Badminton serves as backyard, professional sport


Hansika Gautama

Freshman Srimayi Sriram aims to hit the shuttlecock during a practice game at Northern Virginia Badminton Club (NVBC).

Hansika Gautama, Staff Writer

With around 220 million people playing it each year, badminton is the second most popular sport in the world, according to PledgeSports. However, in the U.S., badminton doesn’t have a large following compared to sports like soccer or football, according to BadmintonsBest. But even if some view badminton as a backyard sport, there are still many people who play professionally and take classes. 

The objective of badminton is to hit the shuttlecock, a feathered aerodynamic open cone, over the net toward specific court areas. When the opponent returns the shuttlecock, a rally occurs until the player forces the opponent to hit the shuttlecock into the net or outside the boundaries. The winner of the match is the first to reach 24 points, with each game having three matches. 

Badminton leagues exist in various formats like amateur or professional, singles or doubles and regional or international, according to RookieRoad. A popular local badminton club is the Northern Virginia Badminton Club (NVBC) which is located in Ashburn, VA.

“I go to NVBC and am in the intermediate level and definitely hope to advance my skills in badminton,” freshman Srimayi Sriram said. “They teach me a variety of skills so that I can play better, and I’ve even watched the competitive players compete with a lot of focus and skill. It is cool to watch and it inspires me to be better.” 

Badminton is a sport that focuses on hand-eye coordination, footwork and strategy. The ability to move fast and keep an eye on the shuttlecock is necessary for players to outthink their opponents. Badminton classes teach a variety of skills and theories like the history of badminton,  which can help players have an edge over their opponents. 

“When I took classes, I learned more specific things than just hitting the ball,” sophomore Vedhasri Bana said. “I learned about the importance of positioning and about how you should be holding the racket, which I didn’t know at first, and I think I was holding it wrong. I also learned a lot more theory than skills as well.”

Some basic badminton shots are the drive, drop, clear and smash. A drive is a counter-attacking shot that forces the opponent to hit an upward return. A drop is when the player hits the shuttlecock downwards toward the opponent’s forecourt. Clears are hit when the shuttlecock is above the right shoulder while smashes are a hit at the highest contact point and are slightly out in front of the body; smashes are downward shots while clears are upward shots. 

“I like being able to smash the shuttlecock as hard as I can,” freshman Sirichandana Yakkala said. “The smash is my favorite because if you do a good job, the opponent doesn’t have time to hit it back up.”Badminton can be a singles sport, but it can also be a team sport. Since badminton is a sport played by many people, some students think it should be a school sport. However, according to BadmintonBites, badminton lacks media presence compared to more popular sports so not enough people would watch it. 

“Badminton should definitely be a school sport because someone who is new to sports can start there,” Vootukuri said. “It’s for someone to expose themselves to the sports industry or sports in general, and I feel like it has so much more potential.”

Also, playing badminton has many health benefits like improving mental and physical agility and reducing stress, which is helpful even for non-athletes. It increases reflex action and boosts metabolism, according to Decathlon

“I enjoy playing badminton because it requires players to be competent both mentally and physically,” Vootukuri said. “While being agile to hit the shuttle, someone has to quickly strategize the next move, which is what I like about it and I think that is super fun to play.”