While becoming a badminton ace can be a challenge, the process is surprisingly simple when you get down to it. To do this, you’ll need to do four things:
You need to first learn the rules of the game. From there, you’ll also need to get the right equipment and learn the different shots. These three things precede improving your other badminton skills.
I’m here to fill you in on the ins and outs of mastering badminton. By the end of this post, you’ll have a better understanding of how equipment, knowledge of the rules, and skills play into your mastery of badminton. So sit back and pay attention, for badminton 102 is in session!
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Learn the Basic Rules of Badminton
Badminton is an international sport. Like any other international sport, it has rules that cover scoring, service, faults, and stops or “lets,” as we call them.
Badminton has a rally scoring system, meaning that you get a point for everytime you cause your opponent to miss. You can also score a point by serving the shuttlecock in a way that causes your opponent to break the rally. Also, there’s a right and wrong way to serve. Serve incorrectly or commit other violations, and you’ll get a fault, giving your opponent a point and service rights. If anything disrupts play, the umpire calls a let.
Sure, the Badminton World Federation’s (BWF) Laws of Badminton are much more comprehensive than that, so it will be good to study up on them as you continue. As a beginner, though, these four are the ones that will concern you the most.
Rally Point Scoring
Under the sport’s rally scoring system, you’ll get a point for each time your opponent fails to return your shots. The first one to win 21 points wins a set. You win the match when you win two out of three sets.
When you serve, you’ll need to stand diagonally opposite your opponent. As you serve, the shuttlecock’s base needs to make contact with the stringed area of your racket. If the service judge sees that that feathered portion strikes the racket first, you’ll be called for a service fault. This gives your opponent a point.
Your service should also propel the shuttlecock onto your opponent’s side of the court just before the back boundary line. Also, you can’t serve a second time if you miss.
Faults are violations. Committing any of them will give your opponent a point and the right to service. You commit faults whenever you invade your opponent’s side of the court or touch the net with either your body or clothes.
When you serve incorrectly, you commit a service fault. Other violations include striking the shuttlecock twice before it flies over the net and distracting your opponent.
Usually, the umpire calls a let in situations that disrupt regular play. These situations can include anything from an injury to a broken shuttlecock. Other situations that lead to a let is when a line or service judge is unsighted or loses sight of the shuttlecock.
This is an easy way to remember: If it stops play and it isn’t the player’s fault, a let occurs.
Invest in Badminton Equipment
Equipment makes all the difference in the game. I identified several key pieces of equipment for badminton in this article. Here they are:
You’ll need badminton shoes and a racket. You’ll also need strings for your racket since you’ll be changing them periodically. If you’re practicing, having some shuttlecocks isn’t a bad idea. Of course, you’ll need a place to keep your gear, so a bag is also worth the investment. Lastly, you’ll also want grip tape and grip powder if butter fingers hinder your game.
Your shoes need to be non-marking so that you avoid injuries and get permission to stay on the court. You can choose any badminton racket you want. It doesn’t matter if you go isometric or oval. The important thing is to choose one you’re comfortable with.
Shuttlecocks come in either feathered or plastic varieties. They weigh the same. However, you’ll find that plastic shuttlecocks tend to hold up better than feathered ones.
When choosing strings, pick one based on your desired outcome. Some strings are meant for power. Others control a shuttlecock better. If you’re buying from Yonex, check out my comprehensive guide to their badminton racket strings.
Everything else comes right down to preference. This goes for your grip powder, grip tape, bag, and towels.
Learn Badminton Shots
There’s more to scoring a point in badminton than whacking a shuttlecock as hard as you can. If you want to step up your badminton game, you’ll have to learn the different shots.
You’ll need to to learn and master the five basic shots. These shots are the clear, drop, drive, lift, and the heart-stopping smash. Master these shots, and you’ll be a badminton ace in no time!
The clear is an overhand shot that drives the shuttlecock to the opposite end of the court.
The drop is a soft shot delivered to get the shuttlecock as close to the net as possible.
The drive is a fast and flat shot that propels the shuttlecock to travel just above the net. It’s an offensive and defensive shot that pressures your opponent to react quickly.
The lift drives the shuttlecock into a high-arc flight path. It’s great for buying yourself a bit of time.
Lastly, the smash is a powerful shot aimed downward, usually best for finishing off your opponent.
These shots will occupy a significant place in your badminton arsenal. Of course, there’s a place for other skills too. This brings us to my next recommendation.
Improve Your Badminton Skills
Shots are crucial, but there are other skills besides the badminton shots to pay attention to.
Other skills you’ll need to improve include your service shots and reaction time. Badminton is the fastest racket sport in the world, after all! Besides excellent reflexes, being in peak cardiovascular condition is also a must.
Like any other sport, there are two ways to hone your skills. One is to seek out an experienced coach. The other is to spend as many hours on the court as possible.
It’ll take time, but you will get better at badminton if you take these steps!
Practice. Play. Improve. Repeat
There’s no secret formula to badminton mastery. To get better, you’ll have to put in the time. But don’t worry. After a while, badminton will be part of your body’s operating system, making you a menace on the court!
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