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This article is about the sport. For other uses, see Badminton
Danish badminton player Peter Gade
Highest governing body Badminton World Federation
First played 17th century
Team members Single or doubles
Categorization Racquet sport
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
(also known as a shuttle, bird, or birdy) with their racquet so
that it passes over the net and lands in their opponents' half
of the court. Each side may only strike the shuttlecock once
before it passes over the net. A rally ends once the shuttlecock
has struck the floor.
The shuttlecock (or shuttle) 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. Shuttlecocks have a much
higher top speed, when compared to other racquet sports. Because
shuttlecock flight is affected by wind, competitive badminton is
played indoors. Badminton is also played outdoors as a casual
recreational activity, often as a garden or beach game.
Since 1992, badminton has been 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 consists of 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
1 History and development
2.1 Playing court dimensions
2.2 Equipment laws
2.3 Scoring system and service
2.3.1 The basics
4.1 Forehand and backhand
4.2 Position of the shuttlecock and receiving player
4.3 Vertical position of the shuttlecock
4.4 Other factors
5.3 Mixed doubles
6 Governing bodies
8 Comparisons with other racquet sports
8.1 Comparisons of speed and athletic requirements
8.2 Comparisons of technique
8.3 Distinctive characteristics of the shuttlecock
8.3.1 Aerodynamic drag and stability
9 See also
12 External links
History and development
Game of Battledore and Shuttlecock in 1804
Battledore and Shuttlecock. 1854, from the John Leech Archive
The beginnings of Badminton can be traced to mid-18th century
British India, where it was created by British military officers
stationed there. Early photographs show Englishmen adding a
net to the traditional English game of battledore and
shuttlecock. Being particularly popular in the British garrison
town Poona (now Pune), the game also came to be known as
Poona. Initially, balls of wool referred as ball badminton
were preferred by the upper classes in windy or wet conditions,
but ultimately the shuttlecock stuck. This game was taken by
retired officers back to England where it developed and rules
were set out.
As early as 1860, Isaac Spratt, a London toy dealer, published a
booklet, Badminton Battledore - a new game, 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 British India. The Bath Badminton Club standardized
the rules and made the game applicable to English ideas. The
basic regulations were drawn up in 1887. In 1893, the
Badminton Association of England published the first set of
rules according to these regulations, similar to today's rules,
and officially launched badminton in a house called "Dunbar" at
6 Waverley Grove, Portsmouth, England on September 13 of that
year. They also started the All England Open Badminton
Championships, the first badminton competition in the world, in
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 initiated in England, competitive men's badminton in
Europe has traditionally been dominated by Denmark. Asian
nations, however, have been the most dominant ones at the world
level. Indonesia, South Korea, China, and Malaysia along with
Denmark are among the nations that have consistently produced
world-class players in the past few decades, with China being
the greatest force in both men's and women's competition in
The following information is a simplified summary of the Laws,
not a complete reproduction. The definitive source of the Laws
is the BWF Statutes publication, although the digital
distribution of the Laws contains poor reproductions of the
Playing court dimensions
Badminton court, isometric view
The court is rectangular and divided into halves by a net.
Courts are usually 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
of same length. The exception, which often causes confusion to
newer players, is that the doubles court has a shorter
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 ft 6 inch)
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 0.76 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 sidelines, even when singles is played.
The minimum height for the ceiling above the court is not
mentioned in the Laws of Badminton. Nonetheless, a badminton
court will not be suitable if the ceiling is likely to be hit on
a high serve.
The laws specify which equipment may be used. In particular, the
laws restrict the design and size of racquets and shuttlecocks.
The laws also provide for testing a shuttlecock for the correct
To test a shuttlecock, use a full underhand stroke which makes
contact with the shuttlecock over the back boundary line. The
shuttlecock shall be hit at an upward angle and in a direction
parallel to the side lines.
