How to keep serve low (doubles) when opponent is at the service line

Discussion in 'Techniques / Training' started by BadmintonDave, Mar 6, 2023.

  1. BadmintonDave

    BadmintonDave Regular Member

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    Hello,

    I am confident in my doubles serve, but when the opponent is toeing the service line and is postured really aggressively, it puts a lot of doubt in my mind and I keep thinking that they will attack it.

    It happened sometime last year in a mens 4 league match and my matching number (I play 3 out of 4 sets against him) was a very strong left hander who was right up at the service line when receiving a serve. He was very experienced (40+ years of playing).

    I am now also facing 3 people in my Sunday group that do this. One of them I know I can flick serve and get the point, one I can get a point off of flick serving about 80% of the time and the last one is about a 50% success rate of flicking against.

    How do I remain comfortable and confident serving low against these hyper aggressive serve attacking players?
     
  2. SnowWhite

    SnowWhite Regular Member

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    It can definitely be intimidating to play against, but there are a few ways to deal with it.

    Of the players that toe the line, there is a subset of players that do so to try and provoke a flick. Against these players, playing a short serve is usually pretty safe, because they are mentally expecting a flick. What often happens is that they toe the line and look aggressive, but then when you play the short serve, you can see them move their bodyweight backwards before realising you played a short serve and then they will take it low and be forced to lift. If a player usually has a more neutral stance and they suddenly start taking an aggressive posture, it is more likely that they are ready for the flick.

    If players are always toeing the line, then you first need to find out if they are generally ready for the flick. Some players are so single minded in attacking the short serve that they will be in serious trouble if you flick. Some players will be back in time, but won't be able to do anything dangerous. Some players are ready for everything and fast enough to smash it from the back if you give them a flick.

    When you are facing someone who is ready for everything, you can try to vary the direction of your serve. This could throw off someone who is expecting the shot in a specific place. Another more risky option is a drive serve. You have to have practiced this to attempt it, and even then it won't work against players that are ready for it, but players that toe the line will have very little time to react to it, and it could result in scoring some free points. But if they are not caught off guard, you probably lost the point.

    Still those variations won't help once your opponents adapt to them. In the end it is simply about having confidence in your short serve and being able to keep nerves under control.

    You can remind yourself that even if they know you will play a short serve, and even if they hit it as early as possible, your serve is good enough and they won't be able attack it effectively.
    You can remind yourself that even if they kill 1 or 2 of your serves, those were outliers. Even the best in the world sometimes play a bad serve, but now it's back to business. You know your serve is good enough, so lets continue.

    Now this next viewpoint may not work for everyone, but it helps me alleviate mental pressure and nerves.
    While you are playing a match, the score and the outcome of that match feels very important, but it isn't. This is just one game, one match, and in your badminton history and for your future happiness, this game is insignificant. It doesn't matter if you win or lose here. You have won games before and you have lost games before. And before long, this specific game you will have likely forgotten. So no need to worry about it.

    Let's still try and win though :D
     
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  3. Budi

    Budi Regular Member

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    1. Its mental games. If you are ok with ur serve then be more confident to yourself as being nervous would messup all ur muscle. Many times i troll my beginner friend. Even when i swear i wont cut the serve how bad it is, but just posing aggresive would makes them even more nervous.:p but when im just standing, they can serve consistently (tho it still bad serve but at least they could consistently doing it)

    2. Not sure if its allowed on tournament games but on club games its more or less forgiven. 1 person i know had this kind of trick. When he serve, he like pausing abit longer, till the reciever seems losing focus & then suddenly did quick flat serve or flick. Works many times but not sure if tournament level would allow one to delay services like 15-20 sec.
     
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  4. Mason

    Mason Regular Member

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    I have a similar problem, I try to mentally pretend they are not that close to the line and they are not threatening at all…..it’s just a normal serve ….. something’s that works hahahahahaha sometimes it doesn’t lol
     
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  5. Cheung

    Cheung Moderator

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    It’s worth writing the points mentioned above on a flash card and reviewing them right after the match.

    It’s also worth going back to your serve and reanalyse everything about it including zoning in on the top of the net rather than the person behind.

    Are you able to work out the highest point of your serve? Is the serve still rising as it crosses the net? Crucially, if the highest part of the trajectory is before the net and the shuttle is already travelling downwards skimming the net, this serve will be difficult to attack for anybody even for those toeing the line. Be ready to anticipate the netshots and be quick into the net to play a controlled downwards push shot. The receiver is so close to the net, only a really good player can attempt another forecourt shot.


    Here’s a different scenario. Last week, I was also up against a very good receiver; not quite toeing the line but fast in and previously killed my serves, even my flick serves or trying in a different direction. In the past, someone had mentioned my flickserve and low serve were slightly different, hence a bit readable. I decided to try something a bit different - I used a tap action on the serve with the shuttle horizontal perpendicular to the racquet bed and the cork hit first. The tap action hides the speed of the shuttle a bit better.

    I served a slightly faster speed shuttle and the receiver rushed in as usual. However, the speed of the shuttle meant the shuttle wasn’t at his optimal striking area for his usual very aggressive return of serve. Result was a lower quality of return of service giving my side a chance to get into the rally.

    I felt in the game that shook his rhythm enough for my side to start playing rallies. I later gave a flick serve with the same tapping action which was pretty effective. Quite interestingly, his whole confidence seemed to ooze away. Perhaps, I had taken away his strongest shot whereas the week before, he hammered my serve.
     
