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Terms Of Badminton

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Badminton Glossary

There are a few badminton terms that you should be familiar with. Even if it’s a casual badminton game, these terms are often used by many people. This might also be useful when you watch badminton tournaments on television. This post is definitely enhancing your badminton related glossary.


In badminton game terms the phrase 'ace badminton' refers to a player winning an outright point from a serve and one was not touched or returned by the receiver.

Air Shot

Playing an air shot refers to a stroke where the shuttle is missed completely. Similar to the 'air-ball' in basketball rules, the miss occurs most often when the player takes their eyes off the shot just before impact.

Alley (side alley)

The alley is an 18-inch section which is found between the singles and doubles sidelines on a badminton court and there is one on each side. Basically, the alley in badminton terms represents the tramlines which are used only for doubles matches.

Angle of Attack

The badminton definition of the phrase 'angle of attack' refers to the trajectory of the shuttle after it leaves the racket.

Angle of Return

The typical angle of return for the shuttle is formed by several ranges of possible returns from a given position on the court.

Around-the-head Shot

This is accepted as an advanced shot where a player reaches to his backhand side from around the head to make a forehand strike on the shuttle. Take care with this shot because it may leave you off-balanced and vulnerable to a counter attack.

Attacking Clear

Attacking clear is a term used to describe a positive and somewhat aggressive stroke hit deep into your challenger's court. It is a variation of the traditional clear shot achieved by driving the bird over the net with a flatter trajectory and with a hard stroke.

Back Alley (rear alley)

The back alley is a term used for the area on both ends of the court between the singles and doubles service line.

Back Boundary Line

There are different terminologies in badminton jargon for court boundary markings. The back boundary line marks the rear ends of the playing area and the service zone in singles play.


If you are active in the backcourt area you are playing in the area of the boundary lines in the back third of the court.

  • Backhand

Badminton backhand strokes are usually delicate shots played in front of the body and close to the net. Right-handed players’ play the backhand stroking from the left of the body or vice versa for left-handers.

  • Backhand Grip

There are several terms used to describe the grip on the racket in the terminologies of badminton. One of the most common is the backhand grip which is used to provide a player with an option to strike the shuttle with his backhand.

Balk (balk or feint)

The word 'balk' has several different terminologies in badminton such as feinting, swerving or deceiving. But basically, it refers to a serve that deceives an opponent and usually results in a poor return.

Base Position

Badminton terminologies include a phrase called the base position which also has a title of the center position. When you are playing a singles game, your overriding objective is to return each shot to the relative safety in the center of the court where the base position is located.


There are two baselines in badminton terminology - one in each half of the court. Each baseline is situated parallel to the net and at the very back boundary.

Basic Strokes

There are three different terms of badminton for a stroke played from either the forehand or backhand. The strokes are called under-arm, shoulder-high, and overhead.

Bird (birdie)

Bird or birdie is a name commonly used for the shuttlecock used in badminton terms.

Bird On

In badminton terminology the cautionary call of 'bird on' often occurs when a shuttle lands on your court from an adjacent playing court.

Block Return

The badminton term 'block return' is a shot dropping steeply from a blocked shot around the net and has very little follow-through because it is played with a swift flick of the wrist.


The brush is a power-generated point-winning shot played at speed and high above the net.


The butt is the enlarged end of the shaft that prevents the player's hand from slipping off the handle.

Carry (sling or throw)

A carry was formerly an illegal stroke and often called a throw or sling. If you carry the shuttle it means you did not hit it properly but caught and held it on the racket before slinging the execution of the shot.     The codified rules of badminton jargon generally consider a carry to be a legal tactic providing it was clearly a single forward stroke.

Centre Line

The center line separates the two service boxes (left and right service zones) and marks a perpendicular central line from the net to the rear baseline. It is the lines dividing each court half into two sides.

Changing Ends

The players should change ends at the completion of each game and when the leader scores six points (11-point game) or eight points (15-pointer) in the third game.


Clear shots term defines strokes which are played from the back of the badminton court to the rear of the opponent's half.

Closed Face

In badminton terms, closed face refers to a situation where the racket face points downward.


A badminton court is mostly used indoors and it should provide a synthetic or hardwood surface offering good traction with clear and defined outer boundary lines. In singles badminton, the court size 17 x 44 feet and 20 x 44 feet for doubles match.