A shuttlecock of the correct speed will land not less than 530
mm and not more than 990 mm short of the other back boundary
Scoring system and service
Main article: Scoring system development of badminton
Each game is played to 21 points, with players scoring a point
whenever they win a rally regardless of whether they served 
(this differs from the old system where players could only win a
point on their serve and each game was played to 15 points). 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 below waist height and with the
racquet shaft pointing downwards, the shuttlecock is not allowed
to bounce and in badminton, the players stand inside their
service courts unlike tennis.
When the serving side loses a rally, the serve immediately
passes to their opponent(s) (this differs from the old system
where sometimes the serve passes to the doubles partner for what
is known as a "second serve").
In singles, the server stands in their right service court when
their score is even, and in her/his left service court when
her/his score is odd.
In doubles, if the serving side wins a rally, the same player
continues to serve, but he/she changes service courts so that
she/he serves to a different opponent each time. If the
opponents win the rally and 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 regains
the service, the server will be the player who did not serve
When the server serves, the shuttlecock must pass over the short
service line on the opponents' court or it will count as a
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, the shuttlecock is cast and where ever
the shuttlecock is pointing that side begins or 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 the corked end points
will be the side that serves first.
In subsequent games, the winners of the previous game serve
first. These can also be called rubbers. If one team wins a game
they play once more and if they win again they win that match,
but if they lose they play one more match to find the winning
team. 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
If a let is called, the rally is stopped and replayed with no
change to the score. Lets may occur because of some unexpected
disturbance such as a shuttlecock landing on court (having been
hit there by players on an adjacent court) or in small halls the
shuttle may touch an overhead rail which can be classed as a
If the receiver is not ready when the service is delivered, a
let shall be called; yet, if the receiver attempts to return the
shuttlecock, he shall be judged to have been ready.
There is no let if the shuttlecock hits the tape (even on
Badminton racquets are lightweight, with top quality racquets
weighing between 70 and 95 grams (2.4 to 3.3 ounces) not
including grip or 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, racquets were made of light metals such as
aluminium. Earlier still, racquets were made of wood. Cheap
racquets are still often made of metals such as steel, but
wooden racquets are no longer manufactured for the ordinary
market, because of their excessive mass and cost. Nowadays,
nanomaterials such as fullerene and carbon nanotubes are added
to rackets giving them greater durability.
There is a wide variety of racquet designs, although the laws
limit the racquet size and shape. Different racquets 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 racquets.
Badminton strings are thin, high performing strings in the range
of about 0.62 to 0.73 mm 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 160 N (18 to 36
lbf). Recreational players generally string at lower tensions
than professionals, typically between 80 and 110 N (18 and 25
lbf). Professionals string between about 110 and 160 N (25 and
36 lbf). Some string manufacturers measure the thickness of
their strings under tension so they are actually thicker then
than specified when slack. Ashaway Micropower is actually 0.7mm
but Yonex BG-66 is about 0.72mm.
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. This is in fact incorrect, for a
higher string tension can cause the shuttle to slide off the
racquet and hence make it harder to hit a shot accurately. An
alternative view suggests that the optimum tension for power
depends on the player: the faster and more accurately a
player can swing their racquet, the higher the tension for
maximum power. Neither view has been subjected to a rigorous
mechanical analysis, nor is there clear evidence in favour of
one or the other. The most effective way for a player to find a
good string tension is to experiment.
The choice of grip allows a player to increase the thickness of
his racquet handle and choose a comfortable surface to hold. A
player may build up the handle with one or several grips before
applying the final layer.
Players may choose between a variety of grip materials. The most
common choices are PU synthetic grips or towelling grips. Grip
choice is a matter of personal preference. Players often find
that sweat becomes a problem; in this case, a drying agent may
be applied to the grip or hands, sweatbands may be used, the
player may choose another grip material or change his grip more
There are two main types of grip: replacement grips and
overgrips. Replacement grips are thicker, and are often used to
increase the size of the handle. Overgrips are thinner (less
than 1 mm), and are often used as the final layer. Many players,
however, prefer to use replacement grips as the final layer.
