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Basic Badminton Doubles Rotation

In the game of doubles, moving around in the court is not so similar to a singles game - as we know it as "doubles rotation", which is an important skill to have. All doubles players should have the basic knowledge of how you should rotate in the court in different situations. The general idea is to cover your partner and vice versa to prevent any gaps and avoid clashing with your partner during the match. In the following paragraphs, the terminologies that we will be using are "Attack" - front-back position, "Defend" - side-by-side position and always look out for straight court shots as they are the most common shots.

Attacking Position (Front-back)

- Base line smash/drop

When A is at the back attacking, B has to stand in front of A slightly behind the service line getting ready to intercept the next shot.

Scenario 1: If A is attacking on the right side, B move to the right.

Scenario 2: If A is attacking on the left side, B move to the left.

*Tip*: Try to always attack straight, unless necessary to attack cross-court shots. If not you and your partner will be in trouble when they return a simple straight ball. The partner at the back should try to attack in the direction where the front partner is to allow for easier interception for your partner in the front.

- Half court smash/drop

When A is attacking at half court, B have to move to the another side, slightly in front of the half court center. This rotation can be done either A is attacking at the half court or slightly behind half court center. After A attacks, their position should be side by side with B slightly in front. Below are some scenarios you might encounter after A attacks.

Scenario 1: Opponent returns to A's side of court, if the shot is at the front, A follows up and B goes behind of A (rotated). If the shot is to the back, A move backwards and and B goes forward (did not rotate)

Scenario 2: Opponent returns to B's side, if the shot is at the front, B follows up and A moves behind of B (did not rotate). If the shot is to the back, B move backwards and A got forward (rotated).

- Side Drive / Side placement / Side Clear

After Side Drive and Placement, both partner will have to slightly split in a side-by-side position.One partner should position himself/herself slightly behind the other partner while he/she position himself/herself slightly behind the service line on the other half of the court.These two shots are still counted as an offensive shot, as the next rotation will most likely lead them to Front-Back position again. However, after the one at the back executes a Side Clear, both have to go to a Side-By-Side defensive position.

Scenario 1: A moves from left to the right to do a Side Drive/Placement, B move slightly backwards to the left side of the court and A will move slightly forward after the shot.

(Take note if the shuttle goes to the right it will be A's shuttle, if is to the left it will be B's shuttle. Whoever pressures the next shot/return to the side in front of you, will go forward and whoever smash/drop the next shot will move backwards.)

Scenario 2: A moves from left to the right to do a Side Clear, A and B will go into Side-By-Side defensive position.

*Tips*: The one in front will have to make judgment without turning back to know if the shuttle is going back high or low. If the shuttle is low and the partner in front does not move backwards to the other side, it will hinder the partner behind from attacking.

Defending Position (Side-by Side)

Defensive shots include, lifting, lobbing, clearing, any shots that allow your opponent to attack. Once a defensive shot is executed, both partners should be in a side-by-side position. If your opponent is attacking from the right then both defending player should lean to the right side of their own half courts, if your opponent is attacking from the left then both defending player should lean to the left side of their own half courts. Refer to the diagram below shown.

- Block a smash / net a drop shot

A good block or netting from a drop shot will allow you to change from a defending position to an attacking position. Keeping the shuttle low and near the net will force your opponent to do a lifting or netting. Below is an example on how you can rotate from a defending position to an attacking position.

Example: C block and move forward, D move behind C.

(If opponent B chooses to net, C can tap or if opponent B chooses to lift, D can smash/drop)


Lifting gives you time to recover to your position, it also allows you to catch a breath during the game. However, you will still remain in a defensive position regardless of lifting a smash shot or a drop shot. Remember to always go back to your defending position to get ready for your next shot.

Tips: Keep the shuttle high up and far to the base line.

- Flat Drive Shot

A flat drive defend is a good counter attack shot. For this shot, you will only rotate when your flat drive passes through the front opponent interception. This shot requires a lot of strength and wrist power in order to counter a smash.

Scenario 1: C drive pass B in front, C move forward and D move backwards.

(If opponent A chooses to do a placement, C can net/tap. If opponent A chooses to lift, D can smash/drop.)

Tips: Keep the shuttle flat and low.


Hopefully, this guide has been helpful for you and gives you an insight into doubles rotation. If unsure, our coaches at Divine Badminton Academy can provide proper guidance in person and we offer a free trial lesson at We provide badminton classes for kids/teens/adults of all skill levels in Singapore. Head on over to sign up today and be a part of TeamDivine!


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