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Badminton: How To Set Up and Play? Plus some top-rated sets.

I recently read this beautiful quote about Badminton: ‘ Life is like a Badminton match. If you want to win, serve well, return well, and play cool. Remember that the game starts with ‘LOVE ALL.’

Nothing sums up Badminton and life better than that!

Badminton is a fun and healthy racket sport that the whole family can enjoy. You play it with a raised net between two individuals (singles) or two pairs of individuals (doubles). Players score points by hitting a shuttlecock (also called bird or birdie) with their rackets over the net. 

This guide will teach you how to set up and play badminton. I also cover some basic rules and regulations of the game. So, whether you are a beginner or an experienced player, this guide has something for you.

Picture of the yard game, badminton.

In this post, I cover the following topics:

  • What is badminton: the history of the game
  • How to play badminton and its rules and scoring.
  • And a lot more…

What is Badminton? What is the History of this Game?

The word ‘Badminton’ comes from Badminton Estate – a property belonging to the Duke of Beaufort. Not many people know that the game was also once known as Poona since it was first played in Poonah (the British name for Pune – a city near Mumbai in India) in the mid-1800s.

In its simplest form, the British creators of Badminton simply passed a ’bird’ with rackets or bats between each other, ensuring that it would not hit the ground.

They usually played it with balls of wool (as the birdie) instead of shuttlecocks since they were lighter and easier to flick (more so when the weather was windy and wet). Over time, they replaced the wool with shuttlecocks made using bird feathers and cork.

The game’s rules were formalized in 1887 after the Bath Badminton Club was formed. Today, Badminton is played all around the globe. You also have an International Badminton Federation (1934) having members like Canada, France, Denmark, etc.

Since 1992, the game has been included in the Olympics. The most successful Badminton players mainly come from Asian countries like China, South Korea, and Indonesia.

How to Play Badminton 

As mentioned earlier, Badminton is a racket sport for 2-4 players. Like in tennis, two players play singles and four players, doubles.

  • A player/s on the serving side will make the first serve from their side of the court (right) to the opponent player/s (recipients) diagonally opposite them.
  • If the recipient is unable to prevent the shuttlecock from landing on the court, it is called a fault. I have discussed faults later on in this guide. The serving side gains a point and continues serving.
  • If the serving side makes a fault during a serve then no side earns a point. In singles, the serve shifts to the opponent team.
  • In doubles, one partner serves until their side commits a fault. In the event a fault occurs, the teammate/partner takes over the serve.
  • In a doubles game, the opponent team will take over service if the serving side commits a fault.
  • Just like in tennis, in both single/doubles badminton, the players must serve while alternating between the right and left halves of the court. In doubles, the recipient side does not shift half courts between serves.
  • Another important rule in Badminton is that players must change the court sides after each game. The winning side of the previous game will make the first serve. In doubles, any partner can serve and receive.
  • The first side to win two games wins.
  • A third game may be necessary sometimes in which case opponents must change court ends again when the score is 8 to 15 or 6 to 11. 

Scoring Rules of Badminton

  • In men’s matches, for singles and all doubles, games are played to 15. In women’s singles, games are played to 11.
  • In 15-point games, if there is a tie at 13-13, then the side to first reach 13 has an option of extending the game to 18. If declined, then the game may be set at 17 points when tied at 14-14.
  • In women’s 11 point games, the gameplay may be extended to 12 points if the score is 10-10 or 9-9.
  • You can also have one-game matches of 21 points. These can be extended to 24 if the game is tied at 19 or to 23 if the game is tied at 20.

General Rules of Badminton

  • During each service, the player must have both feet in contact with the ground, not lifting off the court when striking the shuttlecock.
  • During service, the player must keep the shuttlecock/bird in contact with the racket below their waistline. The head of the racket must be below the player’s wrist.
  • A player may serve only if the opponent is ready.
  • In doubles, the server and recipients’ partners may stand anywhere on the court as long as they do not obstruct the opponent’s view.
  • If the bird falls on the net and then goes into proper service during a serve is legal.
  • If a server misses the bird during service, it still counts. In both singles and doubles, the serve is lost to the opponent.
  • In the singles game, for the first serve and all subsequent serves when the score is even number, the serve is from the right side of the court. Similarly, serve is from the left side of the court when the score is an odd number.
  • When a side loses the rally, the opposite side or player earns a point and gets to serve.
  • There is only one server in the doubles game.
  • Players can change sides at the end of each game. If you’re playing a three game series you switch sides at eight points during the third game.

A fault occurs:

  1. If a player makes contact with the racket above the waist and if the racket head is higher than the server’s wrist.
  2. If the bird fails to cross the net and falls into the server’s side of the court
  3. When the server and receiver’s feet are not properly inside the court
  4. When the server hesitates or stops the service or misses the bird.
  5. An improper receiver returns the serve
  6. The bird touches the player or clothing
  7. The player touches the net when the bird is in play
  8. The bird is stuck on the net/racket, or on clothing.
  9. When the bird is hit twice in succession by the player and their teammate.
  10. If a player obstructs an opponent.

Terminology Used

  • Carry – Momentarily holding the bird on the racket while executing a stroke
  • Drive – a hard stroke that just clears the net on a horizontal plane
  • Flick– a quick wrist and forearm movement that changes an apparently soft shot into a surprisingly forceful one with the aim of surprising the opponent.
  • Rubber set – the third and deciding set of the 3-set match
  • Love – zero scores. The game begins at Love-All and remains so until a side scores.
  • Lunge – Players lunge with their racket side leg to hit the bird with greater force.
  • Push shot– a gentle shot made using light wrist movement.
  • Deuce – the term used when the game reaches 20-20. At this point, one of the teams must lead by 2 points to win.

