Written by 8:02 pm Fitness and Sports Views: [tptn_views]

Move Over, Pickleball. It’s Badminton’s Turn To Be the Trendy Racket Game

Let’s step back for a moment in time: You’re in your fourth grade gym class when your PE instructor passes out slender rackets and white, airy shuttlecocks, also referred to as birdies. She introduces the day’s activity as “badminton,” something you’ve perhaps only seen in retro photos.

You and your classmates attempt to toss the birdie forwards and backwards for half-hour. Then, the bell rings and the equipment is tucked away. Perhaps the sport fades away in your memory as a nice but fleeting memory. That is, until you see it while scrolling social media in 2024.

According to a Pinterest trend report, Gen Z and Millennials are driving popularity for badminton this 12 months. It’s not only in regards to the sport, but the general lifestyle: Searches for “badminton racket” and “badminton outfit” are each up by 80 percent, “badminton bag” is up by 105 percent, and “badminton shoes” is up by 50 percent. Even the more specific “playing badminton aesthetic” term, complete with preppy skirts and striped socks, has increased by 45 percent.

Meanwhile, the badminton and tennis market is forecasted to have a 5.85 percent CAGR (compound annual growth rate) through 2031, with a projected market size of $18.9 billion by 2031, per market research company Business Research Insights.

Sound familiar? Another racket sport, the now-famous pickleball, has also gone from virtually unknown to ubiquitous in recent times. This similarly accessible racket sport has grow to be a go-to activity and remains to be the fastest-growing sport tracked by market research company GWI, in keeping with analyst Chris Beer.

“Consumer trends, normally, are likely to spread on considered one of three channels: TV, social media, and word-of-mouth,” Beer says. “If a sport like badminton goes to make inroads, it likely must be featured on a platform that may reach a whole lot of people. Increasingly, we’re seeing sports grow their following through social media, particularly TikTok.”

(Badminton influencers like @badmintonjack have already gained tens of millions of likes on TikTok.)

Here’s how badminton reemerged as a trending sport—and what makes it so appealing to players today.

What is badminton, anyway?

Badminton is a racket sport with two to 4 players who hit a birdie across a net, per the International Olympic Committee. One side scores some extent when the birdie hits the bottom within the opponent’s half of the court. The first side to achieve 21 points wins the sport (all matches are best-of-three games).

It could also be surprising to some within the West, but badminton is one of the popular sports worldwide—and is most well-known in Asia.

However, it also has a strong history within the United States. The Badminton Club of New York, founded in 1878, was the primary club within the country, in keeping with USA Badminton. The sport’s popularity boomed within the Thirties with the support of YMCAs and academic institutions. Many celebrities like Bette Davis and James Cagney played.

The sport grew through the years, but American clubs eventually saw a slight decline within the Nineteen Seventies. However, when badminton was officially included within the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, its popularity began to rise once more.

Similar to pickleball, badminton is touted for each its accessibility and health advantages.

“Regularly playing badminton may help ease health conditions by releasing feel-good endorphins and other natural brain chemicals to reinforce your sense of well-being,” says Lloyd Green, head of communications for the Badminton World Federation.

Badminton can result in other overall health advantages, resembling improvements in heart and lung function, in keeping with an August 2022 review within the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. Plus, the advantages have been seen in every kind of populations, ages, and sexes.

“The average person burns 475 to 525 calories per hour by playing a social game of badminton,” Green says. “During 20 minutes of badminton, players will make at the very least 350 changes in a direction of 90 degrees or more, constructing speed, strength, agility, and suppleness.”

“If a sport like badminton goes to make inroads, it likely must be featured on a platform that may reach a whole lot of people. Increasingly, we’re seeing sports grow their following through social media, particularly TikTok.” —Chris Beer, data analyst

How badminton is growing in popularity

Badminton player Diana Knekna represented Bulgaria within the 1992 Olympic Games on the age of 19.

“It was my dream, and since then, the world federation began to advertise the game in all places,” says Knekna, who now lives in Nicosia, Cyprus. “You’ll find it in the faculties, universities, and on social media and survive TV. Ten years ago, someone would ask what badminton is, but now it’s almost in all places here.”

It’s also inexpensive and straightforward for somebody of any age to learn the foundations of badminton.

