9 Fascinating Badminton Facts to Impress Your Friends With
Kento Momota, Japan

Introduction

If you are not a badminton fanatic, it may be mind-blowing to find out that badminton is the fastest racket sport in the world! Learn about other fascinating facts about badminton that you can impress your friends with below.

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1. Badminton is the fastest racket sport in the world.

Tan Boon Heong, Malaysia.
Tan Boon Heong, Malaysia.

Believe it or not, badminton is the fastest racket sport in the world – and it is the fastest by FAR. In an experiment specifically designed to test speeds in badminton, professional Malaysian doubles player Tan Boon Heong clocked the highest recorded smash at a speed of 493 km/h (306.34 mph) using the Yonex Nanoray Z-Speed.

Mads Pieler Kolding, Denmark.
Mads Pieler Kolding, Denmark.
Ratchanok Intanon, Thailand.
Ratchanok Intanon, Thailand.

In a tournament setting, where your opponents aren’t try to set you up for a devastating smash, the fastest recorded speed is lower. The fastest recorded smash in a tournament by a male player was delivered by Mads Pieler Kolding, a Danish Men’s Doubles player with a roaring speed of 426 km/h (264.7 mph). Whereas the highest recorded smash speed by a female player, looking at just the Women’s Singles category, was achieved by Ratchanok Intanon from Thailand at 372 km/h (231.15 mph).

These speeds may seem like just big numbers. To give you a point of reference, here are some speeds of vehicles you may be familiar with, provided by Think Metric in their article Speed:

  • 120 km/h is a typical speed of a car on a freeway.
  • 200 – 300 km/h is where high-speed trains travel at.
  • 360 km/h is the speed where we find race cars.

But how does that compare to other racket sports? Check out how badminton stacks up against other popular racket sports below:

Tennis

  • The fastest serve recorded in a challenger tournament was achieved by Australian player Sam Groth at 263 km/h (163.42 mph). Challenger tournaments are not reliably equipped with radar guns to track the speeds of serves and thus this top speed is not officially recognized by the Association of Tennis Professions (ATP).
  • The fastest serve by a male player in an ATP tournament was by USA player John Isner at 253 km/h (157.21 mph).
  • The fastest serve by a female player in an ATP tournament was by German player Sabine Lisichi at 210.8 km/h (130.99 mph).

Ping Pong

  • The fastest recorded shot in Ping Pong (or table tennis) sits at 116 km/h (72.08 mph) by Łukasz Budner from Poland.

Finally, comparing badminton to baseball, let’s check out the top speeds in this sport with a bat and ball.

  • The fastest baseball pitch recorded was thrown by Aroldis Chapman at a whomping 169.1 km/h (105.07 mph).
  • The fastest speed recorded for a baseball hit sits at 196.66 km/h (122.2 mph) by designated hitter Giancarlo Staton of the New York Yankees.

So yes, badminton can be fast – VERY fast!

2. Stomach lining from cats and cows used to be used in the production of badminton strings.

Natural Gut Strings.
Natural gut strings produced by Kadisun Pharma Llp.

Natural gut material used to be used in the production of badminton strings due to its natural tendency towards shock absorption. Shock absorption reduces the shock transfer from the shuttle to the player’s arm, saving the player’s arm from stress and potential injuries.

Nowadays, natural gut material is replaced by synthetic materials such as high-intensity nylon. To learn more about current day, top of the line strings, check out our post The Complete Guide To Yonex Badminton Strings.

3. All tournament approved shuttlecocks are made strictly from the left wing feathers of a goose.

Badminton Birdies AS-50
Feathered shuttlecocks.

16 individual feathers of a goose are stuck to cork and bound by two layers of string and glue in the creation of a shuttlecock, otherwise known as a birdie or shuttle, for short. By selecting only the feathers from the left wing of a goose, manufacturers can better achieve consistent flight behavior of the shuttle. When layered together the feathers from the left wing of a goose will force the shuttle to rotate clockwise, whereas using feathers from the right wing of the goose will cause the shuttle to rotate counterclockwise.

If you are looking into investing in a quality tube of feathered shuttlecock, compare the different Yonex feathered shuttlecocks in our post The Complete Guide to Yonex Badminton Shuttlecocks (Feathered).

Feathered shuttles may also be made from the wing feathers of a duck. For a more eco-friendly alternative, badminton players will look towards shuttles made of synthetic material such as nylon. One of the best selling synthetic shuttlecocks is the Yonex Mavis 350.

Learn more about what the “ball” of badminton is in our post What is a Badminton Birdie? The “Ball” of Badminton, Explained.

4. Badminton can be traced back to the children’s game of battledore and shuttlecock.

Battledore and Shuttlecock
The children’s game of Battledore and Shuttlecock.

