History

Badminton is a sport played with a racket and a shuttlecock.
The badminton origins are not completely clear at all, however there is a fairly accurate theory about it.
We can find some games with rackets and balls (or something similar) a long time ago, the first of them are dated in the V century BC, in China was played a game called Ti Jian Zi. The Greeks also played a similar game that was later taken to Malaysia and India.
But the modern version of Badminton seems to be coming from an Indian game called "POONA" (from the city of Pune), that was also played by the English officers posted there.
In 1877 in Gloucestershire (England) in the Beaufort Duke House, some English officers started to play in the living room, due to a rainy day, with tennis rackets and some champagne corks with some feathers stucked in it to make the cork flight slower. That house was known as "Badminton House" and thereafter that game would be known as "The Game of Badminton".


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historia_bad_3.jpgThat year the first badminton rules were published, that were changed in 1893 to be almost identical to current rules. This year "The English Badminton Asociation" was created and the first badminton club: The Bath Badminton Club.
In Spain badminton arrived in Galicia in the sixties and it was practiced in Vigo and A Coruña.
In 1977 the "Asociación Gallega de Badminton" was created but the "CSD" ("Consejo Superior de Deportes") didn´t recognize it because badminton was considered a minority sport and little practiced in Spain. But with some PE professional´s effort like Jose Luis Hernández (a teacher in INEF Physical Education school in Madrid), badminton became known throughout the country.
At an international level, badminton was present in Munich 1972 and Seul 1988 Olympic Games as an exhibition sport and as an Olympic sport in Barcelona 1992 in singles and doubles. In Atlanta in 1996 the mixed doubles game was also included.







Equipment needed.

The equipment needed to play badminton is a racket, a shuttlecock and a badminton court.

The racket.

The badminton racket is the lightest stringed racket if we compare it with other sport rackets like tennis or squash. It weighs between 90 and 140 gr depending on its characteristics and quality. Formerly the rackets were made of wood, but nowadays they are made of lighter and more flexible materials like aluminium, carbon or graphite.


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A badminton racket has 3 parts: head (It is the stringed area), shaft (the union between the head and the handle) and the handle, (the place where you hold it). To manufacture a racket is complicated and there are many ways to do it, there are one, two and three pieces rackets. The fewer the pieces, the more racket flexibility.




Shuttlecock.

The shuttlecock is the object with which the game is played. Two types of shuttlecocks exist: synthetic and those made from feathers. The first are used mostly for training and above all in physical education classes and initiation, because their duration is much longer and their characteristics in flight are similar to those used in competitions. Shuttlecocks made from feathers have a much shorter duration period and are used for competitions. During a game of badminton, they must be changed multiple times because they lose their flight characteristics very quickly. The shuttlecock of feathers is formed by a cork covered with a very fine layer of leather and in the cork 16 feathers are attached (from the left wing of the female goose). The total weight of the shuttlecock shold be between 4.74 and 5.5 grams. On the synthetic shuttlecocks the goose feathers are substituted by a synthetic nylon structure.



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The court.

The playing court for badminton has dimensions of 13.44 length by 6.10 meters width, with a net in the middle at 1.55 meters in height at the ends. According to whether the game is of doubles or singles, the court will be wider or narrower, as shown in the following picture. Likewise, as seen in the picture, the serving zones vary with respect to if we are playing a game of doubles or singles.


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Normally when we find a badminton court painted on the floor of a pavillion or a multi-sport court we will see that it is like the previous picture, where one can play all types of badminton games (singles or doubles). However, in competitions in places where badminton is not played regularly, we will find courts painted for the occasion. Therefore, if the court were only for playing singles the court would be without the external lateral lines and without the backline marked as the "doubles serving line."


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Singles and Doubles


5 variations exist in badminton:
Female singles
Male singles
Female doubles
Male doubles
Mixted doubles

Duration


The duration of a game of badminton is not based on an amount of time, rather it is played to reach a certain score. In all types of badminton the game is won when the player or the pair wins two sets of 21 points. Therefore, a maximum of three sets can be played, or rather the best of three sets to 21 ponits. Each set consists of 21 points, but one must win by a difference of 2 and up to a maximum of 30 points. At the end of each set the players should change courts. If it is necessary to play the tie-breaking set (3rd set), in the middle of this set (when a player reaches 11 points) the players or teams should switch courts again.
At the beggining of the game a toss is used to decide who serves first. The player who wins a set will begin serving in the following set.

Objective of the game


The object of the game is to reach the score mentioned in the previous section. To obtain a point we should hit the shuttlecock only once toward the opposite court until one of the following occurs:
-the shuttlecock falls within the boundries of the opposing team´s court
-the shuttlecock hits the opposing player on their body
-the opposing team steps out of bounds or,
-the opposing team commits a foul (which we will see later)
When a player or pair earns a point they should serve the following point.

