Badminton is a game played by two or four players on a rectangular court with a high net across the middle. The players try to score points by hitting a small object called a shuttlecock across the net using a racket.
Learning the Rules
Understand the object of the game. Badminton, like tennis, is a racket sport that is played by either two players or two teams of two players each. The object is for you or your team to get to 21 points first. You score a point whenever you successfully serve the shuttlecock and your opposing team commits a fault, which means that the team fails to appropriately return the shuttlecock.
Get familiar with the badminton court. The badminton court is 44 feet (13.4 m) long by 20 feet (6.1 m) wide. If you’re playing singles, you play on the part that is 44 feet (13.4 m) long but only 17 feet (5.2 m) wide. The net should be positioned halfway across the court, made of three-quarter inch mesh at the 20 foot (6.1 m) mark (17 feet (5.2 m) for singles), 5 feet (1.5 m) above the ground. When you’re playing doubles, the extra 15 feet (1.5 m) on the left and right side of the court (the doubles sidelines) are considered fair game for serving and returning. Here’s what else you need to know:
Understand the basics of play. Here’s what you need to know before you start your badminton game, beyond the court information and the scoring rules:
Understand how a player can get a fault. There are several reasons that a team or player can earn a fault. Here they are:
Learn the basic ways to strike the shuttlecock. The standard badminton racket is 26 inches (66.0 cm) long and weighs anywhere from 4.5-5.5 ounces. Most of them are made with metal and nylon, and you’ll need to generate enough energy to effectively strike the shuttlecock with this light racket. The main strokes are the forehand and the backhand (as in tennis) and you’ll need a light, quick wrist to effectively strike the shuttle. Here’s what you need to know about striking the shuttlecock
Smash the shuttle. This is a powerful shot that you use to hit a shuttle that is above the height of the net. You’ll need to raise you’re racket behind your back, as if you were going to scratch it.
Make sure to always return to “the stance of readiness” after each shot. After you return their shot, return to the middle of the court, so if they hit it to your left or right, you have more time to react and run to their shot, and return it back. Stay on your toes, and slightly move left and right, so your energy and momentum is still active and you can be ready to run for the next move.
Get ready to move anywhere any time. Be prepared to run up to the net, run cross court, back up all the way to the back service line, or to reach the shuttle from any position. The element of surprise is important here, too, so watch out for your opponent’s tricks.
Go for the overhead as often as you can. The overhead smash is the most powerful shot in the game because it allows you to hit the shuttle as hard and fast as you can, making it as difficult as possible for your opponent to return your shot. Look for opportunities to hit this shot when the shuttle is being returned high in the air.
Keep your opponents running around Don’t hit the shuttle right back to your opponent every time, or you’ll just be making it easier for him or her to hit the shuttle right back. Your goal should be to move your opponent or opponents up and down the court or back and forth across the court so they get winded and tired and don’t have the opportunity to properly return the shuttle.
Have a method to your madness. Don’t just aim to hit the shuttle back and hope that your opponent messes up; have an idea of where you’re going to hit it, how you’re going to hit it, and why you’re going to hit it a certain way. If you just blindly swing at the shuttle, you won’t get very far.
Mix it up. Though always aiming for the overhead is nice, or hitting mostly forehands cross-court because that’s your best shot is a good idea, if you do the same thing every time, your opponents will begin to catch on pretty fast. It’s important to keep the element of surprise going, so your opponents are likely to be caught off guard and won’t quite ever know what to expect when they play against you.
Exploit your opponent’s weaknesses. If you want to win, then you have to make your opponent play your game and make him as uncomfortable as possible. If your opponent has a weak backhand (as most beginners tend to have), hit the shuttle repeatedly toward his backhand. If he’s slow on his feet, move him around. If he loves to play near the net, hit your shots long and hard. If your opponent loves the smash shot, don’t hit the shuttle in the air. Be attuned to your opponent’s strengths and weaknesses so you can win as easily as possible.