The first time I went miniature golfing, I lined up the ball, gripped the club -- and sent the pitted orb flying across the street. Turns out, there should have been a little finesse involved. The same is true of badminton. Becoming a force to be reckoned with on the badminton court requires mastery, not brute strength, and these three forehand shots are a good place to start.
- Lobs. Considered one of the most important shots of the game, a lob sends a shuttle high into the air, where it follows an arc that drops steeply to the back of an opponent's court near the boundary line. This shot is sometimes known as a "badminton clear."
- Drops. A drop shot doesn't attain the height of lob, but drops steeply to the front of an opponent's court near the net.
- Smash. As the name suggests, this stroke requires a racket to come from behind the back and over the head so it can "smash" into the shuttle. It works best when a player makes this shot close to the net, as opposed to the back of the court. It's the badminton equivalent to a "spike" in volleyball [source: How to Play Badminton].
You'll also want understand the moves that could put you at fault, which means you either lose the serve or lose a point. Here are some common mistakes:
- Touching the lines. Keep your feet off the lines, whether you're serving or receiving.
- Delaying the serve. While the adage "a bird in the hand" may run through your mind as you prepare to hit the birdie, don't let it keep you from swinging. If you take more than five seconds, you could be deemed at fault. However, you can vary the amount of time you hold your serve -- and this could keep your opponent guessing.
- Hitting the net. Coming into contact with the net -- either with your racquet or person -- is against the rules [source: Hopley].
It seems like there's a lot to learn, but people have been playing backyard badminton for centuries. Before long, you may feel like a pro, too, if only at your family reunions.