How to Play Badminton: Great Backyard Games

Summer is almost here. Break out those tennis shoes. It's time to play badminton.

Badminton is the second game in the small series on Five Great Backyard Games I'm covering this summer. (See the petanque post and learn to play like Cliff Huxtable.)


badminton birdies

The Equipment:

In order to play badminton, you'll need rackets, shuttlecocks (also known as shuttles or birdies), and a net. I also think it's fun to play a simplified version of badminton without a net.

The Rules and Playing the Game:

I'll admit right now that my family does not play badminton strictly by the rule book. Some days we merely focus on hitting the birdie back and forth, which is equally as fun and perfect for those who don't have lots of yard space to put up a net.

We opt to play the game much like tennis. Players take turns serving the birdie. If the birdie lands on the opponent's side, then the server wins a point. If the opponent hits the birdie over the net and it lands on the server's side, then the opponent wins the serve.

Of course, badminton aficionados would cringe at this, so I'm directing you to The Badminton World Federation's great set of simplified rules where you can learn how to play the game properly.

Where to Play:

While competitive badminton is played indoors, casual games of badminton are often played on a grassy lawn or at the beach.

badminton rackets


21 points win the game and a match is comprised of three individual games.

Where to Buy:

The first badminton set I bought was a combo volleyball set. Target offers one of these combo sets for $26.99.

I love the 1920s-style badminton set ($59) from The Conran Shop.

This year, we had to replace a few rackets and birdies (you will always be replacing birdies, I'm afraid). The Sportcraft racket set ($6.99) from Kmart fit our budget nicely.

I also find badminton rackets at thrift stores. In many cases, these rackets have a wooden frame and are quite nice to play with. Our badminton gear now consists of a mish-mash of vintage rackets, replacement birdies, and our old combo badminton/volleyball net.

No matter what gear you choose, I think you'll find that badminton is a Great Backyard Game.

Stay Tuned. I'll be covering three more Backyard Games this summer.

Do you play badminton?


Images via Shari Altman


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