How to keep serve low (doubles) when opponent is at the service line
It can definitely be intimidating to play against, but there are a few ways to deal with it.
Of the players that toe the line, there is a subset of players that do so to try and provoke a flick. Against these players, playing a short serve is usually pretty safe, because they are mentally expecting a flick. What often happens is that they toe the line and look aggressive, but then when you play the short serve, you can see them move their bodyweight backwards before realising you played a short serve and then they will take it low and be forced to lift. If a player usually has a more neutral stance and they suddenly start taking an aggressive posture, it is more likely that they are ready for the flick.
If players are always toeing the line, then you first need to find out if they are generally ready for the flick. Some players are so single minded in attacking the short serve that they will be in serious trouble if you flick. Some players will be back in time, but won’t be able to do anything dangerous. Some players are ready for everything and fast enough to smash it from the back if you give them a flick.
When you are facing someone who is ready for everything, you can try to vary the direction of your serve. This could throw off someone who is expecting the shot in a specific place. Another more risky option is a drive serve. You have to have practiced this to attempt it, and even then it won’t work against players that are ready for it, but players that toe the line will have very little time to react to it, and it could result in scoring some free points. But if they are not caught off guard, you probably lost the point.
Still those variations won’t help once your opponents adapt to them. In the end it is simply about having confidence in your short serve and being able to keep nerves under control.
You can remind yourself that even if they know you will play a short serve, and even if they hit it as early as possible, your serve is good enough and they won’t be able attack it effectively.
You can remind yourself that even if they kill 1 or 2 of your serves, those were outliers. Even the best in the world sometimes play a bad serve, but now it’s back to business. You know your serve is good enough, so lets continue.
Now this next viewpoint may not work for everyone, but it helps me alleviate mental pressure and nerves.
While you are playing a match, the score and the outcome of that match feels very important, but it isn’t. This is just one game, one match, and in your badminton history and for your future happiness, this game is insignificant. It doesn’t matter if you win or lose here. You have won games before and you have lost games before. And before long, this specific game you will have likely forgotten. So no need to worry about it.
Let’s still try and win though