Towelling grips are always replacement grips. Replacement grips
have an adhesive backing, whereas overgrips have only a small
patch of adhesive at the start of the tape and must be applied
under tension; overgrips are more convenient for players who
change grips frequently, because they may be removed more
rapidly without damaging the underlying material.
Shuttlecocks with feathers
A shuttlecock with a plastic skirt
Main article: Shuttlecock
A shuttlecock (often abbreviated to shuttle; also called a
birdie) is a high-drag projectile, with an open conical shape:
the cone is formed from sixteen overlapping feathers embedded
into a rounded cork base. The cork is covered with thin leather
or synthetic material.
Synthetic shuttles are often used by recreational players to
reduce their costs as feathered shuttles break easily. These
nylon shuttles may be constructed with either natural cork or
synthetic foam base, and a plastic skirt.
Badminton shoes are lightweight with soles of rubber or similar
high-grip, non-marking materials.
Compared to running shoes, badminton shoes have little lateral
support. High levels of lateral support are useful for
activities where lateral motion is undesirable and unexpected.
Badminton, however, requires powerful lateral movements. A
highly built-up lateral support will not be able to protect the
foot in badminton; instead, it will encourage catastrophic
collapse at the point where the shoe's support fails, and the
player's ankles are not ready for the sudden loading, which can
cause sprains. For this reason, players should choose badminton
shoes rather than general trainers or running shoes, because
proper badminton shoes will have a very thin sole, lower a
person's centre of gravity, and therefore result in fewer
injuries. Players should also ensure that they learn safe and
proper footwork, with the knee and foot in alignment on all
lunges. This is not more than just a safety concern; proper
footwork is also critical in order to move effectively around
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A player flies high at the Golden Gate Badminton Club (GGBC) in
Menlo Park, 2006
Forehand and backhand
Badminton offers a wide variety of basic strokes, and players
require a high level of skill to perform all of them
effectively. All strokes can be played either forehand or
backhand. A player's forehand side is the same side as their
playing hand: for a right-handed player, the forehand side is
their right side and the backhand side is their left side.
Forehand strokes are hit with the front of the hand leading
(like hitting with the palm), whereas backhand strokes are hit
with the back of the hand leading (like hitting with the
knuckles). Players frequently play certain strokes on the
forehand side with a backhand hitting action, and vice versa.
In the forecourt and midcourt, most strokes can be played
equally effectively on either the forehand or backhand side; but
in the rearcourt, players will attempt to play as many strokes
as possible on their forehands, often preferring to play a
round-the-head forehand overhead (a forehand "on the backhand
side") rather than attempt a backhand overhead. Playing a
backhand overhead has two main disadvantages. First, the player
must turn their back to their opponents, restricting their view
of them and the court. Second, backhand overheads cannot be hit
with as much power as forehands: the hitting action is limited
by the shoulder joint, which permits a much greater range of
movement for a forehand overhead than for a backhand. The
backhand clear is considered by most players and coaches to be
the most difficult basic stroke in the game, since precise
technique is needed in order to muster enough power for the
shuttlecock to travel the full length of the court. For the same
reason, backhand smashes tend to be weak.
Position of the shuttlecock and receiving player
A player does a forehand service, 2009, Philadelphia.
The choice of stroke depends on how near the shuttlecock is to
the net, whether it is above net height, and where an opponent
is currently positioned: players have much better attacking
options if they can reach the shuttlecock well above net height,
especially if it is also close to the net. In the forecourt, a
high shuttlecock will be met with a net kill, hitting it steeply
downwards and attempting to win the rally immediately. This is
why it is best to drop the shuttlecock just over the net in this
situation. In the midcourt, a high shuttlecock will usually be
met with a powerful smash, also hitting downwards and hoping for
an outright winner or a weak reply. Athletic jump smashes, where
players jump upwards for a steeper smash angle, are a common and
spectacular element of elite men's doubles play. In the
rearcourt, players strive to hit the shuttlecock while it is
still above them, rather than allowing it to drop lower. This
overhead hitting allows them to play smashes, clears (hitting
the shuttlecock high and to the back of the opponents' court),
and dropshots (hitting the shuttlecock so that it falls softly
downwards into the opponents' forecourt). If the shuttlecock has
dropped lower, then a smash is impossible and a full-length,
high clear is difficult.
