Mastering the Net Shot: Common Mistakes to Avoid in Badminton

The net shot in Badminton is a crucial skill to learn. Is it most played in singles but it has its uses in doubles as well. The key point of the net shot is to force the opponent to lift so that you can dictate the pace of the rally. Control of the net is a fundamental tactical approach to dominating your opponent from amateur levels right up to the professionals. The net shot is a delicate maneuver that requires finesse and accuracy. However, even seasoned players often find themselves making mistakes that can cost them points.

Being Too Close To The Net

You don’t need to be so close to the net to play a net shot. Only your racket needs to be. When you’re too close, your arm becomes more bent at the elbow when trying to play the shot which creates tension in the arm and wrist. This makes it difficult to play with finesse. A good net shot requires a relaxed grip so you can guide the shuttle rather than force it.

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In addition, the closer your body is to the net, the more space you’ve left in the court behind you. This means that reacting to a lift means you have more court space to cover. See the above video by Badminton Famly. You can see Thomas Laybourn’s racket is closest to the net and his arm is outstretched to take the shuttle early. His body is not cramped up to the net, giving him space to retreat to the rear court and also to react to cross-court net shots. So remember that only your racket needs to be close to the net, not every part of you!

Your Body Is Not Aligned/In Balance

Importantly, the net shot requires balance, like all badminton shots. Balance equals control. You should play the shuttle once your foot lands in the lunge, which gives you the stability you need to play a better-quality net shot. Playing it before your leg lands doesn’t provide a foundation to play it accurately. The lunge should not be too deep in that you are fully stretched. It should be a comfortable step forward.

The upper and lower body should be aligned, not leaning forward or backward. The non-racket arm is stretched out behind you to provide a counterbalance to your racket arm. If you find your arm or upper body stretching for the shuttle, rather than being comfortably within arm’s reach, chances are your net shot is going to be subpar. Reaching forward implies that your upper body is moving ahead of your lower body, therefore distorting your center of gravity. The weight or momentum of your upper body is falling over your lower body, pulling you off balance. Keeping your whole body in line when playing a net shot, keeps you more stable, allowing more control over your net shot.

Gripping The Racket Too Hard

A net shot shouldn’t bounce off your racket. Rather you should guide the shuttle over the net. In this respect, holding the racket too tight will cause the shuttle to “bounce” off the string bed, making it harder to control. When you grip too hard there’s a lot of tension in your arm which loses the feel of the shuttle.

Instead, you should keep your grip loose on the racket. This will create more of a feel for the shuttle as you play the shot. Think of it as gently caressing the shuttle over the net, rather than hitting it over the net.

Taking The Shuttle Too Low

A common error of many players is that they take the shuttle too low below net height thinking the trajectory of their shot will result in the shuttle crossing the net at just the right height. However, in theory, the net shot should be played at net height, not below it. Remember the shuttle should be caressed over the net, not bounce or played significantly upwards.

This has a couple of advantages. Firstly taking the shuttle at net height means you are less likely to make an error because the shuttle is already at the right height to cross the net. So you’re less likely to play into the net. Secondly, it means you’re early to the shuttle and therefore the shuttle will fall below net height sooner. As a result, you can commit to the net to potentially kill off a net return. They will be taking the shuttle lower, giving you more time to see the trajectory of it.

mastering the net shot common mistakes to avoid in badminton
Photo: Antony Stanley

In reality, you won’t always be able to take the shuttle at net height due to the pressures of the rally. Particularly in singles. In some instances it will be just below net height, in others it might be almost towards the floor. The lower it is, the less control you have over the shot and the more time you give your opponent to read the shot. The idea of taking the shuttle at net height is to encourage you to get to the shuttle as early as possible. Therefore, players should strive for this, rather than taking the shuttle low. Taking the shuttle too low also makes it difficult to impart spin on the shuttle, making it easier for the opponent to return.

Playing The Net Shot Using One Technique

There’s more than one way to play a net shot! For example, in doubles, the racket is more horizontal whereas the singles net shot is usually angled more downward. This is for specific reasons we can go into in a more in-depth article later. Likewise, there’s more than one way to impart spin on the shuttle. Rather than go into too much cumbersome detail here, Badminton Insight did a very useful video on some of the net shots available to players below.

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Gregg & Jenny Show Us Different Types Of Net Shot In Badminton

Playing Too Many Cross-courts

The cross-court net shot is a crowd-pleaser. But it’s a technically difficult shot to play and doesn’t always put you in the best position. It can be a winner, a great building shot, or put you in trouble. You’re also more likely to make an unforced error on such a shot. Many players are not technically sound enough to play this shot yet they continue to do so, making maybe one out of five. This is four points lost which you can ill afford in a match.

It’s a great weapon to have in your arsenal and can put players under a lot of pressure if played at the right time. However, it should not be played all the time. The basics and foundational badminton should form the majority of your game and these shots should be used sparingly.


Mastering the net shot in badminton requires a combination of technical skill, strategic thinking, and continuous practice. By addressing and rectifying these common mistakes, players can significantly improve their net shot proficiency, adding a valuable weapon to their arsenal on the court. Dedicate time to focused training, work closely with your coach, and remain patient as you refine your technique. With dedication and a commitment to improvement, you’ll find yourself dominating the net and gaining a competitive edge in your badminton matches.

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