When playing a backhand drive serve, there are two important points to remember:
- Don’t break the service laws!
- Don’t use much power.
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Don’t break the service laws!
Drive serves are the cause of many arguments in badminton clubs. This is because most drive serves are illegal, and most receivers are weak at responding to drive serves.
Bad behaviour by servers
Since the laws have changed, the most common fault is serving with the shuttlecock above the waist. The whole shuttlecock must be below the waist at the moment of impact (the waist is defined as an imaginary line level with the lowest part of the server’s ribs).
Please take care not to break this law. It’s simply cheating, whether your opponent knows about it or not.
Bad behaviour by receivers
Conversely, many receivers get angry when an opponent uses a drive serve against them. Although many drive serves break the service laws, some do not. It’s technically easy to play a good backhand drive serve, from the very front of the court, without breaking a service law.
Receivers must learn to cope with drive serves. It’s part of the game, whether you like it or not.
Having said that, you should dispute any serve that is clearly illegal. Politely explain which law the serve broke. If you cannot reach an agreement, then play a let.
Don’t use much power
The drive serve has only a short distance to travel (less than the flick serve). If you try to hit it hard, then it will simply go out at the back (if left by the receiver).
You may feel compelled to hit it hard, because the receiver has quick reactions. Well, it’s up to you; but might I suggest you try a different serve instead?
Control is more important here than power. I recommend using a sharp, short swing with a rebound action: stop the racket head after impact (don’t allow it to follow through). Grip tightening alone will provide you with plenty of power to reach the back of the service box.
Using this short, sharp swing will also help you avoid breaking the service laws.