The Game - Ball & Badminton

Introduction

Ball badminton is a sport native to India. It is a racket game, played with a yellow ball made of wool, on a court of fixed dimensions (12 by 24 metres) divided by a net. The game was played as early as 1856 by the royal family in Tanjore, the capital of Thanjavur district in Tamil Nadu, India. It enjoys the greatest popularity in India. Ball badminton is a fast-paced game; it demands skill, quick reflexes, good judgment, agility, and the ability to control the ball with one's wrist. Games are usually played outdoors during the day. As a result weather conditions wield a considerable influence, and ball badminton's rules allow the effects of weather conditions to be distributed more-or-less evenly between both teams. More recently, indoor versions of the game have been played under artificial lighting. All-India tournaments are conducted regularly using floodlights in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka.

History

Ball badminton originated in Tanjore, in Tamil Nadu. It became popular, commanding the interest of the Maharaja of Tanjore. The game attracted many players from southern India, and is about as well known as cricket in that part of the country. Previously, ball badminton was an attractive game for rural boys since it required a minimum of equipment. The game drew a large number of students from South India, resulting in the formation of the Ball Badminton Federation of India in 1954. The BBF was among the first three sports federations—along with the Indian Athletic Federation and the Indian Hockey Federation—to form the Indian Olympic Association in 1961. Ball badminton eventually spread to Andhra Pradesh, and the first national championship was conducted at Hyderabad in 1956. It was later introduced at the junior and sub-junior levels.

Equipment

The ball is yellow wool, from 22 to 23 grams in weight and from 5 to 5.5 cm in diameter. A standard ball-badminton racket usually weighs from 200 to 250 grams and is 63 to 70 cm in length. The strung oval area of the racket should be 20 to 22 across and 24 to 27 cm in length. The net is made of fine cord to make a 2 cm square mesh along its length and is edged with red tape at the top. The entire net is red, white and blue, 100 cm wide and 13.5 meters in length. It is tied to a center pole of 183 cm and two poles of 185 cm at the sides of the court to maintain the 183 cm height of the net at the center. Two posts, each 2 meters high, are fixed one meter or less outside the court on either side at the end of the line to which the net is tied, strong enough to keep the net well stretched. A hook is fixed at 1.5 meters height to each pole to easily tighten the net whenever necessary. The size of the court for "fives" teams is 12 metres wide and 24 metres long. It is divided across the middle by a net line over which the net is hung, the ends of which are attached to the tops of the two posts. The serving crease lines are drawn one meter away from each side of the net line and parallel to it. The center line is drawn halfway between the serving crease lines and parallel to the sidelines; this divides the space on each side of the crease line into two halves, known as the right and left courts. The boundary lines are marked with white ropes, 5 mm thick. The center and crease lines are to be marked so as to be visible, about 10 mm wide.

Rules

Ball badminton is a team sport. The ball is served (hit from the right or left court of one side to the diagonally-opposite court of the other side). The server begins on the right court and moves to the left court each time a point is scored. The ball may be returned by any opposing player. After the first 8th, 15th, and 22nd point the teams change positions, with the server continuing to alternate between the right and left courts. The ball is served underhand below the waist, then it must go over the net and beyond the serving crease line on the other side. An overhand service—if the ball is above the server's waist when it is struck—is a fault. The ball must be returned before it touches the ground, and no player may strike the ball twice in succession. The server must not serve until the other side is ready; ordinarily, the players of the receiving side are expected to be ready. During the game the player must not leave the court except in the act of playing, if he has an accident, or with the referee's permission for activities such as changing a racket, tying a shoelace, or tightening a belt. The referee normally grants a player's request for such activities, unless the ball is in play; however, he has the final right to refuse if he deems such activities delaying tactics. In "fives" tournaments, a team consists of eight formally-designated players, any five of whom play while the other three remain on the sidelines with the team manager, ready to play. Doubles tournaments use teams of three players. During a match of two or three games, three player substitutions are allowed. Substitutions may be made at any time during the game. The ball may not be changed during a three-game match set, unless it is damaged.
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