Badminton is a racquet sport played by either two opposing players (singles) or two opposing pairs (doubles).
The game of badminton is superficially similar to that of tennis. Players at opposite ends of the court aim to hit a shuttlecock, more informally called a birdie, over the net so that it lands inside the marked boundaries of the court, and aim to prevent their opponents from doing the same. Unlike a tennis ball, the shuttlecock flies with a lot of drag, and will not bounce significantly. The shuttlecock is always volleyed, and a point ends as soon as it touches the ground. Badminton racquets have long handles, to make it easier to impart a great deal of momentum to overcome the drag. The racquets are also much lighter than tennis racquets, because the shuttlecock is light. Badminton is the fastest sport in the world with shuttles reaching speeds of up to 332 km/h. Fu Haifeng of China set the unofficial record July 3, 2005.
Although the size of a badminton court is smaller than that of a tennis court, the distance run by a player in a match is usually much greater than that in tennis. This is due, in part, to the fact that the entire court must be covered by the player as the shuttlecock is not allowed to bounce before being returned. Also, the rallies of each point tend to be much longer than tennis. This is true even though winning a ‘shutout’ match in badminton requires only winning 30 points (15-0, 15-0, in a Men’s Single match) whereas in tennis it would require 72 points (6-0, 6-0, 6-0). The game of badminton may look easy to play, but it can be physically more tiring than tennis since the tennis ball travels at a much slower speed as compared to a shuttlecock. Speed, reaction, and endurance are all important to being a successful badminton player. From a fitness perspective a close comparison can be made to squash which also has the same explosive starts.
As in tennis, there are typically five events: men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles (each pair is composed of one man and one woman)