badminton n : a game played on a court with light long-handled rackets used to volley a shuttlecock over a net
a racquet sport
- Finnish: sulkapallo
- Hungarian: tollaslabda
- Japanese: バドミントン
Badminton is a racquet sport played by either two opposing players (singles) or two opposing pairs (doubles), who take positions on opposite halves of a rectangular court that is divided by a net. Players score points by striking a shuttlecock with their racquet so that it passes over the net and lands in their opponents' half of the court. A rally ends once the shuttlecock has struck the ground, and the shuttlecock may only be struck once by each side before it passes over the net.
The shuttlecock is a feathered projectile whose unique aerodynamic properties cause it to fly differently from the balls used in most racquet sports; in particular, the feathers create much higher drag, causing the shuttlecock to decelerate more rapidly than a ball. Because shuttlecock flight is strongly affected by wind, competitive badminton is always played indoors. Badminton is also played outdoors as a casual recreational activity, often as a garden or beach game.
Since 1992, badminton is an Olympic sport with five events : men's and women's singles, men's and women's doubles, and mixed doubles, in which each pair is a man and a woman. At high levels of play, the sport demands excellent fitness: players require aerobic stamina, agility, strength, speed, and precision. It is also a technical sport, requiring good motor coordination and the development of sophisticated racquet skills.
History and development
Badminton was known in ancient times; an early form of the sport was played in ancient Greece and Egypt. In Japan, the related game Hanetsuki was played as early as the 16th century. In the west, badminton came from a game called battledore and shuttlecock, in which two or more players keep a feathered shuttlecock in the air with small racquets. The game was called "Poona" in India during the 18th century, and British Army officers stationed there took a competitive Indian version back to England in the 1860s, where it was played at country houses as an upper class amusement. Isaac Spratt, a London toy dealer, published a booklet, "Badminton Battledore - a new game" in 1860, but unfortunately no copy has survived.
The new sport was definitively launched in 1873 at the Badminton House, Gloucestershire, owned by the Duke of Beaufort. During that time, the game was referred to as "The Game of Badminton," and, the game's official name became Badminton.
Until 1887 the sport was played in England under the rules that prevailed in India. The Bath Badminton Club standardized the rules and made the game applicable to English ideas. The basic regulations were drawn up in 1887. They also started the All England Open Badminton Championships, the first badminton competition in the world, in 1899.
The International Badminton Federation (IBF) (now known as Badminton World Federation) was established in 1934 with Canada, Denmark, England, France, the Netherlands, Ireland, New Zealand, Scotland, and Wales as its founding members. India joined as an affiliate in 1936. The BWF now governs international badminton and develops the sport globally.
While originated in England, international badminton has traditionally been dominated by a few Asian countries, plus Denmark from Europe. China, Indonesia, South Korea and Malaysia are among the nations that have consistently produced world-class players in the past few decades and dominated competitions on the international level, with China being the most dominant in recent years.
Laws of the gameThe following information is a simplified summary of the Laws, not a complete reproduction. The definitive source of the Laws is the IBF Laws publication, although the digital distribution of the Laws contains poor reproductions of the diagrams.
Playing court dimensionsThe court is rectangular and divided into halves by a net. Courts are almost always marked for both singles and doubles play, although the laws permit a court to be marked for singles only. The doubles court is wider than the singles court, but both are the same length. The exception, which often causes confusion to newer players is the doubles court has a shorter serve-length dimension.
The full width of the court is 6.1 metres (20 ft), and in singles this width is reduced to 5.18 metres (17 ft). The full length of the court is 13.4 metres (44 ft). The service courts are marked by a centre line dividing the width of the court, by a short service line at a distance of 1.98 metres (6.5 ft) from the net, and by the outer side and back boundaries. In doubles, the service court is also marked by a long service line, which is 0.78 metres (2 ft 6 inch) from the back boundary.
The net is 1.55 metres (5 ft 1 inch) high at the edges and 1.524 metres (5 ft) high in the centre. The net posts are placed over the doubles side lines, even when singles is played.
There is no mention in the Laws of badminton, of a minimum height for the ceiling above the court. Nonetheless, a badminton court will not be suitable if the ceiling is likely to be hit on a high serve.
Equipment lawsThe Laws specify which equipment may be used. In particular, the Laws restrict the design and size of rackets and shuttlecocks. The Laws also provide for testing a shuttlecock for the correct speed:
Scoring system and serviceThe scoring system changed in May 2006. For more information, see Scoring System Development of Badminton.
