B A D M I N T O N
II Playing Area
IV Service and Play
V Scoring and Official
VI Skills and Strokes
game for two or four players using lightweight rackets and a shuttlecock,
a cork ball fitted with stabilizing feathers. Players hit the shuttlecock
back and forth over a net, trying to keep it from hitting the ground. Some
people play badminton outdoors on a level grassy area or beach. However,
tournament-level badminton is played indoors on a specially marked court.
Badminton Match Badminton is a racket sport played with a shuttlecock, a
cork ball fitted with stabilizing feathers. Badminton was first played as
an Olympic medal sport at the 1992 Games in Barcelona, Spain. Seen here is
a match from the menís doubles competition.Pool J.O. Barcelone/Liaison
governing body, the International Badminton Federation (IBF), has about
140 member nations. The IBF estimates that about 200 million people play
the game worldwide and that more than 1,000 players participate in
international competition. Badmintonís growth accelerated after the
gameís debut as a medal sport during the 1992 Summer Olympic Games.
China, Denmark, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, and South Korea are just a few
of the countries where badminton is popular.
rules state that an indoor badminton court must be rectangular, with white
lines marked on a level wooden floor or on a special mat that is rolled
onto a level playing surface. A singles court is 44 ft (13.41 m) long and
17 ft (5.18 m) wide. For doubles, alleys 1 ft 6 in (0.46 m) wide along the
two longer sides of the court come into play, making the court 20 ft (6.10
m) wide. Because many shots fly high into the air, there must be clearance
of at least 30 ft (9.14 m) above the court. A net stretched across the
middle of the court has a top edge set to a height of 5 ft (1.52 m) at the
center and 5 ft 1 in (1.55 m) at the posts.
rackets weigh between 3.5 and 5 oz (99 and 141 g) and consist of a leather
or terrycloth handle; a long, thin shaft; and a stringed area called the
head. Official rules limit the total length of a racket to 26.75 in (67.95
cm). The head of a racket measures 11 in (28 cm) in length and 8.6 in
(21.8 cm) in width and is strung with synthetic nylon or gut at between 25
and 35 lb (11.3 and 15.9 kg) of tension. Early rackets were made of wood,
but badminton rackets are now commonly made of aluminum, boron, graphite,
shuttlecocks, also called shuttles or birdies, weigh 0.2 oz (5.7 gm) and
consist of 16 goose feathers that protrude from one side of a ball-shaped
cork base. Most shuttles used by casual players are plastic and have
synthetic feathers. Both types of shuttles are 2.5 in (6.4 cm) long. When
the shuttlecock is in the air, its aerodynamics cause it to spin so that
when players hit it, they almost always strike the cork, not the feathers.
SERVICE AND PLAY
begins with a serve from a service area on the right-hand side of the
court to a receiver in a diagonally opposite service area across the net.
To serve, the server stands behind the service line and strikes the cork
base of the shuttle in an underhand motion. The receiver must then return
the shuttle before it hits the ground, and the players hit the shuttle
back and forth until one side fails to return it.
ends when the shuttle hits the ground on one side of the court or when one
player makes a fault, or error, such as hitting the shuttle into the net
or out of bounds. Specific faults for servers include striking the
feathers of the shuttle first or serving overhand. The receiver can be
faulted for not being within the service court, for not having both feet
on the floor when receiving, and for moving before the serve is made.
play, faults include hitting the shuttle into the roof or lights, hitting
it through the net, double-hitting or slinging a shot, touching the net,
playing a shot by reaching over the net, and allowing the shuttle to hit
the playerís body. Unsportsmanlike conductósuch as intentionally
distracting an opponentówill also earn a player a fault.
