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Why do most female badminton players go for the long service whereas male players go for the short service?

I've observed this in various tournaments including the Rio Olympics. Is it that one of them is more advantageous than the other?

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Generally, men move faster on court and have a more powerful smash - this is plain visible in Mixed doubles, where the man often covers three fourth of the court, and in smash statistics, where men are up 30km/h or more. On the other hand, the defensive ability of top women is very close to that of the men.

For these reasons, a high shot to the back to a man will put you into a disadvantageous situation where the opponent can play a high-speed smash that you'll struggle to defend against. This is doubly true in doubles, where the back service line is closer, and a front player will cover all short replies.

On the other hand, the same high shot to a woman (in level doubles, mixed doubles, or singles) will put you into a much more neutral situation: The smash (if any) won't be as powerful, and she may not get to the back fast enough to execute one of the really threatening jump smashes.

The same is true for beginners as opposed to more advanced players, by the way: Beginners will struggle to reach high shots and not be able to produce any threatening shots from the back of the court, especially in singles. At lower levels, a high serve to the back may even put you into an advantageous position.

Today's top female players are getting to the point where they are able to dish out threatening shots from the back doubles service line, and therefore we're seeing fewer high serves in Womens/Mixed doubles as well. Even in singles, top players like Carolina Marin or P.V. Sindhu are able to attack high shots (serves as well as clears during the game). That's why players of their caliber often employ backhand serves (easier to play short shots, and to disguise the occasional long serve) as opposed to the forehand serves(easy to get a very high shot) which are ubiquitous at lower levels in singles.

There is only some relation between the selection of serve and the receiver's height; professional players can easily produce high serves that go over the reach of any human. Because tall players have a higher center of gravity, they take longer to go the back. That's why discipline and gender of the receiver is a much more accurate predictor of the type of service. In other words, if you serve high to Hiroyuki Endo (1,72m Men's doubles expert), you can be certain that the response will be a thundering smash.

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Possibly it may be about height


Males are on average taller than females (plain sexual dimorphism), so doing along serve for a female has higher chance of going over their head if they were standing close to the net. If a male was standing close to the net and the server served long then the male has a higher chance of jumping up, being able to reach it and then smash it.

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