces in badminton, except against weak opponents.
Because of this, you might think that the serve is unimportant. That would be a terrible mistake, especially in doubles.
The serve is crucial in doubles
Doubles tactics are mainly about attacking with powerful smashes, often finishing the rally with a net kill. The side that gains the first attack has a huge advantage, and should try to maintain the attack by forcing their opponents to lift the shuttlecock.
Although you will see plenty of clears in women's doubles (at a high level of play), it's still important to fight for the first attack.
The first three shots of the rally typically decide who gets the first attack. With a good serve, you have a much better chance of gaining the first attack, and therefore a much better chance of winning the rally. In particular, the quality of your low serve strongly influences how many rallies you will win.
The serve in singles is less important — but don’t be sloppy!
Singles tactics are different from doubles tactics. Rather than all-out violent attack, singles tactics involve moving your opponent around the court, especially from the front to the back.
It’s difficult to gain a significant advantage from the service, because your opponent can always lift or clear the shuttle to the back. In doubles this would be a dramatic advantage for you, but in singles it’s a fairly neutral situation.
Although an excellent serve won’t win you many rallies, a poor serve will give your opponent cheap points. Your high serves need to be landing consistently in the back tramlines, and you must avoid making service errors (serving into the net or hitting out). In singles, aim for a highly consistent serve instead of a perfect serve.