Beginner Basics for Nintendo Switch Sports Beginner Basics for Nintendo Switch Sports

All you need to know about Bowling, Badminton, and Chambara

Greetings, and thank you for stopping by! This is the editorial team of “GameWith,” a Japanese game information website.

We're going to talk about how to play Bowling, Badminton, and Chambara in Nintendo Switch Sports this time, along with some tips and tricks that will turn you into an expert without too much fuss.

Please note that Golf (added in the November 2022 update) is covered in another article here. We're sure you'll find useful information there as well!

*This article was written with right-handed use of the Joy-Con (R) controller in mind.

The rules

Let's start from the fundamentals. What are some basic rules for the three sports we're covering?


In Bowling, players throw a ball towards a formation of bowling pins from a distance away to try to knock as many of them down as possible. Getting either a strike (knocking all pins down on the first throw) or a spare (knocking all pins down on the second throw) will add more points to your total score.

In addition to regular bowling lanes, you can also opt for special bowling lanes with unusual obstacles to challenge your skills!


In Badminton, players hit a shuttlecock back and forth over a net placed in the middle of the court. Points are awarded when a player makes the shuttlecock land inside the opponent's side of the court, or when the returned shuttlecock is hit outside of the player's court. The first to gain five points wins.

Your character moves automatically during the match, so you only have to focus on swinging the racket to hit the shuttlecock over the net. Once you get used to the controls, go ahead and try using smashes or drops to enjoy the exhilaration of a speedy shuttlecock rally.


For Chambara, you'll hold your controller like a sword and use it to strike at your opponent in this combat sport. There are three types of swords, each with its own unique features. Choose the one that suits your combat style best.

The player who forces their opponent off the platform with their attacks first will gain a flag, and the first to gain two flags out of three will be the victor.

Tips and tricks: Bowling

If you’re hoping to get some tips for becoming better at your sport of choice as quickly as possible, we have just the thing for you in this section. Let's start with Bowling.

Aim slightly off-center at an angle

The trick to getting a strike is to aim for the space between the head pin (the foremost pin of the formation) and the pin behind it to the right (3rd pin). When getting ready to bowl, imagine throwing the ball in a way that will make it roll slightly sideways into the center where the head pin is. Trust us, it's easier to score a strike from this angle.

On the other hand, throwing the ball directly into the center of the pin formation usually results in a split (where the pins left standing are a distance apart from each other). It's extra challenging to get a spare on your next throw after a split, and that will lower your overall score.

Another reason for targeting the pins sideways instead of head on is so that you can potentially trigger a domino effect on the other pins. To make it easier to pull this off, our suggestion is to position yourself at a corner of the lane and then throw the ball at a slight angle.

Adjust the path of the ball using the arrows

The arrows (spots) on the lane are markers to help you adjust your throw, so make full use of them! Press the X Button to zoom in on the pins, then ease into position and adjust the angle of the ball with the A and Y Buttons to finalize your throw.

Straight wrist and follow through

You should start by trying to get a strike by bowling straight. Do this by swinging the controller fully and releasing the ball while keeping your wrist locked.

Twisting your wrist while throwing the ball out will result in a curve ball (hook). Throwing a hook will hit the pins at an angle, making it easier for the pin to fall, so it will be easier to aim for a strike if you can master it well.

However, it takes time to perfect the hook and its curve, so a straight throw is easier to control and keeps your score somewhat stable.

Another thing to note: bring your controller to the front of your chest before shifting into the throw motion. Any haphazard movements will cause the controller to struggle to detect the direction of the throw properly.

In order for an ideal throw, it's very important to pay close attention to your wrist and controller movements at all times, as we tend to neglect these as we get used to the game.

More focus needed after a strike or a spare

The way bowling scores are calculated is that after you get a strike or spare, your score for that frame receives a bonus based on the number of pins you knock down in the next one. Here's how it works.


After hitting a spare, the number of pins you knock down in the next throw will be added to the spare's score. That's why you need to focus harder after a spare and knock down as many pins as possible in the next throw.


Now, if you get a strike, your next two throws will be added to the score of that frame. So basically, the more strikes in a row you get, the higher your score will be! That's why it's best to focus even harder after getting a strike.

Tips and tricks: Badminton

Ready to see what tips we have for Badminton?

Understand the different types of shots

The first thing you should do is to learn the different types of shots in the game. Understanding their different trajectories and how best to use them will make it easier for you to overwhelm the opponent, giving you the upper hand in the match.

