A winning doubles strategy involves more than just playing your strengths and exploiting your opponent’s weaknesses. No doubt, this strategy will help you and your partner win many matches, but it’s the other subtle, tactical choices that will help you whip your Nestie opponents with confidence. While some tactics require a strategic, mental decision, others depend on your skill level, your agility and your physical fitness.
Starting the Match
If your team wins the coin toss, you can choose to serve or receive or which side of the net to start play on. One strategy is to choose the bad side of the court. What may cause one side to be better than the other are conditions such as lighting, reflections or the surface. If you win the first game from the bad side, your chances of winning the match are greater because you'll play the second game from the good side -- and two out of three games wins the match. If you lose the first game, you'll be on the good side for the second game, which increases your chances of winning that game. If you win the second game, you'll start the third on the bad side. Even so, you'll switch to the good side after 11 points, which can give you the confidence to close out the match.
Your choice of the two basic strategies for court positioning depend on whether your team is playing offense or defense. When you're on the offense, the best strategy is to play one player up and one back. The "up" player plays the half of the court closest to the net while the "back" player plays the back half of the court. When playing defense, the best strategy is to play side by side. Using the centerline as the dividing point, you'll play on one half and your partner on the other half of the court.
Types of Serves
The four basic serves in badminton include the low, high, flick and drive. In doubles, all but the high serve should be used. The low serve barely clears the net and lands in front of your opponent's short service line near the centerline. This serve should be used to avoid being placed in a defensive position and to try to get your opponents to lift the shuttle. Keep your opponents from rushing the net with the flick serve. You'll want to disguise this serve and keep your opponents guessing. Make it look like you're about to hit a low serve and at the last second, flick your wrist to make the shuttle land deeper in the court. A good strategy is to mix in a drive serve if you're playing against opponents who don't move quickly. This attacking serve has a lower trajectory and is hit with pace.
An effective winning strategy is to play an attacking game, hitting the shuttle downward. The two most commonly used attacking shots are the net kill and the smash. When your smash has been blocked back to the net, your front partner can hit a net kill shot for a winner. The back player hits mostly powerful smashes. If your smashes are successful in pushing your opponents back in their court, a good strategy is to throw in a slow or fast drop shot. A slow drop shot lands in your opponent’s front court, close to the net, and can catch your opponents off guard. Against slower opponents, a slow drop shot may be a winner. A fast drop shot lands closer to the service line and is used to change up your opponent's defensive rhythm.
- Badminton: Steps to Success (2nd Edition); Tony Grice
- The Badminton Bible: Badminton Doubles Tactics
- Badminton Skills and Rules; Sunil Kumar