Badminton is a historically popular and highly skillful racquet game. It is played with a shuttlecock on a rectangular court. Like tennis, the game can be played as singles or doubles - with one person on each side, or two.
Badminton was first played in ancient Greece and Egypt, when players hit an early version of the shuttlecock, made of bird’s feathers, with racquets. It is thought to have been developed from a game called ‘battledore and shuttlecock’, a favorite among children.
What is badminton?
Badminton is a racquet sport in which players hit a badminton bird back and forth over a net.
How to play badminton
Badminton features one player opposing another, or competing pairs. The game is played on a surface called a court. The object is to hit the shuttlecock past the opponent so it lands on the court, or to get the opposition to make a mistake and hit the shuttlecock into the net or outside the court.
Before the start of a match the players should toss a coin. The winner the coin toss can either opt to serve or choose which side of the court to play on. Once they have decided, the loser takes the discarded option.
How to win
In a badminton match players aim to win the best of three games, each of which is played to 21 points. Each time a side wins a rally they receive a point and the right to serve for the next point. The first to 21 points wins the game.
Like sets in tennis, games must be won with a two-point lead. If a game is tied at 20-20, the game continues until one side achieves a two-point lead or until one side scores 30 points (30-29 is an acceptable score for victory).
A badminton court is rectangular, with clearly marked white or yellow lines dividing it into different sections. These different lines show where a long service and short service should be taken, and there are also side lines and a centre line from one end of the court to the other.
The full width of the court is 6.1 metres, and in singles this width is reduced to 5.18 metres. The full length of the court is 13.4 metres.
The net is 1.55 metres high at the edges and 1.524 metres high in the centre.
Racquet –A badminton racquet is lightweight and has a round head. The racquet is flat, and the strings are crossed in a uniform pattern all over the head, with no variation. The racquet cannot be longer than 680mm, and the width of the head should be 230mm or less. The length of the head should be 290mm or less.
A shuttlecock can be made from natural or synthetic material, or a mixture of the two. The shuttlecock weighs approximately 5g - much lighter than a tennis ball and, subsequently, potentially capable of travelling at a higher speed when hit.
Shuttlecocks come in three speeds - slow, medium and fast. Plastic shuttlecocks are cheaper than those made of natural fibers, and are ideal for those new to the sport.
Shoes – special court shoes are worn to allow players to move quickly across the court, and to give them traction for quick starts and stops in this fast-moving sport
Smash – This shot can be almost unreturnable when executed accurately and with sufficient force. The smash is used to end the point, and to assert your control over the game. Hit the shuttlecock hard and fast, when it is approaching you high in the air.
Serve – This is the most important shot of your game. With a strong serve, you can win points and keep control of the game. Vary between short and long serves to keep your opponent on his toes. Keeps the shuttlecock low and close to the net for a short serve, forcing the opposition to move close to the net for the return
Clear- This is a very useful shot to regain positional control. Keep your elbow high and hit the shuttlecock when it is still rising towards you in the air, and strike it hard towards the back of your opposition’s court space. This takes some practice, to ensure you do not overshoot and hit the shuttlecock out, clearing the back line.