Beginner Badminton Tutorial

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Equipment Lesson 1 : Rules Boundaries Service Scoring Lesson 2 : Technique Holding the racket Hitting the shuttle Service Getting around the court Points to remember

I can still remember the day I picked up that old steel racket with the plastic strings - it came in a set of two complete with rubber-ended plastic shuttle and dodgy-looking net. Chances are your first racket won't be such a poor feat of engineering. Having said that, you don't need the newest Titanium-squarespot-super-racket either. If you don't already have a racket, something around $30-40 will suffice. Yonex and Prince offer a range of good, cheap rackets. Shuttlecocks (or shuttles if that makes you more comfortable) come in two types: plastic, and feather. In general, beginners play with plastic and intermediate/expert with feather. Plastic shuttles cost more but last a lot longer, suiting them well for players starting out. Feather shuttles exhibit a more consistent flight pattern, and tend to fly faster. They don't last very long - it's not uncommon for international players to go through 20-30 in one game!

You'll need a decent pair of court shoes, preferably indoor court shoes rather than cross trainers (and definitely not running shoes). You'll need to get decent grip with the floor or you'll be sliding around everywhere. And the hall manager won't be too pleased with your leaving black lines all over his court, so get some non-marking soled shoes.

Here I'll attempt to explain all the rules of badminton, hopefully I don't forget anything. I'm won't go into too much detail, hopefully you already have a basic idea of the rules. A more technical explanation can be found here or here (more detailed). Boundaries As seen on the expertly-drawn badminton court below, there is a dark red box. During general play the shuttle must land within the opposing player's red box. On the line is in, meaning if any part of the shuttle touches the line (even if it's the edge of the feathers) the point is counted.

The light red shaded area indicates the service area. The shuttle must land in the diagonally opposite side of the court. The blue box indicates the doubles court for during general play. Similarly, the light blue shaded area indicates the service area. Note that the service area is short and wide in comparison to the singles court.

Service When serving the shuttle, at the point of contact, the highest point of the head of your racket must not be above your waist. Additionally, the head of your racket must not be above your wrist. Some part of both your feet must remain in contact with the ground as you hit the shuttle. Right: The correct stance for serving in a singles game.

Scoring

New: Points are won whether or not you are serving. All games are to 21, best of 3 games. A player or pair must win by 2 points. The exception to this is if the score reaches 29-all, then the first player or pair to 30 is the winner. Singles: Players serve in the right hand service court if their score is even (0, 6, 14 etc) or left hand service court if their score is odd (1, 5, 17). Doubles / mixed doubles: There is only one serve per team (no more second serve). If the team score is even (2, 4, 10 etc) then the player on the right hand side service court serves. If the team score is odd (3, 9, 11) the player on the left hand side service court serves. Players only switch service court when they have won a point while holding service. To summarise, the important points to remember are: Points won regardless of who is serving Difference of two points to win, or first to 30 One serve per team in doubles/mixed Players switch service court only if a point is won while holding service

In certain occasions there may be variations on the number of games and points, for example one game to 21, or best of 5 games to 11. Traditional: A player can only score when they are serving. Service is started on the right hand side of your side of the court (when the score is love-all). If your score is odd (1,3,5...) you serve from the left side, if even (2,4,6...) on the right. Scoring is as follows: Men's singles, and men's, women's and mixed doubles: 1 game = 21 points, if 20-all option for first player to 20 to set to 3 points (scores go to love-all, first to 3). Women's singles: 1 game = 15 points, if 14-all option for first player to 14 to set to 3 points (scores go to love-all, first to 3

Badminton can be a difficult game to master. Technique is of the utmost importance. Size is not an issue; a small child with good technique can easily beat a much larger adult. Just remember: Practice makes perfect! Holding the racket This is an important first step. First, hold the racket in front of you so the head is vertical. Then grip the handle as if you were shaking hands with it. It may seem strange to begin with. Avoid getting into bad habits, specifically what is known as a 'pan-handle' grip (the grip you would use while holding a sauce pan, or the grip you would end up with if you put the racket flat on the floor and picked it up). You will never get any power into your shots playing this way. The backhand grip differs slightly - the handshake-grip still applies, except you move your thumb flat on the side of the racket. Hitting the shuttle

