Why You Should Teach Badminton in PE
Badminton is a fun and fantastic backyard game and a fan favorite in your Wellness and Physical Education curriculum. What’s even better is that Badminton has a few perks that other activities or sports don’t necessarily have the flexibility to offer:
1. It’s relatively inexpensive.
Once you purchase the Badminton racquets and shuttles, you can move forward to offer the badminton unit. You do also need a net, but can typically repurpose your volleyball and/or Pickleball nets and standards for your badminton unit.
2. Different formats
Badminton can be offered as a recreational, competitive or hybrid unit which is very rare. We’ll explain later in the blog the multiple options.
3. Accommodates all users
Students do not have to be in great shape to play. Of course by playing badminton they will improve their conditioning a little bit but this unit is more about participation, skill acquisition, strategy and cognitive retention. This is not a game kids will shy away from because they are not in great shape.
4. User friendly
Kids won’t be intimidated because they don’t know the game and others do. Most students will not know how to serve, hit, or track the score of the game, so everyone will learn together.
Badminton is FUN! Once you offer the unit and students get a handle on some of the fundamental skills they will truly love to play.
Teaching Badminton in Physical Education
So what is the best way to launch the badminton unit, should it be recreational or competitive? I’ve seen many schools teach it successfully both ways and some schools offer it in a hybrid format that allows for competition and recreational options, which is the option I’d suggest and recommend. Here’s how we offer the badminton unit related to skills, cognitive content, and format:
We set our gym up with 2 strings of nets, with 3 or 4 nets on each string. Basically each string should run east to west right along with your basketball foul line. 6 nets allow for 24 participants (we always start with doubles games) and 8 nets would include 32 students. If your classes are larger, you can certainly put more on each court while you practice or spread them throughout the gymnasium or any annexes you might have available.
Of course we launch the unit with origin of the game, quick fundamental skills explanation, scoring discussion, and then a quick demonstration.
Serving and Basic Clear
We then work on two important skills, serving and the basic clear.
- Serving – Just like in Volleyball, Nitroball, and Table Tennis. Drop the shuttle while swinging the racquet forward.
- Basic Clear – Player returns the serve and hits the shuttle deep and far back into the opponent’s side of the court.
Modified Game Play
Once our students spend some time in “Skill & Drill,” we then allow them play a modified game where they try to be the first to 7 or 11 points. The goal score can be set based on time and also age of the students. We always allow for modified gameplay at the end of the class to motivate kids to want to play and have some fun.
For the first few days we work on fundamental skills like hand-eye coordination to serve and return the shuttle, and reaction time (being able to move quickly to the shuttle). Once we have implemented the service skills and establishing a few shots where kids can return the shuttle we move to our double-elimination round robin tournament. This is where it gets fun!
Kids are allowed to pick their teammates and then must “name” their team. We set up a board for each class/period and list the games by their team name, the students love this! We play the double-round robin and move teams along accordingly. After a few teams are eliminated we reserve 1 or 2 courts for these teams to play recreationally, change teammates or issue challenge matches.
Once we narrow it down to the final game we give the students the option to watch the championship match or play on another court, 99% of the time 99% of the students choose to watch and have fun with the final match.
We schedule at least 2 weeks for most of our units so the 2nd week is where we primarily run the tournaments and allow the kids to come to class excited to warm-up and play their games.
As I’ve shared, there are many options for a Badminton Unit. You can run the unit strictly recreationally, completely competitive, or in a hybrid format the way we do. Of course, you can also delve into allowing the students to play singles too, which opens a much larger perspective related to speed and covering the court. I can assure you that if you make the commitment to acquire badminton racquets and shuttles, your students will fall in love with this sport! Your students will learn the physical skills and cognitive content to play competitively or in a recreational life skill type of environment – the benefits are limitless with this sport and unit!
So take the plunge, offer Badminton, and let us know how it goes! Or, let us know some of the various and creative ways that you offer Badminton in your school or district.