What are the two types of serves in badminton/shuttlecock?


Each and every badminton rally begins with a serve. When done correctly, the services can pave the way to victory. A weak serve, on the other hand, can be severely punished by the receiving team, leaving the serving team in disarray and trailing by one point.

It should make no difference if your opponent is fast, strong, or pressures the short service line – the serve is the one-shot over which a badminton player has complete control, as he or she can dictate the speed, angle, and type of serve to execute. Every situation requires a different type and variation of serve. Ignore the player and focus on perfecting your own service game.

badminton serve

Let’s learn about the two types of serves in badminton.


What exactly is a low serve?

A low serve, also known as a short serve, is a serve that barely clears the net and lands near the short service line. When done correctly, it prevents the opponent from attacking and limits the type of shots on the service return. After crossing the net, a perfect short serve will immediately begin dropping in a downward flight path and continue to just land across the short service line, forcing opponents to lift the shuttle if they wait too long before returning the serve.

When should a low serve be used?

Because the service area in doubles is smaller than in singles, it is more difficult to maximise the benefits of a high serve. A well-executed low serve will limit the receiving team’s range of motion and shot selection on the return of serve. A low serve, particularly against tall or aggressive players, denies them the ability to deliver an overwhelming attack on the serve because the serve is kept tight and just barely above the net.

Because many of the top players can respond to high serves with a devastating jump smash, the low serve has gained popularity in men’s singles at the professional level of play.

Why would you want to use a low serve?

In doubles, a low serve should be the default for the serving team because it keeps them from playing defensively automatically. A perfectly executed low serve will prevent the receiving team from smashing the shuttle, as the shuttle’s height and placement will only allow for a push or drive at best.

Use the low serve to maintain a neutral or offensive rally position. A tight low serve that just crosses the top of the net and begins to drop in its path to the short service line may force the receiver to lift, allowing the serving team to convert the lift into an offensive opportunity.

Badminton skills

A low serve also prevents the opponent from responding to a high serve with a powerful smash in singles. Because the receiver starts further away from the short service line in singles than in doubles, the target area for short serves is more forgiving.

High-quality service

What exactly is a high serve?

A high serve, also known as a long serve, is one that travels high and deep into the receiver’s back court, aiming for the corner farthest away from the server. A high serve should have the arc of a deep lift shot, with the shuttle reaching a high peak towards the back of the receiver’s court before dropping sharply near the back service boundary.

The high serve is the only one of the four types covered in this post that should be performed solely with the forehand grip. To execute a proper high serve with the proper height and distance, significant energy transfer is required, which is most efficiently accomplished through a full swing. Power is transferred into the serve by rotating the body and shifting the server’s weight from the back foot to the front foot. It is unusual for a player to have exceptional wrist strength to deliver a backhand high serve that reaches the same height and distance as a forehand high serve.

When should a high serve be used?

A high serve is most commonly seen in singles play, particularly in women’s singles. A well-executed high serve to the farthest corner from the server places the opponent near the edge of their back court. This target destination necessitates that the receiver expend a significant amount of energy in order to produce an adequate return.

When the opponent lacks the strength or skills to easily return a proper high serve, a high serve should be used. What we mean is that a high serve should not be used for tall or strong players who can efficiently get behind the shuttle and deliver an overwhelming return. The goal is to force the opponent to work for a good execution or settle for a mediocre response that you can exploit.

When it comes to singles, our advice is to choose a high serve when the amount of energy your opponent must expend in returning a high serve outweighs the risk of losing a point due to your opponent’s ability to execute a winning service return.

In doubles, you should never use a high serve. This is because of two (2) major reasons:

  1. It’s all about seizing and maintaining the offensive in doubles. A high serve immediately puts the serving team on the defensive. Furthermore, the service area in doubles is smaller than in singles, giving the receiving team an additional advantage for a shorter-distanced smash.
  1. A high serve necessitates a large swing, which eliminates any element of surprise because the only serve you will be able to deliver is the high serve.

Why would you want to use a high serve?

Pushing your opponents to the far corner of the receiving area puts a lot of pressure on them to expend a lot of energy to execute a proper return, especially if they choose to respond to the high serve with a good clear or a strong smash. Pushing them to the far corner may limit the angles from which your opponent can return the high serve, allowing the server to focus on shots from the corner rather than the flexibility of shots from a high serve down the middle line.

In singles, opponents who are drawn to the back edge of their court have a disadvantage because there is a lot more open area for them to cover. Most singles players will not choose to return a high serve with a backhand shot because their backhand is weaker. This forces the receiver to take a couple of extra steps outside the sidelines in order to strike the shuttle with their forehand. The high serve to the back corner of the receiving area places the receiver in a position where they must take the most steps to physically return to the centre of their court – depleting their energy supply!

Service advice

Experiment with changing the angle of the serve. 

It is critical to avoid being predictable by your opponents if you want to have a strong service game. If you only serve to the same location for a low serve, your opponents will notice and may gravitate towards that location, even intercepting the serve early on to put the server on the defensive. From the T to the outer doubles side lines, construct the various targets for your service.

Learn to be a master of disguise. 

From the receiver’s perspective, the default low serve and two offensive serves (flick serve and drive serve) should all look and feel the same. The deception and maximum effectiveness are determined by how well you can fool your opponents. If you keep your opponents on their toes, they will play more conservatively, giving the serving team an advantage. If, on the other hand, the receiving team ignores the warnings and presses the short service line, you can overtake them with an out-of-reach flick serve or a quick drive serve.