Types of Badminton Shots: The Complete Guide

If you’re new to the game of badminton, you might be having no idea about the different types of shots in badminton. There are several types of shots played in badminton, and some unique terms are used to describe those shots.

In this article, I’ll try to help you with understanding the various shots in badminton in layman’s terms.

The most common shots played in badminton are serve shot, clear shot (lob), smash shot, drop shot, drive shot, and net shot.

Let’s look at these shots in detail and understand how to play them.


A serve or service in badminton is the first shot of a rally. In badminton, you need to hit a serve with an underarm hitting action in the upward direction. You can’t hit a tennis-style serve in badminton.

A serve is one of the most important shots in badminton that a player needs to master. If you hit a good service, you’ll get an advantage in the rally and hopefully win a point. But, if the serve is not so good, the opponent will be able to capitalize on that by hitting attacking shots, and it will be difficult for you to recover from that position.

A weak serve will give your opponent a chance to attack and take a point pretty easily. So, it is really important to hit the perfect serve. In badminton, there are different types of serves, such as high serve, low serve, flick serve, drive serve, etc. You can use these different types of serves interchangeably to confuse the opponent.

I’ve written a complete guide on the different types of serves with helpful pictures. If you want to learn how to hit the different serves in badminton, you can check out that article by clicking here.

For a quick look, I’m providing an image that shows the trajectory of the different types of serves in badminton. Take a look at this picture to get a basic idea of the types of serves.

In badminton, you need always serve cross-court (diagonally) to the opponent. As it is an important shot that can give an edge to a player, there are several rules that you need to follow while doing a serve. And, the rules are slightly different for singles and doubles.

If you want to learn the basic service rules in badminton, you can check out this article, which is a complete guide on the badminton service rules.

Clear (Lob)

The clear, also known as the lob, is mostly a defensive shot in badminton. This shot is often used by players to defend an attacking shot from the opponent and return the shuttle so that you can get more time to return to the base position and be ready for the next shot.

The goal behind this shot is to hit the shuttle up in the air, way over the net, and land on the backside of the opponent’s court. If you can hit the clear shot that sends the shuttle exactly to the opponent’s baseline, then it is considered the perfect defensive clear.

This shot can be very useful when your opponent is on the attack, and you’re under pressure. You can hit a lob in that scenario, which will give you some time to settle down before the opponent hits the next shot. Use this time to correct your footwork and get back to the base.

You can also use this shot in a clever way when the opponent is near the front area of the court, which will force him to go to the backside to retrieve the shuttle.

Just like a serve, a clear shot is a really important shot in badminton, especially in the singles format of the game. It is pretty easy to execute this shot compared to any other shots in badminton. If you want to play loner rallies in badminton, you need to learn how to hit a clear shot correctly.


The drop shot can be used as a deceptive shot to trick the opponent. This shot is usually executed from the back of the court to hit the shuttle just after the net.

The aim is to make the opponent believe that you’re going to hit a clear or a smash to the backside of the court and thus, making them ready to move towards the backside anticipating the shuttle. Then, rather than hitting a clear or a smash, you hit a delicate drop shot that lands just after the net. This will throw your opponent off balance, and you’ll get the point.

Even if they’re able to return the shuttle, chances are the return will be weak. You can then be ready and hit the next shot exploiting the mid-court and backside of the court, which is open now.

Unlike a defensive clear, which slows down the pace of the rally, a drop shot will maintain the pace of the rally. This is because the shuttle is not hit with a high elevation, and thus, the opponent will not get enough time to react. The reaction should be spontaneous, and the opponent needs to move faster around the court. This will further increase the pace of the rally.

You can hit this shot when you’re having control of the rally or are comfortable with the pace of the rally. If you hit the drop shot correctly, it will make your opponent rush forward and move around the court in a hurry, which will help you gain complete control of the rally.

