It’s amazing to me that racket sports get lumped into a single category. I’m not going to disagree that there are a lot of similarities in the sequences of play of each. We all know that in these sports, a service starts a rally, and a rally ends when someone misses or commits a fault. This isn’t unique to any racket sport. However, badminton is special.
Badminton is different from other racket sports because it’s the only one (aside from crossminton) that doesn’t use a ball. Unlike many other racket sports — both well-known and otherwise — it’s played with a projectile known as a shuttlecock. Badminton is also different from other racket sports because it’s the fastest racket sport on earth. A shuttlecock can fly at speeds of up to 493 km/h — a speed no ball in any other racket sport reaches.
There are only a handful of features that separate badminton from other racket sports, but you know what they say when it comes to sports: “Close is never close enough.”
When it comes to badminton, even a handful of differences makes all the difference.
Which Racket Sports are Almost Like Badminton?
Line all racket sports beside each other, and the differences are clear. However, of all racket sports, three seem to be the most similar to badminton:
Tennis, pickleball, and crossminton are three racket sports that share a lot of characteristics with badminton. Tennis has a similar player arrangement to badminton. As well, tennis has a rally scoring system, similar to that of badminton. Pickleball is a lot like tennis and badminton, except for its projectile (a plastic ball with holes) and the sideout scoring system. Crossminton has all of the elements of badminton except the presence of an indoor court and a net.
Let’s get into the common grounds these sports share with badminton:
Tennis: Player Arrangement and Scoring System
Like badminton, tennis requires opposing players or teams to be situated on opposite ends of the court. The server or serving team needs to hit the ball from their end of the court to the opposite end. Separating the court is the net.
In addition, the scoring in tennis is also a rally scoring system. This means that players can score points regardless of who served the ball.
Pickleball: Player Arrangement, Court Size, Two-point Lead Requirement, and Singles and Doubles Play
Pickleball is a racket sport that was founded in 1965 in Seattle, Washington. It has many of the elements of badminton, with one being the player arrangement. Interestingly, there’s one other element both pickleball and badminton share — court dimensions. A pickleball court has the dimensions of a badminton court, measuring 13.4 meters in length and is 6.1 meters wide.
Like badminton, a match in pickleball is won by establishing a two-point lead. In the case of a tie, a tie-breaker rally is played until one player or pair scores the decisive point.
Crossminton: Everything but the Net
If you’re looking for a racket sport that’s a spitting image of badminton, look no further than crossminton. Crossminton has all the elements of badminton — from many of the service rules to the change of ends.
The only thing it lacks is the net. Crossminton is played on a court where the legal areas measure 5.5 m x 5.5 m. Players occupy these legal areas, and it’s only in these areas where the shuttlecock can make contact.
What Characteristics Make Badminton Unique?
Despite its similarity with several racket sports, certain characteristics separate badminton from them:
Perhaps the most salient difference is the projectile used — the shuttlecock. Unlike other sports, badminton doesn’t make use of a ball. According to the Badminton World Federation (BWF), only a shuttlecock can be used in official play. In fact, even recreationally, a game of badminton isn’t badminton without a shuttlecock.
What Makes Badminton Different from Other Racket Sports?
Besides the shuttlecock, other features make badminton unique:
Players occupy opposite ends of the court, with both being diagonally opposite each other at the moment of service. Badminton is also one of the few racket sports where serving requires the shuttlecock to be held at a point not more than 1.15 m from the surface of the ground and hit with a backward movement of the server’s racket head. There are also no do-overs for a faulty serve. Badminton also follows a rally scoring system where anyone can score regardless of who served. For these reasons, not only is badminton a unique racket sport but the fastest one on the planet.
In badminton, players are opposite each other throughout the game. During service, both players need to be diagonally across each other. Under no circumstances can both players be just in front of each other during service.
Badminton also has different rules for what constitutes a legal service. First, an underhand serve with the head pointing downwards is a must. Also, servers only get one try and can’t serve again if they miss.
A rally scoring system is followed, meaning that anybody can score points if they cause opponents to miss. After scoring, the right to serve changes to the scoring player.
All of these elements put together makes badminton the fastest racket sport. It also makes it arguably the best and most exciting racket sport on the planet. This brings us to the next section.
Why is Badminton the Best Sport?
I, along with 220 million badminton fans, am not alone in saying that badminton is the best racket sport. Here’s why:
Badminton is one of the most inclusive sports on earth owing to its fanfare and availability — it’s also available to people with disabilities! It’s also a fun sport to watch because of how fast games are. There are also many skill levels, making the sport accessible to beginners and pros. Lastly, badminton is the best sport because it’s a fun way to improve fitness.
If you’re into learning more about why badminton trumps many other sports, I’ve got an entire article that lists my reasons in heavy detail. You can check out what makes badminton awesome here!
Badminton — a Sport in a League of Its Own
As you pick up a racket and lace up your non-marking shoes, know that you’ll be playing one of the most unique sports in existence. Fast, fun, nuanced, and exciting, badminton trumps many other sports, guaranteeing you a racket experience you won’t get with any other sport!
So have fun, and enjoy a unique experience brought to you by a net, shuttlecock, and a 13.4m x 6.1 m court!
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