Equipment Needed for Badminton

You need the following equipment to play the game:

Net

Standard badminton net measures 20-ft wide and 5’1” tall.

Rackets

Each racket consists of a head, stringed area, shaft, and grip. In the early days of the game, rackets were made of wood. Today, we find materials like Kevlar, fiberglass, boron, graphite, and Magan Beryllium, along with stainless steel, aluminum, and carbon graphite for the shaft.

Features of a good racket 

  1. Expensive rackets have low torsional rigidity. You can measure this by studying to what extent the racket moves left or right around its longitudinal axis.
  2. Good badminton rackets weigh around 85 g.
  3. Head-heavy racket – these offer greater acceleration during smash.
  4. Grip-heavy racket – these offer greater accuracy for defensive play.
  5. The stringing area must be made of synthetic material measuring about 0.7 to 0.85 mm thickness.

How to choose a good beginner racket:

  • If you are a beginner, select a robust racket of at least $100-$120. 
  • For doubles, choose a stable racket.
  • If you have big hands, choose a racket with a thick grip. To create a thicker grip on an existing racket, use a grip tape.
  • If your hands get sweaty during play, use a terry cloth or rubber grip tape to get a firmer grip.

After playing, keep the racket in a cover to protect the stringed area from getting damaged.

Shuttles

  • Experienced players often go through nearly 30 shuttles per game as the feathers break due to smashing.
  • Shuttlecocks are of natural and synthetic kinds. The latter is made of plastic. They last longer but offer less accuracy, need to be hit harder, and also lose speed quicker than natural shuttles.

How to choose a shuttle

  • Shuttles are marked in special colors for indicating their speed. Red ones are fast, green is slow, and there is a blue for medium speed.
  • The weather you play in can help you select one: warm weather needs a faster shuttle.

Shoes

  • Select good shoes that cost at least $100 to $200.
  • Ensure they have a no-slip tread. Make sure they won’t mark or scratch the court floor.
  • Professionals wear shoes that are reinforced at the toes. This is needed for those smash shots.
  • Look for cushioned soles to protect the balls of your feet as you will jump a lot.

Clothing

  • Avoid baggy, loose clothing as it can restrict flexibility.
  • Wear a polo shirt and shorts.
  • Look for clothes that are slightly tighter than normal.
  • Choose clothes made of breathable fabric.

Badminton Tips and Tricks

  • In singles, your aim must be to get back to your base position. Be light on your feet and control the rally so you can do so effortlessly. Also, try and play deep into the opponent’s court. This will give you more time to solidify your base position.
  • Read your opponent’s mind and try and estimate where they will send the shuttle. Work on your footwork so you can keep your movements fluent. This will prevent slow reactions from you and keep you from moving over to the wrong side of the court. There are many great videos on footwork fluency from experts. I found this one very useful.
  • Do not give too many options to your opponent. Play good length with accuracy so they play defensive and do not gain rally control.
  • Playing aggressively and offensively is often the key to winning. This will keep your opponent working hard and will prevent them from gaining control.
  • Focus on keeping your opponent in the deep rear end of their court. This will give you greater flexibility to gain rally control while limiting your opponent’s options greatly.

Best Badminton Sets 

Best Overall: Franklin Sports Complete Badminton Set

This is a 2-to-4 player complete Badminton set that your entire family can enjoy. It is ideal for playing the game outdoors at the beach or on a lawn.

Here are the physical features of the set:

Features

  • 4 sturdy rackets
  • 2 shuttlecocks/birdies
  • 2 poles 5.1 x 1” PVC
  • a 20’ x 1.5’ net, and two stakes. 
  • Stakes – 6” PVC

Pros

  • Easy to assemble
  • Well-made
  • Affordable

Cons

  • The poles are slightly weak and need reinforcement. (See tip below)

Expert tips

  • Reinforce the poles by adding 4-feet of 1/2inch PVC pipes around them. This will make it easier to dig into the ground too.

How it compares

  • Franklin Sports makes sturdy and durable sporting equipment. It is easy to assemble, durable, and a complete value for money. You will love this affordable set that costs less than $30. It is great for gifting as well.

Easy to Assemble: Zume Games Portable Badminton Set

Zume Games has made this badminton set super easy to assemble. You can set it up on any surface, from concrete to grass to sand.

Features

  • 2 red, 2 green rackets
  • 2 shuttlecocks
  • Net –  about 10 ft wide and 5’1” tall.
  • Carrying case
  • Telescoping poles for easy assembly.

Pros

  • You don’t need any tools for assembly
  • Sturdy
  • Portable and quick to set up.
  • Great carrying case

Cons

  • Not regulation size.

Expert tips

  • Twist the poles slowly into the base. Do not force it.
  • On windy days, use a sandbag to weigh it down.

How it compares

Zume is a very well-made badminton set for camping trips and the beach. It is sturdy and can be assembled quickly without any special tools. The price is affordable too: under $50.

Conclusion

Badminton is an excellent game for the mind and body. It can enhance hand-eye coordination and build stamina and muscles. It is a great yard game you can set up and enjoy with family and friends. 

I recommend using the Franklin Sports or Zume badminton sets. Both are very well-made and also quite affordable. They are a must-have set if you and your family enjoy an active lifestyle.

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