Badminton is a sport where there are four different ways in which a player can serve. The player may choose to play these four serves with or without the inculcation of spin on the shuttle. These four types of serves are: low serve, high serve, flick serve and drive serve.
An effective return of serve puts the returner in the driver’s seat. However, the effectiveness of each return depends on how each of the four types of serves was tackled. Let us take a look at how a return of serve is made in badminton.
The low serve results in the shuttle landing near the short service line. Such a serve can be tackled by two options. The first is a net lift. This shot results in a high return of serve that lands at the back of the court of the opponent. This approach gives the returner enough time to take control of court positioning but at the same time allows the server to respond with a high velocity shot.
Another approach is by hitting a net shot or a drop shot. This allows the returner to control the point earlier than expected. However, the key step in this approach is to have a quick footwork wherein the returner can get back to the centre of the court.
A high serve allows the returner ample time to ponder upon his or her choices of return. A high serve is usually made with the intention to force the returner to hit a powerful shot at a time when the match has already exhausted him or her. Three choices exist for such a serve. The first is to hit back a power shot or a smash. However, this will draw immense energy out of the returner.
The returner can also choose to hit a drop shot. However, considering that the returner himself is at the back of the court, this might backfire in a way that the server responds with a net kill. The safest approach is to hit a clear shot. This shot is the badminton version of tennis’ percentage shot. It is simply meant to put the returner further back, thereby allowing the returner to some time to anticipate the next shot.
Considering that this is the quickest of serves with a considerable depth, there is only one approach to a flick serve. This approach requires the player to jump after moving a few steps back and then effectively targeting the back of the court of the opponent.
A drive serve is opted for when the returner is least expecting it. In such a case where the shuttle is targeted at the returner’s body, the response is also a flat drive or a flat smash. This shot must be targeted towards the open end of the court. If the drive serve is a bit high, then an overhead smash can be attempted.
These are some of the most standard ways to return a serve in badminton.