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  6. BadmintonDave

    BadmintonDave Regular Member

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    I don't know the exact wording, but you are NOT allowed to take forever to perform your swing. One person at my Tuesday club does this when he serves. Literally holds the racquet in position for 10+ seconds then does a normal speed serve. As a joke, I tell people he is our most experienced player at serving. Because he takes soo long.

    Can you go into more detail about tapping? The way I serve is with little arm movement and only wrist (makes flicks difficult) and I've seen Junior players being taught moving the arm forward to serve. Not sure which of these is more like tapping that you mentioned.

    I also try to come over the top of the shuttle a bit, to try and get it to dip down once it goes over the net.
     
  7. BadmintonDave

    BadmintonDave Regular Member

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    Thank you to everyone else too who has commented so far
     
  8. Budi

    Budi Regular Member

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    Just curious myself, is there any rule state how many sec one are allowed to pause the serve? Or if no rule, how many sec that are normally allowed before the judge makes a warning or call a fault?
    Coz psicologically, no one can keep their focus for long periode of time. There will always be up & down. So pausing will makes our brain bored & let down the focus which is quite usefull if allowed to certain degree.
    Tho i myself never use its coz pausing will also put my brain to sleep aswell:confused:. Try it & feel ackward:p.
     
  9. BadmintonDave

    BadmintonDave Regular Member

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  10. Cheung

    Cheung Moderator

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    Hmm. Quite hard to explain in words without a visual.

    Need to have relaxed fingers which tighten on striking the shuttle.
     
  11. Cheung

    Cheung Moderator

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    Can’t comment much on this as it will depend on how you hold the shuttle.

    Do you mainly use fingers for flick or wrist? Fingers are better.

    I think the flick serve is mainly to throw off the rhythm. One of my group has a very effective flick serve. She hardly pauses when she brings up the racquet to the shuttle whereas her normal low serve has a pause.

    I have another trick flick serve where I don’t look up at the player just before starting so they think I am in auto mode for a low serve. They rush in thinking to catch me out.

    It’s important to have a few tricks up your sleeve.
     
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  12. Simeon

    Simeon Regular Member

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    Don't serve towards receivers racket, but pass him towards the sideline. Of course he can do a dangerous diagonal return, but worth trying anyway.
    Also you can move further from the net when serving to ensure the shuttle is flying on downward direction over the net
     
  13. LenaicM

    LenaicM Regular Member

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    Aiming for the sidelines is definitely not advised. Nor serving further from the sevice line in doubles (not XD). Aiming for a straight service at the "T" will

    1. Limit opponent's angle of attack
    2. The shuttle will travel a shorter distance = less reaction time for the opponent

    If the receiver is toeing the service line, a wide serve will be punished. Best is to work on the low serve and vary with the intensity of the "push", and the occasional flick.
     
  14. Hbmao

    Hbmao Regular Member

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    There are a number of things you could try:
    - put some slice/spin into the serve: As above posts have pointed out, if the shuttle starts dropping fast, it’s hard for an aggressive return even he gets a “head start”. Make the shuttle tumble by slicing/spinning will change the its trajectory considerably.
    - Change pace: try serve “fast” (rest without bringing the shuttle, and serve in the same motion as you bring up the shuttle). Or you could serve slowly to “ice” the opponent. But fast is usually more effective (also “more legal”). Also don’t keep the same pace for the opponent to be in tempo. There are other ways to change tempo, for example you could change service motion. I sometimes mix “forward slice/tap” serve with reverse slice ones (“squeeze serve). Effectiveness depends on what is the “que” that the opponent uses to time your serve.
    - Do a flat fast serve directly at the opponent. It remains a low serve but comes at a much faster pace. This is effective for opponent whose body is ready for an aggressive return but their racket actually lags a bit. Challenge is to serve flat legally. And it could backfire (poor serve that goes high without pace will be punished).
    - there is always the option of serving short to bait an aggressive opponent.
     
  15. Cheung

    Cheung Moderator

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    I don’t think this can be so dogmatic. I just played a tournament where the receiver was very good on his backhand (receiving on right side). We effectively limited him by serving wider out to his forehand. He became anxious as we weren’t giving him a chance to play his best shot.

    It’s important against a good receiver to have various types of serves and test which one the receiver might be a bit weaker at.
     
  16. LenaicM

    LenaicM Regular Member

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    Obviously, the occasional alternative serve is always welcome depending of the opponent. I just meant as a "base serve". As mentioned by @Hbmao serving short can even prove to be effective against a very agressive player who might return the shuttle straight to the net then doubt his ability to kill the shuttle or judge the length of the service. But it's not a norm.
     
  17. imataquito

    imataquito New Member

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    There's an option, not sure how legal it is in tourney but it's possible to hide or disguise the moment the racquet hits the shuttle with a little delay in the forearm movement or wrist flick/squeeze. This momentarily delay needs to seem seamless to anyone looking but only the server would know of the delay just moments before impact. The opponent who likes to attack the serve would likely be watching and be thrown off tempo as the server can decide to either flick a high serve, flick a low serve(normal), push a low serve (likely short and easiest to have shuttle seem unstable or without direction unless done right) at the very last moment... You can also decide the direction at the last moment and also add disguise with body turning (seen some pro doing it) prior to striking the shuttle.
     

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