Do you have kids, love badminton, and want to share your passion with them but am wondering when they should start? We’ll go into details in this article as to when kids should start badminton and the reasons behind it.
Kids should start playing badminton between 7 and 8 years old. However, there are certainly cases where children start playing as early as 5 years old. And if you have kids older than 8, then definitely start now! Ages 7 to 8 are good times for kids to start playing because by that time, they are strong enough to swing a racket without getting tired easily and are usually tall enough to hit the shuttlecock – the “ball” of badminton, also known as a birdie – across the net.
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Is Badminton Good For Kids?
Badminton has numerous benefits for both kids and adults alike – for one, it gets kids (and adults) away from their computers and video games! Moreover, badminton is a great way for kids to socialize and make friends. It also teaches them how to be a good sport when they lose and how to be gracious when they win.
But really, that’s for any type of sport – so let’s take a look at what badminton specifically brings to the table:
Good for Building Muscle Strength – Especially Legs
Badminton players tend to have very strong legs. This is because the footwork and strength involved with the sport is actually much more that it looks! According to ESPN, professional badminton players actually run approximately 6 km (3.7 miles) in an average singles match. Compare that to tennis, where a player runs around 2.7 km (1.7 miles), less than half as much! Your kids will definitely get a good workout and have fun while doing it!
Provides Very Fast Feedback
Badminton provides very fast feedback to players as to what they’re doing wrong because players are given a lot of game time compared to other sports. In team based games like volleyball, basketball, or baseball, there is more down time for the players during a game simply because there are more players on the court. With badminton, you’re essentially guaranteed a good amount of time to play and can learn quickly because of it. This can allow kids to improve quickly and gain confidence in the process.
Good for Developing Hand-Eye Coordination and Focus
As a racket sport, badminton trains kids to be able to hit shuttlecocks from a distance. The first time they try, they’ll likely completely miss the shuttlecock – but with practice and focus, it will become second nature! As an added bonus to improving hand eye-coordination, some studies have claimed that hand-eye coordination can even help with academic performance. So make sure to keep hitting those shuttlecocks!
Good for Reaction Times
Badminton, to the surprise of some, is actually the fastest racket sport in the world. While your kids probably won’t be playing at a super fast pace just yet, it’ll definitely help! Similar to the study with hand-eye coordination, a study done at the University of California, Berkeley showed that there was a correlation between reaction time and intelligence. Turns out badminton can be pretty good for your brain in addition to your body!
Badminton is Inclusive of Those With Physical Impairments
There is a whole badminton community built around people who have physical impairments called Para badminton. In fact, Badminton World Federation (BWF) has an entire section dedicated to Para badminton that outlines the tournament rules, classes, and event structures. So don’t let any impairments stop your kids from playing badminton – go out, have fun, and join the community!
Is Badminton Bad for Kids?
Now that we’ve covered the many benefits of badminton, what are some of the potential downsides?
Calluses and Blisters
Badminton has the side effect of creating calluses and sometimes even blisters on the racket holding hand and both feet. This is largely due to the friction created from gripping the racket and lots of back and forth feet movement. Ways to help prevent blisters on your hands is to learn to grip the racket looser when you’re not hitting the shuttlecock. To prevent blisters on your feet, I suggest looking into getting badminton shoes – which are designed specifically for badminton usage and is discussed over in What Equipment Do You Need to Play Badminton?
Pressure on Knees
As stated in the section about building muscle strength, badminton players move around…a lot. But even more than that, badminton involves lots of lunging and jumping. Because of this, knee injuries are pretty common among badminton players, especially when they get older. A lot of the times, the injuries come from bad form, but it can also be due to lots of repeated usage as seen from professional badminton players. Some solutions to this involve knee braces for added support or slowing down the pace of the game and not jumping as much. While kids likely won’t feel it for many years, it is something to look out for – preventative measures (i.e. learning good form) is well worth the investment!
Is Badminton Safe?
While badminton is generally a safe sport since players generally interact through a racket and the shuttlecock, there are certainly situations where kids can get hurt. Therefore, the first and most important thing you should teach your kids before they play badminton is safety. Kids can and will get hurt if they don’t follow the proper protocols while on (and off) the badminton court.
