How To Play Badminton: A Beginners Guide
In this article you will learn:
- How to grip the badminton racket
- Proper balance
- The right stance in a badminton match
- And of course, the rules
Table of Contents
Learning How To Play Badminton Is Not Difficult
What’s involved in learning how to play badminton? Basically, it’s a matter of knowing the rules, and learning how to hit the shuttlecock, or shuttle, in a controlled manner, so that points can be scored, and matches won.
Learning how to swing the racket isn’t difficult, but a little more effort may be required in mastering how to grip the racket in various ways, so the shuttle will go to where you want it to go.
Finally there’s the matter of movement and positioning of the feet and the body. Balance and coordination is as important in badminton as in any athletic sport. Badminton may be played either by two players (singles), or 4 players (doubles).
In competition, 15 points wins a game, 11 points wins a game in women’s singles. Points are always only scored by the serving side. If you serve and your opponent fails to return the shuttle over the net and in-bounds, you score a point and serve again. If your serve is no good, or your opponent returns your serve and you fail to return your opponent’s shot, no point is scored but it becomes the opponent’s turn to serve. Once you have the serve, as long as you score points (through opponent’s faults) and don’t fault in attempting to return a shot, you continue to serve.
Most matches consist of 3 games, with players changing sides after the first two games and once again, midway through the third game. This is to prevent either player from gaining an advantage from being on the “better” side, for example, the side with the sun at your back if out of doors.
The shuttle is initially served from the right court to the opponent’s right court (to your left). Whenever a point is scored, the next service will be from the alternating court. When one side faults and the other side gets the serve, the service will be from the right court if the server has an even number of points at the time, or from the left court if the server has an odd number of points.
In doubles, service is rotated among the four players in the same order throughout the game. The penalty for a service by the wrong player or serving out of order is loss of a point and loss of serve.
Of course, just banging the shuttle back and forth with someone is fun too, and that’s how most people get started. Eventually though, the competitive streak kicks in, and it’s at that point needing to know the rules come into play, along with proper technique and some basic strategy.
It’s often said, as is the case with tennis, all you need to do is to return every shot so that the shuttle stays in bounds, and you’ll never lose a single point, game, or match. In such a case, winning is based solely on the opponent’s mistakes. Obviously, that kind of perfection is never reached, but two very good badminton players can make a game last a long time before one eventually wins.
What Are Faults?
Again, a point is scored only when the opponent faults. If the server faults, no point is scored, but the opponent then gets to serve. Faults occur when the shuttle lands out of bounds, when it is hit, but does not carry over the net, when a player hits the shuttle while it is on the opponent’s side of the net, or one player distracts or obstructs an opponent during play. A fault also occurs if the shuttle becomes caught in the racket, or if a player hits the shuttle twice in succession. Much of learning how to play badminton is learning how to avoid faults, and of course learning how to make your opponent commit them.
Is Grip That Important?
A few things about the grip should be mentioned, since learning how to play badminton, and actually playing the game is much more enjoyable if the basics of gripping the racket are mastered to at least some degree.
In playing tennis, we soon learn that how we grip the racket is very important if we want to hit the ball with any accuracy or power. It’s no different with badminton, even though we don’t have to hit the shuttle as far, or with such power. We still have to place it, hopefully where the opponent won’t have an opportunity to make a good return shot. Basically the badminton grip is relaxed, not enough so that the racket slips out of the hand of course, but still relaxed.
For most forehand shots, the racket is held as if shaking hands. For a backhand shot, the thumb has to get in on the action. Rather than being wrapped around the handle, the thumb is straightened along the side of the handle, giving the handle rigidity when swinging the racket with the back of your hand facing forward.
A thumb grip is also used when playing close to the net, thereby providing needed control of the racket when the shuttlecock is close to your body. There are other, more subtle differences in gripping the racket, and the real test comes in being able to quickly and easily change from one grip to another during the course of play.
In summery, grip, balance, stance, and knowing the rules are the basics of how to play badminton.