It’s one of the most popular sports in the world. It’s played competitively or as a fun outdoor game.
In this post, you’ll discover the ultimate list of facts about badminton.
1. Badminton is another racket game
Just like the game of tennis, badminton is played with a racket. It’s not played with a ball, however, but with a “shuttlecock.” The racket to play badminton with is smaller and lighter than the racket for tennis.
The shuttlecock allows the game to be played with extremely high intensity. It’s shaped like a cone which makes it very aerodynamically stable.
2. Where does the word shuttlecock come from?
The word shuttlecock dates back to the 16th century, which is the time that badminton became popular in England.
The “shuttle” part comes from a 14th-century device to weave clothes and tapestry called a “loom.” The back-and-forth motion of the shuttlecock when the game is played resembles the motion of a loom.
The “cock” refers to the feathers which give the shuttlecock its cone-like shape and resembles the feathers of a rooster.
3. Feathers aren’t used anymore
Even though the feathers of the shuttlecock still resemble the feathers of a rooster, real feathers aren’t used anymore in the modern-day game as they have been replaced by synthetic ones.
The main reason is that real feathers are brittle resulting in damage during this high-intensity game. By using a synthetic version, the game can be played with just one shuttlecock.
4. The original game in England was called differently
Badminton has been popular for many centuries in England, but it wasn’t called this way originally. The original name of the game during the Middle Ages and beyond was “battledore and shuttlecock.”
The game was played with a racket called a “battledore,” which was merely a wooden frame with a parchment stretched across it.
5. The rules of the medieval game were different as well
One of the most interesting facts about badminton is that the original game actually didn’t have a net. The goal of the game was to bat the shuttlecock from one player to the other as many times as possible.
Because of this, the game could be played with multiple people simultaneously as well. As long as you had a battledore, you could join the game!
6. Japan has its own version of badminton
The Japanese version of badminton is called “hanetsuki” and very much resembles the medieval game of battledore and shuttlecock.
It’s also played with a wooden panel called a “hagoita” and it can be played by two people who try to bat the brightly colored shuttlecock towards each other as many times as possible.
The traditional game was mostly played by girls during New Year and has a remarkable system to count points. The player that failed to hit the shuttlecock was marked in the face with India Ink!
For the loners there’s good news as well, because hanetsuki can be played alone too!
7. Hanetsuki had a peculiar point system
The traditional Japanese game hanetsuki was mostly played by girls during New Year and has a remarkable system to count points. The player that failed to hit the shuttlecock was marked in the face with India Ink!
The players also attempted to hit the shuttle as high as possible, as they believed that the higher they hit it, the more protection from mosquitos they would get the upcoming year.
8. Hanetsuki equipment is still being sold in Japan
Here’s another fun fact. Even though hanetsuki isn’t really that popular anymore in Japan (the modern-day game of badminton is though), the equipment to play the game is still being sold just about everywhere!
The rackets and shuttle are very brightly colored (like many things in Japan) and as you’ll notice, the shuttles aren’t quite the same as the badminton shuttles we are used to. They only have one feather basically.
9. Badminton has been played for at least 2,000 years
The game referred to as battledore and shuttlecock, has been popular all over the world for many centuries. This includes Japan, China, India and all over Europe and Eurasia.
What’s remarkable is that ancient drawings in Greece have been found that portray a game almost identical to battledore and shuttlecock, which means that a similar game has been played for at least 2,000 years!
10. A Chinese variation of badminton is played with the feet
Just like tennis, which was originally played with the hands in a game called “jeu de paume,” badminton also has a variant that doesn’t require a racket.
In China, a game called Jianzi is played with a shuttlecock but without a racket. People kick the shuttlecock towards each other with their feet instead.
The original game of Jianzi is a game dating back to the Han Dynasty named “cuju,” one of the earliest forms of soccer/football played over 2,000 years ago.
11. Where did badminton originate?
The exact origins of the modern game of badminton are unknown. It’s widely accepted though that the game originated in British India in the 1860s before it was introduced in Europe.
Interestingly enough, this is most probably also how the modern game of table tennis was introduced to Europe!
