How To Play A Net Kill In Badminton

Table of Contents

Have you ever had an easy opportunity at the net, only to mess it up? In this article, we’ll give you some tips to ensure that you can perfect the net kill technique and never miss another easy opportunity at the net.

The 3 main components of a net kill are:

  1. Footwork
  2. Racket Positioning
  3. Shot Execution


Firstly, your footwork is really important in these shots. A common mistake is getting too close to the net – meaning that you won’t be able to adjust your positioning quickly, or might mean you’re too late onto the shuttle and therefore unable to play the shot in a downwards direction.

You should also:

  • Lead with your racket leg
  • Allow enough room between your body and the shuttle, so that your arm isn’t too bent nor too straight when you’re hitting the shuttle

It’s likely that you’ll need to move quickly to play the shot, because you want to make sure you strike the shuttle above the height of the net to be able to play it in a downwards direction. But whilst moving quickly you need to remain in control of your body, which will enable you to do everything you need to do with the racket.

Racket Positioning

💡 As soon as you know your opponent is going to be taking the shuttle BELOW the height of the net, you need to get your racket (and elbow) UP as they can't hit their shot downwards!

Have your elbow up, ready for the next shot

Have your racket up yes, but try and think of it more as your elbow up and ready for the next shot.

Doing this means you don’t waste any time lifting your arm up before playing your shot, and this therefore enables you to take the shuttle earlier. This is quite an interesting topic though, as for some people it may be beneficial to have their racket a little bit lower. We discussed this on a YouTube video here.

Shot Execution

We’ll look at two types of net kill here: An easy net kill, and a tight net kill.

Easy Net Kill

If it’s an easier net kill and you have a little more time, you can afford to have a slightly longer swing to help you generate power and get over the top of the shuttle.

Getting over the top of the shuttle is really important to ensure it doesn’t go out the back of the court! To do this, you will need to use your wrist to snap over the top of the shuttle as shown in the picture below:

Make sure your swing isn’t too big though, as this can often mean you reach your contact point later and end up hitting the shuttle out of the back of the court (oops!) or even letting it drop so late that you hit the shuttle into the net (we’ve all been there!)

You need to use your fingers and thumb to generate power for this shot, and not your whole arm:

  • For a forehand shot – use your fingers mostly.
  • For a backhand shot – use your thumb mostly.

💡 To be able to use your fingers and thumb, make sure you have a loose grip, and then squeeze your grip when you contact the shuttle to create power!

A short, sharp action also means that you avoid following through and hitting the net!

In terms of the footwork when executing this easy net kill, you can use a jump… but we’d recommend more of an explosive step or lunge. This will ensure you have more control over your body, and it will be easier to recover after playing the shot.

Should you hit a net kill straight or cross?

There is no right or wrong answer to this, but people do generally find it easier to play cross, as this is more of a natural motion. We’d recommend learning both, that way you can target the gap in the court, or even the weaker player in doubles!

Tight Net Kill

This is where you’re likely to have less time as your opponent has played the shuttle tight to the net.

Here you need an even shorter swing and to hit the shuttle with less power, so that is lands around the service line (what we call a brush off – you are trying to gently brush the top of the shuttle so it travels downwards and over the net)

Which grip should you use for a net kill?

On the forehand side you would have a forehand to pan handle grip.

  • Right-handed player: Brush the shuttle from right to left.
  • Left-handed player: Brush the shuttle left to right.

On the backhand side you would use a backhand grip.

  • Right-handed player: Brush the shuttle left to right.
  • Left-handed player: Brush the shuttle right to left.

💡 For the tight net kills, you have to come over the top of the shuttle and don't try to hit it too hard!

Even though we recommended the explosive step or lunge for the easy net kill, for the tight net kill, we recommend using a jump because:

  • You can commit 100% to the kill (in anticipation of the opponent not being able to return the shot).
  • It is a more explosive and threatening movement.

It is however, more difficult to get the timing right for this footwork. You need to time your jump so that you’re at the peak height of your jump as you strike the shuttle – you don’t want to be travelling downwards as you hit the shuttle!

Technique Summary

To play a good net kill you need to:

  1. Not get too close to the shuttlecock.
  2. Move forward explosively with your racket leg leading.
  3. Get your elbow out and away from your body.
  4. Ensure your arm is not too straight or too bent as you approach the shuttlecock. 
  5. Hit over the top of the shuttlecock.
  6. Use your fingers and thumb to create the power and control in the shot.

Learn More

If you’d like to watch our video on how to play the perfect net kill, including three practices to try, you can do so below.

Or if you want to further enhance your net play, we have 2 more video recommendations for you:

How To Play The Perfect Doubles Net Shot

The 3 Types Of Singles Net Shot