To win more badminton doubles games there are certain tactics that you can use. You need to put a strategy in place.
Not that long ago I asked the question, when do I need to rotate with my partner?
This is a difficult question to answer as, in addition to other factors, it depends on how you and your partner play together. However, the information in this article should help to remove any stumbling blocks.
In this article I will cover rotation in level doubles (men’s and women’s doubles). I will be looking at:
- What rotation is.
- What mistakes some badminton players make in terms of their positioning and rotation.
- When to rotate.
What is Rotation?
Rotation is employed specifically in badminton doubles when a pair are ‘attacking’. It is where a player covers for their partner when their opponents play a shot that the player believes will leave his partner out of position.
Pairs can also rotate for other reasons, such as when one player is becoming fatigued, when it will give the pair a tactical advantage or when they can hit a winning shot.
Positioning and Rotation: What Mistakes Some Players Make
They Play ‘Sides’
When a badminton pair are attacking, they should be playing as ‘one unit’. They should adopt the front and back positions when on the attack and rotate when necessary.
Nevertheless, a lot of badminton players play ‘sides’, where each player takes a side of the court. This can leave gaps in the pair’s attacking play.
Imagine this scenario. Player 1 (the orange circle) smashes straight at the defending player (the blue circle). As Player 2 (the red circle) is not parallel to Player 1 and is to the side, he is not covering the front straight area. The defending player (the blue circle) just has to play a straight block to the net to leave both attacking players out of position.
The front court player should be covering the ‘straight area’ but also in certain scenarios be looking to cover any shots hit cross court by the defending pair.
If you need more information on this you should read my ‘doubles positioning and shot placement’ article.
Players Who Try to Cover Too Much Of The Court
A common issue is when players try to cover too much of the court. This can confuse their partner and make it difficult for them to play together a pairing.
In my experience, this creates more uncertainty over whose shot is whose.
When To Rotate
Before you read this section, there’s something you need to understand. Knowing when to rotate does not follow hard and fast rules: it depends on how you and your doubles partner play together. Just view this as guidance.
Scenario 1- Out of Position
Look at the image below. The pair in the red shirts are on the attack. The rear court player plays a straight overhead attacking shot from the side tramlines.
One of the defending players plays a cross court drive/lift to the other side of the court. As the rear court player will struggle to recover and get to the return shot quickly, the front court player should move across and cover for him, and play a shot.
Look at the direction of the blue arrows to assist you.
Scenario 2- Cross Court
In this scenario the players in black shirts are on the attack. The rear court player plays an attacking overhead shot, this time cross-court to the defending player opposite him.
The defending player plays a drive/lift to the opposite side of the court (follow the direction of the blue arrows). The front court player should move and play a shot to cover the rear/side of the court for their partner.
Scenario 3- Side to Side
The players in the black shirts are attacking. In image 1, the rear court player plays an attacking shot. The defending player plays a cross court shot to the other side of the court. The rear court player is quick to get to the other side and plays another attacking shot.
Now look at image 2 (below). The rear court player plays another straight attacking shot. The defending pair play another cross court defensive shot. As the rear court player will struggle to change direction, the player in the front court should cover for their partner (follow the direction of the blue arrows).
Scenario 4- Coming Forward
In this scenario the players in the red shirts are on the attack. Player 1 plays a straight attacking shot. As Player 1 is standing more towards the ‘mid court area’, he should signal to Player 2 that he will move forwards.
Player 1 should move towards the front court area (follow the yellow arrow) and Player 2 should move to the back (follow the blue arrow), hence rotating their positions.
In summary, use these scenarios as guidance when you play level doubles. Do not view the advice in this rotation guide as rules set down in black and white. Other factors will come into play such as you and your partner’s strengths and weaknesses etc.
If you are still struggling to understand this guide, then please do leave a comment below. To improve your understanding, you should also watch elite level badminton doubles games and also experienced players at your local badminton club.
I hope you have found this article helpful. In the next article in the ‘tips and tactics to win more badminton doubles games’ series, I will be looking at doubles defence.