“For first-time players, it’s very low-cost and the racket can also be very light,” Knekna says. “It’s easy for anyone to learn. Plus, you may play it anywhere.”

Although badminton is the fastest sport on the planet (the birdies can move as much as 306 miles per hour on the skilled level, per the Canadian Olympic Committee), changes have been made prior to now few many years to make it much more appealing to viewers.

For instance, courtside microphones have been added to select up the sound of the birdie being struck and the scoring system modified in 2006 to align with other sports like tennis and volleyball.

“Before, you’d only win some extent for those who served, but now it’s whether you serve or receive the serve,” Knekna says. “This made it more fascinating and faster.”

Since the 1992 Olympics, many initiatives have been launched to grow the sport worldwide.

“The Badminton World Federation invests significantly every 12 months to support development projects and activities at world, regional, and native levels,” Green says. “It has delivered a complicated suite of educational resources to support the delivery of structured development programs, projects, and activities for our members.”

This emphasis on teaching the proper fundamentals of badminton and expanding its audience has seen ripple effects around the globe.

“It not only increases participation, but additionally ensures that individuals are taught by professionals, equipping them with the talents to subsequently teach others of all ages,” says Knekna, who has given greater than 200 presentations on badminton in schools and universities. “They also organize events in famous locations worldwide, where large audiences can witness and have interaction in the game firsthand. These events are sometimes live-streamed.”

The current efforts to advertise badminton are also in preparation for the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

“This gives an incredible opportunity to advertise the game, not only within the Los Angeles area, but beyond,” says Steve Kearney, director of USA Para-Badminton. “Badminton clubs have a stronghold in California, but now Texas can also be blowing up with clubs—as are Florida, New York, Chicago, and Oregon. It’s everywhere in the country.”

Still, Kearney acknowledges that badminton is gaining traction within the United States in a while in comparison with Asia and Europe. One reason could also be that governments in countries like Indonesia support sports like badminton, whereas this will not be the case for many sports within the United States. Most badminton athletes are self-funded within the states.

“Plus, an Olympic medal causes the game to blow up,” Kearney says. “India has exploded for badminton, as an illustration, because they won a silver medal within the Olympics.”

The United States has not yet won an Olympic medal for badminton.

“When someone who has never tried badminton says it’s boring, I tell them, let’s play together for 2 minutes—no more. From that first moment, you see them get excited in the course of the rally they usually start smiling. What else do we’d like?” —Diana Knekna, Olympic badminton player

What the longer term of badminton looks like

Current championships within the United States—coupled with social media trends like “playing badminton aesthetic”—are expected to proceed driving the recognition of the game.

“We actually know there’s interest in North America, particularly driven by the Asian communities there, with quite sophisticated badminton infrastructure in some areas,” Green says.

Last 12 months, the BWF World Junior Championships 2023 were held in Spokane, Washington. Francesca Corbett and Allison Lee achieved history as they became the primary players from the United States to medal on the World Juniors in women’s doubles. Wins like these are key stepping stones for badminton programs leading as much as the 2028 Los Angeles Olympic Games and beyond.

“I see increasing growth, membership, and playtime for badminton,” Kearney says. “With the Olympics, there will probably be the chance to reveal it to increasingly people. There’s at all times been the perception of badminton as something you play within the backyard with a beer in a single hand and hitting a shuttle with the opposite, but we understand it’s different than that.”

For the on a regular basis player, badminton may offer a simple technique to mix up your fitness routine and add a bit joy to your day.

“When someone who has never tried badminton says it’s boring, I tell them, let’s play together for 2 minutes—no more,” Knekna says. “From that first moment, you see them get excited in the course of the rally they usually start smiling. What else do we’d like?”

If you’re excited about playing badminton, you may find out about clubs in your area by writing to info@usabadminton.org.

Well+Good articles reference scientific, reliable, recent, robust studies to back up the data we share. You can trust us along your wellness journey.

  1. Cabello-Manrique D, Lorente JA, Padial-Ruz R, Puga-González E. Play Badminton Forever: A Systematic Review of Health Benefits. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Jul 26;19(15):9077. doi: 10.3390/ijerph19159077. PMID: 35897446; PMCID: PMC9330062.

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