The backhand flick serve is difficult for many beginners, because they do not yet have the skill to generate power from a small racket swing.
Nevertheless, the basic technique is straightforward. If you understand the technique, it should not take more than a few short practices to achieve effective backhand flick serves.
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Don’t make it obvious!
The whole point of a flick serve is surprise. If your opponent anticipates the serve, then he will gain an excellent opportunity to attack.
So you must make your flick serve preparation appear as similar as possible to your low serve preparation. Ideally, your opponent should think you are playing a low serve until the moment you hit it.
You can keep the racket face pointing straight forwards all the time, or you can turn it out to your left by pronating your forearm (turning the wrist inwards as though looking at your wristwatch).
If you pronate the forearm on the backswing, then supinate it (turn it outwards) on the forewards swing. In other words, your forwards swing is the reverse of your backswing.
Pronating the forearm makes it easier to get power. If you do this, however, make sure to do the same thing for your low serves — otherwise, it becomes a clue that you’re about to play a flick serve.
Sudden racket head acceleration
Start with your normal, gentle low serve backswing. Then, as you bring your badminton racket forwards, you need to suddenly increase the speed.
It’s essential to start with a relaxed grip, and then tighten the grip sharply as you hit the shuttlecock (pressing with the thumb on the back of the handle). You should let go the shuttlecock fractionally sooner than when you play a low serve (after all, you don’t want to hit your fingers!).
Forwards swing variations
You can finish your forwards swing either by stopping the racket (a rebound movement), or by allowing it to follow through upwards without interruption.
How to practise the flick serve
Paradoxically, this serve is easier if you’re not trying too hard. Don’t worry about the results; just try to get the feel of the sudden flicking action.
If you try to make a forceful shot, then your arm muscles will tense up too much, and you will actually lose power. Keep the swing relaxed and gentle until the last moment.
It’s much easier to play the flick serve down the centre line, rather than wide to the corners: the wide serve travels farther, so you need more power.