Cross-court Shot

A cross-court shot is one that crosses the center line.

Cross Strings

Racket cross strings run perpendicular to the shaft and there are around 21 - 23 crosses on a badminton racket.


The definition of a dab shot in badminton is a crisp downward stroke using minimal backswing with excessive follow-through played in the forecourt. The shot must be played with good body position with a flexible arm and wrist. It is executed primarily with fast action in the fingers but with limited finger movement.

Danish Wipe

A 'Danish Wipe' shot is a hybrid backhand stroke - a combination of a lob and a drive. It is used to play a lofty shuttle from far ends of the court. The racket is swept down deep to knee height and then up and under the shuttle and finishing with a strong follow-through.

Dead Bird

Hitting a shuttle out of play is called a 'dead bird' and one of the funny badminton terms.


Deception is an important part of game tactics by hiding what shots you intend to play, either through very quick motions or misdirection before contact.


Playing defensively generally means hitting shots upwards similar to the shots played when serves are executed upward.

Defensive Clear

The defensive clear shot is played high and deep in an attempt to gain time or slow the pace of the rally.


Essentially diagonal is a term used to describe badminton doubles rules for player positions. Two players divide the court on a diagonal as opposed to right angles (as in front-and-back or side-by-side).

Divorce Area

In badminton terminology, the divorce area refers to a narrow rectangle 8-11 feet from the net. It is situated between the rear-court and fore-court players and between the sidelines.

Doubles Sideline

The doubles sideline marker denotes the court inbound width of 20 feet used for doubles matches (two teams of two players).

Doubles Service Court

The service court for doubles games is an area measuring 44 x 20 feet.

Drive (serve)

Driving the shuttle fast and low, almost horizontal in flight over the net, is called a drive. The drive serve is played as flat as possible (clearing the net) and hit hard to fall at the back of the service court - a deceptive alternative to regular short and long serves.

Drop Serve

The badminton drop serves (similar to toss serve) is played by dropping the shuttle to fall before hitting it and is used in forehand serves.

Drop Shot

A drop shot refers to one hit with finesse and softly so it falls sharply in your opponent's court and close to the net.

Fast Drop

A fast drop is one of the lesser used badminton terms. It is a variation of a normal drop shot where a player strikes the shuttle harder to give the opponent less time to react.


Faults in badminton are violations of the codified rules and regulations while serving or receiving the shuttle and during normal play.

Feather Shuttle (feathers or crown)

A feather shuttle is one with a skirt comprised of bird feathers (duck or geese feathers) or synthetic materials. Sixteen individual feathers are attached to the skirt of the shuttlecock tip to stabilize it and make it aerodynamic.


A feint is also called a balk. It is any deceptive move that fools or dummies an opponent disconcertingly before or during the serve.

First Serve (first hand)

A rule change to rally scoring occurred in 2006 which altered doubles play team members to serve in succession.


Surprising your opponent by using a flick describes a quick wrist-and-forearm rotation technique. The flick deceptively changes an apparently soft shot into a much faster and often a winning passing shot.

Flick Serve

A flick serve is an advanced service shot taken from the backhand position and arched over the opponent toward the long-service line. This shot requires a developed forearm and wrist to generate the power and quickness to catch the receiver off guard.


The difficulty or skill level of an event in a tournament usually designated by the letters A, B, C and D. Flight A would be the most advanced level.

Flight Path

The badminton expression of 'flight path' refers to the trajectory taken by a shuttle after the stroke. The shuttle's flight path is seen by many as a distinguishing trademark between cheap plastic shuttles and professional feathered shuttlecock.


Follow-through describes the path of the racket following its contact with the shuttle. It is an important technique of producing controlled strokes and predictable shots.

Foot Fault

A foot fault is a service fault made by a player in which he oversteps the boundary of the service court.


When you have mastered good footwork in badminton it means you will reach the shuttlecock early in the fastest time and using the shortest distance. Footwork is a principle reason why professionals have less injury and make badminton look effortless and graceful.

Forecourt (frontcourt)

The forecourt area is the front third of the court. It is the region between the short service line and the net.

Forehand Strokes

Playing a shot to the right side of the body is a forehand stroke for a right-handed player and vice versa for a left-hander.

