If you think badminton is just a boring backyard game (unfortunately most people do), then read on…this will surely open your eyes.

Badminton at the Olympics is not going to resemble anything like what you play in your back yard. There are players who can smash the bird at 200 mph.

What people will be able to identify with is tennis because there is a court and a net. Yet, when you see players making a vertical leap in the back court — 3 to 4 feet in the air — for a smash, you’ll see the sport also is reminiscent of volleyball.

The average rally in badminton is over 10 hits, compared to tennis, which is usually just over three. So badminton, is really fast and continuous.

It’s not played as much in the United States, partially because there are so many other athletic options and most people grow up playing what they watch on TV. Yet, badminton is the second most popular participatory sport in the world, just behind soccer, and is considered the fastest racket sport. More than 1.1 billion people watched badminton’s Olympic debut in 1996, making it the most watched sport at those Games. It’s also the only Olympic sport that features women and men playing against each other on the same court at the same time, unlike tennis.

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Physical demand? How tough could it be?

An average match lasts approximately 1 hour, 15 minutes, while an average tennis match can last up to three hours. In 1985, a comparison was created between the 1985 Wimbledon title match vs. the 1985 badminton world championship match. The average distance traveled by a badminton player in a singles game is 3.7 miles and the average distance traveled by a tennis player is 1.8 miles. So in half the time, badminton players travel twice the distance than tennis players. Stamina is important in tennis, so you can see why few athletes in badminton play both singles and doubles. (For those of you wondering, the four-set tennis match lasted 3 hours, 45 minutes, while the three-game badminton match finished in 1 hour, 16 minutes.) [via ESPN]

Wow! Now what do you think of badminton? Not for wimps after all, eh? =) So do you want to give badminton a try? Sweet…if you’re in Albuquerque and free Tuesday nights 6-9pm, let me know so I can bring an extra badminton racket for you!

For now, check out some serious badminton action (I love the defense against the smashes!!!):

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YouTube – Badminton pros

Isn’t that just crazy? =)

Categories: exercise