Basic Rules


-The serve. To execute a serve we should complete the following steps.
1- We should cross our body over in the opposite or diagonal direction, that is to say, if I am on the right side I should serve toward the opposite of the right side.
2- Some part of the surface of both feet of the server should be in contact with the floor.
3- During the serve the strike of the shuttlecock should be executed below the waist.
4- In the moment of the strike the head of the racket should be lower than the handle.
The summary of these rules can be found in the following images.



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Serving Zones: The serving zones vary with respect to if we are playing a game of singles or of doubles. The place in which a shuttlecock should enter during the serve in a game of singles is from the short serving line to the back of the court, and from the center line to the lateral demarcation (sideline) of the individuals court.
In doubles it would be from the short serving line to the doubles serving line, and from the center line to the lateral demarcation (sideline) of the doubles court. This aspect is clear in the following drawing.


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In singles the server will serve from the serving box on the right when his/her points are 0 or an even number.
They will serve from the left side when the points are an odd number.
However, in doubles the rules are a bit more complicated:
The player that begins serving will be the "initial server" and his/her partner the "server´s partner", in the opposite court there is the "initial reciever" and the "partner of the reciever". They should following these indications:
-At the moment of the serve each player should be in their corresponding box, thus the server and the reciever facing each other diagonally and their partners in the free boxes (also facing each other diagonally).
-Only the reciever can hit the shuttlecock and move freely within the court.
-After the serve either player can hit the shuttlecock and move freely within the court.
-When a new serve begins each player should occupy their corresponding position. On the recieving side they should occupy the same positions as they did before, independent of who won the point. On the serving side they will change sides if they won the point, in which the player who was serving will continue to serve but from the other side, and they will not change sides if they lost the point because the other pair will serve.
-Never serve two consecuative times from the same serving box.
-To summarize, in the moment of a serve the team will not change their boxes until they gain a point, provided that they were the ones serving. If it happens that the recievers gain the point they will not change positions until they gain another point consecuatively.
-The player whose turn it is will always serve and it will always coincide the 0 and the evens from the right and the odds from the left.
-At the beggining of the game there will be a toss to see which team will serve. In the following sets whichever member of the team that wins the previous set can serve and whichever player of the other team can recieve the serve, maintaining these postitions following the previous rule.

-The shuttlecock can´t touch the body of the other player. If this occurs it is a point for the other player.
-The players can´t touch the net or the posts that support it.
-You can´t "invade" the court of the opposing team under the net.
-You can´t hit the shuttlecock when it is still in the court of the opposing team.
-You can´t make an obstruction, that is to say place the racket close to the net so that when the opposing player hits the shuttlecock they hit your racket. We should wait until the shuttlecock is in our court to be able to hit it.
-You can´t hit the shuttlecock more than once, neither in singles nor in doubles.
- The shuttlecock can´t touch the ceiling or the lateral walls.



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Basic Technique




Holding the racket

In order to be able to play badminton well, it is fundamental to know how to hold the racket correctly. The shuttlecock is very light as well as the racket, and thus all of the strength and velocity that we impose on the shuttlecock comes from the movement of the wrist. It is not a sport like tennis in which the shoulder does most of the work. Therefore in order to have the most mobility (in this case inflection) of the wrist it is very important to grip the racket in the following way.
Two types of "grips" exist.
-The universal grip. This is used in the majority of hits. In order to learn to do it, we should follow the following steps:
1-Place the racket with the end of the handle supported against your stomach maintaining the racket with the strings perpendicular to the floor and supporting it with two fingers of the hand with which we WILL NOT grip, as you see in the picture.

PICTURE

2-Place an open palm of the hand with which you'll grip the racket, over the strings.

PICTURE

3-Slide this hand down until you reach the handle. Close your hand close to the end of the handle (approximately there should be 2 finger widths until the end). The pinky, ring, and middle fingers applying pressure and closed, leaving the index finger and thumb not completely closed as you see in the image.


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We should hold the racket with firmness but with minimal tension until the moment of the strike, in which we will hold it tighter and then relax again until the next impact.

-Reverse grip (backhand). This should be used only in occasions when it is not possible to reach the shuttlecock holding the racket with the universal grip. In an introduction to badminton it is recommended not to teach this grip and "require" the participants to always hold the racket with the universal grip and let them know that once they have gripped the racket it should not move within their hand.
To do it, we should turn the racket a quarter turn (no more) and place the thumb over the widest part of the handle. It is also used to do a reverse serve (in doubles).

