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Badminton Singles Tactics #02, Flexible Base Position

Updated: Nov 8, 2022

In singles, players need to cover all parts of the court which demands the player to stay more in a roughly central base position. Is it worth returning to the central base position?

A competent opponent can place the shuttlecock in any part of the court. If the player is too far away from the center, then it creates a huge gap. The opponent will place the shuttlecock into that gap. It is a basic principle to stay at the central base position.

The exact position of the base will vary considerably, depending on the following factors of the rally.

  • What shot the player just played

  • How much time the player has to recover

  • The strengths and weaknesses of both players

The base depends on what shot played

If the player played a net shot, the base will remain towards the front of the court. If the net shot is closer, the player will stand to the front. If the shot is a very tight net shot, then you can commit to the net, knowing that the opponent’s lifts must travel very high (this gives more time to move back).

If the shot is played as a clear towards the right side, then the player can move to the base with a small step to the right, covering the straight angles. Straight shots take less time (The shuttle travels a shorter distance), so the player needs to react faster.

Certain guidelines to decide the base position for the shot just played are given.

  • If the shot is to one side of the court, adjust the base to the same side.

  • If the shot played is a clear, lift, or (fast) drop shot, adjust the base towards the back.

  • If the shot played is a net shot, adjust the base towards the front.

  • If the shot is Smash, less recovery time to adjust the base position.

Some players always recover to the center is a hopelessly simplistic positional idea.

Key Tip: The feet often need to land beyond the backline, but they don’t need to reach the net, only the racket needs to reach the net. Adjust the idea of a central base to account for this important distinction.

If the player always recovers to the exact center, then the opponent will win easily by playing lifts and clears.


Singles Tactics #3, Hitting to the Corners


Don't have time to reach the ideal base position

Often the player doesn't have time to reach the best possible base position. As the opponent starts to hit the shot, the player must begin the split step. This effectively creates the base position.

This situation commonly occurs after the cross-court drop shot. The ideal base would be towards the same side of the court where the shuttlecock is placed; but in reality, the players don’t often have time to get there. The base position will probably be slightly on the other side.

Many players, instead of using the split drop, keep on moving towards their ideal base. This is a fatal mistake because the opponent has the option to win the rally immediately by placing the shuttlecock away from the direction of movement. Because the player is not ready to change direction on his move and consequently the player cannot reach the shuttlecock.

The base can be adjusted to the players' strengths and weaknesses

Some common examples are,

The player adjust the base slightly to the backhand side, because he/she wants to play round-the-head forehands instead of backhands. This tactic is used by the players of all standards, right up to world-class. This is an example of covering the weakness. The player's overhead backhands are weaker than the forehands, So the player adjusts the base position slightly to help cover the backhand rear corner.

Player can also adjust the base position to cover the opponent’s strengths. If the player knows the opponent relies heavily on his cross-court drop shots, and his other shots are less effective, then the player can adjust the base slightly forwards and towards the cross-court.

The player can apply exactly the same tactic if the opponent is predictable in certain situations. Even if all shots of the opponent are equally strong, he/she may choose to play one favourite shot again and again (a tactical weakness). If the player spot such pattern's from oppponent, exploit it by moving the base farther towards the expected shot. This is known as anticipating the opponent. This is an example of adjusting the base to exploit the opponent’s tactical weakness.

If the player is especially good at reaching one part of the court, he/she can move the base slightly away from this area to help cover others (adjusting the base to account for the technical strength). Similarly, if the opponent is weak at a particular shot, the player can move the base slightly away from that shot (adjusting the base to exploit the opponent’s technical weakness).

As the opponent starts to hit the shot, the player must begin the split step.

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