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Deciding What Event to Play in Badminton

Many badminton players struggle with deciding what event to play. Some choose to stay in their comfort zone, while others select the event at which they’re most skilled. As a player who has little competitive experience, you should not be afraid to try different events. This doesn’t mean playing one or two singles games, but actually focusing your efforts on enjoying and improving yourself. This guide will detail some valuable attributes to have for each event. But remember, there is absolutely nothing stopping you from trying it all.

Singles

Although singles is played at a slower pace than doubles, it is a much more grueling event. Singles requires excellent footwork, stamina, and determination. Covering an entire court by yourself is not an easy task, and you must do it with efficiency. This is where having impeccable footwork technique is absolutely critical. If you cannot play at your peak for three whole games, then you’re essentially forfeiting any matches where you split. On that same note, there are no breaks during a singles rally because you are responsible for every shot that comes over the net. Below are some attributes that can be especially beneficial for singles players:

  • Excellent footwork technique
  • Consistent shot execution
  • Solid short and long serve
  • Exceptional stamina
  • Never-say-die attitude

Of all of these attributes, attitude is easily the most important and unique to singles. As the lone person on your team, only you are able to get yourself out of a mental or physical funk. Maintaining a positive attitude while being able to think clearly are valuable assets to have during a singles match. If you’ve already given up in your head, then your body will reflect a similar losing attitude, which practically guarantees you a loss. If determination and perseverance are your strong suits, then singles is certainly worth a shot.

Doubles

Doubles play is normally very offense-oriented, which makes it a great choice for aggressive, hard-hitting players. The rallies are usually paced by powerful smashes and quick drives. This sort of exchange favors players with fast reactions and superior hand-eye coordination. Here are some attributes that are particularly useful for doubles players:

  • Quick reactions
  • Strong smash and smash returns
  • Excellent shot placement
  • Proper doubles rotation technique
  • Precise backhand service

Knowing doubles rotation is completely different from knowing how to do footwork. Although footwork is necessary to carry out doubles rotation, knowing where and when to go is key to being an adequate doubles player. Incorrect rotation will likely lose your team a point every time. As part of a two-person team you are basically responsible for half of the court at all times. This means you must be in proper position to cover your half while your partner is doing the same. Fortunately, doubles rotation is a fairly easy skill to learn and refine, if yours needs improvement.

Mixed Doubles

Mixed doubles can be tricky to define because there are many styles that mixed players can play, and they require fairly specific skill sets. For simplicity’s sake, traditional mixed style will serve as the example for mixed doubles. Here, the female partner mostly plays in the front while the male partner plays in the back. This is an offensive formation that leaves a traditional mixed team vulnerable to half-court shots on the side. As such, it’s especially important for mixed players to be able drive and drop well in order to set themselves up for a big smash or an easy net kill. These characteristics are well-suited for mixed players:

  • Quick reactions
  • Excellent drives and drops
  • Decent placement
  • Attacking mentality
  • Reliable short and long backhand serve

Having the option of hitting a short or long backhand serve can make mixed games much easier. A majority of mixed teams play in a traditional mixed formation. Knowing this, you can push each player out of position by serving long to the female partner and short to the male. By forcing players to play out of position, they will likely hit poor returns simply because they are unaccustomed to it.

Try Before You Decide

Although most players have tendencies to naturally excel at one event or another, remember that you are not restricted to playing only one. Tournaments typically allow players to sign up for up to three events as long as they are eligible. This means if you really can’t decide, you should experiment with each event before dismissing it. Also, by playing all of the events, you will naturally become a more balanced player with fewer weaknesses. Even if you already excel at one event, there is nothing stopping you from excelling at all of them.

You're making the leap into competitive badminton, but you're not sure what event to play. This guide will help you decide which event and flight is best for you.
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