Types of shots and their uses

・Smash / Overhand Shot
This shot is made by swinging the racket from top to bottom. Smashing a wobbly shuttlecock that's very high in the air will result in a Super Smash, which, as its name suggests, is a much stronger version of a normal smash.

・Underhand Shot
Refers to a shot that is taken by swinging the racket from the bottom up. Best used for countering smashes or making lob shots meant to buy time until you can get properly ready for the next move.

・Drop Shot
Swing and hit the shuttlecock while pressing the ZR Button to do a drop shot, which is a shot that falls near the net. Good for putting the brakes on an intense rally and to throw your opponent off course.

Shake up the opponent by using different shots

Now that you are familiar with the controls and can engage in longer rallies with the opponent, it's time to think about shaking them up by changing the direction of your shots. Simply swing the controller in the direction you want the shuttlecock to go. Hit left, then right, and throw in a drop shot for good measure.

Keep your racket in position

Keeping your racket in the center of the screen is the key to making good directional shots. In the midst of an exhilarating rally, you may inadvertently shift your position and make it difficult to direct the shuttlecock where you want it to go. To prevent that from happening, always take regular stock of your position and shift slightly back to the center during a rally if you notice you've stepped a little too far out.

The racket's position can be adjusted (reset of gyro controls) by pressing the X Button while pointing the controller at the center of the screen.

Position your racket in advance

Staying ahead of the curve by anticipating your opponent's next shot and getting into position to counter is another key to victory. For example, if you foresee the opponent hitting the shuttlecock to the left, holding up your racket in that direction beforehand automatically moves your character that way, thus getting you closer to the shot. This makes it easier for you to counter later.

Hit the shuttlecock at close distance

When returning a shot, allow the shuttlecock to come closer to your character first. If you try to hit a shot that's too far away, you may trip and have to spend some time getting up. Not just that, the shuttlecock will wobble as it makes its way over to the opponent, giving them the chance to execute a super smash on you.

This is especially apt to happen when you're being sent all over the court by the opponent and you rush to swing your racket. When being pressured, you should all the more wait until the shuttlecock is as near to you as possible so that you can hit it with the center of the racket, keeping any mistake shots to a minimum.

Hitting the shuttlecock from afar makes your character dive to it and creates an opening for the opponent

Tips and tricks: Chambara

Finally, we're going to talk about the exciting combat sport of Chambara.

Guard well and counter

Guarding well is essential to winning your Chambara match. Successfully guarding an attack stuns the opponent for a brief period, allowing you the opportunity to counter. Guard yourself as you wait for the right time to intercept the opponent's attacks and strike back.

Avoid the opponent's guard to attack

You can attack while avoiding the opponent's guard by swinging your sword in the same direction they are guarding in.

For example, if the opponent is guarding horizontally, swing your sword horizontally. If they're guarding vertically, then swing vertically. This breaks their guard so you can attack. Observe the way your opponent is guarding throughout the match so you can see how to break it.

However, this does go both ways in that the opponent can do the same to you, so you may need to keep changing the direction that you guard, or at least try not to stay in one guard position for too long.

Thrust after a successful guard

You can do more than just swing your sword; you can also use it to do a thrust attack by pushing your controller forward quickly. Thrusting pushes the opponent back farther than slicing. It has the best effect when you land the thrust after stunning your opponent by guarding against their attack.

Learn the characteristics of each sword

Each of the three types of swords has its own unique features and strengths, which can only be fully understood when you actually use them. Keep experimenting until you find the combat sword and style that suits you.

Types of swords and their features

A plain old trusty sword.
It's the most powerful sword among the three and pushes the opponent much farther back.

・Charge Sword
The next most powerful sword after the regular sword.
Each time you guard successfully with this sword, it charges up its energy. Once fully charged, you gain access to Charge Strikes and Charge Thrusts.
You can also parry by guarding just before an opponent's attack lands. This throws the opponent back farther than usual.

・Twin Swords
Wield two swords in combat.
This is the weakest sword type out of the three.
A charge meter automatically builds up when using these, and when it reaches its maximum value, you can perform a Spinning Strike / Twin Thrust.

Final thoughts

How did you like our tips on how best to play and get better at Bowling, Badminton, and Chambara in Nintendo Switch Sports?

Feel free to use this article as a reference as you get the hang of each sport's basic controls and game flow. Once you achieve a certain level of familiarity and proficiency, apply some of the tips we've shared to get more enjoyment from your Nintendo Switch Sports experience!