How To Do A Backhand FLICK Serve In Badminton

The flick serve in badminton is when the serve goes in an upwards trajectory and lands at the back of the designated service box. It can be used as an attacking shot to make your opponents move backwards and open up space on the court. It can also be used to add variety to your serves to keep your opponents guessing what you are going to do. 

To play the flick serve in badminton, have a backhand grip and hold the shuttle with your thumb and index finger. Take a controlled backswing, bending your elbow to no more than 90 degrees and keeping your shoulder quite still. Then squeeze your fingers and thumb to create the power.

A lot of players have problems with the quality and consistency of their flick serve, or they don’t know how to use it to its full advantage. So in this article, we will cover:

  1. The preparation – including the grip, racket positioning, shuttle positioning and foot positioning
  2. The hitting action
  3. When to use the flick serve
  4. Where the flick serve should land

The correct preparation for a flick serve in badminton

Step 1: The Grip

  • For both the low and flick serve you should be in a backhand grip.
  • To check you’ve got this right, when you put your thumb on the widest part of the grip, your strings should be facing upwards.
  • Your hand should also be high up the grip, which helps improve your control of the serve (as it’s a shorter lever).
Grip preparation

Step 2: Racket Positioning

  • Your racket should be roughly in a 45-degree angle.
  • You also need to leave space in between your racket and body to allow for a small backswing.
  • Exactly how much space you leave is down to your personal preference – we’ve seen some players almost entirely outstretched, and some quite tucked in; there are many different techniques that can be used, so we recommend experimenting to find what works best for you.
Racket at around a 45-degree angle

Step 3: Shuttle Positioning

  • Hold the shuttle with your thumb and index finger, around halfway down the feather, as shown in the picture below:

You can also hold it with your thumb, index finger and middle finger – this again is down to personal preference. Just don’t hold it by the cork, as this reduces your control and accuracy!

The angle you hold the shuttle is also very important. It should be roughly facing this direction:

This is because:

  • If you hold the shuttle with the cork facing the floor, then you’re more likely to either hit your thumb or you’ll have to adjust your racket positioning. This means you’ll hit your flick serve too high and give your opponent too much time to get behind the shuttle and play an attacking shot.
  • If you hold the shuttle with the cork facing towards you too much, you’re more likely to either hit it in the net, or do a very flat flick serve.
  • If you hold the shuttle sideways, then you’re more likely to hit the feathers and lose some control.

Step 4: Foot Positioning

Similar to the low serve (which you can learn more about here), you can stand with your feet side by side, with your racket leg forwards, or your non-racket leg forwards. Again, this down to is personal preference.

💡 Remember: It’s important to start in the same position to when you play a low serve. This way your opponent won’t be able to predict what’s coming!

The correct hitting action for a flick serve

Step 1: Have a controlled backswing, bending your elbow to no more than 90 degrees and keeping your shoulder quite still.

Step 2: Bring your arm forwards, squeezing your fingers & thumb to create the power.

Controlled back swing

3 common mistakes that we often see with the hitting action are:

  1. Throwing the shuttle up and then trying to hit it – this massively reduces your control. Instead, you should hit the shuttle out of your hand.
  2. Leaning back and making it very obvious you are going to play a flick serve – instead you need to lean slightly forwards with your body weight, as you would do with a low serve.
  3. Using the whole arm and having a big backswing – this negatively impacts your timing and control, and shows your opponents that you are about to do a flick serve!

💡 You should also avoid having a big follow through, as you’ll be less ready for the next shot.

When should you use the flick serve?

  • You should think of the flick serve as an attacking shot to make your opponents move backwards and open up space on the court.
  • We’d recommend keeping your serve varied and not overusing the flick unless it’s very effective against your particular opponent.
  • A very rough guideline is to flick around 10% of the time, but of course this depends on your opponent’s strengths and weaknesses.

Where should the flick serve land?

  • We would generally suggest flicking out wide to the tramline (position 1 in image below), as this forces your opponent to move further and also gives you more time to react to their shot.
  • However, you can also flick down the centre line (position 2 in image below) which can be really effective, especially if you’re hitting to their backhand side.
  • Whichever option you choose, if it’s a good flick and your opponent is off balance, then your base position should be high up the court ready to counterattack.
  • You can learn more about the different positions to serve to here.

💡 Top Tip: If your opponent is really tall, remember to hit it higher to get it over their head.

Learn More

Now that we’ve gone through the correct preparation, hitting action, when and where you should hit it, hopefully you’ve learned something that you can implement into your game.

If you’d like to see visual examples of how to perform the backhand flick serve in badminton, you can watch our YouTube video here!

There has definitely been some controversy with various types of serves in the badminton world – you can watch our video on the spin serve here, or read about the serving rules to learn what is legal or illegal when it comes to the flick serve here.