Badminton is an easy game to learn but challenging to master. It can be played indoors on a court or outdoors in a backyard. Badminton is enjoyed by millions of people around the world but it's especially popular in Asia, where in places like Indonesia top players are as popular as Michael Jordan is in North America. Even with a moderate amount of skill badminton is a great way to get a cardiovascular workout. Faster than a game of tennis, players can burn 600 to 1,000 calories an hour.
Badminton's origin dates back thousands of years where in its original form it was a sport played in ancient Greece, Egypt, India and China. It was originally a child's game called 'battledore & shuttlecock' in which two players hit a feathered shuttlecock (also referred to as a 'birdy') back and forth with small racquets. British army officers returning from India later introduced badminton in 18th century England. In the 19th century Badminton was named after the Duke of Beaufort's country place called Badminton House, located in Gloucestershire. From its humble beginnings Badminton has grown to a professional sport where it debuted as an official sport in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.
Badminton can be played singles (two players, against each other) or doubles (four players, on two teams). The players hit the shuttlecock back and forth over the net, fixed across the middle of the playing area, with the racquets. Only the serving side can win a point. If the serving side fails to return the shuttlecock, it loses the serve. If the receiving side fails to return the shuttlecock, the server gains a point and serves again. A game is generally played to 15 points.
To start playing badminton a person needs only a few things: a badminton racquet, a shuttlecock and a net (if one is not already provided). Most racquets are made with metal and range in price from $10 upwards to $150. Many manufacturers also make Badminton sets that include the net, racquet and shuttlecocks. These sets can range anywhere from a cheap set for $20 to professional sets costing $1200 and up.
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