How To Play Badminton Doubles With A Weak Partner

Whether you are a professional or a club player, most of you might have experienced playing doubles with a weaker partner. Well, situations like this might have gotten you frustrated reasoning you lost a match just because you were paired with a weaker player.

In this article, I will walk you through different strategies that can help you win while playing with a weaker partner. 

The things to keep in mind while playing with a weaker player are.

  • You want to avoid playing at a higher pace so that your partner can get comfortable with the speed of the game. 
  • You keep communicating with your partner. 
  • You don’t want to make it easy for your opponents to target your partner.
  • Lastly, you want to avoid running around the court to receive the shuttle. 

The best strategy is to keep your mind cool, enjoy the game, and help and encourage your partner. This will help him/her to play their best on the court.

Let me take you across things to keep in mind while playing with a weaker opponent. 

Call Rotations

Doubles gets very confusing if there is no proper coordination between you and your partner. A good doubles duo is defined by their movements on the court. It is beautiful to see when partners shift from offense to defense in doubles. However, if not done properly it could lead to chaos and frustration. 

Therefore, always call your opponent when it is time to split for defense or call indicating that you are taking charge of the offense/defense accordingly. This will paint a clear picture in your partner’s mind that what he/she will need to do next. 

Don’t Play Your Partner’s Shots 

It is easy to get frustrated when you lose points because of mistakes made by your partner. However, don’t try to take your partner’s shots as this will end up in a loose return and the shuttle will fly back straight at you. 

Instead of getting irritated, empathize with the situation. If you were the weaker partner, would you enjoy being under so much pressure? Obviously, no.  

Think logically as a team and leave your partner to play the shots that come to them. It is very demoralizing for a player to see someone else taking his/her shots. Instead, try playing shots that force your opponents to return the shuttle to you and not your partner. 

Slow Down The Pace 

While playing with a weaker player, slow down the pace of the rally. This can be done by playing drop shots, a strong clear when you and your partner are not ready, and most importantly, lift high and deep. 

A differentiating factor between the two skill sets is the speed of execution. Your opponents can play the best shots but they wouldn’t be able to execute them in a slower-paced rally. 

By keeping the pace of the rally slow will give your partner the confidence to play at their best possible level. This will also reduce the number of errors which will minimize the risk of losing points. 

You Commit Mistakes As Well

No one is perfect. It is very easy to blame your partner for their mistakes but you have to accept responsibility when your team loses points because of you. No matter how much better you are as compared to your partner, you still have flaws. You will still lose points. So, therefore, don’t expect your partner to be perfect. 

Most importantly, it is not always your partner’s fault that he/she commits a mistake. Maybe you put them in a struggling defensive situation because of your loose return. Doubles is a team game, so you should not take the mistake personally and respond to that lost point as a team. 

Make It Difficult For Your Opponents To Target Your Partner 

If your partner is vastly weaker than you and your opponents are trying to constantly target him/her, then play your shots in areas from where it will be difficult for your opponents to target your partner.

Try to play in areas where it will be difficult for your opponents to return the shuttle to your partner. It means, sometimes you have to give away the attack or you have to be extremely good with the attack.

The best area to aim for is in the middle as it will restrict your opponents in terms of where they can play the shuttle. Try to play on the non-racquet side of the opponent and mostly aiming the body.

While defending, try to lift the shuttle high making it difficult for your opponent to hit a cross-court smash to your partner. In fact, if you lift the shuttle high on your side of the court, it will be difficult for your opponents to aim at your partner.

Try and find gaps during the rally to gain further advantage. Also, try to be on the attacking side most of the time as this will give fewer opportunities for the opponents to attack. 


Communication is the most important weapon in the game of doubles. While playing with a weaker partner, don’t show your supremacy. Instead, talk to your partner respectfully on an equal footing. 

The best way to approach your partner without them feeling that you are trying to coach them is to ask them what they think about the play. This will make them feel comfortable and valued. 

Try getting your opponent focused and involved in the game by questions like:

How can we win a point?

How can we avoid the opponents to attack?

Who should attack and defend? 

Such conversations will make your partner feel important in the game. As a result, he/she would give inputs and try to play their best. 

Guide Them For Easy Wins 

You need to learn to set up your partner for easy wins. This will help them to score some points themselves. Let me explain this to you with an example.  

For instance, you force a weak defense from your opponents. In such situations, you can guide your partner to go at the net for an easy kill. 

Well, this sounds to be easy than executing it. However, when you set up your attacking pressure in the right way, it will get easy for you to score points. Also, this will boost the confidence of your partner. 

Keep The Game Simple 

Even if you are the best player in the world, you cannot control a game and your opponent’s playback to you or your partner. You cant even control whether you will win or lose a point. The only things you can control are:

  • Service
  • Reactions 

These are the only things you can control. You cannot control a rally. Rather, you can only influence what your partner does and to some extent, influence your opponents to play a particular shot. 

Well, your service is totally under your control. You can choose where to serve from and to, you can choose how to serve (within the rules) and you can choose when to serve. Your service is the best weapon in such a game. Try manipulating your opponents with different types of serves. 

Secondly, your reactions and responses are totally under your control. Choose to be in control of yourself, think logically and your game will improve immensely. Once you start getting impatient and lose control, you will not be able to properly focus on the game. 

Final Thoughts 

Always remember, doubles is a team game and not an individual game. You win and lose as a team. You cannot play doubles without a partner. Therefore, learn to adjust with your partner and keep complimenting them. This will boost their confidence and make them comfortable with you.

No two players can exactly play in the same manner. So don’t expect your partner to play exactly like you. Always be flexible with your partner as this will improve the rapport between both of you.

Most importantly, keep practicing with your partner by trying different variations and positions. This will help you coordinate effectively in real-time situations during a game. 

I hope this article was helpful to you in learning something new about badminton. If so, do share this article so that others can also find it.

Thanks for reading. Enjoy the game!

Anushree Burad

Qualified as an MBA in Sports Management. A Sports fanatic and a passionate badminton player. My passion for sports drove me to foray into sports writing. This is my attempt at translating my thoughts into words. Looking forward to contributing to Sports through my writing.

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