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The basic position


Badminton is a very quick sport, in which a basic position is fundamental to be abel to reduce the reaction time and to get to a place before the shuttlecock.
Like in all sports this should be a position with one's feet at the same distance slightly more separated than shoulder width, knees slightly bent, upper body leaning forward and the racket at the height of your shoulders. This position of course should be taken in the middle of the court in order to be able to reach any point in the court.

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We should modify this basic position when we are going to receive the serve of the other team. This position is called the receiving position. The modification consists of moving the foot that is on the same side as the hand with the racket behind, thus if we hold the racket with the right hand we move our right foot back maintaining the majority of our body weight over the front foot. Furthermore, we should heighten the racket a little bit more than in the basic position. This we will do without distinction in the right or left serving box. If you're left-handed it would be reverse.


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Basic Hits


We will talk about the following hits:
Serve
Clear
Net Drop
Drop
Lob
Drive
Smash



Serve
This is the shot that serves to put the shuttlecock into motion. We will distinguish between two types of serve: the low serve and the high serve. In singles the most commonly used is the long serve that can be alternated with short serves to deceive the opposing player. However, in doubles the short serve is more commonly used because strategically the long serve has little purpose mostly because the serving court is shorter and for the return we will find with two people that we cover much more of the court. You can see a description of both serves in these links. LOW and HIGH


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Clear
The clear is a shot that is made from the back of the court and that looks to reach the back of the opposite court. We could classify it as a defensive shot if what we are looking for is that it gives us time to position ourselves in the court, trying to send it very high and far back so that the other player cannot attack us. Or we can classify it as an offensive shot if what we are looking for is to send the other player to the back of the court to force them to commit an error and be able to attack them. It is one of the most commonly used shots in badminton. To be able to complete the shot technically and correctly we must do the following indications:
-From the basic position, step back with the foot that is on the same side as the racket, while at the same time raising the opposite arm, and pointing with the hand with the shuttlecock.
-When the shuttlecock is falling this arm begins to lower and arm with the racket begins to rise.
-We should strike with the elbow extended, at the highest point possible and making a shift in body weight over the front foot in the moment of impact.


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In this video you have a detailed explanation of how to do it.



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Net Drop
This shot is made from close to the net on our court to close to the net on the opposing team's court. The shuttlecock should pass almost brushing the net to avoid having the opposing player attack us.
In this video you can see an explanation of how it's done.


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Drop
This is a shot that will go from the back of the court to close to the net on the other team's court. It consists in making the other player believe that we are going to do a clear and in the last moment we break the shot and let the shuttlecock fall just on the other side of the net in the opposing team's court.
You have an explanation in this video.


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Lob
This is the shot that is opposite of the previous, thus it is done close to the net trying to make the shuttlecock reach the back of the opposite court. Like all of the previous strikes, and in function with the situation of the opposing player we could classify this shot as defensive (if I look toward the back of the court in order to position myself in the middle of the court) or as an attack if I send the shuttlecock to the back because my opponent stayed close to the net. It can also be called a net lift. Here you have a good explanation of the technique.


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Drive
The drive is a straight shot that is done from the middle of the court to the middle of the opposite court. We can say that it is a shot that serves to get rid of the shuttlecock infront of us and has the objective of hitting the body of the opposing player. It is the most commonly used shot in the game of doubles. The description of its technique can be seen in this video.



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Smash
The smash is the excellent attacking hit. All plays should end with a winning smash. It is the most spectacular shot. It is done from the highest point we can reach and aimed directly towards the floor of the opposing team. Many times it is also aimed for the player of the other team. Many elite players also jump in order to smash and hit the shuttlecock at even a higher point. In this video you can see how to do a smash.


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All of the previous shots can be done from the right or reverse, however the right-side for shots from the back of the court is recommended due to the difficulty of the technique to do them from the left.


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Tactics

Like all sports badminton encorporates many tactical situations, which are different in the singles and doubles games. The singles game is based more than anything on situations that have to do with the opponent, for example playing on the left side if the player is left-handed or vice-versa, or interchanging short shots with long shots to look for a favorable situation to attack.
In doubles, aside from the aformentioned in singles, we can talk about two systems that are used in the game:
Front-Back and parallel
Front-Back. One player is close to the net and the other in the back of the court. This is the tactic most used when the team has the initiative of the game, thus it is a system of attack.
Parallel. The two players are side by side and each one covers half of the court (width). This is used most commonly when the opposing team has the initiative to attack and the team that is in parallel is on defense. Therefore it is a system of defense.


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In this image you can see the positions of the attacking players and of the defense. The players in yellow (in front-in back) have the initiative of gaining the point, while the players in black try to defend with parallel positioning.


En esta imagen se puede ver la colocación de las jugadoras en ataque y en defensa. La iniciativa del punto la llevan las jugadoras de amarillo (delante - detrás), mientras que las jugadoras de oscuro intentan defenderse con la colocación en paralelo.








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