A player prepares for a vertical jump smash
Vertical position of the shuttlecock
When the shuttlecock is well below net height, players have no
choice but to hit upwards. Lifts, where the shuttlecock is hit
upwards to the back of the opponents' court, can be played from
all parts of the court. If a player does not lift, his only
remaining option is to push the shuttlecock softly back to the
net: in the forecourt this is called a netshot; in the midcourt
or rearcourt, it is often called a push or block.
When the shuttlecock is near to net height, players can hit
drives, which travel flat and rapidly over the net into the
opponents' rear midcourt and rearcourt. Pushes may also be hit
flatter, placing the shuttlecock into the front midcourt. Drives
and pushes may be played from the midcourt or forecourt, and are
most often used in doubles: they are an attempt to regain the
attack, rather than choosing to lift the shuttlecock and defend
against smashes. After a successful drive or push, the opponents
will often be forced to lift the shuttlecock.
When defending against a smash, players have three basic
options: lift, block, or drive. In singles, a block to the net
is the most common reply. In doubles, a lift is the safest
option but it usually allows the opponents to continue smashing;
blocks and drives are counter-attacking strokes, but may be
intercepted by the smasher's partner. Many players use a
backhand hitting action for returning smashes on both the
forehand and backhand sides, because backhands are more
effective than forehands at covering smashes directed to the
body. It is very good tool to play hard shots which are directed
towards your body.
The service is restricted by the Laws and presents its own array
of stroke choices. Unlike in tennis, the servers racket must be
pointing in a downward direction to deliver the serve so
normally the shuttle must be hit upwards to pass over the net.
The server can choose a low serve into the forecourt (like a
push), or a lift to the back of the service court, or a flat
drive serve. Lifted serves may be either high serves, where the
shuttlecock is lifted so high that it falls almost vertically at
the back of the court, or flick serves, where the shuttlecock is
lifted to a lesser height but falls sooner.
Once players have mastered these basic strokes, they can hit the
shuttlecock from and to any part of the court, powerfully and
softly as required. Beyond the basics, however, badminton offers
rich potential for advanced stroke skills that provide a
competitive advantage. Because badminton players have to cover a
short distance as quickly as possible, the purpose of many
advanced strokes is to deceive the opponent, so that either he
is tricked into believing that a different stroke is being
played, or he is forced to delay his movement until he actually
sees the shuttle's direction. "Deception" in badminton is often
used in both of these senses. When a player is genuinely
deceived, he will often lose the point immediately because he
cannot change his direction quickly enough to reach the
shuttlecock. Experienced players will be aware of the trick and
cautious not to move too early, but the attempted deception is
still useful because it forces the opponent to delay his
movement slightly. Against weaker players whose intended strokes
are obvious, an experienced player may move before the
shuttlecock has been hit, anticipating the stroke to gain an
Slicing and using a shortened hitting action are the two main
technical devices that facilitate deception. Slicing involves
hitting the shuttlecock with an angled racquet face, causing it
to travel in a different direction than suggested by the body or
arm movement. Slicing also causes the shuttlecock to travel much
slower than the arm movement suggests. For example, a good
crosscourt sliced dropshot will use a hitting action that
suggests a straight clear or smash, deceiving the opponent about
both the power and direction of the shuttlecock. A more
sophisticated slicing action involves brushing the strings
around the shuttlecock during the hit, in order to make the
shuttlecock spin. This can be used to improve the shuttle's
trajectory, by making it dip more rapidly as it passes the net;
for example, a sliced low serve can travel slightly faster than
a normal low serve, yet land on the same spot. Spinning the
shuttlecock is also used to create spinning netshots (also
called tumbling netshots), in which the shuttlecock turns over
itself several times (tumbles) before stabilizing; sometimes the
shuttlecock remains inverted instead of tumbling. The main
advantage of a spinning netshot is that the opponent will be
unwilling to address the shuttlecock until it has stopped
tumbling, since hitting the feathers will result in an
unpredictable stroke. Spinning netshots are especially important
for high level singles players.
