Badminton Glossary: Explanation of the most important Badminton terms – Part I

As beginner or even as an advances player or coach some terms used by other players or coaches are sometimes leaving question marks. This Three-Part-Series covers most of the terms used. Part I covers court & hitting areas as well as grips.

Front Court – the front part of the court. In general the part of the court until the front serice line, but not exactly measureable as it depends on discipline, individual abilities and tactic. In doubles usually the part of the court that is covered by the net player.

Mid Court – the part of the court betwenn rear and front court. In general the part of the court were counter defence and drive play takes part.

Rear Court – the rear part of the court where normally overhead smashes, clears and drop shots are player. In general the section between the rear double and single service lines.

Base – the tactical center of the court specific to each situation, e.g. after I play a high clear, I move a little bit more towards the longline side and depending on the abilities and what I expect from my opponent more forward or backward into the court

Center of the court – the geometrical center of the court where the distance to each corner ist the same. Normally not the ideal tactical center (or base) in most situations.

Forehand – strokes or shots where the palm of the hand in the moment of impact points towards the net are called forehand shots, most of the shots are played on the racket hand side (right side for right handers)

Backhand - strokes or shots where the back of the hand in the moment of impact points towards the net are called backhand shots, most of the shots are played on the non-racket hand side (left side for right handers)

Underhand – strokes that are hit with the racket head under the height of the hand or strokes that are hit with the racket head pointing left or right out of the court and the string surface pointing up (with shuttles that moving up)

Sidehand – strokes that are hit with the racket in neutral positions and the string surface pointing up towards the net at the impact of the shuttle and the shuttle is traveling straight towards the opponent, mostly flat, sometimes with small angles as in a flick

Overhand – offensive positions where the racket head is pointing up and the string surface pointing up towards the net, shot like offensive push, block, drive and kills are played – often used in doubles also for net shots and deceptive lifts

Overhead – strokes being hit over the head as clear or smash Grips – there are a number of important grips in Badminton. Different shots are played with different grips – a very important topic for beginners

Starting Grip – sometimes called (long) V-Grip or neutral grip is the grip used in ready position in singles (slighty changed in douples). From that grip you change into the specific grip needed for the next stroke

Re-Grip – or Re-Gripping is the action you see mostly top players perform before changing from neutral grip into a smash grip, they open their racket hand and while closing it moving their finger together

Smash Grip – a grip that is used for generate power through the better use of fore arm rotation, almost as if holding a hammer

Backhand Grip – a grip or better a number of grips that are associated with backhand shots overhead, at the side of the body or different net shots. In general the thumb is place on the angular surface of the grip (please see thumb grip to see the difference)

Forehand Grip – sometimes when people talk about the forehand grip, they are talking about the V-Grip or the frying pan grip – this leads to a number of errors when not being specific (see backhand grip and thumb grip)

Frying Pan Grip – a grip similar to the grip used to hold a frypan, used for forehand net kills, pushes in front of the body and (!!!) backhand shots in the far rear court

Thumb Grip – a grip where the thumb is placed on the broad site of the grip. Shots are for example net kill and backhand block. The thumb grip is normally NOT the grip for a backhand clear – a major error in beginners.

Backswing – the active or passive backward motion of the arm, elbow, hand or racquet needed to generate power for a specific shot through energy transfer of kinetic chains

Follow Through – the movement of the racquet after the shuttle has been hit, giving useful information of which shot has been player or the quality of the shot

Diemo Ruhnow

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About the author:

Diemo Ruhnow is currently working as Head National Coach Doubles for the German Badminton Federation. In his free time he writes for his websites (English), (German) and other Badminton journals.


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