A Complete Guide to Badminton
If you’re someone who is thrill seeking and loves smashing the shuttle right across the net, then Badminton is definitely your game! It is a popular global sport that does not give you too much time to think and literally keeps you on your toes!
A Brief Summary Of Badminton
Badminton is a very popular sport in India as well as in most pockets of Europe and Asia. The game is governed by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) internationally and by the Badminton Association of India at a domestic level.
The game has two major formats, singles and doubles. One can play badminton using a racquet, shuttlecock and net. The game is played at the Olympic Games, Asian as well the Commonwealth Games.
There are many world championships and tournaments like the Thomas Cup and Uber Cup amongst several others, and some of the legends in badminton include Lin Dan, Prakash Padukone and Saina Nehwal.
Badminton In A Nutshell
Badminton is a sport which requires a lot of stamina, agility and speed. It is played at a recreational as well as professional level. The main objective of the game is to keep hitting the shuttlecock back and forth until it drops and a point is given to the player who scores. The game has two major formats, singles and doubles. Both men and women are eligible to play the sport. A shuttlecock, racquet and net are the basic equipment one requires to play.
Badminton – Overview and History
- Badminton is a 2000 year old sport originating from ancient civilizations in Europe and Asia. It was earlier known as battledore (meaning bat or paddle) and shuttlecock.
- During the 1600s it was predominantly an upper class sport played largely in England and other European countries. Battledore and shuttlecock was a two player sport where each player had a battledore and they kept hitting the shuttlecock back and forth as many times as they could without the shuttle cock hitting the ground.
- In India however a contemporary form of this game was played known as ‘poona’ (named after the British garrison town of Pune). This was during the 1800s when the British were ruling India. However in this game, the concept of a net was introduced and players had to hit the shuttlecock across the net without the shuttlecock touching the ground.
- The game is known as ‘Badminton’ now as British officers took it back to England in the 1800’s where for the very first time it was introduced at the home of Duke of Beaufort which is in Badminton, Gloucestershire.
- The first open tournament for badminton was held in March, 1898 at Guildford. By the 1930’s countries like USA, Canada and Denmark had actively started taking part in the sport taking its popularity to soaring heights.
- In 1934, the International Badminton Federation was established with countries like England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Denmark, Holland, Canada, New Zealand and France as its first few members. India too became affiliated with the federation in 1936. Till 2015, China has dominated Asian badminton.
- Badminton is one of the most interesting recreational sports which demand a player to have good stamina, agility, strength, speed and most importantly good motor coordination in order to control the racket movement. All one requires is a racket, shuttlecock and net to play the sport.
- This sport is played in the Olympic Games, Commonwealth as well as the Asian Games along with several world championships and tournaments organized by Badminton World Federation (BWF) and domestic tournaments by the Badminton Association of India (BAI).
Rules Of Badminton
- The rules and regulations in Badminton are simple and fairly easy to comprehend. The game has two main formats which are comprised of singles and doubles. Singles consists of two players; one on each side of the net and doubles consist of four players; two on each side of the net.
- The main objective of the game is to hit the shuttlecock with a racket and keep hitting back and forth without letting the shuttlecock touch the ground.
- Setting up the court is extremely important for an authentic game of badminton. Badminton is largely an indoor sport especially when one has to play in competitive matches. One can play outdoors but the wind factor can ruin the game. It is ideally played on wooden or synthetic floored courts.
- The court has to be rectangular in shape with a net in the middle dividing the court into halves.
- The marking inside the rectangular court should be done for both and doubles play, even though rules permit the court to be marked only for singles.
- Technically, the full width of a court should not exceed more than 20 ft. In singles play, however it is reduced to 17 ft. The length however should remain at 44ft. The court should be marked by a center line which demarcates the width by a short service line at a distance of 6 ft 6 inch from the net, and by the outer side and back boundaries.
- For a doubles court the marking must be done via a long service line which is exactly 2ft 6 inch from the back boundary.
- As per international standards of badminton the height of the net must not exceed more than 5ft 1 inch on the edges and 5 ft in the center. It is mandatory to place the net posts over the doubles sidelines even when singles are being played. The ceiling height of an indoor court should be high enough for the shuttlecock to not hit the ceiling when a high serve is made by a player.
- The art of serving is also very important when it comes to badminton. When a player serves, the shuttlecock must cross over the short services line of the opponent player’s court. If that does not happen then it is counted as a fault.
- At the starting of a game, the server and receiver should stand diagonally opposite each other, so when the server hits the shuttlecock it would land in the receiver’s court. While serving the shuttlecock the server must serve below the waist height, pointing the racquet downwards.