The basicsEach game is played up to 21 points, with players scoring a point whenever they win a rally (this differs from the old system, where players could only win a point on their serve). A match is the best of three games.
At the start of the rally, the server and receiver stand in diagonally opposite service courts (see court dimensions). The server hits the shuttlecock so that it would land in the receiver's service court. This is similar to tennis, except that a badminton serve must be hit from below the waist in underhand form (upwards), the shuttlecock is not allowed to bounce, and in tennis the players stand outside their service courts.
In singles, the server stands in his right service court when his score is even, and in his left service court when his score is odd.
In doubles, if the serving side wins a rally, the same player continues to serve, but he changes service courts so that he serves to each opponent in turn. When the serving side loses a rally, the serve passes to their opponents (unlike the old system, there is no "second serve"). If their new score is even, the player in the right service court serves; if odd, the player in the left service court serves. The players' service courts are determined by their positions at the start of the previous rally, not by where they were standing at the end of the rally.
A consequence of this system is that, each time a side regain the service, the server will be the player who did not serve last time.
DetailsWhen the server serves, the shuttlecock must pass over the short service line on the opponents' court or it will count as a fault.
If the score reaches 20-all, then the game continues until one side gains a two point lead (such as 24-22), up to a maximum of 30 points (30-29 is a winning score).
At the start of a match a coin is tossed. The winners of the coin toss may choose whether to serve or receive first, or they may choose which end of the court they wish to occupy. Their opponents make the remaining choice. In less formal settings, the coin toss is often replaced by hitting a shuttlecock into the air: whichever side it points to serves first.
In subsequent games, the winners of the previous game serve first. For the first rally of any doubles game, the serving pair may decide who serves and the receiving pair may decide who receives. The players change ends at the start of the second game; if the match reaches a third game, they change ends both at the start of the game and when the leading pair's score reaches 11 points.
The server and receiver must remain within their service courts, without touching the boundary lines, until the server strikes the shuttlecock. The other two players may stand wherever they wish, so long as they do not unsight the opposing server or receiver.
FaultsPlayers win a rally by striking the shuttlecock onto the floor within the boundaries of their opponents' court. Players also win a rally if their opponents commit a fault. The most common fault in badminton is when the players fail to return the shuttlecock so that it passes over the net and lands inside their opponents' court, but there are also other ways that players may be faulted. The following information lists some of the more common faults.
Several faults pertain specifically to service. A serving player shall be faulted if he strikes the shuttlecock from above his waist (defined as his lowest rib), or if his racket is not pointing downwards at the moment of impact. This particular law was modified in 2006: previously, the server's racket had to be pointing downwards to the extent that the racket head was below the hand holding the racket; and now, any angle below the horizontal is acceptable.
Neither the server nor the receiver may lift a foot until the shuttlecock has been struck by the server. The server must also initially hit the base (cork) of the shuttlecock, although he may afterwards also hit the feathers as part of the same stroke. This law was introduced to ban an extremely effective service style known as the S-serve or Sidek serve, which allowed the server to make the shuttlecock spin chaotically in flight.
Each side may only strike the shuttlecock once before it passes back over the net; but during a single stroke movement, a player may contact a shuttlecock twice (this happens in some sliced shots). A player may not, however, hit the shuttlecock once and then hit it with a new movement, nor may he carry and sling the shuttlecock on his racket.
It is a fault if the shuttlecock hits the ceiling.
LetsIf a let is called, the rally is stopped and replayed with no change to the score. Lets may occur due to some unexpected disturbance such as a shuttlecock landing on court (having been hit there by players on an adjacent court).
If the receiver is not ready when the service is delivered, a let shall be called; yet if the receiver makes any attempt to return the shuttlecock, he shall be judged to have been ready.
There is no let if the shuttlecock hits the tape (even on service).
RacketsBadminton rackets are light, with top quality rackets weighing between about 70 and 100 grams (without strings). They are composed of many different materials ranging from carbon fibre composite (graphite reinforced plastic) to solid steel, which may be augmented by a variety of materials. Carbon fibre has an excellent strength to weight ratio, is stiff, and gives excellent kinetic energy transfer. Before the adoption of carbon fibre composite, rackets were made of light metals such as aluminium. Earlier still, rackets were made of wood. Cheap rackets are still often made of metal, but wooden rackets are no longer manufactured for the ordinary market, due to their excessive mass and cost.
There is a wide variety of racket designs, although the racket size and shape are limited by the Laws. Different rackets have playing characteristics that appeal to different players. The traditional oval head shape is still available, but an isometric head shape is increasingly common in new rackets.