Forward Swing

The forward swing is a term referring to the racket movement towards the shuttle.


Frame refers to the racket frame to which the stringing is attached.

Free Point

Losing a point on a serve, with no actual effort made by the opposing, is termed 'giving away a free point'. Free points are similar to unforced errors in tennis rules and should be kept to a minimum.

Front and Back

In badminton expressions, 'front and back' is a doubles game player position whereby one partner is on the front of the other and close to the middle line, as a rule.

Frying Pan Grip

A quirky badminton term which describes a racket grip rotated 90 degrees from the traditional hand position. The head is parallel to the net in a frying pan grip with the front of the racket facing the net.

Game Point

Either the word 'game' or 'point' should be announced when serving for a game-winning point - out of courtesy. The game point refers to the situation where one player can win the game if he wins the current rally.

Hairpin Net Shot

As the name may suggest a hairpin net shot resembles the shape of a hairpin. It is made from below and very close to the net. The hairpin shot sends the shuttle rising sharply near to the net and then drops abruptly downwards on the other side.

Half-court Shot

A half-court shot is most effective in the doubles game. The shot is hit low towards the midcourt.

Hammer Grip

Hammer grip is another one of those quirky badminton expressions describing the way some beginners grab the racket over tightly (like grabbing a hammer).


The word 'help' is one of the badminton terms rarely heard in professional tournaments. But, it is sometimes used in badminton doubles rules where one partner shouts 'help' if he is in trouble and needs help from his partner to make the next shot.

High Clear

The high clear is a variation of a normal clear shot that arches high toward the opponent baseline. This shot is intended to allow a team or player to reset defensively or to disrupt the opponent’s timing.


The high-lift is also called the high clear. The phrase refers to a defensive shot hit high and extremely deep into the challenger’s backcourt area.

Holding a Shot

This technique is often used to delay hitting the shot deliberately to observe the opponent's preparation or reaction.

Hybrid Stringing

Hybrid stringing is one of the less common terminologies in badminton. It refers to having a racket made with two different types of string used for the mains and crosses.

Jump Smash

The badminton jump smash is accepted as the most powerful shot in badminton and it is performed in mid-air. Players use the jump smash instead of the normal smash because of its steeper angle and the higher level of power.


The kill is a fast downward shot that cannot easily be returned to your court and usually ends a rally.

Left Service Court

The left service court box marks the boundary to the left side of each player when facing the net.

Length of Play

A play is continuous until the game is won by a player or a team. The international rules of professional badminton matches usually allow five minutes rest period between game two and three.


A lift is a variation of a clear shot that is produced by an underhand stroke and arched high to allow time for better defensive positioning.

Line Judge (linesman)

A line judge, in terminologies related to badminton, is a pre-approved, unbiased individual who is responsible for determining whether or not shots land inside of the court boundaries and should inform the umpire when a fault is committed.

Locked Wrist

Having a locked wrist is a badminton expression for players with an inflexible wrist. This often results in the racket handle held parallel with the forearm or sometimes pointing downward.

Long Serve

Playing a long serve is one which typically is a high lofty shot that lands close to the back line.

Long Service Line

Serves take place from the long service line and it marks the back of the service zone for doubles matches. The long service lines should measure 21 feet back from the net for a singles match and two feet closer for doubles.


Love is a term used to denote zero scores in badminton terminology. Each competitor begins at zero (love-all) and remains in love until they score points.


Lunge refers to a vital part of footwork that has a player reach with the racket-side leg as you strike the shuttle.


The 'mains' are terms for the racket strings which run parallel to the shaft. As a rule, most rackets will have a total of 22 mains.


White or yellow 40 mm wide court markings section the different zones of the badminton playing area.

Midcourt (home)

The midcourt term designates the optimal home position of the middle third of the court. It is halfway between the back boundary line and the center net.


Players hit a feathery shuttlecock over a net. Nets are loosely stitched dividers which are stretched across the middle of the court at a height of 5 ft. England badminton nets stretch across the center of the court between two posts. The official net height measures 2.5 feet deep and the top of a badminton net is five feet high or 1.524 meters from the floor.

Net Drop

A net drop is a basic badminton net shot where a player simultaneously receives a drop shot and then returns one back.

