It is a racquet game played with racquets to hit the shuttle across the net in the opponent’s court. It is usually played in two forms – Doubles or Singles. Points are scored by making the shuttle land in the opponent’s court or when the opponent commits a foul. Usually, the first team to reach 21 points wins the game with exception of special scenarios.
In British India, this game was known as Battledore and Shuttlecock. This game became popular in the late 1900s and is growing more popular since then. China has dominated this game since the last few years but Indian players nowadays are competing at the international level.
Key aspects of Badminton
- Stamina – A professional player can expect to run around 6-7 km around the court in a single match. so Stamina is something that defines the game.
- Speed and Agility – In Badminton, Players can hit the shuttlecock up to 280-300 km/hr towards the opponent, So it definitely comes down to speed if you want to win.
- Neuro Muscular co-ordination – As I mentioned, you have to be quick enough to react on the 280 km/hr incoming shuttle and hit it back. This makes Reaction time a major aspect of Badminton
- Whole Body strength – You should be able to play at least 3 games in a row to be professional and that requires whole-body strength and a combination of all these factors.
Why you should play Badminton?
- Burn Calories: When You step out to play Badminton you can expect to burn around 700-1200 calories which helps to reduce body fat and helps in proper conditioning of the body.
- Minimal Equipments – You only need basic equipment like Racquet and shuttle to play this game, which we are going to discuss below. So it is suitable to play anywhere anytime you want.
- Start from Scratch – To play Badminton, you need not be a pro from the start. You can start from the basics anytime without any prior experience and can master the game in a short period of time.
- Social Sport – Badminton offers a great way to meet new people. You can just reach out to a nearby badminton court or a community park maybe and start playing with random people and make new friends easily.
Essential Gear for Badminton
Appropriate footwear is a must for comfortable playing the sport and enjoying it to the fullest. As we have discussed how players move around the Badminton court at a high pace switching directions every time, jumping, and crouching to return the shuttle to the opponent’s court. So your shoes should be able to handle all those movements, provide flexibility and comfort along with a firm grip on the ground.
When you have just started playing or you want to play for fun then Non-Badminton regular shoes can work. But if you are passionate and want to improve your game then a pair of high-quality Badminton shoes is a must-have.
2. Badminton Rackets
Rackets are designed in different ways to provide power, to provide flexibility, to provide lightweight handling. So the type of racket you should buy depends on your style of game. According to their qualities, Badminton rackets come in a wide range of Prices. You can buy a basic racket if you are a beginner or you can research your game style and buy a specialized racket in a high price range.
Shuttlecocks for Badminton come in two varieties – Nylon and Authentic Feather. You might consider buying Nylon shuttlecocks for starters because they are cheap and last long while authentic feather shuttlecocks are of superior quality but correspondingly they are high in cost and also do not last long.
Health and Fitness
Badminton can have a large number of positive effects on your Health and Fitness level. Here I mention some of the key advantages of playing Badminton :
- Boosts your movement and sprint speed due to the fast-paced nature of the game
- Improves blood circulation in the body and helps in curing heart-related problems
- Burns off calories more than walking or running for the same period of time. As the energy is directly consumed by muscles so Body fat percentage is highly reduced
- Improves Hand-eye coordination
- Improves reaction time and Neuromuscular coordination
- Develops whole-body strength, mainly concentrating on Legs, Arms, Forearms, and calf muscles
- Increases concentration Power and Mental ability as you must be focused to return the shuttle coming at 200-300 km/hr speeds.
Development of Badminton in India
Badminton is one of the prestigious games in India. Indian women are more successful than men in badminton. There are many great players we have seen in the Indian badminton history like PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal, Pullela Gopichand, Prakash Padukone, etc. In India, badminton was called “Poona”, because this originated in the Pune city which was earlier known as “Poona”. It is similar to Battledore and Shuttlecock, which was played by children in ancient India.
