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WHAT IS BADMINTON

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 divided by a net. Players score points by striking a shuttlecock 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, or if a fault has been called by either the umpire or service judge or, in their absence, the offending player, at any time during the rally.

The shuttlecock (or shuttle) is a feathered (or, mainly in uncompetitive games, plastic) 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, especially in singles, the sport demands excellent fitness: players require aerobic stamina, agility, explosive strength, speed and precision. It is also a technical sport, requiring good motor coordination and the development of sophisticated racquet movements.

BADMINTON TIPS

Serving

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 last time.

Scoring

When the server serves, the shuttlecock must pass over the short service line on the opponents’ court or it will count as a fault.

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 the side towards which the shuttlecock is pointing serves first. Alternatively, a coin may be tossed, with the winners choosing whether to serve or receive first, or choosing which end of the court to occupy, and their opponents making the leftover the remaining choice.

In subsequent games, the winners of the previous game serve first. Matches are best out of three: a player or pair must win two games (of 21 points each) to win the match. 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 player’s or 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 block the vision of the server or receiver.

Lets

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 let.

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.