Here are 4 guidelines that you should make your kids aware of:
Do Not Walk on Courts You are Not Playing on
I see this done all the time by new badminton players and it’s especially dangerous because of multiple reasons. If a player runs into you, both of you will likely get knocked to the ground and get injured. Even more dangerous is if a player swings and hits you with their racket – and trust me, badminton rackets hurt. A lot. Especially when the person knows how to swing properly. So make sure to follow this simple rule. I would say to keep at least a 1 foot distance away from the court and even more to be safe.
Stop the Rally if a Stray Shuttlecock Falls into Your Court
A player who is in the middle of a rally should immediately call out that there is a shuttlecock on the court and stop the rally, which is typically done by shouting “birdie” or “shuttle on” to let other players know. The rally should be a let (a redo) since there was interference. This is really important because any shuttlecock in the middle of a court, if stepped on, can cause a player to trip or twist their ankle – better to be safe. As a player who is trying to fetch a shuttlecock that landed in another player’s court, do not step into the other court while a rally is still going on (refer back to the previous guideline). Make sure the rally has stopped and the players know you are retrieving the shuttlecock.
Don’t Fight for the Same Shot
Beginners of all ages tend to get confused about which shots are theirs and which shots aren’t when a birdie is in-between them when they’re playing doubles. So they end up both rushing towards the shuttlecock to hit it and end up colliding with each other. This is why I believe that it’s actually more dangerous playing with a doubles partner who is a beginner rather than someone who is more seasoned – beginners don’t know what shots aren’t theirs. This problem, admittedly, isn’t an easy one to solve because it simply comes with experience. However, one option is to make sure to call out shots that you would take so that your partner knows to step away. Another is to practice playing one against one instead of doubles. In the end, remember that it’s just a game and giving up a single point to avoid a collision is well worth it.
Make Sure to Warm Up Before Playing and to Stretch Afterwards
It’s really easy to go straight into playing games without warming up or doing some drills when you and the kids head into the gym, but it will make you much more prone to injury during the session. Jog around a bit and do some basic drills before starting any intense games. I suggest going through each of the different basic shots (drives, clears, drops, lifts, and smashes) as a way to warm up as well as to calibrate your shots before the match.
Similarly, it’s very easy to simply walk away after a badminton session without stretching or cooling down. Doing so has a number of great benefits, such better posture, injury prevention, and even increased energy according to UC Davis in their article Why Stretching is Extremely Important. Kids probably won’t feel any bad effects in the short run, but it will make a big difference over many years and sessions of badminton. So make sure to reserve some time at the end of your session to do so – your future self and kids will thank you!
Should I Sign My Kids Up for Lessons?
The most important aspect of badminton is safety, and of course having fun. But what should they learn after that? And do they need a coach?
If your kids are really interested in badminton and are planning to play for many years to come, the most useful techniques and skills to teach them first are form and footwork. It’s really important to start teaching kids the correct badminton form and footwork when they’re new to the sport because it can single handedly prevent them from developing chronic joint or muscle pain. Most of the time, badminton players don’t get injured from smashing too hard or running too much – it’s because of bad form or footwork. So start developing good habits early and it will pay for itself for many years to come. If you’re not confident that you are able to teach your kids these, then I suggest finding a professional coach to teach them these fundamentals – it’ll be worth the money in the long run.
If you and your kids are playing badminton recreationally and only on occasion, it may not be worth getting a coach because you won’t be able to build up the skills with just a lesson or two. Just make sure to follow the safety guidelines and have fun.
What Rackets Should I Get For My Kids?
Many of the rackets you’ll find online or at a badminton store are regular sized badminton rackets. These are designed for teenagers and adults. If you have kids that are a bit younger, you will likely need rackets that are lighter, have a smaller grip, and are shorter. This will make it easier for your kids to grip, swing, and hold up the rackets.
The best racket for kids at the moment is the Nanoflare Junior racket. It’s light but can still help with power due to Nanoflare’s new technology. It’s specially designed with kids in mind so the grip is much smaller than a normal racket’s and is shorter to make it easier to swing.
A cheaper option would be Yonex’s Muscle Power 2 Junior Badminton Racket. It’s from a much older racket series so it doesn’t have the most up to date technology but is a good option for a nice budget friendly and starter racket.
As your kid grows out of the junior rackets, they can certainly start looking into some of the beginner or intermediate rackets that are available. We’ve written several guides for the different racket series to help you choose the racket that best suits you or your kids’ play styles. I recommend looking through all of them before making a purchase so that you can make an informed decision. You can find all of the guides over at our Badminton Equipments page. Happy browsing!
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