Net Fault

The net fault is one of the common terminologies in badminton. It occurs if any player touches the net with his body, the racket, or any of your apparel during play.

  • Net Return

A net return shot creeps over the net and drops abruptly to the ground on the other side.

  • Offense (attack)

Playing offensive shots are those generally hit downward and the team on the offense is the one hitting downward.

  • One-piece Racket

A one-piece badminton racket is constructed with a single and continuous piece of material. Multiple piece rackets would have separate head, shaft, t-joint, and grip joined together at a later stage.

  • On-guard Stance

The badminton phrase refers to the alert position being taken by a player in readiness of the bird being hit by the opponent.

  • Open Face Racket

Open face racket is one of the terminologies used in badminton referring to the way a racket faces upwards.

  • Overhand Shot

The overhand shot is taken with a downward arm and wrist motion.

  • Overhead Shots

Playing the racket into the shuttle above a player’s head is called an overhead shot.

Overhead Smash

The overhead smash is an aggressive powerful shot played steeply downwards usually from high in the air.


The pace of a game simply refers to the speed of a shot or rally.

Panhandle Grip

Panhandle grip is a variation of the natural grip. The palm faces the fat part of the handle as the thumb and fingers grasp the thinner sides. The panhandle grip is normally used for drive shots and allows greater range with forehand drives.

Passing Shot

In badminton terms, a 'passing shot' passes or travels passed the opposing player or team.


Patty-cakes is a term describing the way some beginners stand relatively immobile trading half-paced drives until one misses.

Plastic Shuttle

A type of shuttle with a skirt made of plastic.


The word placement refers to the location where a shuttle is aimed at the court.


Poaching in a game is the action of taking shots which would normally be returned by your partner in doubles badminton rules. It is often done either through over-enthusiasm, greed, or lack of confidence in your partner's ability.


A pop-up shot is one played slowly with a high lift to the forecourt.

Position of Readiness

The position of readiness is usually towards the middle of the court and means that each player is prepared to play the next shot quickly or respond with a return pass.


The post is a vertical bar used to stretch the net by means of white tape.

Push Shot

The push shot is a gently played shot created by pushing the shuttlecock with a little extra wrist motion than normal.


In terminologies of badminton, a rally is a series of passes and exchanged shots which begin with a serve and the rally finishes when the point is won.


Rally-scoring refers to the manner of scoring in which a point is awarded for every rally.

Receiver (receiving side)

The receiver is the player who receives the shuttlecock put into play by the server and then returns the opening stroke made by the server, both in singles and doubles.


Rotation is the movement or interaction which allows doubles partners to attack or defend effectively as a team.

Rough Side

In badminton equipment terms the rough side refers to the side containing the trim loops of the racket and being opposite to the smooth side.

Round-the-head Shot

A round-the-head shot is a funny badminton phrase referring to an overhead shot which is played with a forehand swing but on the backhand side.

Rush a Serve

Rushing a serve describes very quick movement forward when receiving a low serve. The aim of which is to move to the net fast enough to attack the serve.


The server starts the rally by hitting the shuttlecock over the net to the court area of their opponent. The server and the receiver stand diagonally opposite each other as the shuttlecock is served into play.

Service (right to serve)

The service is the initial stroke which starts play when the receiver is stationary and begins a rally. The badminton serve is taken from a left-hand side of the court for odd points (e.g. 1, 3, 5,) and the right-hand side for even points. The non-server is allowed to stand anywhere on his side of the net during a doubles game. The server must strike the base of the shuttle first contacting it below the server's waist in a continuous motion.

  • Service Court

The service court is the area into which you must deliver the service which in fact is different for singles than in doubles games.

  • Service Fault

A service fault is any violation or illegal tactic that occurs during service for either team.

  • Service Judge

A badminton service judge is a pre-approved, unbiased individual who is responsible for calling service faults. Service judges are the officials who monitor the execution of the serve, player position, and the arrival of the shuttlecock in the appropriate zone.

  • Setting

Setting in badminton means to extend a game by a set number of points beyond the normal finish.

  • Shaft

The shaft is the elongated part of the racket that ends at the beginning of the head.

  • Short Service Line

The short service is the front boundary line of the singles and doubles service zones and measures six feet or 1.98 meters from the net on both sides of the court. It denotes the area beyond which all serves must land.

