It’s hugely important to develop a good serve, because it’s the first shot of the rally. You’re more likely to win the rally if you start it well.
The backhand low serve is the main serve used in doubles and men’s singles. In this video, we’ll look at the doubles serve.
The serve should travel low over the net. This is really important, because otherwise it’s much easier for your opponent to attack. At a high level of play, the receiver will apply a great deal of pressure to the serve; make sure your serve is tight!
It should also land near the front — maybe even on the front service line. Again, this makes it harder to attack. When the serve is pushed deeper instead, it will be travelling upwards as it crosses the net.
Typically it’s a good tactic to aim the serve at the T area. We call this a straight low serve, as opposed to a wide serve. This is the shortest distance, so your opponent has less time to react. More importantly, serving straight helps you and your partner cover the angles of reply from your opponent. That’s why the straight low serve is used more often than any other serve.
The technique is quite simple. Use a thumb grip, and put the racket out in front of you. Put the shuttle close to the strings, or even touching them. Then push the shuttle gently over the net.
Make sure the racket is out in front of you, rather than close to your body. This lets you serve comfortably, rather than being cramped.
Push the shuttle out the hand, only letting go at the last moment. Hitting out the hand makes the serve easier to control, and that is an advantage of serving backhand. Beginners often get this wrong, by dropping the shuttle and then hitting it.
Another common mistake is simply hitting it too hard. You need very little force for a low serve. Practise a gentle pushing action, and don’t worry if some of your practise serves go in the net or fall short.