Badminton started out as a cooperative game where players worked together to keep the shuttlecock, a small feathered cork, in the air as long as possible. The shuttlecock is now called a bird. Badminton
originated in India and it was played for centuries in India, Japan, and Siam. When British Army officers were in India in the 1860s, they added a net to the game and called it Poona. Some of them bought some equipment back to England and introduced the sport there in the early 1870s. In 1873, the Duke of Beaufort held a party and guests played the game and it became known as Badminton.
In 1877, The Bath Badminton Club developed the first written rules for Badminton, which are still used today. In 1893, the Badminton Association of England was founded and the first championship in England was held six years later. Badminton came to the United States in 1878 when the Badminton club of New York was organized. This club was more of a social club than a sports club but in 1908, The Badminton Health Club of Boston was founded. At this club, members devoted more time to playing the sport. Though these clubs had many members, Badminton did not become popular in the United States until the 1930s. The American Badminton Association was founded in 1935 and held the first national championship tournament two years later. In 1934, The International Badminton Federation was founded and held the first world team championship tournament in 1949. At the 1972 Olympics, Badminton was staged as a demonstration sport and was added to the Olympics in 1992. Three years later, Badminton became part of the Pan-American Games.
The Badminton court is seventeen by forty-four for singles, and twenty by forty-four feet for doubles. The three extra feet in doubles is made up of the one and a half foot alley on either side of the court. On each half of the court, there is a short service line six and a half feet from the net and another line two and a half feet from the end line. The second line is the long service line for doubles. The end line is the long service line for singles and there is a center line from the short service line to the end line. The net is in the middle of the court, stretched between two posts placed on the double’s side line. The posts must be five feet and one inch high off the ground. The net is always five feet from the ground. The net must also be two feet and six inches in depth. It also has to be edged with a three inch white tape, doubled, and support by a cord or cable run through the tape and strained over and flush with the top of the posts. The bird is rounded on the bottom and has sixteen feathers arranged in a circle. The length must be between sixty-two and seventy millimeters and it must weigh between four and 6 grams. The maximum racket is six hundred and eighty millimeters and two hundred and thirty millimeters at the widest point.
Players begin the game by throwing the bird in the air. Whoever the feathers are pointing towards is the player or team that decides who goes first. Some teams volley back and fourth to determine who decides who goes first. They volley until someone faults, and it does not matter who served. The server must stand in the right-hand service court and serve diagonally to their opponent’s right-hand service court. The bird must go beyond the short service line and the players hit the bird back and fourth until there is a fault. If it is the server’s fault or their partner’s fault (in doubles), there are no points awarded and the other team gets to serve. If it is the opponent’s fault, the server or serving team gets a point and the serve. In singles, if the servers score is an even number, they serve from the right side, and if their score is an odd number, they serve from the left side. In Doubles, after both teams have served, the players switch service courts so they can both get a chance to serve and so there are serves from both sides like in singles. Before every serve, the server must state the score. They state the score by first stating their number of points and the secondly stating their opponent’s number of points. If the teams are tied, the can say their number of points and then “all.” If the serving team is one point away from winning, they say, “game point,” after they state the score. Most games go to either eleven or fifteen points. Some people play higher but the game point is always an odd number.
There are many faults in Badminton. While serving, the serve must be underhand and the racket must hit the bird below the server’s waist, otherwise the opponents can call fault. The server also cannot touch one of the lines enclosing the service court while serving and the server cannot fake a serve. The server gets only one chance to serve and the opponent can’t move to hit the bird until it’s in play. Also, the bird has many rules. If the bird hits the ground, falls outside the court boundaries, does not go over the net, goes through the net, or touches a player, it is a fault. It is also a fault if a player hits the bird before it is over the net, or if it touches the net. If the bird hits the net, but goes over the net, then the bird is still in play. If the server totally misses the serve and does not touch the bird with their racket, then it is not a fault.
A “Let” is when something doesn’t count at all and causes a do-over. In Badminton, “Let” is called when the bird gets stuck in the net, the bird breaks, or when the judges or empire cannot determine whether a shot was in or out of the court. When a server and a receiver are both faulted at the same time, it is also considered a let. When a let is called, the play is done over. Also, you need to know when the shuttle or bird is in play or not. A shuttle is not in play when it strikes the net and remains attached there or suspended on top. A shuttle is not in play when it strikes the net or post and starts to fall towards the surface of the court on the striker’s side of the net and a shuttle is not in play when a fault or a let has occurred. When a shuttle is not in play, it is handled the same way as a let and done over. Today, Badminton is a loved and popular sport that is played by millions all over the world.