Badminton Doubles

Badminton doubles is perhaps the most enjoyable part of badminton, whether watching or playing. Playing badminton doubles involves much more than just the individual player's techniques or physical abilities. How well you and your partner work together can mean the difference between winning or losing. In the next sections, learn how to play badminton doubles and badminton mixed doubles with better strategies, tactics, techniques, and teamwork.

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Badminton Doubles Formations

Before diving into more advanced topics such as strategies and tactics, we must first understand basic badminton doubles formations. There are two basic formations during play; defensive formation and attacking formation. As the names suggest, the defensive formation is best used in a defending situation and the attacking formation is best used in an attacking situation. Before play begins, we also need to know where to position ourselves for the serve and for receiving a serve. There are two basic badminton formations during service; service formation and service-return formation. In later sections, we will discuss how to rotate and transition in and out of these formations, but for now, let's see how the positioning works.

Badminton Formations For Attacking And Defending

Badminton Doubles Formation for Defending
Figure B. Badminton Doubles Formation: Defensive Side-Side
Badminton Doubles Formation for Attacking
Figure A. Badminton Doubles Formation: Offensive Front-Back

For the attacking badminton formation (Figure A), one player is in the rear court and one player is in the forecourt. The rear court player is the primary attacker, while the forecourt player covers and controls the net. Note that for badminton mixed doubles, it is generally preferred that male player take the rear court position with the female player at the net. For the defensive badminton formation (Figure B), one player is on the left half of the court and the other player on the right half of the court. Each player is generally responsible for defending their half of the badminton court. But as a team, you should be covering your partner when he or she is out of position.

Novice players tend to make the mistake of staying on their side of the court even when their partner is under pressure. They end up just standing there watching as their partner gets assaulted by the opponents. If that sounds familar, here's how to help the partner. Imagine that there is rope attached to your waist and your partner's waist. When one player moves, the other should naturally follow. For example, if one player is returning a corner net shot, the partner should follow to help maximize court courage. You and your partner are linked by an invisible rope, pressing forward together, retreating together, and moving laterally together. This is how partner chemistry is developed in badminton doubles.

In the following badminton doubles training video, Coach Chen Weihua discusses and demonstrates badminton doubles formations for attacking and defending. He also goes over the invisible rope concept.

Badminton Formations For Serving and Service-Return

Badminton Formation for Serving Odd-Score
Figure D. Badminton Doubles Formation: Serving Odd-Score
Badminton Formation for Serving Even-Score
Figure C. Badminton Doubles Formation: Serving Even-Score

There are two scoring systems in badminton, the old 15-point system and the new 21-point rally-scoring system. Since the 15-point system is no longer used, we will be referencing the 21-point system from here on. Rally-scoring means that one team will score a point in each play/rally. When your team's score is even (0, 2, 4, etc), you serve from the right side of the court and conversely, service takes place on the left side of the court with an odd score.

Figures C and D shows the service formation for the even and odd side of the court, respectively. The distinction in positioning is quite minimal here. Notice that the rear court player (blue) is positioned either slightly more to the left or to the right side of the court. The reasoning is along the lines of the "invisible rope" concept introduced in the previous section; to maximize court coverage. The service player's (red) positioning is pretty much the same on either side of the court. The service player should try to be as close to the middle T-spot as possible. This minimizes the distance that the shuttle has to travel, hence a faster serve is possible.

Badminton Formation for Service Return Odd-Score
Figure F. Badminton Doubles Formation: Service-Return Odd-Score
Badminton Formation for Service Return Even-Score
Figure E. Badminton Doubles Formation: Service-Return Even-Score

Figures E and F shows the service-return formation for the even and odd side of the court, respectively. For service-return, there is a more subtle distinction depending on which side of the court you are on. On the even-score side, the service-return player (red) is closer to the middle T-spot, while on the odd-score side, the player is closer to the left edge of the court. This is assuming that the player is right-handed, the positioning is obviously reversed for a left-handed player. The reasoning for the difference is that on the even-score side, you can reach the rear right corner and use your forehand shot. But for the odd-score side, if you had stood near the T-spot, it is very difficult to reach the rear left corner.

It is important that to keep in mind that these formations are for general reference and not set in stone. Your team's playing style and your opponents' style affects your positioning choices. Depending on your opponent's service-return positioning habits, adjust your own service positioning and the height and angles of your serve. Likewise, depending on your opponent's serving habits, adjust your return positioning i.e. stand more towards a certain side or more towards the front or back. As you gain more experience in your badminton game, you will likely to make adjustments that fits your team's style of play.

In the following badminton doubles training video, Coach Chen Weihua discusses and demonstrates badminton doubles formations for service and service-return. He also shows a one-move variation immediately after serving.

Badminton Doubles Strategies

In the meantime, check out the Badminton Doubles Videos section.

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