Singles Tactic: Keep It Flat

On June 6, 2009, in Instructional, by Emmet Gibney

Few players are comfortable with an overly flat style of play. However, this is a very popular tactic among the top players in the world. Peter Gade was the player to popularize this tactic back in the late 90’s when he marched his way to the top of the world rankings. Peter was very dominant for 4 years before Taufik Hidayat, Lin Dan, and Lee Chong Wei started doing so well.

Like no other player before, Peter Gade kept the game very flat. He rarely lifted the shuttle high, and generally kept the shuttle coming down from the back. This style of game requires strong drives and defensive abilities, but can keep your opponent under extreme pressure. Peter Gade was a world junior doubles champion, so he is obviously very comfortable with flat play.

So why does this tactic work so well? A few reasons:

• By focusing on making your opponent really work for a lift from you they are unable to have much time to prepare for smashes
• This is a tactic that few players use, and requires shots that few singles players focus on. By keeping them out of their comfort zone you gain an advantage
• If your fitness is far from the best you make the court feel a little bit smaller for yourself

Like any tactic in badminton you need to be careful how you execute it, and who you try and use it against. Here are some tips on when you should avoid using this tactic:

• Against someone with poor fitness, make these guys run the full four corners of the court!
• Against a doubles specialist
• If you are not good at drives and flat play

So what do you need to execute this type of tactic?

• Don’t give up the lift so easily, try and push it flat when you’re at the net. Don’t be afraid of them smashing because their shot will have to be fairly flat, in fact you can probably hit it overhead back at them.
• If you find yourself digging from the back, don’t lift. Hit it flat back, hard and fast so they can hit a tight net shot. This is perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind. Don’t hit a slow drop shot back to the net, or else they’ll just hit a tight net shot.
• Control the net as often as you can. If they want to lift it nice and high to you, that’s just fine. You can hit a smash and follow it up with a push at the net or just net it again.
• Serve short. You’ll notice that players serve short more than ever now. With the 21 point scoring system players can’t afford to get burned on their long serve. Also, when you serve short it can be a good idea to mix up your placement. Serve it out wide sometimes, or even serve it deep into court, almost like a drive. This really throws people off who aren’t used to it, but be careful not to serve illegally.
• Practice by playing box game. Don’t know what box game is? Basically it is half court singles, where the only place you are allowed to hit the shuttle is the service box, nothing outside that one big box is in. This forces you to play flat, and is a great way to practice your flat play. A lot of doubles players like this game, but singles players need to be good at this too now.

If you want to use this tactic just watch a bunch of Peter Gade videos and you’ll see what I’m talking about. He is the master of this tactic, nobody does it better.

19 Responses to Singles Tactic: Keep It Flat

  1. Bruno Demedts says:

    good advice! this is really helpfull.
    I really like fast games, so i think i would like singles more with this style.

    Will there be videos on the website about playing flat?

  2. Venkata says:

    I really want to learn this tacttic as I love to play fast game. Also where can I find Peter videos

  3. tommy charles says:

    Thanks, this tactic is just the right style for me because I can stay with the younger players using this tatic.

  4. Marc says:

    Watch Peter Gade and pick up on his game? I’ve been watching and revering him as a god for as long as I’ve played badminton! My style really seems to throw people off, even more since I started practicing drive play with a competitive doubles player.

    See, I never understood why, and now I realize I must’ve picked it all up from Gade’s play. Aside from this wonderful style, I have a very strong technique as a result.

    There’s nothing better than watching and figuring out the pros, save formal coaching.

  5. b0b3t0 says:

    Really nice stuff.Thanks a lot : ).Keep going with so helpfull imformation.

  6. Adele says:

    Really interesting, I will try it!

  7. Judit Letsch says:

    Is it possible to get a video that shows flat game from somewhere?
    Please answer if yes. THanks.

  8. victor antsiferov says:

    thanks alot for an interesting stuff .I will use the general ideas of this article in my coaching practice.Some of my players are of Gade type : light and very fast.The right tactics is the great thing !

  9. Mike says:

    Another new one for me! I’ll try to practice it on my next game, Keep those wonderful tips coming, they’re such a big help. Thanks so much!

  10. Laura says:

    gr8 tips, thanks, just like the previous comments….any videos of it in action?

  11. Mr. Bone says:

    Please send me a videos about flat game or any singles events of lin dan, gade and other top ranking players of bandminton

  12. Bakky says:

    Waoh! Quite interesting, but i did luv 2 watch the video. Where can i get it. Thanks

  13. Prashant says:

    Good advise.
    In case the opponent is using the tactic of ‘keeping it flat’ or ‘drives’, how can we break his/her rhythm? In other words, any suggestions to get the opponent off-guard? Thanks!

  14. Deen Muhammad says:

    Good one
    Its very nice , give me a suggestion about how can I break that tactic of my opponent?? . Have you any video of that tactic? if you have please send

  15. Anil says:

    Thanks for the tip.. Its highly useful.. I have always looked at Gade and his game and wondered how he got those crucial points playing drives. Now i get the reason why its so useful. I have tried it and it REALLY throws the opponents off guard

    I generally practice at cement courts and i get a lot of pain in my knees after a few games. Can anyone tell me the reason why and what i can do it avoid it. Please dont ask me to change the place where i play cos that is the most common answer i always get. Anything else i can do??

  16. mindula says:


  17. davidoon says:

    Thank you for sharing the tactic. Really appreciate your generousity. It gives more options and variations in my game as well as to the kids that i am training.

  18. Robert says:

    Thanks for the great tips, I’ll hunt down a video or two and see visually what you mean.
    I’ll give it a try also and see how I can add it to my tactics.
    I would also like to read more about doubles tactics as that is usually how clubs play here due to demand for courts etc.

  19. bernard chan says:

    i just want to share with all the reader and clariy the statement made by the writer.. flat tactic in single which what we call and known as drives shot. it was started by zhoa jian hua era in 1985 and not by peter gade . i remembet when peter came to malaysia in early of 90. he was merely just a stroke player.. not attacking player. to support my statement, you can view in youtube all england ms final 1985 zhoa vs morten frost and all england ms final 1990 zhoa vs joko. during that time peter is still not in the picture yet.. regards.

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