Sunday, April 5, 2009
Sunday, March 1, 2009
There is more to learning how to play badminton than just being up to date on the rules of the game. Learning how to play badminton correctly also means developing certain skills. Among the most important of these are gripping the racquet correctly and mastering serves and stokes.
The best way to hold your badminton racquet is to grip it like your are shaking hands with it. Once you have experimented a bit with this concept the next thing to do is try serving. In badminton the serve is underhanded. The shuttlecock is held below the waist and service is upward, propelling the shuttlecock over the net and into the diagonally-opposed court. Make sure the shuttlecock enters the area beyond the front service lines but does not go out of the court beyond the side or back boundary lines. When the serve is made, stand in the right court if the score is even or in the left court if it is odd. You will need some practice to hit the shuttlecock into the right area of the opposing court. Be careful not to hit the net or serve so strongly that the shuttlecock goes out of bounds.
Learning how to play badminton can be overwhelming if you try at first to consider all the different strokes. It is best for beginners to master the high serve and to learn the basics of forehand and backhand strokes. In serving there are low serves and high serves. In a high serve, the goal is to hit the shuttlecock so high that it is falling vertically when it reaches the opponent’s backcourt. A high serve is always returned with a forehand stroke.
In all other situations the badminton player has the choice to play each stroke either forehand or backhand. A forehand stroke is played with the front of the hand (palm,up) and the backhand is the reverse, hitting with the back of the hand (knuckles up). In learning how to play badminton you eventually work on a number of different strokes, including service, overhead, underhand, sidearm, drop and smash.
The overhand stoke, sometimes called an overhand clear is meant to drive the birdie as far and deep into the opponent’s court as possible. The underhand stroke or underhand clear is meant to do the same thing. A drop shot, on the other hand, is meant to drop just barely over the net as it falls into the opposing court. A smash is just like it sounds, similar to a spike in volleyball, where the birdie is hit with a severe overhand stroke so hard that it falls fast downward to the floor and the opponent has no chance for a return.
Over the last few years the equipment used in just about every sport has undergone a technological revolution. Badminton racquets are no exception. In the beginning badminton racquets were made of wood. They advanced to aluminum and steel, and now words like graphite aluminum, carbon fiber composite, graphite carbon, and high modulus graphite are used to describe the newest badminton racquets. While you might have to be an engineer to truly understand the materials used in racquet construction, recreational through professional players can see the results: The new racquets are much lighter and stronger and give the player more power and control. Many cheap racquets found in sporting goods stores are still made of aluminum--wooden badminton racquets are no longer made. These new high-tech badminton racquets weigh between 80 and 100 grams.
The type of badminton racquets you purchase depends on what kind of player you are-- beginner, intermediate or advanced. Players all make different choices depending on their skill and playing style. You can make decisions about whether you want your racquet head to be oval, wide-bodied or isometric, and you can choose the thickness and tightness of the strings along with the type of grip that best fits your hand. Generally speaking, stiffer, higher strung racquets are used by advanced players while amateurs and recreational players choose a racquet with more flexibility and lower string tension.
The rules of badminton have changed in the last couple of years. The two most important changes related to the number of points in a game and who wins a point. In both men’s and women’s badminton the number of points you must have to win a game is 21. Whoever wins a volley now wins the point.
While all official competitions apply these new rules of badminton, many community and backyard games are still played by what we now call the “classic rules of badminton.” In the classic rules there are differences in men’s and women’s play. The men traditionally play a game to a total of 15 points. Should both players be tied at 13 points, the first to reach that number can choose to add five points to the game, with whoever reaches 18 first being the winner. Should a tie develop at 14-14, the game can be extended by 3 points or end at 15 points.
For women, the traditional games are shorter, ending at 11 points. The rules allow women to decide to add 3 points should a game be tied at 10, or end it at 11 points. The classic rules also differ in determining who can score a point--only the server can score. In addition, players change sides of the court after each game or when the scores reaches 8 in men’s or 6 women’s play. A match consists of 3 games with the best 2 out of 3 determining the winner.
The Rules of Badminton specify universal badminton court dimensions. The shape of the court is rectangular and the net is situated at the halfway point. In most instances the same court is used in both singles and doubles play and is marked with the boundaries for both.
Overall badminton court dimensions are 44 feet long by 20 feet wide. This entire width is used in doubles but in singles, the court width is reduced to 17 feet. The service courts are marked by a center line which marks the course at halfway and a short service line which is 6.5 feet from the net. Outer side and back boundaries are also marked.
The Doubles court markings are different with a long service line which is measured 2 feet, 6 inches from the back boundary. This makes for a shorter serve length in doubles. The height of the net is also specified in badminton court dimensions. The badminton net is a little more than 5-feet high (1.55 meters) in the middle and 5-feet, 2-inches tall on both ends. The net poles are positioned on the doubles sidelines.
Battledore and Shuttlecock was further developed into the sport now know as badminton when the English military played a game call “poona” in India in the early 1800s. This was the first time a net was used. In examining the history of badminton, one can see a much more rapid development of the game in England at this time. In fact, royalty entered the scene when in the mid-1800s the Duke of Beaufort introduced the game to guests at his estate and adopted the name of “badminton.”
Before long a badminton association was established and rules similar to the current badminton rules were introduced. Guildford hosted the very first open English tournament in 1898 and it only took one more year before the first All England Championships were held. From there badminton spread to other countries and by the 1930s the game was also being played in Canada, the United States and Denmark.
In 1934, the history of badminton was marked by the formation of the first international governing body--The International Badminton Federation. England, Canada, the United States and Denmark were joined by Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France and the Netherlands in initiating the Federation, which continues to this day--now renamed Badminton World Federation. Today the Federation has 151 National Member Associations and five Continental Confederations, the same structure used by the Olympics. These badminton confederations are Oceania, Africa, Asia, European and Pan-American.
The International Badminton Federation established various competitions, such as the World Championships and the World Grand Prix. More major growth occurred in badminton history with the addition of the sport to the Commonwealth Games in 1966 and to the Olympics in 1992. While at first only men’s and women’s singles and doubles were allowed, in 1996 badminton became the first and only Olympic sport to allowed mixed doubles competition.