There are many forms in which we can play badminton examples; singles, doubles, mixed doubles. So it is not a team sport like cricket, football etc. The result is based on the player’s individual performance. For this game, a player needs high reflexes because he or she
has to defend the opponent’s powerful smash.
Smash is a common word used in badminton, tennis, volleyball. China, Japan, Korea, India, and Malesia are powerful countries in this sport. This means Asia is far ahead from other continents in badminton. It is very weird that badminton is not the national sport of any country. Badminton is the most played game in India after cricket. There are generally three sets of 21-21 points each in a match.
Pullela Gopichand – Badminton Star-maker of India
Former All England champion Pullela Gopichand is the national coach of the Indian Badminton team these days. He has taken up the Indian badminton to the great heights in the world. He was the second Indian player to win this prestigious tournament of badminton after the legend Prakash Padukone.
Prakash Padukone was the first Indian to be ranked no. 1 in the world ranking of badminton and also the first Indian to win the All England championship. He could not win an Olympic medal for India, but he is considered as the greatest badminton player in India. He was also awarded by Arjuna Award and Padma Shri.
There is a program called Olympic Gold Quest which was founded by Prakash Padukone and Geet Sethi. This foundation program is an initiative to improve Indian players’ skills to win the gold in Olympics. He won many medals in the commonwealth and Asian games.
Pullela Gopichand is another star of Indian badminton; he is called Dronacharya of Indian Badminton; he is more famous for his coaching rather than for his playing career. He has won the All England championship as I said earlier. He is the chief national coach of the badminton association since 2004.
He started an academy for young players and produced excellent results. Saina, Sindhu, P. Kashyap, and K. Srikant have grown up from his academy, and we all know where these players stand today in the world. He won five national championships back to back.
He also won golds in national games and won many commonwealths and Asian games medals. Gopichand also won many national awards like Arjuna Award, Padma Shri, Rajeev Gandhi Khel Ratna, Padma Bhushan, and Dronacharya award. He is one of the rarest players to win all
these awards in his career. It is very tough to achieve this feat as both a great player and a great coach.
New Era Badminton Players
After these remarkable players, here come the players of the new era. Today, Saina Nehwal and P. V. Sindhu are considered in the category of powerful and independent women of India. Saina is the favorite player of many Indians because she is an experienced player and I
have seen her from my childhood days.
She became the first Indian woman to win the All England Championship. She also broke the medal throat in Indian badminton in the Olympics. She became the first Indian badminton player (whether we talk about male or female players) to win an Olympic medal. She won a bronze medal at the London Olympics 2012. She also achieved the first rank in world badminton ranking.
After Saina, we witnessed another woman’s power in the form of P. V. Sindhu. She is the second woman or second player to win an Olympic medal in India. She won the silver medal at the Rio Olympics in 2016. She has achieved her best world ranking as 2. I witnessed her final match against former world no. 1 Carolina Marin. She played very well and won the first set but could not make it to the end.
Kidambi Srikanth is the best male badminton player nowadays; he achieved the first rank in the world ranking. His greatest achievement was to win four world championship titles in a single year. He has defeated Lin Dan and Chen Long in different finals in China open and Australian Open respectively. He was awarded the Arjuna Award and Padma Award.
P. Kashyap is also an icon for youth in India. He is also from Gopichand’s academy. He fell one step away from winning the Olympic medal for India for the first time. He lost in the quarterfinal at the London Olympics. He was the first male player of India to achieve this feat. He also won the Arjuna award.
The success of Badminton in India
The first reason for the success of badminton in India is Gopichand’s coaching academy, and the credit for maintenance of this success is given to the premier badminton league, which was formerly known as Indian Badminton League. The league has completed its six seasons
comfortably. It started in 2013 but could not continue because of some reasons.
It again started with a new name and same format in 2016 with more excitement. The one thing I observed in this league is how much mixed-format players are important. It’s a good thing for mixed format and double format players, because of this they would be encouraged and will play more efficiently. Most of us didn’t know about them, so it is a great format to encourage them and highlight their worth in Sports.
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