What Is the Fastest Sport in the World?

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Have you ever wondered which is the fastest sport in the world? The answer to this question might surprise many. But if we compare the fastest moving objects in sport, the winner is quite obvious — a badminton birdie. So, with the average birdie smash speed of over 200 mph by professionals, badminton carries the title of the fastest sport out there. 

How did this indoor game win such a title? How does it compare to other sports, such as tennis or golf? Also, what is the highest recorded speed in badminton? In the post below, we will discuss these and similar questions about this sport.

Badminton is the fastest sport in the world. The badminton birdie, also known as a shuttlecock, often travels over 200 miles per hour in professional badminton competitions when players smash. The world record for the fastest badminton smash is 306.3 mph or 493 km/h, which was performed in a controlled environment. The world record for the fastest badminton smash in a tournament is 264.7 mph or 426 km/h.

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Why Is Badminton the Fastest Sport in the World? 

Badminton is considered the fastest sport in the world for several reasons. For one, the sole nature of this indoor sport is very explosive and dynamic. Next, it requires fast reaction speed, high agility, and intense focus.

According to the statistics of one match, there’s an average of 1.72 hits per second. Therefore, players only have a fraction of a second to hit the shuttlecock or return a serve. In fact, players can complete 50 hits in as little as 20 to 30 seconds.

Furthermore, we can say that badminton is the fastest sport regarding the duration of the match as well. This is probably due to how fast paced and explosive each individual rally is. It’s pretty rare for rallies to go over a minute long, and when they do they’re usually quite spectacular. It usually takes less than one hour to finish easier matches, or around eighty minutes if the game is a bit tougher when it comes to professional badminton matches. 

However, for a large part, badminton owes its speed to the shuttlecock. The shuttle, or the birdie, is made of cork base and sixteen overlapping feathers, taken exclusively from the left wing of a goose or duck. It weighs only 5 grams, and its shape is unique and aerodynamic. Contrary to balls in other sports, the birdie is made to slow down after we hit it.  

New AS-30 Top
Badminton Birdie

If you’re looking for a badminton birdie for yourself, there are plenty of badminton birdies out there. In fact, when I did some quick research, I easily found over 300 of them! If you want to make an informed decision on what shuttlecock is best for you, I highly suggest looking at our reviews and guides on them, which you can find on our Badminton Equipment page.

What Is the Fastest Badminton Smash Recorded? 

According to the World Federation and Guinness World Records, Tan Boon Heong from Malaysia holds the sport’s record. In 2013, he smashed a 306.3 mph or 493 km/h hit during a speed trial match in Japan. He was testing out new racket technology at the time. 

Furthermore, Guinness World Records states that the fastest badminton hit in men’s doubles is 264.7 mph or 426 km/h. This achievement belongs to Mads Pieler Kolding from Denmark, who set the record during a Badminton Premier League match in Bangalore, India, in January 2017. 

In September of the same year, Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei came very close to breaking this record when he hit a 259 mph or 417 km/h smash in the Japan Open men’s singles final.

Lee Chong Wei, Malaysia
Lee Chong Wei, Malaysia

On the other hand, a female player who clocked the highest recorded smash at a speed of 231.15 mph or 372 km/h is Ratchanok Intanon from Thailand.

Do these numbers seem too abstract? Here’s how fast some common vehicles go for reference. 

  • Cars on a freeway usually travel at 74.6 mph or 120 km/h
  • High-speed trains go as fast as 124.3 – 186.4 mph or 200 – 300 km/h
  • Race cars hit the speed of 223.7 mph or 360 km/h
  • Airliner cruising speed is 497.1 – 621.4 mph or 800 – 1000 km/h

How Fast Do Badminton Birdies Go? 

Badminton birdies generally reach speeds of up to 201 mph or 323.5 km/h. However, the exact speed of a birdie will depend on the type since the manufacturers make them in various speed units. Also, the player’s standard and level will have a say in how fast the birdie goes.