As beginners, I'm sure you'll just be concentrating on trying to get the shuttle over the net and into the right area of the court. Keep your eye on the shuttle, and flick your wrist to hit it as far as possible. You'll be doing well to put the weight of your body behind your shots, by standing side-on to the net (for right-handed players, face at 3 o'clock), turning your body anti-clockwise as you hit the shuttle:

The player is facing at around 3 o'clock, as she gears to unleash great power into the shot look like

The is what you (might) after hitting the shuttle. Knees up Mother Brown

Another good thing to do, to ensure you approach your shots from a side-on position, is to use your free hand (left, for most people) to point at the shuttle as it comes towards you (assuming it's an overhead shot, of course). If you think you'll feel too silly pointing at everything that comes at you then just raise your arm up in the direction of the opposite player to maintain your balance (and your dignity)

N. Zhang uses her left arm for balance mother teach you it's rude to

N. Zhang again, preparing for her next shot point?

Didn't

your

After you've just hit a shot, don't just stand around idle. Keep your racket up; it might make your arm tired but you'll be able to react much more quickly. Right: Korea's Kim D.M. and Ha T.K. are ready for action

Service

Serving can be a problem for beginners as they struggle to get enough power into their shots. Aim for the back of the court, hitting it as high as possible so the shuttle drops between the two back tramlines (for singles play). If you can't hit it that far, avoid simply hitting it into the middle of the court - you'll lose out every time. Either aim for your opponent's backhand side of the service area, or serve it short just over the net. Getting around the court Getting into good position is vital if you want to hit the shuttle with any power. Do your best to get behind the shuttle, and move into the shot. If it's behind you when you hit it, your shot will go too high (and not very far). In order to get into good position, you need to be able to move quickly. Keep on your toes, so you're ready to 'spring' in any direction.

Hold the racket as if you were shaking hands with it Get side-on to play your shots Use your free arm to balance, and point at the shuttle Get behind the shuttle, and move forward into the shot Stay on your toes Have fun! You should be able to perform the Beginner technique at a competent level before attempting anything in this section. You can hit the shuttle: you're not too bad but need that extra bit of help to improve. These lessons are based around improving your technique, to get you hitting the shuttle harder, sweeter, more accurately and more consistently. Here's how to play like the pros:

Lesson 1 : Shot Technique Forearm Technique

Singles Service Doubles Service Forehand Backhand

Smashing Drop Shots

Lesson 2 : Court Technique Getting around the court

Exercises

Lesson 3 : Shot Placement Shot Selection

Timing Points to remember

Long Rallying Short Rallying

Forearm Technique: OK, by now you've probably developed your own style of hitting the shuttle, probably whatever you've found works for you. Now it's time to change your style. Most likely, if you came from the old school of training, you were told to use your wrist. Unfortunately that is not the right way to do it - the illustrations below step through the correct action (experts should find this old-hat, it's been around for almost 10 years). If you think the drawing suck, well... you'd be right, I drew them myself.

1. Hold the racket in the indicated position, with the correct hand grip.

2. Pull the racket back in the direction of the arrow, turning your forearm as you do so. You should now be able to see the underside of your forearm. You should also be able to feel the side muscles in your forearm tightening.

3. Quickly swing the racket in the opposite direction. This is the primary action you should use.

4. Here's an animation of the whole sequence:

5. Here it is demonstrated for hitting an overhead shot (the most-played shot in badminton, unlike other racket sports which are primarily underarm swings). Note the angle of the elbow.

When using the forearm-technique for overhead shots, you should lead with your elbow (ie. as you turn your body to hit the shot, your racket-elbow comes up, followed by your forearm turn). Your arm