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Singles Tactics #3, Hitting to the Corners

Updated: Nov 26, 2023

Why does a player hit the shuttle to the corners? What are the reasons and benefits the player accomplished in Badminton Singles?

Moving the opponent as far as possible

By playing the shots to the corners, the distance covered by the opponent will be maximized.

If the opponent is standing in the exact center of the court, and the player plays a lift. The player can choose to play the lift towards the middle line, or towards a corner. Let’s calculate the distances, from the center of the court to the back line:

  • 3.35 m if it is lifted to the middle from the center

  • 4.23 m if it is lifted to a corner from the center

The distance covered by the opponent when he moves to the corner is 26% farther than the distance to the middle line.

Force the opponent to move away from the central base

This is an alternative way of understanding the four corners strategy. If the opponent wants to remain near the center, he can cover the whole court and easily reach an ideal base position, He may not have difficulty in playing your shots.

By hitting the shuttle to the corners, the player forces the opponent away from the base position. This creates open spaces on the opposite court, where the player can hit the shuttlecock.

Of course, the opponent will try to recover to an ideal base position after every shot, by moving back towards moving the center. The objective is to challenge the opponent's recovery by keeping him to move from corner to corner until eventually, the opponent fails to make an adequate recovery. Once the opponent falls out of position, the player has a good chance of winning the rally.

Forcing the opponent along the diagonals

There are two long diagonals, a player's forehand to the opponent's backhand, and a player's backhand to the opponent's forehand, which measure 8.47 meters.

A player can easily force the opponent to move along the long diagonals. For example:

  1. A player plays a clear to the opponent's forehand.

  2. The opponent plays a clear.

  3. The player plays a drop shot to his backhand.

This simple sequence of shots forces the opponent to cover a long diagonal. This is the way to apply movement pressure because it forces the opponent to move the maximum distance.

Changing the Movement Direction of the Opponent

Forcing the opponent to change direction makes pressure on his footwork skills. In the earlier discussion, It could understand that the player makes the opponent to move along a long diagonal, from back to front which will make him to cover the maximum distance, but it allowed him to take a direct path with no changes of direction.

What if the player chose the other front corner instead? For example:

  1. Player plays a clear to the opponent’s forehand.

  2. The opponent plays a clear.

  3. Player plays a drop shot to his forehand.

Distance Covered Vs Travel Direction

It seems inferior to placing the drop shot in the opponent's backhand corner. The distance from the backhand corner to the backhand front corner is only 6.70 m if he travels straight, not 8.47 m.

Actually, the opponent should travel through a central base position first, because the opponent must cover his backhand corners too; otherwise, the player wins the rally immediately, by hitting to backhand corner.

The difference in distance is not that great. The cross-court movement is still long, but not much.

Direction changes demand more skillful movement than simply charging along a straight line. It’s also harder to maintain the speed when the opponent is forced to change direction.

Both choices are good options.

Moving the opponent along the diagonal is good because he must cover a slightly longer distance.

Moving the opponent to a different corner is also good, because the opponent is forced to change direction.

Experiment with both options to discover which causes the opponent the most difficulty; this will vary depending on the opponent:

  • If the opponent is agile but lacks raw speed, then use the long diagonal more.

  • If the opponent is fast but lacks agility, then use a different corner more.

Using Long Diagonals to Win the Rally When the opponent is under pressure in a corner and unable to make a proper recovery, it’s often best to play him along the diagonal. Because the opponent has not yet reached a good base position, he will have great difficulty covering the longest distance. This is an excellent way to convert a small advantage (the opponent’s late recovery) into a winning advantage.

Pressuring the opponent's agility

Continuously playing along a diagonal is a valid tactic, but it’s usually better to apply some agility pressure first. By forcing the opponent to change direction, the player can find weakness from the opponent's movement skills.

Once the player gains an advantage, he should consider switching to diagonal play: playing the opponent along the diagonal will become deadlier after the opponent has compromised his recovery.


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