In the US, basketball, American football, and tennis are popular sports. These are perceived as “cool” or “exciting” and receive much media coverage through television, social media, and radio stations. In contrast, badminton is often viewed as a “backyard sport” to play with family and friends. The lightness of the shuttlecock, the object that badminton players hit, and racquet, can cause people to assume the sport to be too easy compared to sports like tennis, which uses heavier rackets and balls. Furthermore, the lack of exposure to badminton in media prevents many from seeing the sport at a competitive level.
Despite this, badminton has much to offer. First, layers of different skills are needed to master the sport. Evelyn Yao, a fellow badminton player at Gretchen Whitney High School, mentioned, “I realized that there’s a lot of different parts to badminton (footwork, strength, etc) that all take a lot of time to become good at.” Before playing games, I also needed to undergo heavy training, like practicing various stances and ways to grip the racquet. In badminton, there are different ways to hit the shuttlecock, such as hitting it overhead, below the head, and side to side. A combination of the correct posture and handling of the racquet is necessary to effectively and efficiently hit the shuttlecock. Control is also a significant component of this sport. Though a shuttlecock is small and light, one must know when to use more or less strength to hit the object, or you might send it flying out of the court. As Evelyn puts it, “I had to be careful about how much force to use for each shot.” Besides becoming physically skilled, badminton can teach you how to formulate strategies to beat your opponents. For example, if they are close to the net, you can send the shuttlecock to the back of the court or, if they are far away, you can send the shuttlecock to the front. That way, you can tire your opponent out and score.
After much training, you can see badminton’s effect on your health?especially during the pandemic. Evelyn commented, “Overall I feel like my arms, wrists, and legs are stronger now, and my stamina has gotten better.” Additionally, Sharon Wong, another badminton player at Gretchen Whitney High School, noted, “I’ve definitely been more active than before and I feel really good nowadays!” Badminton is essentially a whole-body workout?you need to move your legs, arms, and engage your core to maneuver around the court. With much practice and experience on the court, your reaction time and reflexes will quicken. Additionally, playing badminton can improve your mental health, as it relieves stress from school or work and puts your focus on winning matches instead.
Badminton can be more than just a “backyard sport.” You can participate in competitions, gain connections with other players, and exercise your mind and body. With determination and effort, you can see the full potential of badminton.
Caitlyn Kim, Grade 10,
Gretchen Whitney High School