The lightness of modern racquets allows players to use a very
short hitting action for many strokes, thereby maintaining the
option to hit a powerful or a soft stroke until the last
possible moment. For example, a singles player may hold his
racquet ready for a netshot, but then flick the shuttlecock to
the back instead with a shallow lift when she or he notices the
opponent has moved before the actual shot was played. A shallow
lift takes less time to reach the ground and as mentioned above
a rally is over when the shuttlecock touches the ground. This
makes the opponent's task of covering the whole court much more
difficult than if the lift was hit higher and with a bigger,
obvious swing. A short hitting action is not only useful for
deception: it also allows the player to hit powerful strokes
when he has no time for a big arm swing. A big arm swing is also
usually not advised in badminton because bigger swings make it
more difficult to recover for the next shot in fast exchanges.
The use of grip tightening is crucial to these techniques, and
is often described as finger power. Elite players develop finger
power to the extent that they can hit some power strokes, such
as net kills, with less than a 10 cm (4 in) racquet swing.
It is also possible to reverse this style of deception, by
suggesting a powerful stroke before slowing down the hitting
action to play a soft stroke. In general, this latter style of
deception is more common in the rearcourt (for example,
dropshots disguised as smashes), whereas the former style is
more common in the forecourt and midcourt (for example, lifts
disguised as netshots).
Deception is not limited to slicing and short hitting actions.
Players may also use double motion, where they make an initial
racquet movement in one direction before withdrawing the racquet
to hit in another direction. Players will often do this to send
opponents in the wrong direction. The racquet movement is
typically used to suggest a straight angle but then play the
stroke cross court, or vice versa. Triple motion is also
possible, but this is very rare in actual play. An alternative
to double motion is to use a racquet head fake, where the
initial motion is continued but the racquet is turned during the
hit. This produces a smaller change in direction, but does not
require as much time.
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To win in badminton, players need to employ a wide variety of
strokes in the right situations. These range from powerful
jumping smashes to delicate tumbling net returns. Often rallies
finish with a smash, but setting up the smash requires subtler
strokes. For example, a netshot can force the opponent to lift
the shuttlecock, which gives an opportunity to smash. If the
netshot is tight and tumbling, then the opponent's lift will not
reach the back of the court, which makes the subsequent smash
much harder to return.
Deception is also important. Expert players prepare for many
different strokes that look identical, and use slicing to
deceive their opponents about the speed or direction of the
stroke. If an opponent tries to anticipate the stroke, he may
move in the wrong direction and may be unable to change his body
momentum in time to reach the shuttlecock.
Both pairs will try to gain and maintain the attack, smashing
downwards when possible. Whenever possible, a pair will adopt an
ideal attacking formation with one player hitting down from the
rearcourt, and his partner in the midcourt intercepting all
smash returns except the lift. If the rearcourt attacker plays a
dropshot, his partner will move into the forecourt to threaten
the net reply. If a pair cannot hit downwards, they will use
flat strokes in an attempt to gain the attack. If a pair is
forced to lift or clear the shuttlecock, then they must defend:
they will adopt a side-by-side position in the rear midcourt, to
cover the full width of their court against the opponents'
smashes. In doubles, players generally smash to the middle
ground between two players in order to take advantage of
confusion and clashes.