In the 1850s, battledore and shuttlecock was still the game in town as seen from in this 1854 engraving below.
12. How did badminton get its name?
Even though it is believed that the modern game of badminton was “invented” in British India in the early 1860s, it was made popular in England.
More specifically, in the Badminton House, a large, Grade I listed country house and the duke of Beaufort’s seat in Gloucestershire.
It’s possible that the children that lived at the House of Badminton started playing the game that was brought back from British India during the winter of 1863, quickly making the game spread all across England, and being referred to as “badminton.”
13. The earliest form of the modern game was named Poona
In India, the game wasn’t just played with a shuttlecock, but also with a woolen ball. This was preferred in windy weather or when it was raining.
The game was locally called “Poona” derived from the town of Poona (now mostly referred to as “Pune”) where a garrison was located.
It’s believed that the first official rules of the modern game were drawn up in Poona in 1876.
14. Poona officers started the first badminton club
The first badminton club in England was established by returning officers in Folkestone, Kent, southeast England. This was followed by multiple other badminton clubs being formed all over the country.
The first official drafted rules in England were written in 1877 by the Bath Badminton Club. This made the original Poona rules obsolete.
15. The first official governing body was formed in 1893
Just as any major sport in the world, badminton is governed by official bodies that enforce the rules and organize tournaments.
The first-ever governing body of badminton was founded on September 13, 1893, and was established as the Badminton Association of England.
The first thing they did?
Revise the rules and make them official!
16. The first-ever tournament was only for doubles
The first badminton tournament that was ever organized was the “All England Open Badminton Championships” which was held in 1899.
The remarkable fact about the first tournament is that it was only open for doubles. The first-ever singles event was held the year after in 1900.
The first winner was Sydney Howard Smith who was both a tennis and badminton player!
17. The international governing body was formed in 1934
The official international governing body of badminton was formed as the International Badminton Federation.” The founding members were England, Scotland, Wales, Canada, Denmark, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, and New Zealand.
On September 24, 2006, the name was changed to Badminton World Federation (BWF) during a general meeting in Madrid.
18. The game is dominated by Asian countries
Just as with table tennis, the indoor game of badminton has been dominated by Asian countries in the past decades. China, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, South Korea, Taiwan, and Japan have been dominating international tournaments for many years.
The only exception is Denmark which has also produced several world-class players who were able to compete on an international level.
19. Badminton is an Olympic Sport
Even though badminton was first introduced as a demonstration sport at the Olympic Games in Munich in 1972, it wasn’t until 2 decades later that it became an official Olympic Sport.
It was officially included for the first time in the Barcelona Olympics of 1992 with 4 events, the men’s and women’s singles and doubles.
Both the men’s and women’s singles were won by Indonesia, and both the men’s and women’s doubles were won by South Korea in 1992.
20. Badminton is extremely intensive
While tennis is definitely intensive as well, it doesn’t compare to badminton. The rallies in badminton tend to be much longer, and the speed of execution is much faster.
This means that even though badminton matches tend to be much shorter, the amount of time the shuttle is in play is much longer.
Want to play badminton at a high level?
High endurance and extreme athleticism are a must! Just look at this badminton rally (the longest rally ever):
21. The shuttle reaches extreme speeds
The speed in which the shuttle goes back and forth is extremely fast. We’re all in awe with tennis players being able to hit serves of over 200 kilometers per hour (120 mph), but that’s nothing compared to the speed the shuttle reaches during badminton games.
The fastest recorded badminton hit during a competition happened in Bangalore, India, when badminton player Mads Pieler Kolding (Denmark) smashed the shuttle at a speed of 426 kilometers per hour (264.70 mph) over the net.
22. Badminton is very popular
Badminton is one of the most popular games in the world. It can be played just about anywhere as it doesn’t require a lot of space.
It reached our top 10 list of most played sports in the world as it ended in the 6th position with 220 million players worldwide!
23. Check out these amazing badminton shots
A sort with this much athleticism and fast reflexes involved, it is bound to produce some magical moments.
Here are some incredible moments that you wouldn’t believe if they weren’t captured on camera: