Junior Badminton

This exciting racquet sport is at your service for fun and fitness.

Girl playing badminton on court
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Did you know that this backyard favorite is also a fast-paced competitive sport? In fact, it's the the fastest of all the racquet sports! Here's what you need to know if your child is interested in competing in junior badminton.

The basics: Badminton is played on a 44-foot-long rectangular court that is 17 feet wide for singles and 20 feet wide for doubles. It is divided in the middle by a net placed 5 feet off the ground, like volleyball; not at ground level like tennis.

Players face off on either side of the net and use a long-handled racquet to hit a shuttlecock back and forth over the net.

The object of the game is to serve the shuttlecock over the net so that the other player cannot return it--or to return your opponent's serve successfully. The player who is serving earns points when her opponent can't keep the shuttlecock in play. In competition, each match is a set of three games played to 21 points. There is a one-minute break when a player or team reaches 11 points, and a two-minute break in between games one and two and games two and three.

Age kids can start: About 6 years old.

Skills needed/used: Hand-eye coordination, agility, and focus.

Best for kids who: Have good stability skills, are patient and hardworking, and can handle the pressure of one-on-one or two-on-two competition.

Season/when played: Year-round.

Team or individual? Matches can be singles (one-on-one) or doubles (teams of two).

Fun fact: Badminton is the only sport that has mixed doubles event in the Olympic Games.

Levels: In official USA Badminton junior events, players are split into levels determined by their age: 9 and under, 11 and under, 13 and under, 15 and under, 17 and under, 19 and under. There are also collegiate-level competitions.

Badminton has been a Summer Olympic sport since 1992.

Appropriate for kids with special needs: Yes. Badminton is a Special Olympic sport. It is also a Paralympic sport for standing, wheelchair, and short-stature players, in singles and doubles events. Para-badminton will be included in the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Fitness factor: Medium, although fast-paced, elite junior badminton will require more effort and burn more calories

Equipment: Badminton players wear badminton shoes designed for gripping the court. They also need a racquet and shuttlecocks to practice with. Plastic or nylon shuttles are less expensive than feather shuttles and are fine for beginners and young players.

Costs: For equipment, expect to pay $30 to $40 for an entry-level racquet. Badminton shoes are similar in price to other athletic shoes. Join a club or team for lessons and court time. A one-hour group lesson for beginners should cost $20 to $25, with costs increasing as your child moves up the ranks. An elite team may cost $300 to $400 a month in team fees (which include coaching and court time).

You will also pay entry fees for competitions.

Time commitment required: Beginners will play for just an hour or two per week. A player on an elite team could put in 8 or more hours per week. Tournaments last one to two days.

Potential for injury: Recreational players have a very low risk of injury in this non-contact sport. Elite players still have a relatively low risk; most common are sprains, strains, and overuse injuries. Players who wear glasses should use eye protection.

How to find a club or coach:

Governing bodies:

If your child likes badminton, also try: Other racquet sports, such as tennis or table tennis; fencing; jump roping.

Source:

Goh SL, Mokhtar AH, Mohamad Ali MR. Badminton injuries in youth competitive players. Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness Vol 53 No 1, February 2013.

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