Badminton is a court game played with lightweight rackets and a shuttlecock. The sport is ideally played between 2 to 4 players in a court with specific badminton court dimensions. In this sport, players hit the shuttlecock across the net to score points. Badminton is an Olympic sport, having made an appearance as a demonstration sport in 1972. Shuttlecock which is also known as “bird” or “birdie” is a small cork hemisphere with 16 goose feathers attached and weighing about 0.17 ounce (5 grams). These types of shuttles may still be used in modern play, but shuttles made from synthetic materials are also allowed by the Badminton World Federation.
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Badminton was first known as Poona, after the Indian city of Pune, where the modern form of the sport was drafted by British India.
A Brief History
Badminton’s evolution can be traced back to England, where the game closely related to battledore, Greece, China, and India. The name ‘Badminton’ was coined after the dukes of Beaufort’s country estate in Gloucestershire, England. It was here that the game was first played about 1873. However, it was in the garrison city of Poona in British India that the modern form of Badminton evolved in the 1860s.
Badminton Dimensions and Equipment Rules
The exact dimensions of various entities of badminton are specified in Part II, Section 1 A of BWF’s ‘Laws of Badminton’ handbook.
Badminton Court Dimensions
Standard Dimensions: 20 ft ✕ 44 ft
A badminton court is 20 ft (6.1m) in width for doubles matches. For singles matches, this width is reduced to 17 ft (5.18 m). The full length of the court is 44 ft (13.4 m).
Rules for Badminton Court
- The court should be a rectangle marked out with lines 40 mm wide.
- The lines marking out the court should be easily distinguishable and preferably be colored white or yellow.
- The posts shall be 1.55 m in height from the surface of the court.
- The net shall be made of fine cord of dark color and of even thickness with a mesh of size between l5 mm and 20 mm.
- The net shall be 760 mm in depth and at least 6.1 m wide.
- The top of the net shall be edged with a 75 mm white tape doubled over a cord or cable running through the tape.
- The top of the net from the surface of the court shall be 1.524 m at the center of the court and 1.55 m over the sidelines for doubles.
- Also, a shuttle should be of correct speed, that is it should not land not less than 530 mm and not more than 990 mm short of the other back boundary line.
Badminton Racket Dimensions
The racket shall be a frame not exceeding 680 mm in overall length and 230 mm in overall width. The structure of the badminton racket should be as illustrated in the diagram above.
Badminton Shuttle Dimensions
Standard Dimensions: 62 mm length and 58 mm in diameter at top.
- The shuttle shall have 16 feathers fixed in the base.
- The feathers shall have a uniform length between 62 mm to 70 mm from the tip to the top of the base.
- The tips of the feathers shall lie on a circle with a diameter from 58 mm to 68 mm.
- The base shall be 25 mm to 28 mm in diameter and rounded on the bottom.
- The shuttle shall weigh from 4.74 to 5.50 grams.
- The skirt, or simulation of feathers in synthetic materials, shall replace natural feathers.
- All the rules applicable to feathered shuttles are applicable to the non-feathered shuttle.
- However, because of the difference in the specific gravity and other properties of synthetic materials in comparison with feathers, a variation of up to 10 percent shall be acceptable.
The aim of a player is to hit the shuttle with the racket so as to make it pass over the net and land inside the opponent’s half of the court. If a player succeeds in this event, he is said to have won a rally. A player to the first register 21 such rally wins is successful in winning the match.
Rallies can also be won if the opponent players commit a fault. Faults occur if a player hits the shuttlecock into or under or out of the court. All the rules pertaining to faults are elaborated in the forthcoming sections. The rally is over once the shuttle touches the ground.
- A player should make sure that his opponent is ready before making the serve. In case the opponent attempts a return on a serving, he is ruled of being ready.
- Both the player’s feet should remain in a stationary position until the service is made. Also, their feet should not be touching the line at the time of serving.
- If the player misses the shuttle while serving it is not counted as a fault.
- It is prohibited to catch and sling with the racket.
- A player cannot hold his racket near the net to ward off a downward stroke by his opponent or to interfere with his racket.
A fault occurs if :
- the shuttle, at the moment of being hit, is higher than the server’s waist or the head of the racket is higher than the servers racket hand.
- the shuttlecock fails to land in the correct service court.
- the server’s or the receiver’s feet are out of the service court or the court diagonally opposite the server respectively.
- the server steps forward as during the serve.
- a player balks or feints his opponent before or during the rally.
- a serve or shot lands outside of the court boundaries or touches any other obstructions or a players body or clothing or passes under or through the net.
- a player touches the net or its supports with his body or racket during the rally.
- if a player or a team (in doubles) hits the shuttle twice in succession.
