Badminton is a racket sport where two players hit a feathered projectile called a birdie or shuttlecock over a net. The game is played within a rectangular playing area which is significantly smaller than a tennis court; many gymnasiums have badminton court lines painted on the wood in addition to lines for basketball. There are many strategies and drills players can employ to learn and maximise the effect of different badminton shots.
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The serve is one of the most important shots in badminton. Like tennis, every badminton point begins with a serve where one player serves the birdie from a service line into a service box that is diagonally across the net. A skilled server can often win points outright by hitting unreturnable serves. One basic serve technique is the low serve. When hitting a low serve, the player attempts to serve the birdie in a very low arc that barely passes over the top of the net and then lands in the front of the service box. A good low serve will draw the returner forward and force him to hit a high arcing shot, which can set you up for a powerful smash or drive shot that will send the birdie behind him.
Another basic serve is the high serve. With a high serve, you hit the birdie hard, sending it a high arc to the back of the service box. A high serve can go over the head of an opponent who is too far forward. Switching up your serves to keep your opponent guessing can help keep her off balance and give you an advantage.
There are a variety of shooting techniques players can use after a point is started. Drop shots are light shots the send the birdie over the net with as little force as possible, causing the birdie to drop quickly on the other side of the net. Drop shots will force the opponent forward and can catch an opponent that is far from the net off guard. A clear is a high shot that mirrors a high serve; the birdie is struck high and far to the back of the opponent's side. A smash is a shot where the birdie is struck very hard straight over the net at a downward angle. Smashes are an effective way to end points if you are close to the net.
Playing badminton is one of the best ways to learn and employ the different shot skills and strategies of the game, but training drills can also help hone skills. Standing close to the net with partner on the other side and only using drop shots is a basic drill for practicing net play and control. Hitting the birdie against a wall is a way to practice shots without a partner. Players looking to increase speed and stamina around the court play against two players at once.
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