You can execute a drop shot using either the forehand or the backhand. Also, you can hit a slow drop or a fast drop. A slow drop will have less pace but will land as close to the net, making it difficult for the opponent to reach the shuttle.

On the other hand, a fast drop will land near the mid-court area, but the pace of the shot will be high, reducing the reaction time for the opponent.

You can use your wrists to make adjustments to the drop shot to increase its effect. A cross-court drop shot will be much more effective than a straight one most times.

One thing you need to remember while executing drop shots is that you shouldn’t hit the shuttle at a very low pace. Even if the shuttle land pretty close to the net, the opponent will get a lot of time to come forward and return the shuttle.


The smash shot is one of the most popular and glamorous shots in badminton. It is an attacking shot, usually hit with a lot of power to end a rally.

A smash is a powerful and fast shot hit from high up in the downwards direction to the opponent’s court. Since this is a shot that involves a lot of power, it has a certain amount of risk as well. Playing this shot will need a lot of energy from you, and chances are you’ll lose a certain amount of control in the rally. Hence, it is very important to maintain body balance while executing a smash.

The idea is to get behind the shuttle as quickly as possible and hit the shuttle at its highest possible point. This will help you hit the shuttle at a steep angle downwards.

Make sure you’re in a comfortable position before you hit the smash shot. Smashing is not always about hitting the shuttle as hard as you can. Sometimes, you can add a little bit of creativity to the smashes as well.

In badminton, you can several types of smashes, including full smash, half smash, stick smash, slice smash, jump smash, cross-court smash, etc. If you want to learn more about the different types of smashes in badminton, check out this article and add some smash varieties to your arsenal.

If you play it correctly, a smash is the deadliest shot you can play to attack your opponent. So, try to practice this shot many times and improve the accuracy of your smashes.


A drive is a pretty fast shot that is played horizontally across the net, usually from the middle of the court. This shot is very helpful in maintaining or increasing the pace of the rally.

When you hit a perfect drive shot, the shuttle will quickly pass just over the net in a horizontal trajectory. Most often, we see that the opponent hits a drive shot in return as well as there are no better offensive replies for a perfect drive shot. We see this shot most often in the doubles format of the game.

The drive shot can be flat (straight and horizontal trajectory), offensive (descending trajectory), or defensive (ascending trajectory). You can play the drive shot with either forehand or backhand. You need to maintain a flat and straight racket face while executing a drive shot. Try to execute this shot only when you’re comfortable with the pace of the rally.

Net Shot

The shots in badminton along the net are called net shots. These shots help create chances and dominate the front area of the court.

The ability to hit the perfect net shots is really important in badminton. If you’re able to hit a decent net shot, the opponent will be forced to play a high lift or clear shot. It can end up giving you a chance to play a smash to end the rally and win a point.

There are different types of net shots in badminton, such as the tumbling net shot (or spinning net shot), net kill, and defensive net lift.

A tumbling net shot is used to hit the shuttle just over the net so that it will tumble across the net. This can be really difficult for the opponent to return. Even if the opponent returns a tumbling net shot, chances are it will be a weak shot, and you can finish the rally with a strong attacking shot.

The net kill is used to end a rally if the opponent plays a poor net shot that is too high. This is one of the easiest shots you can execute to win a point.

The defensive net clear is used when your opponent hits a decent net shot to your court. If the opponent is pretty good at netplay, you need to hit the defensive net clear to the back of the court to avoid the net kill. This shot is similar to the clear shot, but it is played closer to the net.

Final Thoughts

In this article, we discussed some of the basic shots in badminton. The most common shots in badminton are: serve, clear, smash, drop, drive, and net shot. Apart from these basic shots, there are several other shots in badminton, which you’ll learn later.

I hope you’ve learned something from this article. Now, go to a badminton court and play the game. You’ll learn a lot about the game when you actually play. Also, try to watch the top international badminton matches when you get some time. That’ll also help you to improve your badminton knowledge.

If this article was helpful, do share it 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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