Get Inspired: How to get into Badminton
|Why get into badminton?||The almost weightless racquet is liberating - imagine you're swatting a really pesky fly for an hour or so!|
|Who is it for?||Everyone: pensioners represent their country internationally, while young kids play for fun in back gardens.|
|Is there a cheap option?||Equipment can be relatively cheap, and a lot of sport centres and clubs also rent for a nominal fee.|
|What if I want a proper workout?||It can be taxing. Find a tough opponent for a full-body workout that tests your agility and stamina.|
|Can I take it to another level?||Join a local club and train hard to develop, then enter a tournament to see just how good you are!|
|Is there a disability option?||There are many inclusive clubs across the UK where you can train and play with other para-athletes.|
|Is there a family option?||A low cost kids' badminton sets can be used by the whole family - then you can work on your skills together.|
Badminton is quite unique. You only have to look at the shuttlecock, a feathered or plastic projectile with aerodynamic properties that makes it fly differently from the balls used in most racquet sports. Because its flight is affected by wind, competitive badminton is played indoors. But badminton is also played outdoors as a recreational activity, often as a garden or beach game. So what are you waiting for? It's fast, dynamic, and over half a million people every week play it in the UK. Contact your national badminton association for information on how you can get started in England,Wales,Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Ways to play
You can play in a sports hall, or a school, leisure centre or social club even. You can also play outdoors - no court or net required - so long as the weather isn't too rough! Physically, it can be an energetic or light workout. Either way, your body will be leaping, lunging, twisting, turning and stretching.
If you're enjoying badminton and looking to make a bigger commitment, join a club. Most cater for social and competitive players at junior and senior level. Here are your club locators: in England,Wales,Scotland and Northern Ireland. If you want to start casually, try a pay-as-you-play scheme. To find out where you can do this in England, or contact your local club elsewhere in the country.
Para-Badminton is blooming - if you can pick up a racquet, you can play. It's been around for years, evolving in a variety of categories and competitions - wheelchair, learning disabilities, physical disabilities (upper and lower body), dwarf, hearing impaired disabilities, 'transplant' players. Wherever you live in the UK you can find inclusive clubs, local tournaments and community coaching opportunities. Visit the site relevant to where you live in Wales,England,Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Badminton is officially the fastest racket sport in the world with the shuttle often travelling faster than a Formula 1 car - tell that to the kids! Many clubs offer coaching sessions to teach children to basics on the game in a fun and relaxed atmosphere. In addition to the physical benefits - improved coordination, balance, agility and speed - badminton can boost self-esteem and help develop communication skills. Use the club locater in your area to find a kids session. Teenagers in England can also try the Smash Up! scheme where mates and music playlists are key ingredients.
Whether you have played extensively in the past or just have a keen interest in helping others and nourishing talent, coaches are vital. So why not become one! In Northern Ireland you can find out what qualifications you will need to become a coach. In Wales you'll find monthly hints and tips for coaches and a register of qualified coaches in your region. If you're based in Scotland have a look at Coaches Corner, which offers an abundance of coaching resources and key contacts. Badminton England offers advice on how to become a coach, a list of registered coaches and how the accreditation and assessment procedure works. Sports Coach UK can also steer you in the right direction no matter where you are in the country.
You won't regret volunteering. Opportunities encompass working within clubs on an ad hoc basis, helping run a league or committee, or being part of a major event. However you choose to assist - it could even be as simple as making a few cups of tea - you can be part of an incredible work force, learning along the way while having fun. If you fancy giving volunteering a go, visit Volunteer Scotland,Sport Wales, Join In UK, and Volunteer Now for Northern Ireland.
Aspire to be like: Gail Emms
1. Go to our Activity Finder to get into badminton near you.
3. Share your story and inspire others.
Are you inspired to try badminton? Or maybe you are a keen enthusiast already? Get in touch and tell us your experience of the activity by tweeting us on @bbcgetinspired, visiting us on Facebook or email us on email@example.com.
See our full list of activity guides for more inspiration.