Last Updated on 31/07/2023 by Kriss
Ever heard the phrase, “Every expert was once a beginner”? Well, that’s your starting point today, as we unravel the joyous world of badminton, a game celebrated worldwide for its simplicity, competitiveness, and adrenaline-pumping fun. Whether you’re looking to enjoy an energetic weekend activity or nurturing dreams of becoming a global badminton sensation, this guide is your first step to soaring high in this dynamic sport.
Badminton is a game that transcends age, and according to the Badminton World Federation (BWF), it’s enjoyed by an estimated 220 million people worldwide! While its popularity is undeniable, getting started can feel a bit intimidating. Fear not, for this guide is here to take you through the essentials of beginning your badminton journey.
Essential Badminton Equipment
The beauty of badminton lies in its simplicity; you don’t need a truckload of gear to get started. Here’s what you need:
- Racket: It’s your weapon of choice. Consider a cheaper racket if you’re just starting – the pro rackets are often very stiff and this actually hinders you at first when you are starting out. We have covered all aspects of a badminton racket already but here are the most important ones: Stiffness, string tension, weight, and balance.
- Shuttlecock: Also known as a birdie, it’s what you’ll be hitting back and forth. They come in two types: feathered and synthetic. Beginners are often advised to start with synthetic shuttlecocks as they are more durable. We recommend switching to real feather shuttlecocks as soon as you are more comfortable and hit the shuttle with more precision. If you want to learn more about this topic you can check out our in-depth comparison between the two here.
- Badminton shoes: Special shoes that provide good grip and ankle support to prevent injuries. We already have a detailed blog post on why you should use badminton shoes, not just any sports shoes.
- Badminton Apparel: Engaging in badminton as a leisure activity? A pair of comfortable shorts and a cotton T-shirt should cover your basic needs. However, when the stakes are raised and you enter the world of competitive badminton, your equipment checklist becomes more extensive. Wristbands, aside from absorbing sweat, offer a cooling effect. Moreover, ankle guards are essential to safeguard against potential injuries that might occur due to sudden movements on the court. While this gear certainly introduces an appealing aesthetic element to your badminton attire, the true emphasis should be on selecting equipment that enhances performance and ensures safety. Remember, your gear isn’t merely about adding visual appeal, but about maximizing your potential on the court. The right equipment can transform your performance, making every match more rewarding and enjoyable.
Additional Essentials for Your Badminton Journey
While the above-mentioned equipment forms the core of your badminton gear, there are a few more items that you should consider adding to your kit. These will not only enhance your gameplay but also ensure that you are well-prepared for any situation on the court.
A badminton net is an essential piece of equipment that you’ll need whether you’re practicing or playing a match. The standard height for a badminton net is 5 feet 1 inch (approximately 155 cm) at the edges and 5 feet (approximately 152 cm) in the center. The net should be 20 feet (approximately 610 cm) wide. If you’re setting up your own court, make sure to measure the net carefully to ensure it meets these specifications.
A standard badminton court measures 20 feet by 44 feet (also check our detailed guide on badminton court size). The court is divided into two halves by a net. Each half is further divided into two service courts. If you’re playing doubles, there’s an additional doubles service area. While you can play badminton on any flat surface, a proper court with marked boundaries can help you better understand the rules and improve your gameplay.
Badminton is a physically demanding sport that will have you working up a sweat in no time. A towel is a must-have in your badminton kit. Not only can it help you wipe off sweat and stay comfortable during games, but it can also provide a quick way to dry off your hands for a better grip on your racket.
Staying hydrated is crucial when you’re playing any sport, and badminton is no exception. Always have a water bottle at hand. You might want to consider an insulated water bottle to keep your water cool during outdoor games or on particularly hot days.
Last but not least, a good quality badminton bag is essential for carrying all your gear. Look for a bag that has separate compartments for your rackets, shoes, and other equipment. This will not only help you keep your gear organized but also protect your equipment from damage.
Further Skills: Beneficial but Not Essential for Beginners
Let’s leave the gear behind us for now and take a look at a few skills that will give you a headstart when you step on the court for the first time:
Understanding the Basic Rules
Before you step onto the court, it’s important to understand the basic rules of badminton. The scoring system in badminton is based on a ‘best of 3 games’, with each game played to 21 points. Any point can be scored regardless of who serves.
As for serving, the server must hit the shuttlecock diagonally across the net. The server keeps serving as long as they keep winning points; otherwise, the receiver becomes the new server.
Faults include causing the shuttlecock to land outside the boundaries or hitting the shuttlecock before it crosses the net.
There are a few more detailed rules, but it’s completely fine to learn as you go.
Practicing the Basic Techniques
Badminton involves mastering a variety of shots. The serve starts the rally and is one of the most important shots to get right. The clear sends the shuttle high and to the back of the court, the drop makes it fall just over the net, and the smash is a powerful shot hit steeply downwards. Each of these shots requires strategic use and consistent practice.
Badminton is a physically demanding sport requiring agility, speed, and stamina. Regular cardiovascular exercises can help build stamina. Agility drills can improve your footwork, and strength training can enhance your shot power. Don’t forget to incorporate stretching exercises to prevent injuries. Physical conditioning, combined with technique training, is crucial to improve your game.
To bring this guide to life, let me share a personal anecdote. I remember the first time I went to my local club. I enjoyed playing badminton and I thought I was pretty good. The first few weeks I lost against everyone. But with time and practice, I was able to improve quickly. The journey was filled with sweat, determination, and a lot of shuttlecocks, but every moment was worth it.
So, my advice to you as a beginner is to don’t be scared and just start. Celebrate the first time you hit the shuttlecock, the first time you win a rally, and even the first time you lose a match. Each of these moments is a stepping stone towards becoming a better player.
In conclusion, starting your badminton journey is about equipping yourself with the right gear, understanding the rules, practicing basic techniques, and improving your physical fitness. Embrace every part of the process, be patient with yourself, and remember, even the greatest players in the world were once beginners too.
Ready to serve? Pick up that racket, hit that shuttlecock, and let your badminton journey begin!