At high levels of play, the backhand serve has become popular to
the extent that forehand serves have become fairly rare at a
high level of play. The straight low serve is used most
frequently, in an attempt to prevent the opponents gaining the
attack immediately. Flick serves are used to prevent the
opponent from anticipating the low serve and attacking it
At high levels of play, doubles rallies are extremely fast.
Men's doubles is the most aggressive form of badminton, with a
high proportion of powerful jump smashes.
A mixed doubles game - Scottish Schools under 12s tournament,
Tranent, May 2002
The singles court is narrower than the doubles court, but the
same length. Since one person needs to cover the entire court,
singles tactics are based on forcing the opponent to move as
much as possible; this means that singles strokes are normally
directed to the corners of the court. Players exploit the length
of the court by combining lifts and clears with drop shots and
net shots. Smashing is less prominent in singles than in doubles
because players are rarely in the ideal position to execute a
smash, and smashing often leaves the smasher vulnerable if the
smash is returned.
In singles, players will often start the rally with a forehand
high serve or with a flick serve. Low serves are also used
frequently, either forehand or backhand. Drive serves are rare.
At high levels of play, singles demands extraordinary fitness.
Singles is a game of patient positional manoeuvring, unlike the
all-out aggression of doubles.
In mixed doubles, both pairs typically try to maintain an
attacking formation with the woman at the front and the man at
the back. This is because the male players are usually
substantially stronger, and can therefore produce smashes that
are more powerful. As a result, mixed doubles require greater
tactical awareness and subtler positional play. Clever opponents
will try to reverse the ideal position, by forcing the woman
towards the back or the man towards the front. In order to
protect against this danger, mixed players must be careful and
systematic in their shot selection.
At high levels of play, the formations will generally be more
flexible: the top women players are capable of playing
powerfully from the back-court, 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.
The Badminton World Federation (BWF) is the internationally
recognized governing body of the sport. Five regional
confederations are associated with the BWF:
Asia: Badminton Asia Confederation (BAC)
Africa: Badminton Confederation of Africa (BCA)
Americas: Badminton Pan Am (North America and South America
belong to the same confederation; BPA)
Europe: Badminton Europe (BE)
Oceania: Badminton Oceania (BO)
A mens doubles match. The blue lines are those for the badminton
court. The other coloured lines denote uses for other sports –
such complexity being common in multi-use sports halls.
The BWF organizes several international competitions, including
the Thomas Cup, the premier men's international team event first
held in 1948–1949, and the Uber Cup, the women's equivalent
first held in 1956–1957. 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 gender-mixed international team event held
once every two years, began in 1989. Teams are divided into
seven levels 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 association football (soccer),
it features a promotion and relegation system in every level.
Badminton was a demonstration event in the 1972 and 1988 Summer
Olympics. It became an official Summer Olympic sport at the
Barcelona Olympics in 1992 and its gold medals now generally
rate as the sport's most coveted prizes for individual players.
In the BWF World Championships, first held in 1977, only the
highest ranked 64 players in the world, and a maximum of three
from each country, can participate in any category. In both the
Olympic and BWF World competitions restrictions on the number of
participants from any one country have caused some controversy
because they sometimes result in excluding elite world level
players from the strongest badminton powers such as China. The
Thomas, Uber, and Sudirman Cups, the Olympics, and the BWF World
(and World Junior Championships), are all categorized as level
At the start of 2007, the BWF introduced a new tournament
structure for the highest level tournaments aside from those in
level one: the BWF Super Series. This level two tournament
series, a tour for the world's elite players, stages 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. Among the
tournaments in this series is the venerable All-England
Championships, first held in 1900, which was once considered the
unofficial world championships of the sport.
Level three tournaments consist of Grand Prix Gold and Grand
Prix event. 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, encourage participation
by junior players.