- It is important that the shuttlecock must not be bounced before serving. If the serving side loses a rally, the serve is passed on to the opponent player.
- While playing singles the player who is serving has to stand in the right serving court when the score is even and on the left side if the score is odd. The rules change a bit when doubles are played, and if the serving side wins a rally, the same players continue to serve.
- Although, in this case the players keep changing service courts so that they get to serve a different opponent each time. If the opponent team is successful in winning a rally and the new score happens to be even then the player in the right service court serves, and if it is odd then the one in the left is given the chance to do so.
- The service courts of the players are decided at the start of the previous rally. This rule ensures that each time a side gets to serve the server player will be different from the one last time.
- A game of badminton is played till 21 points. To score in Badminton is fairly simple as whenever a player wins a rally they score a point irrespective of who started serving. A badminton match is decided by the best of three games. In a game, if the score reaches 20 points, the game continues till either of the players gets a two point lead i.e., 24-22. However, if the match continues till 29, then either of the players can win by scoring a golden point.
- To determine which player gets to serve first, a shuttlecock is cast and the player towards which the shuttlecock points gets to decide. However, there is an alternative of tossing a coin, where the winner can choose whether to serve or receive on the side of the court.
- As the game progresses, the winner of the previous game gets to serve in the next one as there are a total of 3 games in a match. Since, the best of 3 rules exist in the match, winning two games is crucial for victory.
- During doubles, when playing the first rally the serving pair can decide who will serve and it is the same for the receivers to decide who gets to receive.
- However, the pair can change ends when the second game commences. If at all the match reaches the third game, both players change ends at the start of the game and when the pair’s score reaches 11 points.
It is extremely crucial that the servers as well as the receivers not cross the boundaries of their respective service courts until the shuttlecock has been struck. Badminton also has the concept of calling a let. When a let is called the rally is stopped with no changes in the score. If a player has called a ‘let’, they cannot return the serve; else it will not be counted as a let.
Racquets: Lightweight racquets have to be used in a game of badminton. Ideally the weight should fluctuate between 70 and 95 grams. Earlier racquets were made of wood but were discontinued due to excessive mass and cost factor. Off lately, they are made with different materials such as carbon fiber, solid steel, ceramic, boron and sometimes even a combination of them all.
Companies that make racquets add nano materials such as fullerene and carbon nanotubes for longevity and greater durability. Playing with a lighter racquet is a lot easier than with a heavy one. However, some players prefer using heavier racquets since they can use the weight of the racquet to extract more power during the game.
Strings: The strings of your racquet must be thin and the thickness should not exceed more than 0.7 mm. The string tension in your racquet should normally be between 80 to 160 N. Players playing for recreation can lower the tension between 80 to 110 N. This is unlike other professional sports where the string tension is kept between 110 to 160N.
Grip: The grip enables a player to increase the thickness of their racquet handle, making a nice comfortable grip for the game. Building the grip of a racquet can be done with one or more strips. There are a variety of grip materials to choose from, but the most commonly ones used are PU synthetic grips or toweling grips. Choosing a grip is usually a personal choice of the player. Those who tend to sweat at their palms can opt for toweling grips as they tend to keep the hands dry. There are two types of grips:
- Replacement grips: They are thicker in nature and can be used to increase the size of the handle. Many prefer using them as a final layer for their grip. Toweling grips are a type of replacement grip.
- Overgrips: These are thinner and are used as a final layer for your grip. These are more convenient for players who change grips frequently during the game.
Shuttlecock: There are two types of shuttlecocks, one with a plastic skirt and one with feathers. A shuttlecock consists of 16 feathers that are fixed in a cork base. The cork base is covered with either thin leather or a synthetic material.
Synthetic shuttles are preferred over feathered ones if one is playing for recreation. This is primarily because the feathered ones have a tendency to break easily.
For feathered shuttles that are used at professional level the length must remain between 62 mm and 70 mm. The weight also must remain between 4.74 grams to 5.50 grams.
Shuttlecocks are also tested for speed, and in order to do that one must hit the shuttle with a full underhand stroke making it cross the back boundary line. If the speed is correct then the shuttle must land between 530 mm – 990mm from the back boundary line.
Shoes: Using light weight shoes with rubber soles can make a player’s movement on the court easy. A pair of good badminton shoes should have good cushioning and grip. For heel protection, heel cups can be used making the shoes last longer.
