Absolute Beginners Guide for Badminton
Badminton is one of the oldest sports in the world, having existed since the 16th century. It is an indoor sport marked by the simplicity of its mechanics and is popular in Asian countries such as India and China.
Objective and Basics
In playing, the goal is to use a racket to hit the shuttle so that it passes over the net and reaches the opponent’s side of the court. When a player succeeds in doing this, a rally is won. The player with more rallies wins the game.
The opposing player will also do the same thing. He will also use his racket to reach your half of the court and try to win a rally. Rallies are also given to a player if his opponent happens to commit a mistake inside the court. For example, if the shuttle goes beyond the boundaries of the court, you win the rally. A shuttle that goes under the net also counts as a mistake, so your opponent wins the rally if this happens.
If you estimate that your opponent hit the shuttle too strong that it lands out of the court, you can miss hitting the shuttle and let it fall. However, you still have the option of hitting the shuttle, but this will only cause the rally to continue.
The moment the shuttle falls into the ground, the rally is over. This is the sport’s difference from squash or tennis, where the object being hit can bounce on the ground. A shuttle can only take a hit once before it passes over the net. It’s not like volleyball where other players can still hit the object before sending it over to the opponent’s side of the court.
Equipment and Players
Each player gets to have a racket. Like tennis,the racket to be used is also stringed but a badminton racket is way smaller. Instead of a ball, a shuttle or shuttlecock is used, which is easy to identify because of the presence of the feathers on its top part and a half round ball at the bottom part. The game can be played in two forms: singles and doubles. A game can also be mixed doubles, which we will explain further below.Whether a game is singles or doubles, the shuttlecock can only be hit once.
A badminton court is 13.4 meters long and 6.1 meters wide. Right in the middle is a net which commonly measures 1.55 meters. There are two tram lines surrounding all sides of the court. The outer lines are used for a doubles match while the inside lines are for a singles game.
Why it’s Played Indoors
You may have seen people playing in a park,the beach, or their backyard, which is alright if the game is casual. In competitive matches, however, the court is set up indoors due to the lightness of the shuttlecock. A shuttlecock can be easily blown off by the wind, ruining the players’ ability to estimate where it will land. This is the only reason why this game is played indoors.
How to Set Up Badminton Court
As mentioned, the game uses a net, but unlike volleyball, the net is much lower. Each side is tied to a post.
In setting up the court, there are three things that you should achieve:
- The net should be in the middle, with both sides of the court equal in size.
- The net must not slack and is pulled tight.
- The net should cover the whole width of the court.
Some players have a hard time spotting the court lines, especially if the court is also used in playing volleyball and other sports. A tip to not get confused is to focus on the color of the badminton lines,which should be uniformed.
Types of Matches
This game can be played by two or four players in total. Either one player is on each side, or two players are on each side of the court. Basically, a singles match is played by two players intotal, and a doubles match is played by four players in total.
Under the singles and doubles categories, it can be played as men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s doubles, and mixed doubles, where each team has a man and a woman player.
These matches are played in competitive games or official tournaments. When played casually, men can play against women or vice versa.
For those not familiar with this game, the lines within the court can be very confusing. The reason for this is because there are different sets of lines for a singles game and a doubles game.
Note that innermost lines are used for a singles match and the outermost lines are for a doubles match. In a doubles game, the shuttlecock can land anywhere in the court, whereas a singles game cannot make use of the outer lines.
If you look at the innermost and outermost lines together, they form narrow alley shapes along the sides of the court.This is why they are called tram lines since they resemble tram or train tracks.
As for the other lines inside the court, they are used for serving and nothing more.
To start the rally, a player must serve or hit the shuttle first. There are special badminton rules for serving in order to prevent the server from getting the advantage. These rules are only applicable to serving and are immediately non-usable once the main game starts.
The server is the first person who hits the shuttlecock, while the player hitting the second shot in the game is called a receiver. In a doubles match, the receiver’s partner is not allowed to hit the shuttlecock.
