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Returning a service in badminton is an effective tool in making sure a rally lasts a long time and your doubles team stays in any game.
When we look at the sport of badminton, we often look at the professional players in the world as doing the things we want to do on the court.
However, when you are looking at professional players, you are often not considering the hours of practice that are completed each day to keep these players at the top of their game.
Unless you are willing to give up your everyday life to pursue your badminton dream, you should look at the sport differently.
Playing as a doubles partner who is comfortable with their ability to return serves in your way will serve you well in any game situation.
How to return serve in badminton doubles
Get in the correct court position
When you talk about how to return serve in badminton doubles, you are usually thinking about where you stand on the court.
As with most of the aspects of badminton doubles, you will probably start with a look at some professional players and how they go about their service return techniques.
The position the majority of badminton professionals get themselves into when they are waiting to return service in a doubles match is standing in front of their partner close to the center of the court at the edge of their service box.
The correct position for any service return in doubles is a personal choice with your skills and experience making it easy for you to move backward and forward with the services you face.
The professional players we see on the TV and in online videos are preparing themselves to return a service that is hit just over the net to be returned from a low position.
The position at the “T” at the center of the court is designed to allow you to answer the question of how to return a high serve in badminton?
Positioning yourself at the front of the service box allows you to cover any high serve that may be struck by your opponent.
Obtain the correct body position
Your position at the front of the service box is a personal choice depending on your comfort levels in moving backward to defend a high serve.
One of the aspects of the service return that you will not want to alter is the way you stand when you are about to return a service.
The position you need to get your body into is with your non-racket foot forward of your racket foot with your shoulders moving forward towards the net.
If you choose to stand at the front of your service box, you are expecting your opponent to dink their service over the net keeping you moving forward towards the shuttlecock.
If your opponent plays a high service that passes over your head, you should have your feet balanced so you can move backward and forward as needed to complete your return.
The correct racket position
Now you have your feet and body in the correct position, you will want to make sure you position your racket in the right location.
When you are considering where your racket should be positioned when you are about to return a serve in doubles match you should consider what your aim is in hitting your return.
The aim of your return should be to bring the point to an end in a single shot and limit the number of shots you have to rely on your partner to play.
When you are waiting for the server to strike their shot, you should lift your racket up above the height of the net to make sure you have a chance to play a point-ending return of service.
If you have your racket lifted above the top of the net you will have the chance to bring your racket down when you hit the shuttlecock back towards the server.
When you are leaning your body forward into the shot you are about to play, you can bring your weight forward through your return to make sure you can play your return in a downward trajectory to make life difficult for your opponent.
The main reason why you will want to lift your racket above the height of the net is you will be struggling to change your racket position when you have it low down and you need to quickly alter the position of your racket to play an aggressive shot.
If you await your return with your racket in a low position below the height of the net, you will find yourself in a difficult position throughout the rally because the advantage has already been surrendered to your opponent.
When your opponent plays their serve and your racket is low, the chances are you will have to play the shuttlecock upwards to bring it higher than you wanted and surrender the advantage to your opponent.
Where to return a service
Once you have got your body in the correct position and feel comfortable with the location of your racket, you can take a look at where you should aim your return.
In a doubles match, there is little room for error with your return because your opponents will have much of the court covered.
At this point, you need to develop a strategy for returning serve to make sure you have the chance to win the point quickly.
No matter how much confidence you have in your playing partner, you will want to locate your return in an area of the court that you control.
Firstly, you can look to return directly towards the body of the server to limit their chances of playing a free shot with full arm extension.
If this shot is played quickly, you will see the server move out of the way of the shuttlecock and leave their partner to play the next shot.
The advantage you gain is when your return is obscured and neither opponent can react in time.
Another return option you will want to practice is the return into the corner of your opponent’s court to make sure you drive your opponent back as far as possible early in the rally.
The most common serving technique is to stand centrally with your doubles partner behind you.
If you return to one of the two sides of the court, you will find yourself pushing your opponents onto their back foot and playing an upward shot you may be able to take advantage of with your next shot.
Vary your shots
One of the mistakes many badminton players make when they are learning the game is to stick to playing their favorite return.
The history of the game is littered with players who did not vary their shots and paid the price in lost matches.
If you do not vary your returns or consider how to return a high serve in badminton doubles, you will be open to the server making it difficult for you to hit your favorite shot.
However, when you have learned how to return serve in badminton doubles, you will know that a delicate drop shot for one serve followed by a powerful smash for the next will make all the difference in keeping your opponents on their toes.