The Badminton Bible


All original content copyright © Mike Hopley

The ready position

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Your ready position is the stance and position that you want to reach before your opponent hits the shuttlecock.

It’s called the ready position because it helps you get ready for the next shot.

Your actual position on court will vary a lot depending on whether you are playing singles or doubles, and also depending on the circumstances during the rally.

(For the basic positions in doubles, read about doubles positioning.)

Although there are many variations, it’s still good to learn a basic ready position. Once you understand these basic ideas, you can adapt the ready position for different situations.

Elements of the ready position


You should be ready with a somewhat wide stance: your feet a little more than shoulder-width apart. You cannot simply stand there, feet together, as though waiting for a bus!

Your weight should be lowered a little, with your knees slightly bent. Your weight should be shifted forwards a little, so that you are on the balls of your toes.

This does not mean that you should be perched uncomfortably on your tiptoes, leaning forwards so much that you almost fall over! Rather, you need to lean forwards just enough to take the weight off your heels. Failure to do this will leave you flat footed.

Your right foot should be slightly ahead of your left foot — only about half a foot length ahead. This position is effective for covering all four corners of the court.

Racket carriage

Your racket position varies a lot depending on the situation.

It should never be left to dangle near your ankles, however. Bring your racket up! Your racket should be held out in front of you, and away from your body. Typically you will hold it about waist height; but you’ll hold it higher when attacking and lower when defending.

Your left arm

Don’t forget that you have two arms! Although your left arm does not hit the shuttlecock, it affects your balance a great deal.

Your left arm should be used to balance your right arm and racket. In the ready position, this generally means holding it in front of your body and slightly out to the side.

Never leave your left arm dangling at your side!