SCORING AND OFFICIALS
are scored when the opponent fails to return the shuttle, hits it out of
bounds, or earns a fault. Points only count for the server (or serving
side in doubles), so keeping the service privilege is an important part of
the game. If the server loses a rally or makes a fault, the service
privilege passes to the opponent. In doubles, this immediate loss of
service occurs only at the start of the game. After this first loss of
service, each team receives two chances to hold serve. When the first
teammate loses serve, the partner serves. If the partner loses serve, the
opposing team takes over.
menís singles, menís doubles, womenís doubles, and mixed doubles,
the first side to score 15 points is the winner. Womenís singles games
are played to 11 points. If the score is tied at 14-14 (or 10-10 in
womenís singles) a system called setting settles the outcome. The first
side that reached 14 (or 10) elects either to play through, meaning that
the next side to win a point wins the game, or to set the game to three
additional points, meaning that the first side to reach 17 points (or 13
in womenís singles) wins the game. Each badminton match is a
best-of-three-games contest. Average matches last about 45 minutes, but
professional matches can last more than 2 hours.
tournaments involve a number of officials. A referee supervises the
tournament organization while an umpire controls each match. Aided by a
service judge, the umpire keeps score and rules on faults during play. Up
to ten line judges rule on whether particular shots have landed in or out
of the court.
SKILLS AND STROKES
requires speed, strength, power, agility, and nerve. Players must move
quickly from side to side and back and forth, and stamina is important.
are six key badminton strokes: the serve, drive, net shot, smash, lift (or
lob), and clear. To hit these strokes, players use either a forehand or a
backhand grip, depending on court positioning. On the forehand the
forefinger acts as a lever and creates power and direction for the stroke.
For the backhand the thumb creates this power and direction while placed
along the back of the handle.
players aim the serve toward the centerline of the opposite service box.
This technique limits the angle of the opponentís return shot. Sometimes
players use long, high serves to force opponents to the back of the court.
Players also make specialty serves, such as flick serves that barely clear
the net or drive serves that are hit down the sideline of the service
area, to catch opponents out of position.
play has started, players tend to hit straight, low-flying shots called
drives. When the shuttle remains close to the center of the court, net
shots can be a good option. Net shots can be hard-hit or delicate. They
are aimed at the front area of the opponentís court, forcing the
opponent to play the shot close to the net.
the opponent manages to return a net shot, the return must be hit high to
clear the net. This gives the player a chance for a smashóthe deadliest
attacking stroke in badminton. A smash is hit to the floor so forcefully
that the opponent has no chance to return the shuttle before it hits the
ground. The hardest smash has been recorded at more than 160 mph (260
also use two looping strokes that knock the shuttle high and deep. The
lift, or lob, is an offensive stroke made from the middle or front of the
court. This shot sends the shuttle in a high arc above the opponentís
reach, forcing the opponent to the back of the court. The clear is a
similar stroke, but it is used for defensive purposes when players find
themselves out of position. The high arc gives players time to return to
the middle of the court and to prepare for another rally.
badminton enthusiasts play in clubs or at local and regional levels. Top
players compete in the World Grand Prix series, an international circuit
of tournaments sanctioned by the IBF.
world championships are badmintonís biggest event and are held every two
years. The tournament features five competitions: menís and womenís
singles, menís and womenís doubles, and mixed doubles. The world
championships are always preceded the previous week at the same venue by
the Sudirman Cup world mixed team championships, where contests between
nations are decided by five matches: menís and womenís singles,
menís and womenís doubles, and mixed doubles.
of badmintonís most exciting events are the menís Thomas Cup and the
womenís Uber Cup. These world team championships, which take place every
two years side by side at the same time and at the same venue, have
continental qualifying rounds. Contests are staged in a round-robin format
with knockout finals at both the qualifying stages in February and the
grand finals in May. Thomas Cup and Uber Cup contests consist of three
singles and two doubles matches.
major events are the European championships, held every two years, and the
Olympic Games and the Commonwealth Games, both held every four years.
IBF, located in Cheltenham, England, regulates all these events and is the
sportís governing body. Representatives from Canada, Denmark, England,
France, Ireland, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Scotland, and Wales founded
the organization in 1934. Today the IBF has about 140 member nations.