You may be wondering why badminton is played as an indoor sport. While it’s true that you can play the game for recreation outside and on any court, badminton as a competitive sport is played indoors for many reasons.
Badminton is an indoor game because of how the sport and its “ball” – the shuttlecock – are designed. Players need to move around quickly and accurately predict where the shuttlecock will go. Outdoor conditions like wind and lighting among others make playing badminton outside less than desirable, which harms the competitiveness of the sport.
Outdoor Factors That Affect Competitive Gameplay
While playing badminton for leisure and fun is possible both indoors and outdoors, outdoor badminton still presents a number of challenges for players, making outdoor competitive gameplay difficult and unfair.
The Badminton World Federation (BWF), however, is exploring the possibility of outdoor badminton through AirBadminton, a variant of the sport that is designed to overcome the challenges of playing badminton outside. In this post, we are going to explore the things that make badminton play in its traditional form difficult outdoors.
The first reason is the presence of strong winds that can affect the trajectory of the shuttlecock. The shuttlecock is a unique item in the world of sports. In fact, most sports use balls to allow players to play. Think about basketball, soccer, and badminton’s racket cousin, tennis.
Due to the shuttlecock’s design, which is composed of feathers tied to a cork base, the shuttlecock’s direction can easily be influenced by the wind.
In fact, compared to a tennis ball and a golf ball, which both weigh around 50 to 60 grams, the shuttlecock’s weight is significantly lighter, only weighing about 5 grams. Because of this, the shuttlecock can easily be blown by the wind, making it harder for you to control where the ball goes and even trying to anticipate its trajectory if you are on the receiving end of the shot.
This becomes even more difficult when you play outside during windy days. Due to the shuttlecock’s lightweight, it can travel really fast if you hit it hard with your racket. The wind contributes to this movement and makes the shuttlecock wobble and travel unevenly through the air.
The next issue for outdoor badminton is the visibility of the ball. Because there is no constant level of light, players may find it hard to see the ball in some cases.
For instance, since the shuttlecock is usually above head level, playing outside means you will be forced to look towards it, which is typically in the same direction as the sun. The sunlight’s glare will undoubtedly distract you from seeing the ball. Since you are constantly being blinded by the sun, gameplay becomes unfair, especially for players who are facing the direction of the sun.
Furthermore, if you are playing at nighttime, visibility issues such as the place being too dark because of a lack of lighting will also arise. While you can fix this by placing lights around the area, these lights tend to be too dim. Even in instances where there are lights with sufficient brightness, they are most likely placed in spots that are bad for visibility, casting shadows around the court or even blinding the players.
These lighting issues can cause severe injuries to players since they move around the court all of the time.
Due to the fact that players need to move around the court with ease, flooring plays a vital role in the overall gameplay and safety of the sport
To maximize mobility, the BWF recommends wooden flooring with a vinyl impact absorbent covering and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) mat for badminton courts. This material is best for people to travel distances quickly and efficiently without risking a broken leg or a broken ankle.
Outdoor courts can be dangerous because they are not always properly maintained, unlike their indoor counterparts. For instance, if you are playing on grass or sand, the terrain is likely to be uneven, making it hard to move around quickly. If you force yourself to do this and take outdoor badminton as seriously as a competitive sport, you are exposing yourself to the risk of injuries if you fall down and stumble while playing.
What about a concrete court?
While concrete courts provide a level ground for playing, they are not designed to facilitate quick movement because of their drag and friction. Hence, you are still at risk of incurring injuries if you play competitively on these types of terrain.
Possibility of Rain, Snow, or Hail
The last problem would be the possibility of weather affecting your badminton play. Whether it’s too hot, too cold, or too wet, all these weather factors make your badminton experience less than ideal, if not downright dangerous.
Playing outside while the heat is at its peak may cause you to sweat and lose a lot of your bodily fluids, which makes you vulnerable to fainting and can cause lightheadedness. You can avoid this from happening by simply choosing not to play while the sun is at its peak.
However, there are other weather conditions that are unpredictable and may cause serious damage to your badminton equipment. This is especially true in areas where hail is known to fall every year. Similarly, unexpected rain will negatively impact your gameplay because your outdoor court will be wet and slippery, endangering players and causing visibility issues.
Furthermore, weather conditions like snow will also affect the conduct of badminton outside, preventing players from moving quickly and consistently.
What this basically means is that the inherent unpredictability of the weather makes it difficult to play badminton consistently, which means that competitive gameplay is nearly impossible, especially in areas where weather conditions tend to be extreme.
Why Indoor Conditions Are Perfect for Badminton
So, why is badminton an indoor game?
Again, it is important to remember that the badminton we are discussing right now is the competitive and professional kind. You can always choose to play badminton outside as long as you have your badminton equipment, a net, and a mindset to just have fun with your family and friends.
Professional badminton is only done indoors because it allows for the maximization of player mobility and proper movement of the shuttlecock, which, despite its little frame, is a vital component of the sport.
Playing badminton indoors presents a wide array of advantages for competitive play.
Firstly, you don’t have to worry about bumps and uneven terrain because indoor badminton courts are uniformly designed to follow the standards of BWF and employ the standard material of wooden flooring to maximize movement without risking inflicting injuries.
Secondly, the shuttlecocks are not exposed to unpredictable wind levels which means that they will not change their direction. This allows players to accurately control the shuttlecocks and predict where they will land.
You are also not exposed to unpredictable weather, protecting your equipment from unnecessary damage and making sure that you are safe from injury risks that are inherent to weather conditions.
Furthermore, indoor badminton courts are designed to foster a competitive spirit between players and spectators. People can be gathered close, sharing cheers, jokes, and the usual competitive banter of badminton, making playing the sport more enjoyable.
Badminton can get pretty competitive pretty quickly. This is the reason why it’s important to make sure that the place you’re playing is conducive to the sport.
If you are planning to play for fun, then outdoor badminton is a great way to find relaxation and enjoy yourself with friends. If you are participating in a tournament or are preparing to compete as a professional, then we suggest that you take your racket expertise to the indoor court.
Here, you will be able to familiarize yourself with the court and adjust to the flooring materials as well as the environment around you.
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