All about Badminton
Origins of Badminton
The earliest outdoor sports my memory registers is Badminton. It is simple and fun and can be played in your backyard. I still remember my racquet was special – it had double bars in its handle!
Long long back, a game used to be played in India and a few other countries, where a paddle of sorts was used to hit a shuttlecock back and forth between two players. A shuttlecock is an inverted V shaped thing made of feathers and a hard top. (See pic) --also called shuttles or birdies—they weigh 0.2 oz and consist of 16 goose feathers. This game was called Poona. You also had a net standing between the two players demarcating area assigned to each player and defining where the shuttlecock needs to pass above. India was being ruled by the British then and being the sportsmen they are, they picked up the game and started playing it back in England as well.
The name ‘Badminton’ was coined by the Duke of Beaufort after Badminton house in Gloucestershire where he had invited guests to his party and introduced the game of Poona to them. There on this became a very popular game among the British high class.
So what is the game all about and how can we learn to play it?
A Badminton Court
Badminton Equipment & Court
For starters, you need to have at least two players, a badminton racquet each and a shuttle cock. A badminton court looks quite similar to a tennis court.
For a doubles game the entire court is included but for a singles match the inner boundary lines are the permitted playing field. A valid serve needs to land in the box shown as ‘service area’ in the picture.
The standard dimensions of a court are 44 feet long and 20 feet in width. The net is at a height of 5 feet.
The surface varies from wood, concrete to non slippery man made synthetic surfaces. This can be an outdoor or indoor set up. If played outdoors, the wind velocity plays a huge role in the success of the game. For this reason indoor courts are preferred.
Racquets – initially these were made of wood, over the years, they have been made lighter and stronger with materials such as aluminium and graphite. The latest ones weigh between 80-100 grams. They usually measure 68 centimetres long, the oval head has typical dimensions of 28cmX22cm. The badminton strings are made of strong synthetic fibre and their tension also varies from the level of the players. The hand grip is another important aspect of the racquet determining the level of comfort and control a players has on the racquet. Manufactured by a host of companies such as Yonex, Prince, Wilson, Carlton amongst others, one can find a wide variety of racquets out there in the market with varying prices starting from as low as $30.
Dress – A pair of shorts and Tee Shirt are the most common clothes worn by both men and women alike while paying badminton.
Shoes – A good pair of shoes is essential to play the game well; it affects your agility and prevents injury. Most companies make shoes particularly for badminton, the most popular again being Yonex.
A toss decides which player will occupy which side of the court and who will serve first. Players then position themselves on diagonally opposite sides of the courts. The play continues till a player either misses to return the shot back to the other court, returns the shot but the shuttlecock lands outside the boundary, hits the shuttlecock into the net or the opposite player is unable to pick up the shuttle on his side of the court (either missing or returning back onto his side of the net).
One non stop return and pick up of shots between players is called a ‘Rally’.
Like every game, the scoring methodology has changed over the years for this sport. The last change was in 2006 where rally point scoring was adopted. This implied, whoever won the rally, won the point irrespective of the fact who served the first shot of the rally. The player(s) reaching 21 points first is the winner of the game and there needs to be a difference of 2 points between the two players/ teams for a definite winner.
There is no concept of second serve in badminton. Either you get it right or you lose a point and transfer the serve to the opponent . Even if the shuttlecock touches the net but lands in the permitted service area, it is a valid serve. A shuttlecock landing on the line is considered in.
Fun Badminton Facts
- Hollywood stars including Bette Davis, Ginger Rogers and James Cagney were known to play badminton as a pastime. This also helped to promote the sport in the 1930s.
- The sport has largely been dominated by Asian countries and Denmark over the last few decades.
- Badminton is most popular in countries like Korea, Malaysia, China, India, Indonesia and Vietnam.
Fitness & Physical Requirements for Badminton
You need to be quick on your feet, you need to have great reflexes, arch your back for those back high shots, strength in the forearm for those smashes and light and deft moves for the drop shots! Yes , playing an array of badminton shots will need you to be all this and more. Like any racquet sport, you need to have good stamina, agility and great hand and leg movement as well as hand-eye coordination. Badminton is in fact the fastest racquet sports where the shuttlecocks could travel up to speeds as high as 200 mph.
Competitive badminton is considered to be a very physically demanding sport, even more than tennis.
Successful badminton players have known to be tall as well as short.
Some Badminton Timelines
Time in History
The first Badminton Club in USA was founded at New York (Badminton Club of NY)
World’s first badminton competition began - The All England Open Badminton Championships
Badminton World Federation established (England, France, Canada, Denmark, Netherlands, New Zealand, Ireland, Scotland and Wales were the first members)
India joined the Badminton World Federation
Badminton added to the sports played in the Commonwealth Games
Badminton included in Olympic Games
Have you played this fun sport?
Have you played Badminton ever?
Top Five Badminton Players in the World
Source & for latest rankings, check : http://www.bwfbadminton.org/page.aspx?id=14955
(Badminton World Federation- BWF)
As of 7/12/2012
- Lin Dan (China)
- Lee Chong Wei (Malaysia)
- Chen Long (China)
- Chen Jin (China)
- Peter Hoeg Gade (Denmark)
- Wang Yihan (China)
- Wang Xin (China)
- Li Xuerui (China)
- Wang Shixian (China)
- Saina Nehwal (India)
A badminton rally between the worlds two best players
My husband and I try to play badminton at least thrice a week. We are fortunate enough to have a great badminton facility in the area we live in and have made great friends as well as improved our game.
Some places to play Badminton if you live in California are –
Bintang Badminton - 746 Milpitas Blvd, Milpitas, CA
California Badminton Academy – 46049 Warm Springs Blvd, Fremont , CA
Northern California Badminton Club- 2421 Mercantile Drive, Rancho Cordova, CA
UC Davis Badminton Club – UC Davis, CA
Royal Badminton Academy- 190 Constitution Drive, Menlo Park, CA