Q and A

Any idea what a bird has to do with badminton?

Like any sport badminton has the odd phrase or two to confuse us all, so let’s unscramble some common badminton babble to help you on and off the court. Got a question about badminton you’d like answered? send me your questions here.

The extension of the court by one-and-a-half feet on either side. Only used during doubles play. (Also the hangout place of Top Cat).Base
A central point on the court where a singles player aims to return to after every shot.Bird
Another name for a shuttlecock, thanks to the feathers which are used to make them (American term). Or the name given to a female partner in mixed doubles

A block shot is just that. Usually played from a smash or drop shot, your aim – to stop the shuttle passing you.

A carry is when you ‘scoop’ the shuttle rather than hit it. This is also known as a “throw”.

A shot hit high and deep into your opponent’s court. It can be used for defence or attack.

A hard and fast shot, hit low over the net. Get it right and your opponent’s in trouble.

Hairpin shot
A shot hit low and close to the net. It should just clear it and drop quickly on the other side.


An official stoppage made by the umpire during play. If a let is called, the point is replayed.

Net shot
Similar to the hairpin, but the shuttle is hit from the forecourt and not quite as close to the net.

Forget Colin McRae and think a series of shots resulting in a point being scored.

Also known as a bird or shuttle. They’re either made from plastic or feathers.

A shot, usually hit from the rear or mid court area, that is difficult for your opponent to retrieve.

If the base of the shuttle hits the frame of your racquet you’ve hit a wood shot (or shank).