Badminton Information


Insider Info

dotBadminton is believed to be the fastest racket sport, with the shuttle traveling at speeds close to 200 miles per hour. As you can imagine, players require quick reflexes to smash the shuttle to their opponent.

Badminton is an indoor racket sport. However, instead of a ball, players hit a shuttlecock, a cone-shaped gizmo made of goose feathers, or in some cases, nylon. Real badminton is never played with a plastic shuttle. This feather-light shuttle, also known as a birdie, can move amazingly fast.

When you return a shuttle to your opponent over a net five feet high, the hit is known as a smash. The game is played until someone scores 15, which can last from 40 minutes to a couple of hours, depending on the level of the players, says badminton umpire Jim Greenlees.

dotAnthony Andrews says unfortunately, most people view badminton as an outdoors picnic sport, not as an athletic, high-speed indoor sport. True badminton is competitive, quick and played indoors.

"The reason why you can't really play outdoors is that real goose feather shuttles are too light and get blown all over the place by any wind that there is," explains Andrews.

dotAsian countries are crazy for badminton -- crowds of up to 15,000 are not uncommon for major tournaments in Malaysia and Indonesia -- and China and Indonesia win 70 percent of championships.

Only Malaysia, Indonesia, and China have won the Thomas Cup, the men's world championships, since it began in 1948. The only time the Uber Cup, the women's world championships, was won outside Asia was by the U.S. in 1957, 1960 and 1963. Other holders are China, Indonesia and Japan.

In Malaysia and Indonesia, says 54-year-old badminton player Cindy Simpson, their top players are treated like our basketball and hockey players. Besides Asia, badminton is widely played in Britain, Denmark and Sweden.

The sport was added to the Olympics in Barcelona in 1992, when more than 1.1 billion people watched its debut on TV.

dotIn the U.S., badminton is not as popular, although Colorado, Florida and California seem to have a lot of tournaments, says Greenlees.

The United States Badminton Association estimates that it has nearly 2,700 members and that there are thousands more recreational badminton players in the U.S.

If you live close to the Kansas City Museum, visit the biggest shuttle in the world. It is 48 times larger than the real thing, 18 feet tall and weighs 5,000 pounds.

People who love badminton might consider pursuing a career as a sporting goods salesperson or a physical education teacher.

dotIf you are interested in playing badminton, you will find yourself in top condition soon, although you don't have to start out that way. Greenlees says limbering and stretching exercises improve performance and help prevent injuries.

The sport is extremely aerobic and consists of running, jumping, twisting, stretching, running backwards, throwing and striking. A badminton player can cover more than one mile in just one match.

Fitness and fancy footwork are not enough to win a game. Concentration, quick thinking and versatility to adapt to your opponent's tactics and weaknesses are essentials. Deceptive moves, when legal, help score points, too.

dotLike tennis, you can play singles or doubles. The rectangular court is 44 feet by 20 feet for doubles and 44 feet by 17 feet for singles.

Playing doubles requires the ability to be a team player. And just because you are a doubles player, do not assume you can play singles easily. Each requires different strategies and skills.

dotCommon injuries are ankle and knee twists and sprains. Some badminton players like to wear protective eye coverings, but neither Greenlees, who has been playing for more than 40 years, or Andrews, with over 20 years chalked up, has injured their eyes. The knee is a different story.

Disabled and handicapped people may still be able to play badminton. There are special tournaments that take these limitations into account.

The game has no age limits, either. Junior division tournaments have kids under 12 and in senior tournaments it is not unusual to see 70 and 80 year olds smashing the birdie, says Greenlees.

Getting Started

dotBadminton clubs are good places for beginners to start testing their footwork and jumping and twisting skills. Here, you can chat with players and watch the game to see if you like it, says Andrews.

dotRackets weigh less than 3.5 ounces and the shuttlecock weighs between 4.74 and 5.50 grams. A good racket, which Greenlees recommends for those serious about the sport, costs $80 to $120. Shuttles cost about $20 for a dozen.

To begin playing badminton, check the links below or write the American association to get a list of clubs in your area.

Associations

USA Badminton
One Olympic Plaza
Colorado Springs , CO   80909
USA
Internethttp://www.usabadminton.org/

Links

Badminton Central
Good links on how to play and FAQs

International Badminton Federation
Information on rankings, statutes, and tournaments