Wednesday, July 17, 2024
ChallengesCourtside ConversationsErrorsSingles

Is it possible to play error free badminton

There are  problems with seeking error-free badminton
We tried !
“I’m making too many unforced errors!”

This was the cry from one of the players I was watching in a tough training match.  One player was slightly better than the other but it was certainly a competitive match.

During the break, both players talked about the need to make fewer errors and especially unforced errors

I asked how many unforced errors they felt they should make in a game to 21 points

“I shouldn’t make any!”… was one reply!

So we decided to test if this was possible to play error free badminton and what effects the desire could have on players.

The challenge
  • To play a normal tough match and try to win.
  • BUT if one player made 3 unforced errors they immediately lost the match even if they were winning.
  • In our session, one player then decided to increase their target to 4 and the other reduced it to 2 !!!
error free badminton
What happened
  • The game was close at the beginning with lots of forced errors but no unforced errors
  • Then suddenly one player hit a return of serve just out the side! Ah!! was the cry
  • They kept two scores 9-7 and (0-1 unforced errors)
  • As the score widened both players made errors when either under pressure or surprisingly when they went for an ‘easy’ big smash down the line ‘out!’ (1-3)
  • There was a brief discussion over the difference between forced and unforced errors
  • The match finished 21-15 (2-5)

They kept playing even though one player past their ‘target’ limit of unforced errors

After the match
  • Both players agreed that it was much tougher mentally than they expected and they “couldn’t stop thinking about making an error”
  • It was agreed that some unforced errors were ok as they happened at a time that didn’t affect the overall match result.
  • Although after stating this we all stopped to consider how ‘true’ this was. What was your immediate reaction to the statement above?
  • There was a debate over the difference between forced and unforced errors
  • One player expressed frustration by saying said that they didn’t like the game and ” I don’t want to play it again!”
error free badminton


If you believe that there should be no unforced errors in a match why not pick a number (maybe zero) and try it. The game needs to be a competitive tough one.

Is it possible and realistic to aim to play error free badminton?
Final thoughts

Do you agree that zero unforced errors is an unrealistic target and maybe reduction of errors is much tougher than people realise?

I recommend that your first goal is to reduce the chance of unforced errors at critical stages of a match.  Or, just start with something such as the return of serve.  Preparing to hit a ‘safe’ return to service is a skill that needs to be mastered.


Not everyone can play like VA .. even he makes the occasional mistake !!!

Badminton errors
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As always, I’m very grateful if you have read this far 🙂

How you react and what your opinions are with regard to making errors will influence the results of your matches and your coaching.

If you have thoughts to share why not send me an email


This is part of a series of conversation starters. 

Although not in detail, the posts are written to get you thinking and talking with others.