Comparisons with other racquet sports
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Badminton 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
In tennis, the serve is dominant to the extent that the server
is expected to win most of his service games (at advanced level
& onwards); a break of service, where the server loses the game,
is of major importance in a match. In badminton a server has far
less advantage, and is unlikely to score an 'ace' (unreturnable
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 as heavy as badminton
racquets, 10-12 ounces (approximately 284-340 grams) versus 2-3
ounces (70-105 grams). Tennis balls are more than eleven
times heavier than shuttlecocks, 57 grams versus 5
The fastest recorded tennis stroke is Ivo Karlovic's 156 mph
(251 km/h) serve, whereas the fastest badminton stroke was
Fu Haifeng's 206 mph (332 km/h) recorded smash.
Comparisons of speed and athletic requirements
Statistics 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
racquet 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 racquet sport might also be
based on reaction time requirements, but arguably table tennis
requires even faster reaction times.
While fans of badminton and tennis often claim that their sport
is the more physically demanding, such comparisons are difficult
to make objectively because of the differing demands of the
games. No formal study currently exists evaluating the physical
condition of the players or demands during game play.
Comparisons of technique
Badminton 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 (2 in). 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
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; the forearm
muscles control its movement. 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 shuttlecock
The shuttlecock differs greatly from the balls used in most
other racquet sports.
Aerodynamic drag and stability
The 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
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 racquet 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.
Balls 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
Slicing the shuttlecock so that it spins, however, does have
applications, and some are particular 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
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 a counter-clockwise 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
^ Cartoon taken from the John Leech Archive which gave the
artist as John Leech and the date as 1854.
^ a b Guillain, Jean-Yves (2004-09-02). Badminton: An
Illustrated History. Publibook. p. 47. ISBN 2748305728.
^ Connors, M; Dupuis, D. L.; Morgan, B. (1991). The Olympics
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^ Masters, James. "Battledore and Shuttlecock". The Online Guide
to Traditional Games. Retrieved 2007-06-25.
^ a b "The history of Badminton". The University of Southern
^ "History of Badminton: Founding of the BAE and Codification of
the Rules". WorldBadminton.com.
^ a b "Laws of Badminton". Badminton World Federation.
^ a b "Badminton Central Guide to choosing Badminton Equipment".
BadmintonCentral.com. 2005-02-28. Archived from the original on
^ "SL-70". Karakal. Archived from the original on 2007-10-16.
^ "String tension relating to power and control". Prospeed.
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^ Kumekawa, Eugene. "Badminton Strategies and Tactics for the
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^ "Badminton federation announces 12-event series". The
Associated Press (International Herald Tribune). 2006-09-23.
^ "International badminton gets a makeover". Badders.com.
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^ "New Tournament Structure". IBF. 2006-07-20. Archived from the
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^ "What is the ideal weight for a tennis racquet?". About.com.
^ "The contribution of technology on badminton rackets".
Prospeed. Archived from the original on 2007-10-11.
^ Azeez, Shefiu (2000). "Mass of a Tennis Ball". Hypertextbook.
^ M. McCreary, Kathleen (2005-05-05). "A Study of the Motion of
a Free Falling Shuttlecock" (PDF). The College of Wooster.
^ Chase, Chris (2011-03-07). "Video: Anticlimactically, Karlovic
hits the fastest serve in history". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved
^ "Chinese Fu clocks fastest smash at Sudirman Cup". People's
Daily Online. Retrieved 14 May 2005.
^ Kim, Wangdo (2002-10-01). "An Analysis of the Biomechanics of
Arm Movement During a Badminton Smash". Nanyang Technological
^ "Badminton Technique DVD". Badminton England.
^ The Spin Doctor, Power & Precision Magazine, July 2006
Bernd-Volker Brahms, Badminton Handbook, Meyer & Meyer, Aachen
2010, ISBN 978-1-84126-298-7
Commons has media related to: Badminton
Look up badminton in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica
article Badminton (game).
Badminton at the Open Directory Project
Badminton World Federation
Laws of Badminton
Badminton Asia Confederation
Badminton Pan Am
Badminton Confederation of Africa