StringsBadminton strings are thin, high performing strings in the range of about 0.65 to 0.73 millimeters thickness. Thicker strings are more durable, but many players prefer the feel of thinner strings. String tension is normally in the range of 80 to 130 newtons (18 to 36 lbf). Recreational players generally string at lower tensions than professionals, typically between 18 and . Professionals string between about 25 and .
It is often argued that high string tensions improve control, whereas low string tensions increase power. The arguments for this generally rely on crude mechanical reasoning, such as claiming that a lower tension string bed is more bouncy and therefore provides more power. An alternative view suggests that the optimum tension for power depends on the player:
At high levels of play, the formations will generally be more flexible: the top women players are capable of playing powerfully from the rearcourt, and will happily do so if required. When the opportunity arises, however, the pair will switch back to the standard mixed attacking position, with the woman in front.
Governing bodiesThe Badminton World Federation (BWF) is the internationally recognized governing body of the sport. The BWF headquarters are currently located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Five regional confederations are associated with the BWF:
The BWF organizes several international competitions, including the Thomas Cup, the premier men's event, and the Uber Cup, the women's equivalent. The competitions take place once every two years. More than 50 national teams compete in qualifying tournaments within continental confederations for a place in the finals. The final tournament involves 12 teams, following an increase from eight teams in 2004.
The Sudirman Cup, a mixed team event held once every two years, began in 1989. It is divided into seven groups based on the performance of each country. To win the tournament, a country must perform well across all five disciplines (men's doubles and singles, women's doubles and singles, and mixed doubles). Like soccer, it features a promotion and relegation system in every group.
Individual competition in badminton was a demonstration event in the 1972 and 1988 Summer Olympics. It became a Summer Olympics sport at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992. The 32 highest ranked badminton players in the world participate in the competition, and each country submitting three players to take part. In the BWF World Championships, only the highest ranked 64 players in the world, and a maximum of three from each country, can participate in any category.
All these tournaments, along with the BWF World Junior Championships, are level one tournaments.
At the start of 2007, the BWF also introduce a new tournament structure: the BWF Super Series. This level two tournament will stage twelve open tournaments around the world with 32 players (half the previous limit). The players collect points that determine whether they can play in Super Series Final held at the year end.
Level three tournaments will consist of Grand Prix Gold and Grand Prix. Top players can collect the world ranking points and enable them to play in the BWF Super Series open tournaments. These include the regional competitions in Asia (Badminton Asia Championships) and Europe (European Badminton Championships), which produce the world's best players as well as the Pan America Badminton Championships.
The level four tournaments, known as International Challenge, International Series and Future Series, encourages participation by junior players.
RecordsThe most powerful stroke in badminton is the smash, which is hit steeply downwards into the opponents' midcourt. The maximum speed of a smashed shuttlecock exceeds that of any other racket sport projectile. The recordings of this speed measure the initial speed of the shuttlecock immediately after it has left the player's racket.
Men's doubles player Fu Haifeng of China set the official world smash record of 332 km/h (206 mph) on June 3, 2005 in the Sudirman Cup. The fastest smash recorded in the singles competition is 305 km/h (189 mph) by Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia.
Comparisons with other racket sportsBadminton is frequently compared to tennis. The following is a list of uncontentious comparisons:
- In tennis, the ball may bounce once before the player hits it; in badminton, the rally ends once the shuttlecock touches the floor.
- In tennis, the serve is dominant to the extent that the server is expected to win most of his service games; a break of service, where the server loses the game, is of major importance in a match. In badminton, however, the serving side and receiving side have approximately equal opportunity to win the rally.
- In tennis, the server is allowed two attempts to make a correct serve; in badminton, the server is allowed only one attempt.
- In tennis, a let is played on service if the ball hits the net tape; in badminton, there is no let on service.
- The tennis court is larger than the badminton court.
- Tennis racquets are about four times heavier than badminton rackets, 10-12 ounces (approximately 284-340 grams) versus 85-93 grams. Tennis balls are more than eleven times heavier than shuttlecocks, 57 grams versus 5 grams.
- The fastest recorded tennis stroke is Andy Roddick's serve; the fastest recorded badminton stroke is Fu Haifeng's smash.
