The Best 1v1 Exercises For Badminton

There are so many different routines for badminton, however some drills are better than others for improving your shots and movement patterns.

The 7 best routines and drills for badminton are:

  1. Mid-court drives
  2. Rear and mid-court control
  3. Push downs
  4. Pressure defence
  5. Smash and lay-off
  6. Net T’s
  7. Serve and return

These exercises are great to do as part of a regular session.

1. Mid-Court Drives

Driving back and forth between you and your partner is a great first routine. It is an exercise that we, and all other professional players, start every knock-up with. 

Mid-court drives should be done with a level of co-operation, not just trying to hit it as hard as you can. During this routine, you should focus on having a short racket swing and taking the shuttle out in front of you to ensure you are ready for the next shot. 

A second focus area is your foot timing – landing at the same time as you strike the shot. This is important because if you land before you have hit the shot, you cannot adjust your body positioning at the last moment. In contrast, if you hit the shot before you land then you are less in control of your body. 

There are many benefits of mid-court drives: you can improve the power in your shots, your reactions, shot timing, and racket head speed. 

2. Rear and Mid-Court Control

This exercise involves a feeder positioned around the service line on one half of the court. The feeder will hit a variety of shots to the mid-court and rear-court. As a worker, you should return all of the shots with control to the feeder, not hitting the shuttle too hard.

Hitting with control, rather than 100% power will encourage many different things. It will enable the worker to focus on their technique and quality of the shots they are playing, being able to move really fast whilst still controlling the racket and playing accurate shots. Secondly, a focus should be placed on footwork and movement timing.

For singles players it is great to focus on the hitting technique and footwork in this area of the court, and for doubles players it is replicating the work of the ‘rear court’ player in a game where the partnership are in a ‘front and back’ attacking formation. 

Here the worker should aim to control the rallies making sure they are hitting every shot in a downward direction and not giving away the attack. If they lift the shuttle or play a poor quality shot then it puts their partner under a lot of pressure. On the flip side if they manage to move with speed and play early and accurate shots. This means they are likely to force a mistake or weak shot from their opponents or even hit a winning shot.

Top Tip – using the middle can be advantageous, especially when you are stretched out wide. This helps to reduce the angle for your opponents and can also create indecision between who’s shot it is.

This routine is able to be done with two feeders so that the worker can play to either side of the court. The feeder is not just ‘feeding’, they should also focus on their lift accuracy and movement into the forecourt as this will help them to improve their game!

3. Push Downs

Push downs is a great exercise for working on low defensive movements – for both singles players and doubles players!

The Feeder: The feeder should be on one half of the court around the service line. This time they should be taking all of the shots above the height of the net to ensure that the shuttle is going in a downward direction and to put the worker under pressure.

The Worker: The worker should move laterally, playing controlled defensive shots. If the worker moves forward to near the service line then the feeder can lift over their head to remind them to be in a deeper base position. 

The worker should keep their legs bent throughout the exercise, this will allow for a quick and powerful change of direction! Having straight legs will negatively impact your split-step speed and overall movement efficiency. 

4. Pressure Defence

Similar to mid-court drives, this exercise is perfect for working on your reactions!

On half a court, a feeder will be hitting aggressively down at a defender who is facing the worker in their stance, with their racket out in front of them in a backhand grip! If you’re unsure of what it should look like then have a watch of the video below!

This is mainly an exercise for doubles players but singles players can also use it to practice their reactions and off the body defence. The quicker you can react in routines when you are under pressure, the easier it’ll all seem in a match! 

If you’re new to this exercise, then you can reduce the pressure from the feeder and concentrate more on your technique. Trust us, taking the time to improve your defensive technique now will massively help you when increasing the speed of the routine in the future! 

The feeder can also use this routine to work on their forecourt skills – concentrating on having a short swing when hitting down at the net and moving their feet quickly to adjust to the shots from the worker. 

5. Smash and Lay-Off

For this exercise the feeder and worker are again on a half court. The feeder starts off with a high lift, the worker smashes, then the feeder plays a half drive or push into the mid-court, the worker lays this off to the service line and then the feeder lifts again. The pattern is then repeated.

This exercise can be done on a half-court where the worker is working up and down the same half. Alternatively, the exercise can be done on a full-court. For this, the feeder would lift cross-court, and then move cross-court to return the smash. This requires a lot more movement from the feeder!

This exercise focuses on two things. First is smash timing. In a typical badminton match, we would do lots of smashing so it is really important to get the feeling and timing of hitting these shots in a routine scenario. 

The second focus is your movement pattern from the rear court to mid court, and vice versa. Both of these are regular movement patterns in badminton, so it is a great routine to focus on the footwork and timing. 

And as an added bonus it really works your lungs!!

6. Net T’s

This is a favourite exercise of ours, where the two players try and create as fast a rally as possible from the T of the service line – without just trying to hit it too hard so it breaks down! There are no feeders in this exercise!

The key to this exercise is fast footwork and fast grip changes to react to the speed of the shots. It is really great for your reactions, and your net skills!

To successfully do this drill, there are several key points. Firstly, you should focus on having quick light movements on your feet so that you can constantly make adjustments depending on where your partner has hit it. 

You should keep your racket out in front of you, as this creates more space between your racket and body. 

You should also have a relaxed grip as this allows for quick grip changes – an essential component of this exercise! 

This is an essential exercise for all doubles players!

7. Serve and Return

This is a less movement-based exercise, and involves one player serving, and the other returning. Each player should do a range of serves and returns, focusing on shot quality and having a variety of serve options! 

We find this is a great exercise for building confidence just before you go into a match – knowing that you can hit quality shots from the start of the rally, therefore putting pressure onto your opponent straight away! 

We have done a YouTube video which shows how each of these exercises should be done (+ 3 more!):

Hopefully you can put these 7 best training exercises into your sessions, enabling you to practice ALL areas of your game!