While the origins of the shuttlecock can be traced back to 2nd century BC China where a game ti jianzi, similar to modern-day hacky sack, was played using a shuttlecock. However, badminton as we know it draws its inspiration from battledore and shuttlecock, a popular children’s game played in 16th century England. This game, while played with rackets (battledores) and a shuttlecock, did not involve a net. Rather, the objective of this children’s game was to keep the shuttlecock suspended between the players by hitting the shuttlecock between the players.

The addition of a net between players was popularized by British military officers in the 1860s, who introduced the past-time at a lawn party hosted by the Duke of Beaufort at his residence named the Badminton House. And the rest, is history! Speaking of history, check out the interesting history of badminton in our post What’s the Origin of Badminton? A Surprising History.

5. The badminton court used to be in an hourglass shape.

Hourglass shaped badminton court.
Hourglass shaped badminton court.

The modern day badminton court is in a rectangular shape, but it was not always the case! In the late 19th century, the middle of the badminton court was indented into the court, making it resemble that of a hourglass. The reason for this odd court shape was attributed to fitting the badminton court within Victorian salons in England, where the doors of the salon opened inwards from both sides.

This court shape was abandoned in 1902 and replaced with the current day rectangular badminton court.

6. The scoring system in badminton changed from sideout scoring to rally scoring.

With the original set of badminton rules, matches were played under the sideout scoring system. Sideout scoring means that only the serving team is able to score a point when a rally is won. When sideout scoring was in place, badminton matches were played as best of 3 games to 15 points (3 x 15).

In an attempt to reduce the length of badminton matches, the governing Badminton World Federation (BWF) experimented with a 5 games by 7 points match in 2002, which was promptly discarded by the end of very same year.

In 2005, BWF introduced rally scoring, which refers to a scoring system where regardless of which team is serving, either side is able to increment their score by winning the rally.

7. There have been two major service rule changes in badminton.

Fixed height service measuring device.
Fixed height service measurement device.

The two major service rule changes in badminton is the elimination of a second serve in the doubles discipline and the changing of the service height.

Elimination of second serve. Pre-dating the scoring system change to rally scoring, players in each of the doubles discipline were given a second serve (with the exception of the team starting the match in the serving position). This did not mean that a single player was offered a second serve, as seen in tennis. But rather, when the service is passed over from one team to the other team and that team loses the rally by the first server, their partner has a turn to serve as well before passing the service to the other team. The second serve was eliminated as part of the scoring system change to rally scoring in 2005.

Fixed service height. The current fixed height service rule, made official in December 2018, states that the whole shuttle needs to be less than 3.77 ft (1.15 m) from the surface of the court at the instant of being hit by the player’s racket. Prior to this change, the service “height” was being managed under the rule that the whole shuttle shall be below the server’s waist at the instant of being hit by the server’s racket. The rule of thumb for where the server’s waist is, was imagined as the lowest part of the bottom rib.

The previous service rules gave an advantage to taller players, while putting shorter players at a disadvantage. By implementing the fixed height service rules, all players are made to play under the same conditions. This also made the calling of service faults for the serve being too high more objective. BWF has hinted at the possibility of automating the service fault calling for serves above the allowable fixed height.

8. Lin Dan is the only player ever to have completed the Super Grand Slam.

Lin Dan, China
Lin Dan, China

The Super Gran Slam is the winning of all 9 major titles in the badminton: Olympic Games, World Championships, World Cup, Thomas Cup, Sudirman Cup, Super Series Masters Finals, All England Open, Asian Games, Asian Championships. As the World Cup was discontinued after 2006 and the Super Grand Slam is no longer a viable achievement.

Additionally, Lin Dan was also able to achieve in his decorated badminton career the winning of every major tournament in the badminton world. Check out which tournaments are considered the most distinguished in badminton through our post What are the Most Prestigious Badminton Tournaments?

With so many accomplishments through his badminton career, including being the only men’s singles player to win back-to-back Olympic gold medals, it is unsurprisingly that Lin Dan is regarded as the greatest of all time (GOAT) in the men’s singles discipline. Check out the following article on who the GOATs are in the remaining 4 disciplines Who are the Greatest Badminton Players of All Time?

9. Kento Momota holds the Guinness world record for the most men’s singles titles won in a season.

Kento Momota, Japan
Kento Momota, Japan

Kento Momota achieved this feat in 2019 with the winning of the BWF World Tour Finals against Anthony Sinisuka Ginting of Indonesia. This brought his total titles won in a single season to 11, beating out the previous record held by legend Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia who achieved 10 titles won in a single season.

Speaking of making records, in 2019 Kento Momota set the record as the first player to win over $500,000 USD in prize money in a calendar year. If you are curious about how much professional players make by placing in various badminton tournaments, check out our post How Much Money Do Professional Badminton Players Make?

With such a dominating performance, we have identified as the player to win the Olympic Gold medal in the upcoming 2021 Summer Olympic Games in our post Our Top Picks for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics Men’s Singles Badminton Gold Medalist.

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