  • Shot

'CLEAR, DRIVE, DROP, SMASH' are four shot terms related to badminton. Learn these 4 shot techniques and discover why and when beginners should use these top offensive and defensive strokes. As a rule, all shots played in badminton are termed as offensive or defensive strokes and we explain the methodology behind four of the most popular.

  • Shoulder-high Shots

When the racket hits the shuttle above the player’s shoulder and usually to the side it is called a shoulder-high shot.

  • Shuffle (skip)

The shuffle is a primary part of your footwork technique which occurs when you slide your feet to move around the court.

  • Side-by-side

Side-by-side refers to the defensive doubles position where both players are at midcourt and on either side of the center line.

  • Singles Sideline

The singles sideline is a line which marks the in-bound court width playing area of 17 feet for singles games (two players).

  • Singles Service Court

The service court for doubles games is an area measuring 44 x 17 feet.

  • Skirt

The skirt is the part of the shuttle that is either plastic or feather and fans out like a lady's skirt.

  • Slice

A slice is one of the common terminologies used in badminton. It refers to the curved flight of the shuttle created by striking it with an angled face of the racket during contact.

  • Smash (kill shot)

A smash is an overhead kill shot hit so hard that it forces the shuttle to drop sharply downwards into the opponent's court. The smash or kill shot is a decisive power move and seen as an aggressive tactic during play.

  • Stab

The stab is a shot intended to drop the shuttle steeply and tight to the net on the side of your opponent.

  • Stance

A stance is the position of your body and feet while you are waiting for the opponent to hit the shuttle.

  • Starting the Match

Who starts the match is decided by a coin toss or a spin of a racket. The winner chooses between serving and receiving first.


Strings are the thin, synthetic pieces of material that are weaved through the frame and used to propel the shuttle.


The stringing is a term referring to the surface of interlaced strings of synthetic or natural fiber that is used to strike a shuttlecock.


In simple badminton terms, a stroke is the movement of your racket with the intention of hitting the shuttle.

Sweet spot

The sweet spot of a badminton racket is the center section of the stringing where the response is uniform and hence offers maximum playability.

Synthetic (shuttle)

A synthetic shuttle is a small plastic cone that is sturdier than the feathered shuttlecock and is usually used for training. As a rule, it weighs about 0.2 ounces which is the same as the feathered shuttlecock.


The tape refers to a three-inch solid strip running along the top of the net. According to the official badminton rules, the tape is usually white to provide a highly visible reference.


Racket tension describes the force used to pull on the string while stringing a racket.

Test Mark

These are two small marks on a court indicating the range into which a proper speed shuttle will land during testing.

Throat (t-joint)

The section of the racquet that connects the head to the shaft is termed the throat - or T-joint. Older, lower-end models typically have a visibly separate t-joint, while newer, higher-end models incorporate it into the racket.

Tipping the Shuttle

Tipping means adjusting the speed of a shuttlecock by bending the tips of the feathers.


The T-junction refers to the intersection of the center line and the short service line and is typically used as a reference point for short serves and as a base for net play.

Top Slice and Tumble

Similar to tennis, the top slice and the tumble aim to drive the shuttle looping downward tightly over the net.

Tumble Drop Shot

A tumble drop shot is a variation of a normal drop shot that causes the shuttle to flip, end over end.


Underhand refers to any shot taken with an upward arm and wrist motion.

Up (go up)

Go Up is often a call made between doubles partners indicating that one partner would like the other to move to the forecourt resulting in a front-and-back position.


Even though the shuttle must be below the waist at time of service, the height of the elbow (when standing upright) is more visible than the waist and remarkably close to the codified rules and regulations of badminton.


Wall is a term used to define the minimum distance from the baseline perimeter to the nearest surrounding wall. Regular badminton match wall distance is five feet from the baseline and four feet from the sideline. Competitive international badminton matches extend this distance to the closest wall to 7.5 feet from the baseline and 7.2 feet from the sideline.

White Tape

White tape refers to a strip of tape with a cord passing through it which is attached to the posts to suspend the badminton net.

Wood Shot

When the shuttle hits the frame of the racket legally instead of the strings and it is called a wood shot.


Yonex is a badminton racket manufacturer which achieves precise control and function by creating ultra-lightweight strong and stable racquets.


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