Comparisons of speed and athletic requirementsStatistics such as the smash speed, above, prompt badminton enthusiasts to make other comparisons that are more contentious. For example, it is often claimed that badminton is the fastest racket sport. Although badminton holds the record for the fastest initial speed of a racket sports projectile, the shuttlecock decelerates substantially faster than other projectiles such as tennis balls. In turn, this qualification must be qualified by consideration of the distance over which the shuttlecock travels: a smashed shuttlecock travels a shorter distance than a tennis ball during a serve. Badminton's claim as the fastest racket sport might also be based on reaction time requirements, but arguably table tennis requires even faster reaction times.
There is a strong case for arguing that badminton is more physically demanding than tennis, but such comparisons are difficult to make objectively due to the differing demands of the games. Some informal studies suggest that badminton players require much greater aerobic stamina than tennis players, but this has not been the subject of rigorous research.
A more balanced approach suggests the following comparisons, although these also are subject to dispute:
- Badminton, especially singles, requires substantially greater aerobic stamina than tennis; the level of aerobic stamina required by badminton singles is similar to squash singles, although squash may have slightly higher aerobic requirements.
- Tennis requires greater upper body strength than badminton.
- Badminton requires greater leg strength than tennis, and badminton men's doubles probably requires greater leg strength than any other racket sport due to the demands of performing multiple consecutive jumping smashes.
- Badminton requires much greater explosive athleticism than tennis and somewhat greater than squash, with players required to jump for height or distance.
- Badminton requires significantly faster reaction times than either tennis or squash, although table tennis may require even faster reaction times. The fastest reactions in badminton are required in men's doubles, when returning a powerful smash.
Comparisons of techniqueBadminton and tennis techniques differ substantially. The lightness of the shuttlecock and of badminton rackets allow badminton players to make use of the wrist and fingers much more than tennis players; in tennis the wrist is normally held stable, and playing with a mobile wrist may lead to injury. For the same reasons, badminton players can generate power from a short racket swing: for some strokes such as net kills, an elite player's swing may be less than 5 cm. For strokes that require more power, a longer swing will typically be used, but the badminton racket swing will rarely be as long as a typical tennis swing.
It is often asserted that power in badminton strokes comes mainly from the wrist. This is a misconception and may be criticised for two reasons. First, it is strictly speaking a category error: the wrist is a joint, not a muscle; its movement is controlled by the forearm muscles. Second, wrist movements are weak when compared to forearm or upper arm movements. Badminton biomechanics have not been the subject of extensive scientific study, but some studies confirm the minor role of the wrist in power generation, and indicate that the major contributions to power come from internal and external rotations of the upper and lower arm. Modern coaching resources such as the Badminton England Technique DVD reflect these ideas by emphasising forearm rotation rather than wrist movements.
Distinctive characteristics of the shuttlecockThe shuttlecock differs greatly from the balls used in most other racket sports.
Aerodynamic drag and stabilityThe feathers impart substantial drag, causing the shuttlecock to decelerate greatly over distance. The shuttlecock is also extremely aerodynamically stable: regardless of initial orientation, it will turn to fly cork-first, and remain in the cork-first orientation.
One consequence of the shuttlecock's drag is that it requires considerable skill to hit it the full length of the court, which is not the case for most racket sports. The drag also influences the flight path of a lifted (lobbed) shuttlecock: the parabola of its flight is heavily skewed so that it falls at a steeper angle than it rises. With very high serves, the shuttlecock may even fall vertically.
SpinBalls may be spun to alter their bounce (for example, topspin and backspin in tennis), and players may slice the ball (strike it with an angled racket face) to produce such spin; but, since the shuttlecock is not allowed to bounce, this does not apply to badminton.
Slicing the shuttlecock so that it spins, however, does have applications, and some are peculiar to badminton. (See Basic strokes for an explanation of technical terms.)
- Slicing the shuttlecock from the side may cause it to travel in a different direction from the direction suggested by the player's racket or body movement. This is used to deceive opponents.
- Slicing the shuttlecock from the side may cause it to follow a slightly curved path (as seen from above), and the deceleration imparted by the spin causes sliced strokes to slow down more suddenly towards the end of their flight path. This can be used to create dropshots and smashes that dip more steeply after they pass the net.
- When playing a netshot, slicing underneath the shuttlecock may cause it to turn over itself (tumble) several times as it passes the net. This is called a spinning netshot or tumbling netshot. The opponent will be unwilling to address the shuttlecock until it has corrected its orientation.
Due to the way that its feathers overlap, a shuttlecock also has a slight natural spin about its axis of rotational symmetry. The spin is in an anticlockwise direction as seen from above when dropping a shuttlecock. This natural spin affects certain strokes: a tumbling netshot is more effective if the slicing action is from right to left, rather than from left to right.
External linkscommons Badminton
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