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Adding Badminton to Your High School Athletic Program

By Dr. David Hoch, CMAA on March 12, 2019 hst Print

In education-based athletics, high school athletic administrators should be providing opportunities for as many students as possible, which would mean offering as many sports as possible. In doing this, it is also important to accommodate student interest. As a new and unique offering, athletic directors may want to consider adding badminton. It isn’t an expensive proposition, and it does provide an opportunity for some students who might not try out for any other sport.

Badminton is not a sport that will draw athletes away from or serve as a competitor to other teams. It is an offering that will appeal to young people with a special interest and also give them an opportunity to be part of a team. For these reasons, badminton is an important addition to an athletic program.

Since badminton is an indoor sport, you should analyze when you could best fit it into your seasonal offerings. More importantly, you would want to add it to a season when other schools offer the sport so that you can legitimately develop a schedule for competition.

To start a badminton team, the following logical steps should help in the process to add it to your program.

  1. Survey students to determine if there is sufficient interest to be able to field a team. Badminton is structured similarly to tennis in that there are singles, doubles and mixed doubles competition within a team match. Depending upon whether the league rules allow for athletes to play both singles and doubles or are restricted to one or the other, you would need a minimum of five to seven boys and an equal number of girls.
  2. Look for a coach, which may be a challenging task. Depending upon your location, it may be extremely difficult to identify an individual who can teach the skills and strategy and has previous experience with the sport. Considering that interscholastic badminton is vastly different from the backyard variety, coaches with real experience are scarce.
  3. Determine what equipment you will have to procure and how much these items will cost. You will need nets and standards (poles). However, if your school includes badminton in their physical education offerings, you can take advantage of these existing pieces of equipment. As you get established, you can add a few new nets every year or on those needed for classroom instruction. Of course, you will also have to purchase a few containers of shuttlecocks or birdies, which is the vernacular term that is often used.
  4. Purchase a few racquets. While most experienced players prefer to use their own personal racquets, you will want to have a few on hand for new student-athletes who have no playing experience. You also should have some racquets available for any athlete who cannot afford to purchase one.
  5. Decide on a simple uniform. Many beginning programs may simply start with t-shirts and shorts and can advance to polo shirts. Both of these alternatives are fairly inexpensive. Unlike many team sports, it is not necessary or normal to have home and away uniforms – one set is all that is needed. Athletes can throw on a school sweatshirt or jacket for travel and they are ready for competition.
  6. Provide a team medical kit, first-aid supplies, a water jug, cups or water bottles, a scorebook, and whatever a team needs to host a meet. And as with tennis, there are no officials that are involved. For out of bounds and other situations involved with play, the players make their own calls. This is one less expense that other teams may have.
  7. Schedule transportation to away matches. As with most high school teams, this can be accomplished with a school bus or van.
  8. Advertise the addition of this new sport before the end of the school year with posters, daily announcements, postings on the website and social media, and schedule an orientation meeting. At this time, provide the young people with the time and date of the first practice session, eligibility requirements and what steps they have to take in order to be part of the team.

When one considers the minimal expense involved with fielding a badminton team, finding a good coach may be your greatest challenge. But once you have a coach in place and this individual starts recruiting players, you have another outstanding opportunity for students in your school. It really is a great addition to an athletic program.