Sunday, June 25, 2006


A friend introduced me to badminton during the summer of 2001. I was hesitant at first because the sport did not seem to be challenging at all. I would often see children on the streets playing “backyard badminton”. Tennis, on the other hand, seemed a lot more prestigious, with all the “Grand Slam” tournaments being televised, having “million-dollar” prizes and famous players landing ridiculously high-priced advertising contracts like Sampras, Hingis, Agassi and Kournikova. (Note: Remember, this was during 2001.) I would often dream of hiking off to England and watching a badminton game during Wimbledon, often considered as the most prestigious of the 4 Grand Slam Tournaments.

During that time, I made the mistake of training for badminton and tennis at the same time. What I lacked in talent, I made up for in enthusiasm. I would play badminton during the week and tennis during weekends. My hand suffered in the process. I had tendinitis on my right hand. Rest was the only cure. I could not play both sports without sacrificing my body and risking further injuries, so I had to choose between the two.

Badminton and tennis are often compared to each other. Players at opposite ends of the court aim to hit a shuttlecock (in the case of badminton) or tennis ball (in the case of tennis) over the net so that it lands inside the marked boundaries of the court, and aim to prevent their opponents from doing the same. However, unlike a tennis ball, the shuttlecock flies with a lot of drag and will not bounce significantly. Badminton is considered as the fastest racquet sports in the world with shuttles reaching speeds of up to 200 mph. Badminton champion Fu Haifeng of China set the official world smash record on 3 June 2005. The actual shuttlecock speed was measured as 332 km/h or 206 mph, faster than the Eurostar train.

The rallies of each point tend to be much longer in badminton than in tennis. This is true even though winning a ‘shutout’ match in badminton requires only winning 42 points (21-0, 21-0, in a Men’s Singles match according to the newest rule set by the International Badminton Federation), whereas in tennis it would require 72 points (6-0, 6-0, 6-0). Badminton can be physically more tiring than tennis as the time between shots can be much shorter (since the players have to hit the shuttle before it bounces, whereas in tennis, the players have to hit the ball before it has bounced twice or hit any fixtures.)

When a shot is played in tennis, the whole of the arm is used in one sweeping action, whereas in badminton, a wide range of motions is employed, from delicate flicks of the wrist and pressing of fingers to full-body smashes and clears. Speed, reaction and endurance are all important to a successful badminton player. From a fitness perspective, a close comparison can be made to squash which also has the same explosive starts. (Courtesy of Wikipedia.)

For personal reasons that will be made clear in future posts, I have chosen to concentrate on playing badminton. I recently cleaned my closet and gave away my tennis rackets to others who will put it to good use. I am not saying that one sport is better than the other. This is all about personal choices, about what kind of sports will fit each individual. After all, variety is the spice of life.


Toe said...

Very informative entry. I used to play both badminton and tennis... though I'm very bad at both. I thought what the heck... I'm not going to be a pro in any of them anyway. But it got too tiring so I quit both na. :)

Dream ko din manood ng Wimbledon. But Honey and I are watching the US Open in September. Sama kayo!

ladybug said...

Wow Toe! Hanep! Can you please take as many pictures as you can??? Buti ka pa. Pag naka-ipon na kami saka lang kami pupunta ng U.S. OPen, much less Wimbledon. (Malamang pag matanda na kami nun...) Sige, enjoy na lang kayo. and bring home many stories for your blog! :)

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