Since the singles court has more depth than width, clears and drops to the rear and forecourt are the shots to manoeuvre the opponent around it with a view to forcing errors or creating open space to play the quicker smash. When playing any shot in singles it is important to try to return to a central base position in the mid-court from where all possible replies can be covered. However, movement towards this base position should be 'checked' as the opponent makes his shot in order to avoid being wrong-footed. When in difficult positions the shuttle should be cleared as high as possible to the rear court to allow time to recover to base.
While playing in the early stages of a game, attention should be paid to the opponent's strengths and weakness. For example, some players' backhand is often weaker than their forehand, so the fast clear, just high enough to avoid an early interception, may produce a weak return and create open space down their forehand side. So, always employ a strategy that exploits your opponent's weakness and try to keep the play away from his strengths.
To use any of these tactics, good stroke production and accuracy are essential, and the way to achieve these is through regular practice.
The basic service is the low one. The server should follow it to the net to cover any replies and to force the receiver to lift the return to the server's partner in the rear court. High serves are used for variety and, since the receiver will have a chance to hit downwards, the server should retreat for defence to a position that is level with his partner in the mid-court.
The same system should be applied during rallies; if you or your partner lift the shuttle so that it can be hit downwards by your opponent, then adopt the side-by-side defensive formation; if, on the other hand, the shuttle is above the net height, it should be hit downwards and the front and back formation adopted.
When using the former defensive formation, the aim is to play shots that the opposition will not be able to attack. These are usually drives through the front player or net shots in front of him. When a shot like this is attempted, as soon as the shuttle reaches a position the opponent's side from where it cannot be attacked (i.e. at or below net height), the striker should immediately move in towards the net. This converts a defensive position into an attacking one. When the conversion shots are not feasible, the shuttle should be lifted deep to the rear of the court to allow time in which to cover the next shot.
In this attacking formation the rear court player should keep hitting downwards in a straight direction so that his partner knows roughly where the shuttle will be played. He should also use a variety of pace and angles to try to produce a weak reply for his partner. Only under exceptional pressure should the shuttle be lifted, because his partner at the net will be an easy target to attack.
The net player should be looking to intercept any replies that pass within reach. The racket must be kept above net height so that the shuttle can be taken as early as possible. If the shuttle cannot be 'killed', then it should be played tight to the net to force the opposition to lift it again, thereby maintaining the attack.
When attacking, cross court shots should be played only occasionally, as they put the partner out of position and create space for the opposition to exploit.
The basic formation for mixed doubles involves the woman covering the forecourt and the man covering the mid and rear court areas. To help assume this position, the woman should stand in front of the man, on his non-racket side, when he is serving.
As with level doubles, the low service is favoured, although a variety of high serves may be used frequently to the woman in an attempt to force her away from her forecourt position.
The role of the woman is similar to that of the net player in level doubles, i.e. she must stand in the forecourt, with her racket up and ready to intercept any shot she can take in front of her (as soon as the shuttle has gone past her, it becomes the responsibility of the man). Whenever possible, she should hit the shuttle downwards to force the opposing man to reach forwards to lift it.
The man's main objective should be to take the shuttle as early as possible and to strike it downwards or at least flat to prevent the opposition from attacking his partner. He must also avoid lifting it, as his partner at the net will have little time in which to react to a shuttle struck down at her. When a pair is forced to lift, the woman should always position herself across the court from where the opposition are hitting. This will give her slightly more time to sight the shuttle, since it will have a greater distance to travel to reach her.