The 10 Best Badminton Sets
The Basics Of Badminton
Badminton is most commonly played by two players, though four players divided into two equal teams may also play.
The challenges associated with playing badminton well only make it a more rewarding sport to master.
Anyone who has ever tried to play badminton will tell you that it is a difficult sport to learn. While fun from the first swing, learning to play badminton competently requires hours and hours of dedication and practice, and necessitates decent physical fitness and dexterity, as well. The challenges associated with playing badminton well only make it a more rewarding sport to master.
Before mastery, however, come the basics of the sport.
Badminton is most commonly played by two players, though four players divided into two equal teams may also play. The rules, including the single touch count (covered momentarily) remain the same for single or team play. The players face off on opposite sides of a net which bisects a play area, or court.
Players take turns serving the shuttle (also frequently known as a shuttlecock) which is a sphere affixed to a cone that helps stabilize its flight. A receiving player must use his or her racquet to send the shuttle back over the net with a single touch; this is true even in doubles games, e.g. there is no "setting" as in other net sports like volleyball. A point is scored for Team A when the shuttle falls to the ground inside Team B's court, or when Team A sends the shuttle out of bounds without a touch from Team B (and vice-versa).
Competitive badminton is always played on indoor courts, as the wind, uneven terrain, and other factors associated with outdoor play cannot be controlled for as with a proper court housed in a dedicated facility.
Casual badminton is more commonly played on grass or even on the beach, though, and these surfaces allow for a much more active, involved play style, complete with lunges and dives for the audacious sportsman or sportswoman. Recreational badminton is also quite often played without the constraints of a specific court, with points scored when the shuttle falls to the ground anywhere.
Recreational badminton sets are affordable and easy to setup (and take down and store) and thus are a favorite choice for people with larger yards or who frequent parks or beaches and love engaging outdoor activities.
Choosing A Badminton Set
Most badminton sets are compact enough to be carried by one person and can be rapidly set up by two people, or by a single person, though getting proper net tension can be hard to do by yourself.
The next consideration in choosing a badminton set has to do with racquet size.
Make sure to choose a set with an adjustable net height, or you will greatly limit the enjoyment of varied players; a net that's too high is discouraging for kids or shorter adults, and a net that's too low makes the game too easy for taller players. (Though do note that badminton nets are traditionally hung significantly lower than volleyball nets -- the standard height for competitive play, including in the Olympic games, is 5 feet, 1 inch off the ground at the net's center.)
Some nets can also be adjusted in terms of width, which is handy when playing doubles or for fitting the set into yards or public lots of varied size.
The next consideration in choosing a badminton set has to do with racquet size. Standard badminton racquets weigh only 2.5 to 3.5 ounces and are easy to swing. Their faces are significantly smaller than the area of a tennis or squash racquet and proper, accurate use of a badminton racquet requires skill and experience. That said, many recreational sets come with racquets that are much larger than those used in competition, and there's no reason not to use these larger racquets if you're just playing for fun.
And if you spot a good looking set that also comes with a volleyball, go ahead and enjoy two great sports for the price of one.
Taking Your Badminton Game To The Next Level
There's no way to master badminton other than by hours of practice and play. But you can make those hours more productive and more enjoyable in myriad ways.
A firm but flexible grip will give you the most control, and in this sport, control is more important than power.
In order to enhance your badminton smash, also known as swing, first worry not about your hands and arms, but about your feet. You need to make sure you get your body into the right position for a solid hit so your arms aren't overextended and your body is not twisting in ways that preclude a strong, accurate smash. The faster you move on your feet, the better your swings will be.
Next, make sure to practice your forehand and backhand swings equally. If you favor one type of swing, you will always try to position your body for it, losing precious seconds that could be used to line up a great smash. And pay attention to your grip, as well. Remember, that badminton racquet weighs well under half a pound, so there's no reason to grip it with a white-knuckled fist. A firm but flexible grip will give you the most control, and in this sport, control is more important than power.
Also make sure that each hit is accompanied by plenty of follow-through. When your arm continues tracing the arc it began rather than stopping short after the shuttle makes contact with the racquet, chances are better that the racquet will send it where you intended the shuttle to go.