Posted on

How To Serve: Speedminton

Speed badminton (a.k.a. speedminton) is an outdoor game. Like all outdoor games, wind, sun and humidity all offer challenges that must be overcome.

Tennis players and golfers know exactly what I mean. Overcoming the challenges thrown at us by outdoor conditions are what attract us to our beloved outdoor sports in the first place.

Serving can be especially difficult under outdoor conditions. We all want the perfect serve. We all love our aces. But we also understand that going for service aces is not always wise.

In most cases, the best strategy is the simplest: just get it in. Most opponents will make a predictable number of errors on the service return. Even when the serve they are returning is simple and safe, they will mishandle a given percentage and give away some points. Take advantage of this by keeping your serve strategy as simple as conditions will allow.

Calm Conditions

When conditions are calm and wind is not a factor, it is safe to serve high and deep to the back of your opponent’s box. The higher and deeper you serve, the better.

Remember that the speeder accelerates as it falls. The faster it is going when it enters the returner’s strike zone, the more precisely his timing must be to generate a winning return. Therefore you can increase the chances of creating an error under calm conditions by serving high and deep, especially to the backhand corner of the box.

Breezy Conditions

Breezy conditions make high serves risky. The stronger the breeze, the riskier high serves become. The best overall strategy, therefore, is to take advantage of these conditions by serving to the windward side of the box and allowing the breeze to blow your serve in.

If the breeze is steady, it won’t take long to find your range. Whenever possible, choose a height that will force your opponent to move his feet while returning your serve. For most players, this will significantly increase the number of serve return errors.

Gusty Conditions

Gusty Conditions may make high serves impossible. At the very least, they can make high serves enormously risky. The general rule, therefore, is to keep serves low when playing in gusty winds or on courts where the wind has a tendency to swirl around and change direction.

Strong, low, flat serves that move in toward your opponent’s body are generally best under gusty conditions. But when conditions are extremely gusty, as they often are in Calgary during May and September, forget about going for aces and winners. Just play it safe and aim for the centre of your opponent’s box. You will make fewer errors and you will give away fewer points.

Posted on

Crossminton Easy Court Set Up

Speed Badminton Easy Court
Speed Badminton Easy Court
One of the great advantages to speed badminton is the low buy-in cost. All players need to get started in the sport are racquets, speeders and a court.

In many racquet sports, the cost of the court is a severely limiting factor. Regulation indoor badminton courts with hardwood floors, for example, cost at least $5,000 per court — and that’s only if you already have a building to put them in.

Squash and racquetball courts, on the other hand, start at about $50,000 per court while outdoor tennis courts are nearly twice that much.

Compare this to speed badminton where the cost per court is under $30.00.

That’s right!! Less than $30.00 per court.

The Oakridge Community Association in Calgary, Alberta, recently added 10 speed badminton courts to their annual racquet sports program for a cost of less than $300.00. For an additional $400.00 they also purchased all of the racquets, speeders and other accesories that will be needed to run speed badminton programs for an entire outdoor season.

The addition of these courts has allowed this non-profit community association to create added value for each annual membership sold. In addition to eight outdoor tennis courts, members of the community association will now be able to access 10 grass speed badminton courts — all of which will be overseen by existing personnel.

All the community had to do to make this happen was to get the City of Calgary’s permission to begin running speed badminton programs on an empty, underutilized, manicured green space that was adjacent to the tennis courts in Oakridge.

Easy Court Set Up

Setting up the speed badminton easy courts each day is easier than setting up a pup tent.

Each court consists of two 18′ X 18′ squares set 42 feet apart.

Each square consists of four metal rings connected to each other by four yellow nylon bands. These are fastened to the ground with thin, metal tent pegs.

Begin by staking one of the two squares needed in place with the pegs included in the Easy Court package. Then measure a distance of 42 feet directly opposite and stake out the second square.

Take care when staking out each square to stretch the bands tightly. The fabric does relax a little after set up which can cause loose lines that get moved around by the breeze. But as long as you take a few extra seconds to pull them tight during set up, this won’t be a problem.

Once the squares are in place, set up is complete. Speed badminton does not require a net, so play can begin immediately.

Each square takes about 2 minutes to set up. So it is possible to set up 10 courts in less than an hour. However, when the stakes are left in the ground overnight, set up time is cut in half.

Posted on 3 Comments

Competitive Speed Badminton has Future

Speed Badminton
Speed Badminton
Earlier this month, I took a late season break from tennis in order to recharge my batteries and heal some nagging little aches and pains.

While I was off, long-time Racquet Network member, Dragan Lemez, talked me into spending some time trying out the new game of speed badminton (a.k.a. speedminton).

Since the game is played on grass over an area that is about one-quarter the size of a tennis court and since both the racquet and the speeder (shuttle) are lighter than a tennis racquet and ball, I was able to play speed badminton without aggravating the injuries that I was trying to heal during my break from tennis.

What a blast! Speed badminton is a great game with a ton of competitive potential.

Unlike other face-to-face racquet sports, there is no net in speed badminton. The playing area consists of two 18 foot by 18 foot squares set 42 feet apart.

Players must hit their speeder into their opponent’s square and prevent it from touching the ground in their own square. Points are scored whenever the speeder touches the ground.

The speed badminton racquet looks like a cross between a squash racquet and a racquetball racquet. However, it’s nearly as light as a standard badminton racquet.

The speeder looks like a miniaturized badminton shuttle tipped with a red rubber ball. It’s heavier of course, in order to allow more control and speed in typically breezy outdoor conditions. But other than that, it behaves pretty much like a standard badminton shuttle.

The game itself is reasonably fast paced. It’s not as technical as tennis nor is it as physically demanding. The fact that it is played on grass makes it much easier on the knees than hard court tennis.

The absence of a net results in many hard shots at knee level or lower that are similar to drives in squash and racquetball. As a result speed badminton incorporates more squatting and lunging than singles badminton.

Another major difference is the absence of net shots and drop shots. Without a net, of course, these standard badminton shots are not part of the speed badminton game.

In their place are deep, penetrating smashes to the back court and low, hard drives that are aimed for the front corners of an opponent’s square. These shots, combined with high clears and typical badminton defensive shots ensure that both players keep moving and keep sweating.

The only thing I didn’t like about speed badminton was the scoring system. The first time we played, we use the official scoring system: each player serves three times in succession, then the serve changes hands. The winner was the first player to 16.

The problem that we found with the official scoring system was that the games could become one-sided and uninteresting. It was especially frustrating for a player who had a bad run and found himself down by eight or nine points with the wind in his face.

It also seemed to us that the scoring system was created for indoor conditions under which neither sun nor wind are factors for either player.

We corrected this problem and made it a much more interesting game by adopting tennis scoring to speed badminton.

Each game was played to four points with the winner clear by two points. The first player to win 6 games — again clear by two — won the set. In the event of a six-all tie, we played a standard tennis tie breaker to seven points, clear by two. We also applied tennis rules to side changes.

The result was amazing. Difficulties with wind and sun were more evenly shared thanks to frequent side changes. The games were shorter and more intense with each player trying harder on every shot.

Like tennis, we found that the server won most of his service games. But unlike tennis, we were able to play a best-of-five set in just over one hour. In fact, we had enough energy left over at the end of the match to play another best-of-three match.

The only thing that prevented us from playing longer was the setting of the sun. Sadly, I did not have any of the specially designed glow-in-the-dark night speeders with me that week.