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two opposing pairs (doubles), who take positions on opposite halves of a rectangular court that is 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. A rally ends once the shuttlecock has struck the ground, and the shuttlecock may only be struck once by each side before it passes over the net. The shuttlecock (or shuttle) is a feathered 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 stubbornly affected by wind, competitive badminton is best 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 is a man and a woman. At high levels of play, the sport demands excellent fitness: players require aerobic stamina, agility, strength, speed, and precision. It is also a technical sport, requiring good motor coordination and the development of sophisticated racquet movements.
History and development
Badminton was known in very ancient times; an early form of the sport was played in ancient Greece. In Japan, the related game Hanetsuki was played as early as the 16th century. In the west, badminton came from a game called battledore and shuttlecock, in which two or more players keep a feathered shuttlecock in the air with small racquets. The game was called "Poona" in India during the 18th century, and British Army officers stationed there took a competitive Indian version back to England in the 1860s, where it was played at country houses as an upper class amusement. Isaac Spratt, a London toy dealer, published a booklet, "Badminton Battledore - a new game" in 1860, but unfortunately no copy has survived. The new sport was definitively launched in 1873 at the Badminton House, Gloucestershire, owned by the Duke of Beaufort. During that time, the game was referred to as "The Game of Badminton," and the game's official name became Badminton. Until 1887 the sport was played in England under the rules that prevailed in India. The Bath Badminton Club standardized the rules and made the game applicable to English ideas. The basic regulations were drawn up in 1887. In 1893, the Badminton Association of England published the first set of rules according to these regulations, similar to today's rules, and officially launched badminton in a house called "Dunbar" at 6 Waverley Grove, Portsmouth, England on September 13 of that year. They also started the All England Open Badminton Championships, the first badminton competition in the world, in 1899.
The International Badminton Federation (IBF) (now known as Badminton World Federation) was established in 1934 with Canada, Denmark, England, France, the Netherlands, Ireland, New Zealand, Scotland, and Wales as its founding members. India joined as an affiliate in 1936. The BWF now governs international badminton and develops the sport globally. While originated in England, international badminton has traditionally been dominated by Denmark from Europe. Indonesia, South Korea and Malaysia are among the nations that have consistently produced world-class players in the past few decades and dominated competitions on the international level, with China being the most dominant in recent years.
Badminton racquets are light, with top quality racquets weighing between 79 and 91 grams including the strings. They are composed of many different materials ranging from carbon fibre composite (graphite reinforced plastic) to solid steel, which may be augmented by a variety of materials. Carbon fibre has an excellent strength to weight ratio, is stiff, and gives excellent kinetic energy transfer. Before the adoption of carbon fibre composite, racquets were made of light metals such as aluminium.
Badminton strings are thin, high performing strings in the range of about 0.65 to 0.73 millimeters thickness. Thicker strings are more durable, but many players prefer the feel of thinner strings. String tension is normally in the range of 80 to 130 newtons (18 to 36 lbf). Recreational players generally string at lower tensions than professionals, typically between 18 and 25 lbf (110 N). Professionals string between about 25 and 36 lbf (160 N).
The choice of grip allows a player to increase the thickness of his racquet handle and choose a comfortable surface to hold. A player may build up the handle with one or several grips before applying the final layer. Players may choose between a variety of grip materials. The most common choices are PU synthetic grips or toweling grips. Grip choice is a matter of personal preference. Players often find that sweat becomes a problem; in this case, a drying agent may be applied to the grip or hands, or sweatbands may be used, or the player may choose another grip material or change his grip more frequentl.
A shuttlecock (often abbreviated to shuttle and also known as a birdie) is a high-drag projectile, with an open conical shape: the cone is formed from sixteen overlapping
goose feathers embedded into a rounded cork base. The cork is covered with thin leather or synthetic material. Synthetic shuttles are often used by recreational players to reduce their costs as feathered shuttles break easily. These nylon shuttles may be produced with a cork made of a hard sponge instead of natural cork.
Badminton shoes are lightweight with soles of rubber or similar high-grip, nonmarking materials. Compared to running shoes, badminton shoes have little lateral support. High levels of lateral support are useful for activities where lateral motion is undesirable and unexpected
To win in badminton, players need to employ a wide variety of strokes in the right situations. These range from powerful jumping smashes to delicate tumbling net returns. Often rallies finish with a smash, but setting up the smash requires subtler strokes. For example, a netshot can force the opponent to lift the shuttlecock, which gives an opportunity to smash. If the netshot is tight and tumbling, then the opponent's lift will not reach the back of the court, which makes the subsequent smash much harder to return.
Both pairs will try to gain and maintain the attack, smashing downwards when possible. Whenever possible, a pair will adopt an ideal attacking formation with one player hitting down from the rearcourt, and his partner in the midcourt intercepting all smash returns except the lift. If the rearcourt attacker plays a dropshot, his partner will move into the forecourt to threaten the net reply. If a pair cannot hit downwards, they will use flat strokes in an attempt to gain the attack. If a pair is forced to lift or clear the shuttlecock, then they must defend: they will adopt a side-by-side position in the rear midcourt, to cover the full width of their court against the opponents' smashes. In doubles, players generally smash to the middle ground between two players in order to take advantage of confusion and clashes
In mixed doubles, both pairs try to maintain an attacking formation with the woman at the front and the man at the back. This is because the male players are substantially stronger, and can therefore produce more powerful smashes. As a result, mixed doubles requires greater tactical awareness and subtler positional play. Clever opponents will try to reverse the ideal position, by forcing the woman towards the back or the man towards the front. In order to protect against this danger, mixed players must be careful and systematic in their shot selection.[
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