Excerpt from the Journal of Badminton Association of England, by Nora Perry.
Strategy in receiving the serve in badminton
CHANGE is the name of the game. Vary your return as much as possible. Meet the serve as quickly as possible by moving forward and hitting crisply – the object being to contact the shuttle before it falls below the TAPE.
A body fake to the left or right, and a push return of the shuttle to midcourt in the alley opposite, may cause the server to be a screen, and then slow up the backcourt player’s return or force an error.
You can actually force your opponents into an invited return. By this, I mean deliberately push the serve deep cross-court to the opponent’s forehand, keeping the racket up, ready to drive the invited return cross-court shot hard and flat down the sideline, out of reach of the next player.
If you are able to meet the serve early, a net return should not be discounted as quite often, the server is ready with racket up to try and cut off any lifts to their partner.
These should be returned as close to the net as possible using as much variation as possible.
The flick in badminton
On receiving the flick, an attacking shot is the one you should try for (smash, fast-drop, half smash). Thos shots will keep your partnership on the attach and also let your partner know where they should be, i.e. in the forecourt. A smash or attacking show to the centre of the court will cut down on a fast cross-court return or the shuttle being “whipped” past your partner at the net.
I am sure we have all watched our partners put in the straight smash from a flick-serve only to watch it go past the net player twice as fast – I am no exception!
If you find you are having to deal with a well-disguised flick and can only clear then make sure you give it lots of height. The more time your opponents have, the more they can be prone to error!
The strategy in my return of serve is based on players of similar standard – if you are playing with someone weaker then obviously you will be well aware of the weaknesses to play to.
About Nora Perry
Nora Perry reigned supreme on the English and international badminton courts for over a decade. She excelled in both women’s and mixed doubles with over 75 international titles in individual competition. She is mostly remembered for being the only British player to have won two World Championships titles.
In 1999, she was inducted into the IBF Hall of Fame and given a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire award by the Queen of England in 1984 for her services in badminton. She was elected as a BWF Council member in 2009.
With over 42 titles in mixed doubles alone, Nora Perry and her net play is regarded as one of the very best in the history of the game. Years later, Nora shared her secret to success. “Even at the net, I use a lot of deception. To that end, I do a lot of wrist-roll exercises so I can now hold shots and play fast attacking lobs and clears as well as split-second deflections,” confided Perry.
After her playing career, Nora Perry continued to contribute to her sport. She first took up coaching for England at the Uber Cup campaign and then acted as a selector for the English Badminton Association.
At the height of her career, Queen Elizabeth II honoured Nora Perry with a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) award for services to badminton. Nora Perry was elected in 2009 to the Badminton World Federation Council and has actively participated in the creation of the BWF Women in Badminton Commission. She was elected Vice President of Badminton England in 2014 and is currently in charge of the Badminton Development Programme at the Davenant Foundation School in Essex, England.