Are you looking for a game that you can set up and play with your family during your next holiday BBQ, or a fun and competitive summer sport? Either way, badminton might be the game for you. This versatile sport can supply hours of fun, but is badminton easy to play?
When played leisurely, badminton can be an easy sport to both learn and play. However, at higher levels, badminton becomes much more competitive and harder to play.
Continue reading as we take a closer look at the game of badminton.
What is Badminton?
Badminton is classified as a racquet sport and can be played in singles (two people opposing one another) or in pairs (two teams of two challenging one another). The game can be played indoors, outdoors, on a court, or really, anywhere you can set up a net. To play badminton, you will need two badminton racquets (which are much lighter than tennis racquets), a shuttlecock (also known as a birdie), a net, and players.
Despite it being an Olympic sport, badminton is mostly seen as a lawn sport in America. However, it’s quite popular internationally and is often played competitively on a court in China, South Korea, Indonesia, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Denmark, Japan, Thailand, and Malaysia.
How Do You Play Badminton?
To play badminton, you will need:
- Badminton Racquet
- Shuttlecock (Birdie)
When playing badminton as a backyard sport, the net is set up on a lawn, and players stand on either side of it. The players take turns serving the birdie over the net to try and score points when their opponent does not return or misses the birdie. Rules are often not as stringent, and the game is played in good fun. This is the easiest way to play badminton because it is not as rule-driven, and you can agree to take breaks or rest in between serves.
When played competitively, badminton becomes more difficult. Since the average badminton game lasts around an hour, players will need to be physically fit and have high stamina. Additionally, since badminton is one of the fastest games in the world (the shuttlecock is the fastest moving projectile in sports), players will have to be able to focus and concentrate for prolonged periods of time. On top of that, there are a lot of rules and regulations that must be learned when playing badminton at higher levels.
Basic Rules of Badminton
The point of the game is to serve the birdie over the net into your opponent’s court. Players must serve the birdie with an underhand swing. Players hit the birdie back and forth, which is called rallying, until one of the players misses a swing, hits the birdie out of bounds, or the shuttlecock does not make it past the centerline (lands too close to the net).
When this happens, the last person to successfully rally the birdie gains a point, and they get to serve next. A match consists of three games, and players must win two of the three games to win. Games are played until someone reaches 21 points (or 22 points if both players make it to 20 points).
A badminton court features many lines, which map out the boundaries of the court, and they often decide how or if a point is scored. If you are playing on a lawn with family and friends, you may have to agree ahead of time where certain boundary lines lie. Otherwise, when playing on a court, you should see the following lines.
- Back Lines (Back Boundary): The back boundary lines run parallel with the net. Not only do they mark the boundary of the court (this is true for both doubles and singles games), but they also map the back edge of the singles service box.
- Double Service Box Line: When moving from the backline toward the net, this is the next line that you will see. This line maps out the back edge of the doubles service box. This line is also sometimes called the back service line.
- Side Lines (Outer): The outer sidelines map the boundary of the court for a doubles game as well as the outside edge of the doubles service box. When playing a game of doubles, you can ignore the inner sidelines.
- Side Lines (Inner): The inner side lines map the boundary of the court for a singles game as well as the outside edges of the singles service box. When playing a singles game, you can ignore the outside sidelines.
- Center Line: The centerline splits the service boxes in half on both sides of the net.
- Front Service Line: The front service line maps the front edges of the service boxes. It sits 6.5 feet in front of the net on both sides of the court, and a serve must make it over this line for it to be considered in bounds. This line is sometimes called the short service line.
It is important to note that a badminton court is marked for both singles and doubles games, so which lines you use will depend on how you are playing (singles or teams).
One of the players must start the rally by serving the birdie. However, because the server could have an unfair advantage over their opponent, there are certain restrictions that apply when serving. The exact rules for serving in competitive badminton can become quite confusing, and you can find more information about these in-depth rules here. Otherwise, the basic rules for serving in badminton are as follows:
- The receiver must be ready before the server serves the birdie.
- If the receiver swings at the birdie, they cannot claim they were not ready.
- Neither player can move until the birdie is served, and the server cannot be moving when they hit the birdie.
- The birdie must be served with an underhand swing and cannot be “thrown” with the racquet.
- The birdie must be hit below the server’s waist (the bottom of their ribcage).
- The server cannot serve by throwing the birdie in the air and using an overhand swing.
- The birdie must make it over the net and beyond the front service line.
- The server cannot “fake” a serve to mess with their opponent.
- The side that wins a point gets to serve next.
Once served, the players will rally the shuttle back and forth until a point is scored.
Points are gained when a player/team wins a rally, or the other player/team makes a fault. A player/team wins by being the first to reach a score of 21 points. If the score reaches 20/20, the first player or team to gain a two-point lead will win the game. If neither side gains a two-point lead, the first team to reach 30 points will win the game.
There are several ways in which to score points in badminton:
- Your opponent does not hit the birdie before it lands on the ground inside the boundary lines.
- Your opponent hits the birdie, but it does not make it over the net, or the same opponent hits the birdie twice.
- The birdie lands outside of the boundary lines without you hitting it. If you hit the shuttle and it goes out of bounds, the opposing team wins a point.
- Your opponent touches the net with their racquet or body.
- The birdie is struck by a team before it has completely gone over the net to their side.
- The opposing team makes a fault or foul.
Badmintons Best has a full list of faults and fouls, which you can find here.
Conclusion: Is Badminton Easy to Play?
Badminton is one of the fastest games in the world, and its level of difficulty depends on how the game is played. If you are planning to play the game leisurely in the backyard with friends and family, badminton is not a hard game to learn and play.
However, it does take stamina and concentration. When played competitively, badminton becomes a lot more difficult because there are a lot of serving and scoring rules to learn. Additionally, because the average length of a badminton game is around an hour in length, players must have stamina and the ability to move and focus for extended periods of time.
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