AirBadminton – What is it and How Do You Play?

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Many people around the world think of badminton as an outdoor sport. However, international badminton is actually played indoors and is the world’s fastest racket sport, making it one of the most exciting and thrilling games to watch and play. The main issue playing outdoors with regular badminton equipment is the wind. Normal badminton shuttlecocks are just too light and not built to be wind resistant. In fact, there is no official badminton sport specifically for playing outdoors – until now. Enter AirBadminton, one of the newest innovations designed to be played outdoors and solves the problem of unplayable conditions caused by wind.

AirBadminton is an outdoor sport where players hit a projectile, called an AirShuttle (which is significantly heavier and more air resistant than a normal shuttlecock), back and forth across a suspended net that mimics indoor badminton. AirBadminton was launched by Badminton World Federation (BWF) and Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) on May 13, 2019 in Guangzhou China. The primary focus of AirBadminton is to make a badminton-like sport as accessible as possible. It can be played in many different environments and can be played by virtually anyone, even those with disabilities. It is an incredibly inclusive sport which supports singles, doubles, and even triples, which makes it a great sport to play with large groups such as with friends and family.

If you’re interested in more in-depth AirBadminton material, we have other posts you would definitely want to check out.

AirShuttle VS Badminton Shuttlecock
AirShuttle VS Badminton Shuttlecock

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How Do I Play AirBadminton?

AirBadminton is played with up to 6 players at a time (singles, doubles, and triples are supported) and is played by hitting an AirShuttle across the net until it either hits the ground or a fault is called. A hit that lands inbounds gives a point to the hitting player/team while a hit that lands out of bounds gives a point to the opposing player/team. All shots that land on lines are considered in. All faults are considered a lost point for a player that commits the fault. Here are a list of faults that can occur:

  • If the AirShuttle touches any player’s body or hands after the serve, it is considered a fault and a point is awarded to the opposing team
  • If you, your racket, or your clothes touches the net, it is considered a fault (this should not be a big issue as there is a large dead zone in front of the net)
  • Double hits are considered faults, meaning that you and your teammates may not use your racket to strike the AirShuttle twice before it goes over the net

If both teams commit faults at the same time, a let (redo) should be done.

As a side note, if the AirShuttle hits the net but still goes over and lands in, it is considered legal and is not a fault.

Unlike indoor badminton, AirBadminton has a dead zone at the front of the court near the net. Any hit that lands in this zone is considered out. The reason why there is a dead zone in AirBadminton is because the court would be too big to cover as mobility is much more limited when playing outdoors. Furthermore, the AirShuttle has a hard time being hit near the net since it is heavy and tends to fly farther. With the dead zone, net caughts (when the shuttlecock hits the net and tumbles over) become bad for the hitter instead of good as in indoor badminton.

AirBadminton Dead Zone
Dead Zone

How Do I Play Singles in AirBadminton?

Singles in AirBadminton uses the inner lines of the court as its boundaries. The service boundaries for the server is behind the service markers and between the inner lines. The receiving boundaries is also between the inner lines but is not restricted by the service markers as seen below.

AirBadminton Singles Play Area
Singles Boundaries
AirBadminton Singles Service
Singles Service Boundaries

The scoring system is the same in singles, doubles, and triples. See more details in the What is the Scoring System of AirBadminton section.

How Do I Play Doubles in AirBadminton?

Doubles in AirBadminton has the same rules as in singles but uses the outer lines as its court boundaries, which includes service, as is displayed below. Currently (as of 2020), there are no official rules on the rotation of service but we recommend that players alternate between serving like they would in indoor badminton.

AirBadminton Doubles and Triples Boundaries
Doubles Boundaries
AirBadminton Doubles and Triples Service
Doubles Service Boundaries

The scoring system is the same in singles, doubles, and triples. See more details in the What is the Scoring System of AirBadminton section.

How Do I Play Triples in AirBadminton?

Triples in AirBadminton has the same rules and boundaries as in doubles except that no player on a team may return the AirShuttle twice in a row – meaning that teammates must alternate hits.

For example, let’s say there are 2 teams consisting of players A, B, C in team 1 and players D, E, F in team 2. If player A serves and player D hits the AirShuttle back, player A cannot hit the AirShuttle now. Rather, one of player A’s teammates (players B and C), must hit the AirShuttle. For this example, let’s say player B hit it. Once the AirShuttle goes back over the net, player D cannot hit it since player D was the last player on team 2 to hit. Once player E or F hits it back to team 1, either player A or player C can hit the next shot.

By alternating hits with teammates, everyone is able to have a chance to play and contribute to the game. Make sure to watch where you’re going though and to not clash with your teammates!

AirBadminton Doubles and Triples Boundaries
Triples Boundaries
AirBadminton Doubles and Triples Service
Triples Service Boundaries

The scoring system is the same in singles, doubles, and triples. See more details in the What is the Scoring System of AirBadminton section.

What is the Scoring System of AirBadminton?

AirBadminton is played to a best of 5 games, with each game to 11 points using rally scoring (the winner of each rally gets a point no matter who serves). If the score reaches 10 – 10, then a 2 point advantage is required. However, it is capped at 13 points, meaning that if the score is 12 – 12, whoever scores the next point wins.

For those of you who follow badminton (not AirBadminton), this scoring system was proposed by BWF in 2017 for international badminton as a way to decrease match time while increasing excitement but was ultimately abandoned. But who knows, they may bring it back in the future if it proves successful in AirBadminton.

BWF has also come out with rules for a team relay event where 2 teams consisting of at least 2 men and 2 women (and maximum of 4 men and 4 women) would compete in 5 events: Women’s Doubles, Men’s Doubles, Mixed Doubles, and 2 Triples. The first triples match will consist of 2 men and 1 woman per team and the second triples match will consist of 2 women and 1 man per team.

In the team relay event, the team that scores 100 points first wins. The score of each team is always carried over to the next game, but the team that is behind may receive extra points if they are too far behind, which will be detailed below. Each game is played as follows:

  1. The first game is played to 20 points, with a change of ends when a team reaches 10 points. 
  2. If a team’s score is below 10 points, it is bumped up to 10. The second game is played to 40 points, with a change of ends when a team reaches 30 points.
  3. No team’s score is bumped up in this round. The third game is played to 60 points, with a change of ends when a team reaches 50 points.
  4. If a team’s score is below 30 points, it is bumped up to 30. The fourth game is played to 80 points, with a change of ends when a team reaches 70 points.
  5. If a team’s score is below 40 points, it is bumped up to 40. The fifth (also the last) game is played to 100 points, with a change of ends when a team reaches 90 points.

Once a team hits 100 points, that team wins! Note that there is no “win by 2” in the team relay format, unlike in indoor badminton rules or traditional AirBadminton rules.

What are the Service Rules of AirBadminton?

The serving player must stand inbounds behind the service line (which is an imaginary line indicated by markers on the left and right sides of the court) and the shuttlecock must be completely below the net when struck. The shuttlecock must fly in an upwards direction upon impact and can land anywhere in the opposing court. Players should not be moving their feet until the AirShuttle is struck. Services that hit the net and land inbounds are considered good. There are no second serves in AirBadminton. The below diagram indicates the service courts for singles, doubles, and triples.

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