How much do you know about shuttlecocks, birdies, rallies & smashes? These facts about badminton will have you wanting to hit the court!
From backyard barbecues to Olympic stadiums, badminton is one of the most participated in sports in the world. In fact, badminton only trails soccer and table tennis in terms of global participation. We bet you didn’t know that one!
And it’s no wonder the game is so popular. Anyone can play and the sport doesn’t require very expensive equipment.
A simple net/racket/birdie set up is all you need to get started – and a partner to rally with of course.
But how much do you know about the sport once known as poona? These facts about badminton will shine a light on the rules, history, and records of the game.
We’ll also get into the GOAT debate and look at some of the best Olympic and competition performances.
Then we’ll dive into some of badminton’s more quirky aspects, including the enormous shuttlecock sculptures, the use of goose feathers and playing badminton with your feet.
Whether you’re a competitive badminton player looking for some new information about your favorite sport or a backyard badminton warrior, you’ll definitely learn something new reading these badminton facts.
Okay, let’s get going and learn something new about badminton – the quicker we read the article, the faster we can get outside and try to replicate the world record 211-shot rally!
21 Fun Facts About Badminton
1. What was badminton originally called?
Invented in the 18th century in India, the game of badminton was originally called poona. It was British officers stationed in India who brought the game back to England and changed the name to badminton.
2. Shuttlecock or birdie?
When playing badminton what do you call that little feathered projectile that flies through the air?
If you’re from North America you most likely call it a birdie. However, in other parts of the world it’s known as a shuttlecock. The difference between the two is simply in the name – other than that, they’re identical.
3. The fastest object in sports
Did you know that the shuttlecock/birdie is the fastest object in sport? In 2023, while testing new racket technology, Tan Boon Heong of Malaysia smashed the shuttlecock to clock in at 306 mph (493 km/h).
The shuttlecock beats the second fastest object, the golf ball, by almost 100 mph (161 km/h). That’s a massive difference!
4. One of the strangest facts about badminton
Official badminton shuttlecocks are made with 16 feathers from the left side of a goose. Apparently, using right and left feathers would compromise the clockwise motion of the shuttlecock in the air.
Now we’re picturing half-bald geese flying around in a counter-clockwise direction!
5. How many people play badminton?
If you read out fun facts about table tennis, you’d know that it’s the most popular racket sport in the world.
However, badminton is not that far behind. While table tennis boasts over 350 million players, badminton has well over 300 million participants who play at least once a week.
6. Badminton at the Olympic Games
Badminton had quite a long journey to achieve Olympic status. It started off as a demonstration sport in 1972, advanced to an exhibition sport in 1988, and then finally a full medal sport in 1992.
It was Indonesia who came out on top during that first Olympic cycle in Barcelona 1992, winning both the men’s and women’s singles gold medals.
7. Who is the badminton GOAT?
We love to give the GOATs their props, but it’s often hard to label the greatest of all-time when there have been so many influential and exceptional players over the history of badminton.
But we’re going to go with Lin Dan. The Chinese player is a 2-time Olympic champion, a 5-time world champion and the only player to win all of badminton’s major titles. Legend.
8. How long can you rally for?
You’re going to be tired just by reading these next fun facts about badminton! In May 2023, the longest rally ever recorded in competition took place in Malaysia.
The women’s doubles match at the Malaysia Masters between Malaysia and Japan had a point that went on for a jaw-dropping 211 shots! The entire rally took over 3 minutes and left the players down on the court trying to catch their breath.
9. Where is badminton most popular?
Badminton is especially popular in Asian nations, including India, China, Malaysia, Japan, South Korea and Thailand.
However, in Indonesia they take badminton fandom and talent to the next level. Not only is Badminton the national sport of Indonesia, it’s the only sport where Indonesia is considered one of the world’s best.
10. Shuttlecocks as modern art
Do you want to see the world’s largest shuttlecocks? If so, head over to the Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City, Missouri.
Artists Claes Oldenburg and Cossje van Bruggen made the impressive 19 x 15 feet (5.8 m x 4.8 m) sculptures that sit on the lawn of the museum in 1992. They have become an eye-catching mainstay of the art gallery ever since.
11. How does badminton scoring work?
A team wins a set by being the first to reach 21 points. But remember, a set must be won by a minimum of 2 points.
12. What are the dimensions of the badminton court?
The goal of badminton is to keep the birdie within the area of play. An official badminton court measures 44 feet (13.4 m) by 20 feet (6.1 m) with the net reaching 5 ft (1.5 m) tall.
But the game is just as fun set up on a patch of grass with the boundaries made up!
13. A few quick badminton rules
When playing badminton it’s important to remember these two simple rules. Firstly, you can only hit the birdie once. If you hit it twice in a row you lose the point.
The other rule is to keep your body or racket from hitting the net. If you do this, you concede the point.
14. Thank goodness for synthetic fiber
The strings of a badminton racket are made of synthetic fibers today, however in the past, the strings were fashioned out of the stomachs of cats! Geez, first the goose feathers and now the cat stomachs!
15. What are the rackets made out of?
While the strings have a questionable background, the frame of the rackets were once made of wood, but are now manufactured out of graphite, steel or aluminum. The racket is ultra-light, weighing only 85-90 grams.
16. What are the origins of modern badminton?
The first official badminton club is the Bath Badminton Club in England. Established in 1877, the club eventually became the Badminton Association of England and is also the birthplace of the modern badminton rules.
17. What are the health benefits of badminton?
It probably comes as no surprise that badminton is a fantastic form of exercise. You can burn up to 400 calories an hour playing the game!
Other health benefits of badminton include stress relief, lower body flexibility, core strengthening, and fast-twitch hand-eye coordination.
18. People love to watch badminton
If you’ve ever wondered how popular badminton actually is, look no further than the first televised Olympic matches in 1992. For these matches, over 1.1 billion people worldwide watched, mainly in China and Indonesia.
19. Rallying for a good cause
To raise money for charity, the Meath Badminton Association in Navan, Ireland set the record for the most participants in a badminton rally.
The rally, which took place on November 21st, 2014 included 123 players. We wonder how many shots the rally lasted for and if anyone got a racket in the face!
20. Can you play badminton with your feet?
Believe it or not, there is another game played with a shuttlecock called Ti Zian Ji. In the Chinese-invented game, there is no racket, instead the game is played entirely with your feet!
The game hasn’t broken out into the mainstream, but is quite popular in China and India. We definitely want to try this!
21. Another birdie bites the dust
On average, 10 shuttlecocks are used for every official badminton match. This is because after about 400 hits, the shuttlecock loses its shape and velocity, making for unfair playing conditions.
But what happens to all the used up birdies? Maybe they make goose-down pillows out of the feathers!
Who wants more fun facts?
If you’re looking for some recommendations, these are a few of our favorite fact books to buy. We use these when planning fun trivia nights with family and friends!
We really hope you enjoyed all our fun facts about badminton! Did you learn something new?
If there’s any badminton facts we missed, you can let us know in the comments below and we’ll add them to this article!