Badminton is a racquet sport, played on a rectangular court with a net about as high as halfway between a volleyball net and a tennis net. The object of the game is to hit the "Shuttlecock" so that it lands on your opponent's side of the court. Of course, they're trying to hit it back to your side of the court. The shuttlecock is usually a piece of rubber, with something attached, usually a light plastic mesh in the shape of a cone, although sometimes it has feathers attached, designed in a way that when it travels through the air, the head of the shuttlecock is always pointing in the dirction the shuttlecock is moving.

How to play Badminton:

Get yourself a racquet. Badminton rackets are fairly small, compared to those used in other racquet sports. This makes sense, since the shuttlecock is lighter than a tennis or a squash ball. In particular, the shaft of the racquet looks a lot thinner than what most people would be used to. If someone tried using one to play tennis, I really wouldn't be surprised if it had broken by the end of the game.

Get some shuttlecocks. They're fairly cheap. Depending on where you're playing, you might lose a fair number of them, such as on the roof. If you're just starting out, it's really easy to hit the shuttlecock a lot further than you thought you were going to.

Find a court. If you can't access an actual Badminton Court, hijack a volleyball court, or just rig one together in the backyard, hanging up a net, or just a piece of rope at the proper height (1.55m) for the net. Anything over the rope counts, anything under doesn't.

Serving the shuttlecock. Man, that sounds dirty. The server stands within the "service court", about the back 2/3rds of the court. Holding the shuttlecock below the waist, they hit it towards the part of their opponent's court diagonally opposite from them. At the moment of impact, the racquet should be angled such that all parts of the head of the racquet is lower than the hand.

Once hit, it should fly over the net, so that it would land on your opponent's service court, diametrically opposed from the one you're in.

If you screw up the serve, it then becomes your opponent's turn to serve. You switch serving from the right to left sides of the court and vice versa after each of your serves.

Scoring. Only the side that is currently serving can score. They score either when on the serve, the shuttlecock hits the proper side of their opponenet's service court, or at any point after the serve the shuttlecock hits any part of their opponent's court, or if when trying to return the shuttlecock, their opponent hits the shuttlecock out of bounds or hits the net. It becomes their opponent's turn to serve if they make a fault on a serve, the shuttle lands in their side of the court, or they hit the shuttle out of bounds or hit the net.

Keep on playing like that. A doubles and men's singles game goes to 15 points, ladies singles is to 11 points. If the game becomes tied at 14-all, or 11 for the ladies, the side which first scored the last pair of points can choose, if they want, to have the game go for an additional 2 points, to 17 or 13. The winner of a game serves first for the next game, and they players switch sides of the court. The winner of a match is the one who wins the best of three games.


Games resembling Badminton was played over 2000 years ago in Greece, China, and India. The children's games of battledore and shuttlecock used shuttlecocks made of cork, covered in leather, with feathers attached with wax. Some of the more expensive shuttlecocks are still made this way, except with glue instead of wax. Duh:)

The name of the game came from House Badminton in Gloucestershire, which was the home of the Duke of Beaufort, where it was played in the late 19th Century after being brought from India by English officers who were stationed there.

The official rules were first written up soon after that, and the sport quickly spread throughout the world. The first international championship was held in 1949, and in 1992 the sport was added to the slate at the Summer Olympic Games.

The Basics of Competitive Badminton:

While badminton is commonly seen as a recreational sport favored by old ladies who can't play tennis, if you were to sit down and watch an actual professional match, you would quickly realise this is not the case. Competitive badminton takes a lot of strength, incredible endurance, well-developed hand-eye co-ordination, and quick strategic thinking. While this node isn't intended to describe every aspect of the game in painstaking detail, it should serve as a brief primer for recreational players who hope to take their games to a new level, as well as show the skeptics some of the real skills and strategy it takes to play the game well. I won't really go into all the rules, as these have already been covered.


  • The Smash:
    A powerful overhead shot with a downward angle. This is a favorite shot of most players, and it takes most beginners a while to develop this one. Although it is usually angled toward the ground, it also produces a pleasing result if targeted at your opponent's face or upper body. Generally, if a player hits the birdie (shuttlecock) too high up in the air, his opponent will retaliate with a smash to win the point.
  • The Clear:
    This shot is the only one in badminton that, if done correctly, will make a high-ish arc. A successful clear involves hitting the bird to the back line of your opponent's court. It can be used offensively, to move your opponent around the court and tire him out, or defensively, to buy yourself a bit of time in order to regain your position.
  • The Drop:
    This shot is an extremely gentle net shot which is intended to land just in front of the net in your opponent's court. DO NOT hit this one too high, or your opponent will seize the opportunity to smash it in your face. If done correctly, the drop shot will almost graze the net.
  • The Drive:
    This shot basically goes in a straight line. On offense, this shot can be strategically angled toward a location far away from your opponent, in order to tire him out. This shot should be nearly parallel to the ground-- other than the clear, badminton shots should never make an arc.

The Serve:
As already stated, the serve should go in the box diagonally across from the server. If the the serve goes outside this box, it will be considered a fault. Other ways to commit a service fault include hitting the serve too high (anywhere above the waist is illegal, as is holding the racket so the head is above your hand), or if the serve falls short of the front service line (this is a line about 2 feet away from the net, you'll know it if you see it), or if your feet pass the front service line.

Things You Should Know:

  • The best strategy is to make your opponent run: always hit the bird where they're not. This means thinking very quickly on your feet. For example, if your opponent is in the front right-hand corner of the court, then your best option would likely be to hit it to the left-hand back corner.
  • It is also good strategy to hit it to their backhand, since for most players their backhand isn't as strong as their forehand. This means that if you're playing against a right handed player, you would aim the the birdie toward their left-hand side. This would either force your opponent into making a backhand shot, or running around the birdie to make a forehand, which would tire them out.
  • I can't stress this enough: Don't make arching shots. This is begging for a smash in the face.
  • The majority of your shots should be done overhead, although you may sometimes be forced to hit some underhand. Some extremely advanced players will often use an underhand clear, but unless you really know what you're doing, you should probably stay away from that.
  • If you're a beginner, you'd probably want to start off with a heavier racket. This will give you more power when developing your smash, but will somewhat hinder your ability to hit certain shots.
  • Be prepared to move anywhere, anytime. Be alert and pay attention.

Bad"min*ton (?), n. [From the name of the seat of the Duke of Beaufort in England.]


A game, similar to lawn tennis, played with shuttlecocks.


A preparation of claret, spiced and sweetened.


© Webster 1913.

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