Serving is very different from tennis. The shuttlecock must be hit so that it goes in an upwards direction. This means that the whole shuttle must be hit below 1.15 meters from the surface of the court at the instant of being hit by the server’s racket. Anything higher than that is not allowed.
The smaller box shapes you can see inside the court are called the service courts. They have a purpose, which we will discuss shortly. For now, let’s visualize these boxes first.
If you look at the court, you’ll immediately notice a line in the middle, which extends from the back to the front but not exactly reaching the net — this is called the centre line. Near the net is another line meeting the centre line — this is called the front service line. Together these two lines create a T shape.
A singles service court all in all has four lines:
- The front service line (orange)
- The centre line (red)
- The back line (the outermost line) (blue)
- The singles sideline (green)
Your side of the court has two boxes, one on each side. These are called the left service court and the right service court. Your opponent has the same set of boxes. At the beginning of the game,the server will use the right service court. If the server’s score is odd, he will next serve from the left service court.
Since the doubles court is wider because they use the outermost lines, the doubles service courts are wider. However,they are shorter because they use the inside back line. So if you’ve been wondering what the purpose of the inside back line is, that’s pretty much it:it’s for the doubles court.
These are four lines of a doubles service court:
- The front service line (orange)
- The centre line (red)
- The inside back line (blue)
- And the doubles sideline (green)
How to Use Service Courts
There are three badminton rules for using service courts:
- The server must be inside his service court.
- The receiver on the opposite service court must be in a diagonal direction of the server
- The serve must travel in a diagonal direction.
So if the server is standing on his right service court, the receiver must be standing on his right serving court as well. The serve must go in the receiver’s direction. In the event that theserve is about to land outside the service court, the receiver should miss taking a hit. If the receiver hits the shuttlecock, however, the rally will continue even if the serve had been going out.
Until the server hits the shuttle with his racket, both the server and receiver must not leave their service boxes. They can start moving anywhere once the first and second hit has been made.
Scoring and Winning
You get a point if the shuttlecock you hitlands in your opponent’s court before he hits it. You can also gain a point if the shuttle goes outside the court or if it hits the net. You can also gain apoint if your opponent commits a fault.
The first player to reach 21 points wins the game, but if the score reaches 20-20, you’ll need a two-point lead to win. For example, 22-20 would be a winning score, but 21-20 would not be enough. If you reach 30-29, however, you’ve won the game, since 30 points is the upper limit. This rule was created in order to prevent the games from dragging on too long. To win the game overall, you’ll have to win two games out of three.
The side winning a game serves first in the next game.
As mentioned above a player gets a point if the opponent commits a fault. What is a fault in Badminton? There are 5 different faults in badminton.
A Contact Fault occurswhen, in the middle of the rally, you touch the net with your racket or you hitthe shuttle with anything besides your racket. That includes your shoes, pants,leg, etc. it is still regarded as a fault.
Over the net Fault
An Over the net Fault occurs when, in the middle of the rally, your racket is over the net and hits the shuttle in your opponents’ side of the court. It is not considered a fault if your racket hits the shuttle in your side of the court even if the follow through from the hit your racket is over the net in your opponents’ side of the court.
To make it simple aslong you hit the shuttle in your side of the court, your racket can go over thenet.
The most common Service Fault occurs when a player tries to perform a short serve. The reason this is very common is because players will try very hard to make the shuttle go just barely over the net. This is a very difficult serve for beginners.
Another way a player commits a Service Fault is if the player serves not according to the official Badminton rules.
According to the official rules the server must comply with these three rules while serving.
- The server must hit the whole shuttle below 1.15 meters from the surface of the court at the instant of being hit by the racket.
- The servers’ racket head must be pointing downwards when hitting the shuttle.
- The racket must swing in an upward direction.
If the server does notserve according to these three rules the receiver gets a point even if theshuttle lands in the receivers service court.
The receiver cannot move his feet until the server hits the shuttle with the racket.
When the shuttle comes to a player’s side the player has only one attempt to hit the shuttle to the opponents’ side. If the player hits the shuttle twice, the opponent wins the rally and gains a point.