Mistakes All Amateur Badminton Players Make

mistakes all amateur badminton players make
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Amateur badminton players and beginners are often fraught with many issues with their game. Who can blame them? I mean if you try something new you’re bound to be pretty bad at it initially, no matter how talented you might be. However what is important is to be patient with them, particularly if you’re playing with them. You were that person once, and presumably, someone motivated you or at least didn’t sink your spirits while you were learning. So you should do the same for others.

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An Amateur Badminton Player Takes on Taufik!

But it’s not just beginners who make these mistakes. It’s common for many amateur badminton players to make similar errors in their game.

That being said – here are a few mistakes and bad habits that beginners or even intermediate badminton players have.

Watch The Shuttle After Playing Your Shot

Everyone has done this. Even the professionals on occasion. When you’re an amateur you have a tendency to admire your shot. Your focus is on the shuttle and where it’s going. But you really should be focused on your next shot. Remember, no matter how good your shot is – until it hits the ground the rally is still going.

If you do this, you can find yourself out of position. Remember after your shot, you should always recover to a suitable base position. Failing to do so will delay your next shot and force you to play a weaker shot. For a beginner, a weaker shot is literally a weaker shot as they lack the technical skills to play harder shots to get them out of trouble.

For an intermediate player or slightly more advanced player, stopping to admire their shot could give away the advantageous position they might have been in, giving the initiative to the opponent. No matter how nice your shot is, it will be for nothing if you can’t capitalize on it. There is always a chance it will come back, so you need to be ready!

Not Taking The Shuttle Early/At The Highest Point

This is probably the first thing I was told when learning to clear. Hitting the shuttle early is perhaps one of the most important elements of playing badminton at a higher level. I have a separate post that goes into more detail here. In summary:

  • Hitting the shuttle at the highest point gives you many more shot options than if you let the shuttle fall too low. This creates a natural deception
  • A higher contact point also means that you can play steeper angles and a wider variety of angles on attacking shots such as drop shots and smashes.
  • Gives the opponent less time as you’re taking the shuttle as early as possible.
  • Being early to the shuttle also means that you can be in balance for your shot.

What often happens with beginners and intermediate players is that they wait for the shuttle to come to them, rather than move toward it. This severely limits your ability to play efficient and effective attacking badminton. The more you’re able to take your shots early, the more likely it is you are able to gain the initiative, assuming all other things equal.

Smashing Everything

Now here’s the thing. When you play other beginners or weaker players, your smash might be enough to win you points, but playing against stronger players, that smash becomes much less effective. You have probably learned that along the way at some point and your first thought is how to develop a stronger smash. This is a different topic entirely and although it’s not a goal to be looked down upon, it’s also not the best solution for a beginner.

Smashing everything is exhausting, especially if you’re playing singles. Having to cover the court while at the same time trying to attack every shuttle that comes your way is guaranteed to leave you a heap on the floor after the first 5 points. In doubles, it’s a different story because consistent aggressive attacking play is the key to winning points. However, even in doubles smashing all the time as an amateur has significant drawbacks.

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An Amateur Badminton Player Smashes Against A Stronger Player

I know what you’re thinking. “But when I watch doubles they smash it all the time.” Yes, you’re right they do. They are also highly conditioned athletes training specifically on their overall fitness to be able to do that. And as someone just starting out or technically not as strong, there are other ways to win besides trying to hit through the player.

Have you ever played someone so good they don’t smash at all and still manage to beat you? You’re exhausted but they seem like they haven’t even moved. It’s because they’re technically better in the basic foundation of the sport. They know how to move, where to put the shuttle, and how to play certain shots. Smashing as much as you can not only lead to you becoming a less effective player through exhaustion but also potential injury. Learning the basics of the sport will help you much better in the long run.

Buying The Wrong Racket

People buy the latest rackets, the most expensive shoes, branded socks, tracksuits, etc. If you can afford it, I’m not here to tell you not to! But you don’t have to.

Big badminton brands such as Yonex or Victor sponsor major tournaments throughout the tour and as such become etched in everyone’s mind that they are the best providers of badminton equipment. While there’s no doubt they provide great quality badminton equipment and clothing, you do not need the top-of-the-line stuff as a beginner. Any mid-priced racket is more than enough for the average amateur player.

More importantly, particularly as a player, you want to pay more attention to the specifications of the rackets rather than the brand or how it looks. In general, a lower-level player will require a more flexible racket with an even balance. This helps to provide more power at this level. Stiffer rackets provide less flex in the shaft and any player not technically astute is likely to injure themselves as they try to force power in their shot. As you become more competent at the sport, you can start to look into a racket that better compliments you and your game style.

I remember in particular a few years ago, players who were not technically strong buying Lin Dan’s Li Ning N90 & N90II badminton rackets which were both extremely stiff but because they had Lin Dan’s name tied to it, people bought them. However, they found out that for many of them it was simply too stiff, too heavy, and didn’t complement their game at all.

Stringing Too Tight

Many amateur badminton players simply play with strings that are too tight. There is a common misconception that tighter is better. What makes it better? Well, the majority of misinformed players know that professional players play with higher tensions and therefore it must be better! However, this is not the case. If you would like to know more about this I have a whole in-depth post about it here.

It’s not black and white but generally, a lower string tension will provide more power and a higher string tension will provide more control. A beginner or lower-level player would benefit much more from having lower string tensions as it will help them generate more power in their shot.

Professional players play with high string tensions not because it provides more power but rather more control. Because these players have such good technique they can generate a lot of power with this alone. However, what the tighter tension does offer these players is slightly more control over their shots. This is not going to be a major game changer but at the highest level, the smallest percentages matter.

Don’t get me wrong though! You’re not going to be hitting rockets just because of a lower string tension or have immediately more control because of a higher one. Your game is made up of (just picking an arbitrary number here) 98% of your technical skill. The other 2% is the equipment you choose to play with.

Your technical skills are what allow you to create more power and have more control of the shuttle. The 2% simply compliments your existing skills. But it’s the overall impact on your game is marginal.

Playing The Wrong Tactics Or Not Playing Them At All

Obviously, a new player in badminton is going to have little to zero knowledge of tactical play. However, you don’t have to be an expert in tactics to be able to employ some basic strategies.

Many players initially try and smash the shuttle as hard as possible as their main tactic. At very low levels this might work as players may lack the coordination and reaction time to return even a mediocre smash. However, they will be able to return that kind of smash once they’ve adjusted to them.

A very basic tactic, which is used right up to the professional level is to exploit the opponent’s weaknesses. Now as an amateur player there are obviously many more weaknesses than higher-level players.

Here are a couple of basic strategies you can use:

  • Target the opponent’s backhand as most amateurs’ backhands are very weak.
  • Make the opponent move – many amateur players lack the footwork to cover the court efficiently which will drain their energy.
  • If it’s a beginner level simply play safe shots, even if it’s boring. Something like clearing it is guaranteed to clear the net at least, whereas your opponent may try to smash constantly but lack the control to get the shuttle into the court, or the power/accuracy to play it past you.

Ironically the basic idea of winning at the lowest level and the highest level is the same. Don’t make a mistake. It’s the skill level that changes.


It’s common to make the above mistakes! Every badminton player has done it at some point. All amateur badminton players at different levels may continue to make these mistakes as they develop their skills which will eventually hinder them from eventually progressing in their game. The important thing is to recognize when you’ve made these errors and take action to correct them to become a better player.

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