Generally speaking, birdies act differently depending on the climate. For that reason, we have different birdie speeds we can choose from. The International Speed Metric for badminton shuttlecocks looks like this: 

  • 75 Slow (to use in highlands)
  • 76 Medium Slow (to use in hotter areas)
  • 77 Medium (to use in sea-level areas)
  • 78 Medium Fast (to use in cold areas)
  • 79 Fast (to use in below sea-level areas)
Speed of a Birdie
Speed of a Birdie

Unfortunately, we couldn’t find any official statistics on how fast different-level players can hit a birdie. This is especially true for beginner-level games, where we couldn’t find any data on how fast shuttles usually go. However, there are some unofficial estimations for intermediate and advanced level games that we will share below. 

Intermediate Level

Competitive club players’ smash speed can reach about 155.3 mph to 186.4 mph or 250 to 300 km/h. On the other hand, social players usually hit the birdie at the speed of 93.2 to 124.3 mph or 150 to 200 km/h. 

Advanced Level

As for the top players, the smashing speeds are commonly around 155.3 mph or 250 km/h. However, some state that the average speed for the tournament and professional senior players is about 201 mph or 323.5 km/h. 

How Does the Fastest Shot in Badminton Compare to Other Sports? 

So, by now we’ve concluded that badminton is the fastest sport in the world. But how does it compare to other sports with rackets or balls? Let’s check!

Badminton and Tennis

Tennis is famous for being a high-speed sport. In fact, many people consider it to be the fastest sport in the world. However, the tennis speed record doesn’t even come close to badminton’s top speed.

In 2012, during an ATP Challenger event in Busan, South Korea, Samuel Groth from Australia managed the fastest tennis serve of all time at 163.4 mph or 263 km/h. But because challenger competitions are not always equipped with radars to measure the serve speeds, the Association of Tennis Professions (ATP) does not officially acknowledge this record. 

So, the official top speed to compare badminton’s record with is the fastest serve in the male category, which is 157.21 mph or 253 km/h. The USA player John Isner is the one who achieved this incredible speed.

While many people think badminton and tennis are pretty similar sports, just the speed alone differentiate the pace of the sports quite a bit. I’ve listed out plenty of other differences in Badminton Vs Tennis: What’s the Difference? in case you’re interested.

Tennis Racket and Ball

Badminton and Golf

We mostly picture mature men playing a calm, lazy game and enjoying themselves when we think about golf. However, a golf ball can travel at incredible speeds. According to Guinness World Records, Ryan Winther achieved the fastest golf drive in 2013 in the USA, and it was an insane 217.1 mph or 349.38 km/h. Still, this speed is considerably less than badminton’s 306.3 mph. 


Badminton and Table Tennis

Although the game itself is also very dynamic, table tennis is still not faster than badminton. At best, a table tennis ball can go at 60 to 70 mph because the ball is pretty light and there’s air resistance. Nevertheless, table tennis has more hits per second in the rallies, averaging 2.00, due to the player’s proximity. 

Table Tennis
Table Tennis

Badminton and Jai-Alai

Jai-Alai is considered the most deadly ball sport in the world. We believe this sport also to be the fastest moving ball game in the world. Guinness World Record notes that the fastest ball speed in Jai-Alai is 188 mph or 302 km/h. 

But what makes this sport so lethal is the ball itself. Named pelota, the ball in Jai-Alai is smaller than the baseball and harder than a golf ball.

However, even though balls reach great speeds in Jai-Alai, they still can’t compare to badminton’s birdie. 

Jai Alai

Badminton and Baseball

The fastest pitch ever recorded in baseball came from Nolan Ryan and was an amazing 108 mph or 174 km/h. However, it was still not enough to make this sport faster than badminton.

Baseball Shot

Final Thoughts

Without a doubt, we can conclude that badminton is the fastest sport in the world. Faster than balls in other more popular sports like tennis and baseball, badminton birdies can easily top even bullet trains.

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Here’s some guides and reviews on badminton products. We update this list whenever we add new equipment content – hope you enjoy!

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Badminton Racket Buyer’s Guide
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Astrox 77 Pro Review
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ShuttlecocksUltimate List of Badminton Shuttlecocks
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Yonex Shuttlecocks (Synthetic)
Yonex Aerosensa 20 (AS-20) Review
Yonex Aerosensa 30 (AS-30) Review
Yonex Aerosensa 50 (AS-50) Review
Victor Shuttlecocks Overview
Victor AirShuttles
Victor Master No. 3 Review
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MiscYonex Accessories Guide
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