I had a look at this site. It only explains how to do doubles rotation, not what they exactly are. I am unsure how I would describe "doubles rotation" to a badminton newbie in four-five sentences. So,

What is a proper definition of "doubles rotation" in badminton?

  • To understand why rotation is necessary, you have to understand basic doubles strategy first. Therefore, my answer will include a primer on doubles strategy, and will be far longer than 5 sentences. I apologize; I was unable to find a more succinct but still understandable explanation.
    – phihag
    Feb 12 '18 at 20:36

In doubles, good players can easily cover he whole court, much easier than in singles, where a single person has to cover an only slightly smaller area. To win a rally against a good doubles pair, you need to pressure them with fast downwards shots, forcing them to make a mistake.

To be able to play downwards, you need to force the opponents to play upwards, typically by playing shots to where they are not at the moment, so that they have to take the shuttle late. In this situation (taking the shuttle late, often just above the floor), playing short to the net would allow you to kill the shuttle immediately, so the least-worst option for your opponents is to play a high lift to the very back of the court.

So whoever wins this fight for the lift will have an advantage, but they have not won the rally yet.

When you are smashing the shuttle downwards from the back of the court, your partner should cover the front. This prevents your opponents from simply blocking the shuttle to the net, which would require you to lift.

Concurrently, your opponents have to optimize their positioning to defend against your smash. A good smash is way too fast to intercept near the net, so they will stand side-by side at about the middle of the court, so that they can get to any smash immediately without having to step. The direction where the smash would fly the shortest distance is the most dangerous, so the player on the side of the shuttle will typically cover less space. Other considerations such as relative defensive skills, handedness and speed may also affect the defenders' positioning, but it will always be side-by-side.

In summary, typical positions of attackers and defenders look like:

basic doubles positions

The defenders can play high lifts to the back of the court again, but in order for them to win, they are trying to get into the attack themselves.

This, finally, is where rotation comes into play: By playing to where the attackers aren't, i.e. between the attacking players, to the sides at the net, or flat shots to a side of the rearcourt, the defenders force the attackers to move around the court.

When the defenders find a hole in the attack, the attackers may have to lift the shuttle themselves, and now become the attackers. Both sides then have to reposition to the then-optimal positions.

Because a doubles player will roughly speaking always cover the opposite half of the court to where their partner is, this repositioning is called rotation.

To get a better feel for doubles strategy in general and the rotation it entails, watch high-level doubles matches.

  • This just sounds like the basics, not rotation. I don't know much about rotation as it's very advanced, but I think rotation is along the lines of, when e.g. a person at the back (Person A), smashes it, the opponents lift it to the other side. If Person A moves to the other side of the court and gets it then no rotation was done. If Person A comes forward and Person B(his partner), goes back to take it.
    – barlop
    May 1 '19 at 0:24

Doubles rotation is difficult, it's very advanced. And i'm new to the concept myself.

One answer suggests it's certain things that I don't think it is. It isn't the idea that if you lift you go sides.. It isn't the idea of hitting down. It isn't the idea of finding holes in the opponents. Though that's not to say you shouldn't do those things! And it takes years even to get good at those things, let alone doubles rotation.

An example of doubles rotation, is let's say the opponents hit the shuttle high down one side, e.g. near the tramline. You go to it, your partner is in front of you around the middle of the court. And let's say you smash it. They then lift it to the other side. There are two options here.

A) You stay at the back and go get it

B) Your partner comes back and you come forward.

If you do B, that's an example of doubles rotation.

It's explained in this video by Paul Stewart

Badminton Level Doubles Rotation & Positioning Q&A . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJZGT2VOJwA

He mentions some other scenarios

This video also shows examples of doubles rotation


e.g. the smash getting returned cross court example, that I mentioned.

And he mentions an example where you at the back get a poor lift from your opponents, you smash it and come forward.. so that's another rotation

A basic summary of the idea of any rotation, is that when you have two partners A and B, A was behind B, now B is behind A. (and beyond the simple rules regarding front back and sides)

Another rotation i've heard about, is if the opponents do a net shot on one side, your partner gets it, and they cross court it, and your partner has no chance of getting their cross court. You might be nearer it than him too particularly if he is near the net then you'd have come to the middle. So you could get that cross court one and they can come back. Or since there isn't much time, you lift it and are sides.

So that's three there.

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