Governing Bodies For Badminton
The Badminton World Federation (BWF) is the international governing body and was founded in 1934 with nine member nations; Canada, Denmark, England, France, Ireland, Netherlands, NewZeland, Scotland and Wales.
The membership has expanded now and till 2015, the BWF has a member count of 176 nations. Since, 2005 the headquarters of BWF has been in Kuala Lampur, and its current president is Poul-Erik Hoyer Larsen. There are a total of five regional confederations that have an association with BWF:
- Badminton Asia Confederation (BAC)
- Badminton Confederation of Africa (BCA)
- Badminton Pan Am (BPA, includes North and South America)
- Badminton Europe (BE)
- Badminton (BO)
In India the Badminton Association of India is the governing body which is based in Lucknow. It was established in 1934 and has been conducting national level tournaments within India since 1936. It consists of 28 state members.
Important Badminton Championships
Olympic Games: Badminton first made an appearance in the 1972 Summer Olympics as a demonstration sport. It officially became a competitive sport in the 1992, Barcelona Olympics being introduced in two main formats; singles and doubles for both men and women.
Countries like China, Denmark, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia and Russia have dominated badminton by winning numerous medals. Till 2012, India has won one bronze medal in women’s single category by Saina Nehwal.
PV Sindu in Rio 2016 established a new benchmark in the world of badminton by winning a silver medal. Thereafter, she became the first Indian women to won silver medal for the country in Olympics.
Commonwealth Games: Badminton was introduced in the 1966 Commonwealth Games held at Jamaica. Indian badminton players such as Prakash Padukone, Syed Modi, Saina Nehwal, Jwalla Gutta, Ashwini Ponnappa and Parupalli Kashyap has made India proud by winning several medals for the nation. Till 2014. India has won a total of 19 medals out of which 5 are Gold, 4 Silver and 10 Bronze medals.
Asian Games: Badminton was first introduced in the 1962 Asian Games held in Jakarta. Till 2014, India has won a total of 10 medals in badminton out of which 1 has been Gold, 1 Silver and 8 Bronze.
Thomas Cup: This cup is also known as the World Men’s Team Championships and is organized by the BWF. The event takes place once in every two years. Till 2014, Indonesia was the only country that had a total 13 titles, which is the maximum by any country.
There are several other international championships such as the Uber Cup, Sudirman Cup, the BWF World Championships and many others that are held once in every two to four years.
Badminton Championships On A Domestic Level
Indian Badminton League (IBL): This is one of the most prestigious badminton tournaments that started in 2013. It is a joint venture of BAI and Sporty Solutions Pvt. Ltd. IBL follows a format of mixed team badminton championship of the Sudirman Cup i.e. the men and women’s singles and doubles category. Awadhe Warriors, Bengaluru Topgun, Chennai Smashers, Delhi Acers, Hyderabad Hunters and Mumbai Rockets were prominent teams till 2016. Delhi Acers till were the champions of the league in 2016.
India has a national badminton team which recruits players from domestic level tournaments, and there are several tournaments such as the All India Senior Ranking Badminton Tournament, Syed Modi International Badminton Championships, All India Junior Ranking besides others.
These tournaments have both men and women categories, and several astounding players such as Saina Nehwal, Pullela Gopichand, and Tarun Kona have been selected from these tournaments to represent India on international platforms.
Famous Personalities In Badminton
Lin Dan: He is a legendary Chinese badminton player who has dominated the singles game all over the world. He is the only player who has managed to complete the Super Grand Slam at the age of 28. He has obtained:
- Gold medal at 2008, Beijing Olympics in the Men’s single category.
- Gold medal at 2013, Guangzhau World Championships in the Men’s single category.
- Bronze medal at 2012, Qindao Asian Championships in the Men’s single category.
Saina Nehwal: She is the pride of India badminton. Till 2015, she has been ranked as No. 1 Badminton Player in the world for Women’s Singles category. She made India proud by being the first Indian to win a medal in badminton at Olympics. Given below are some of her achievements.
- Bronze medal at London, Olympics, 2012 in the Women’s single category.
- Silver medal at Jakarta, World Championships, 2015 in the Women’s single category.
- Gold medal at Delhi, Commonwealth Games, 2010 in the Women’s single category.
Prakash Padukone: He is a former Indian badminton player from Karnataka and one of the greatest badminton legends in India. Some of his greatest achievements are listed below:
- Bronze medal at the 1983, Copenhagen, World Championships in the Men’s single category.
- Gold medal at the 1981, Kuala Lumpur, World Cup in the Men’s single category.
- Gold medal at the 1980, London, All England Championships in the Men’s single category
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