- A standard badminton match consists of 3 games of 21 points. The player to first win 2 games wins the match.
- The side which wins a rally adds a point to its score tally.
- At a score of 20-20, the side that succeeds in gaining a 2 point lead first, wins the game.
- At 29-29, the side that scores the 30th point wins that game.
- The side that wins a game serves first in the following game.
Interval and Change of Ends
- There is a 1-minute interval between every game.
- In the third game, players change ends after the leading player reaches a score of 11 points.
Rules for Badminton Singles
- The server serves from the right service court at the beginning of the game when the score is at 0-0
- The winner of a rally serves again in the following rally until the server wins a point. In that case, the receiver becomes the new server in the following rally.
- The server serves from the left service court if his score is even. However, if the server’s score is odd, the player serves from the left service court.
Rules for Badminton Doubles
- A side possesses only one ‘set’.
- The service passes consecutively to the players as illustrated in the diagram.
- At the beginning of the game as well as when the score is even, the server serves from the right service court. When it is odd, the server serves from the left service court.
- If the serving side succeeds in winning a rally, the serving side scores a point. The same server again serves from the alternate service court.
- If the receiving side succeeds in winning a rally, the receiving side scores a point. Also, the receiving side becomes the new serving side.
- The players are prohibited from changing their respective service courts until they win a point when their side is serving.
- If at any point before or during the match, a playing side declares an injury, the match is conceded to the opposition side.
The Badminton World Federation (BWF) is the global governing body of the sport. Originally known as International Badminton Federation, BWF was formed in 1934. From just under 9 countries, it now oversees governance in over 176 nations. BWF is headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In India, the Badminton Association of India (BAI) is the governing body of the sport. It was formed in 1934 as well and has its headquarters in New Delhi.
The first world championships officially organized by BWF were held in 1977. Since then, as the popularity of the sport increased, many international tournaments started to be organized.
1. All-England Championships
The All-England Championships is the world’s oldest and most respected badminton tournaments. It is hosted every year in England. The competition was given the topmost grade of ‘Superseries Premium’ in 2011 by BWF. All-England Championships has been traditionally dominated by English and other European shuttlers, with Sydney Smith and Ethel Thomson being the first winners of the tournament’s men and women’s singles in 1900. However, in recent times, Asian players have been the dominant force, especially the Chinese.
As for India, Prakash Padukone became the first Indian to win in the Championships in 1980, defeating Liem Swie King of Indonesia in the finals. The only other Indian to win at the prestigious tournament is Pullela Gopichand, who achieved the feat in 2001.
2. Thomas Cup
The Thomas Cup or World Men’s Team Championships officially is another highly revered badminton tournament. Conceptualized by Sir George Alan Thomas in 1939, the tournament was amended to its current form in 1982. It is a bi-year event where as many as 16 teams compete. Since its inception, Thomas Cup has been reigned by the Asian nations, with Indonesia winning the title 11 times, followed by China who has won 10 titles. India has not been as fortunate, as they have entered in the final stages of the competition 11 times, but have not won the coveted cup yet.
3. Uber Cup
The Uber Cup, or World Women’s Team Championships officially, may be considered as the Thomas Cup equivalent for women badminton players. The prestigious tournament was incepted in 1956 and since has been held every three years. The last competition was in Bangkok, Thailand. By far, China has been a team to beat in Uber Cup, having amassed 14 titles. India has appeared in the final stages of the tournament on 6 occasions, most recently in 2016 when Indian contingent of Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu, Jwala Gutta, and Sikki Reddy lost to China by 0-3 to win a bronze.
Badminton Academy in India
1. Pullela Gopichand Academy (PGA)
This is an academy that needs no introduction. The Pullela Gopichand Academy was founded by the All-England Open Championship winner Pullela Gopichand in 2003 on a lush 5-acre land awarded in Gachibowli area of Hyderabad by Andhra Pradesh government. Over the course of time, PGA has gone on to produce two Olympians (Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu), three world championship medalists and over fifteen BWF superseries, winners. This makes India’s most respected badminton academy.
2. Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy (PPBA)
PPBA was founded by another legendary shuttler and the first Indian All-England Open Championship winner Prakash Padukone along with Vivek Kumar and Vimal Kumar in 1994. The academy to has produced many star badminton alumni, most notable of them all- Pullela Gopichand. PPBA have tied up with TATA as well, to oversee its expansion. In 2014, they opened a new center in Mumbai.
3. Sports Authority of India’s Training Center
SAI’s badminton training Centre was started in 1982 under the aegis Ministry of Sports, Government of India. The training academy has 10 courts and selected trainees are also provided with boarding and lodging facilities near the SAI’s Training Centre. Only players in the age groups between 12-18 years are eligible for training.