Advanced Lifting Tactics and Practices - Take Your Game To The Next Level!

There are three types of lifts in badminton: a flat lift, high lift and ‘regular’ height lift. The flat and high lift are more advanced, and is what we’re going to cover in this blog post!

A flat lift can quickly move your opponent, create counter attacking opportunities and is played with a short hitting action.

The high lift can reset the rally when you are under pressure and is played using a longer swing to hit the shuttle with extra height and power.

💡 Both the flat lift and the high lift can be used in singles and doubles.

We’ll now cover how to play the two advanced lifts, why you should play them, and the tactics of what to do after playing it.

Flat Lift Shot

When should you play the flat lift?
  • You should only really hit this type of lift when you’re striking the shuttle early (around the height of the net tape) or when there’s space on the court and your opponent won’t easily be able to hit it on-balance.
  • You can use this lift to put your opponent’s movement and speed under pressure.


  • Often, the most likely reply from a flat lift is a hard shot so you might even want to entice your opponents into playing a hard shot so you can counter attack!


  • Flat lifts are more commonly used with fast shuttles as it’s easier to control and your opponents are less able to hit a steep angled shot from your lift, meaning their smashes are more likely to fly out the back of the court!

Technique for the flat lift

You should use a forehand grip for a forehand lift, and a backhand grip for a backhand lift! This sounds simple but we often see players struggle with lifting on their backhand side in particular.

💡 To hit a backhand lift well, it’s important to use your thumb to generate the power.

This type of advanced lift requires a quick squeeze of the grip to create the ‘punch’ with a short follow-through.

Since the lift has a flat trajectory, the flight time is shorter. This means a short follow-through is REALLY important because if your opponent reaches it, you need to be ready for it to come back at you fast!

A big follow-through means less time to prepare for the next shot and you might not be able to get it!

Correct: Short follow-through
Incorrect: Big follow-through
Key points for the flat lift:
  • You should aim to really step into the lift and take it early as it’s an aggressive shot aiming to put pressure on your opponents.

  • After you’ve hit a flat lift (if it’s a good shot) you should stay high up the court in an aggressive position, adding further pressure to your opponents. If your opponent hits the shot off balance, and you take it as early as possible, you’re giving them even less time to recover!
High base after hitting a good quality flat lift
  • Obviously if you try this flat lift at the wrong time or it’s poor quality, you shouldn’t stay high up the court as the shuttle is most likely going to come down at you! So you need to recognise these moments and be able to quickly adjust your positioning – it’s these fine details that will really take your badminton to the next level. 
Flat Lift Practice

  1. The feeder hits in a soft shot (replicating a drop or block), the worker steps in and practices their flat lift.
  2. The feeder should then smash this flat lift back at the worker so they can judge the quality of their lift and what to do after it.

The worker should aim to stay in a high position and play an aggressive shot back! Make sure to practice this from both sides, and also with the feed coming from cross-court.

This practice not only helps you improve your flat lifting, but it also helps you practice adjusting your position to defend the next shot.

High Lift Shot

This type of advanced lift will have a much bigger follow-through swing as you want to hit the shuttle high up into the air. To be able to hit it high, you need to come under the shuttle more.

As the shuttle will need to travel a much further distance to reach the back of the court, you need to hit it a lot harder to get it to the back!

When should you play the high lift?

  • To reset the rally and give yourself more time to recover if you, or your partner have been stretched out of position!

  • When you’re playing with slower shuttles as your lifts are less likely to go out and it’s also easier to defend as you have more time to get ready!

Aside from the above, the high lift also has another tactical advantage:

  • The shuttle ends up travelling vertically downwards as your opponent strikes the shuttle, which means they’re hitting the side of the shuttle (rather than face on). It’s therefore much harder to get good timing in their overheads and your opponent is more likely to mistime it.
Arrow is pointing to shuttle travelling vertically downwards

You should always aim to make your opponent move across the back line when lifting, and we’d recommend to never hit more than 2 lifts in a row to the same place! This is so that you keep them moving, and they’re never fully on balance and in a good position. 

💡 Big high lifts right to the back of the court in doubles often keeps your opponent at the rear-court, and their partner at the net starts to try and move back to help them out - this often creates gaps in the court for you to play into!

High Lift Practice

  • You can have a feeder stood at the back on one side and you keep lifting to them, using both flat and high lifts. They should play drops to both sides and can mix up the pace of these drops.
  • A progression of this is for the feeder to add some smashes or clears in too to keep you guessing.
  • You can also add a second feeder on the other side so you can lift to both sides!
  • This practice is great for both singles and doubles players.

Learn More

We hope you’ve learnt that lifting in badminton doesn’t always have to be a defensive shot and it can actually be used to your advantage!

In a different article here, we discussed the basics of lifting, covering the footwork, grip, technique and some basic routines of how to practice your lifts, so feel free to have a read of that if you haven’t already!

And to see more visual examples, explanations and some fun practices, you can watch our YouTube video discussing the two types of advanced lifts below.