While badminton is traditionally known to be an indoor sport, it is often asked if badminton can be played outdoor. We look at this in a more detailed way with the advantages, issues and ways of playing outdoor mentioned in this piece.
Typically we have been used to watching badminton being played indoors at the highest level. Whether it’s the Olympics or any of the other continental games, professional badminton has always been an indoor sport as far as one can cast one’s mind.
For a plethora of reasons, which have been explained below as well, it’s not easy to play badminton outdoors at the highest level. If one is looking to have some fun, however and there isn’t the required space indoors, one can look at outdoor badminton as an option.
As kids growing up, we might have gone outdoors and used plastic rackets and shuttles to play a sport that resembles badminton. On a more serious level even as beginners, it’s not that easy to battle it out as a badminton player outside of the indoor courts.
We dig deeper into playing badminton outdoors, how to do it, the reasons to play it there and the issues involving the same.
Can Badminton be Played Outdoors?
While one cannot play badminton outdoors on a professional basis, one can have fun playing amateur badminton outdoors if one can overcome the problems caused by doing so.
There are multiple reasons to play badminton outdoors if you just want a bit of hit-and-giggle entertainment while they come with their own set of issues which makes it difficult to do so too. Below we look at both these set of factors.
Why Play Badminton Outdoor?
There are various reasons why one might need to play badminton outdoors instead of in its traditional, indoor avatar. Here’s why:
Easy to Set up
Unlike playing badminton indoors, it is a lot easier to set things up outdoors. (so much so we have a special article on how to set up a badminton court indoor here!)
For instance, irrespective of the time of the day, indoor courts need proper lighting unlike outdoor courts where one badminton can be played without the installation of floodlights if played primarily before sunset.
The indoor courts also need to be maintained, which includes regular cleaning. Outdoors, this isn’t a major worry.
Cost of Facilities
Because of the way indoor courts are set up, the costs associated with them are way more than an outdoor court.
For starters, in the absence of the need for erecting floodlights, the costs go drastically lower. With maintenance also taking effort and time, indoor courts become that much costlier than outdoor badminton courts.
For those who aren’t looking to make a career out of badminton but are most interested in it as a hobby and for health reasons, it augurs to not have to spend that much.
Proximity to Indoor Clubs
One can easily set up outdoor courts around one’s own locality or in the same neighborhood as compared to needing to commute some distance to get to indoor badminton clubs.
The one-off trip to such facilities is one thing but if you are regularly playing badminton as a hobby or to have some fun at the end of a long working day, you would probably not want to commute too far.
Vitamin D Influx!
Playing badminton outdoors under the sun has an added health benefit of getting your daily dose of sun.
Vitamin D deficiency is fast becoming a global issue with about 35% of the American adults suffering from this issue according to Cleveland Clinic’s report here.
So if badminton is your go-to racket sport, playing it outdoors might provide that dual benefit of a fulfilling and fun hobby and Vitamin D needs taken care of.
What are the Issues Playing Badminton Outdoors?
While there are a few advantages playing badminton outside, the reason why it continues to remain an indoor sport is because the negatives far outstrip its positives. Here’re some of the problems associated with playing badminton outdoors.
Weather Elements (Rain, Wind & Snow)
The biggest problem with playing badminton on courts outside is one is at the mercy of the elements of nature. While it is impossible to play in rain or snow, even slightly light breeze could make it that much more difficult to do that.
The weight of a shuttlecock is anywhere between 4.75 to 5.5 grams (know more about a badminton shuttlecock here) and if there’s even a slight wind outdoors, it could potentially disrupt your game by pushing it in different directions.
While the sport is expected to be a test of your badminton skills, add the wind to the game and there’s a lot of the luck element that makes it way into the game too.
Glare of the Sun
While playing under the sun has its benefits, it also comes with its own woes. Depending on the time of the day and the placement of the outdoor court, it could become difficult to spot the shuttle under the glare of the sun.
This isn’t too much of a problem playing a sport like tennis or pickleball, both of which are also played outdoors because the ball in those cases rarely goes above the eyeline.
Badminton is unique in its own way in that the shuttlecock is typically hit high and often needs players to look into the sun while playing outdoors.
While it might have stopped raining or snowing when you are playing badminton outdoors, the ground could still be wet and slippery as a result of it. This is a non-issue indoors and even if the indoor court gets wet because of the cleaning process, it doesn’t take a lot of time mop the surface dry.
As opposed to that, playing this sport outdoors on a slippery ground could end up being a safety hazard, causing potentially dangerous injuries.
Only Non-Serious Game Can Be Played
Even if the elements are in your favor, there is always a possibility things could change halfway into your game. What this means is that while this added dimension might work for a fun time outside, an outdoor court cannot be relied upon for a serious, competitive game of badminton.
What is the Effect of Wind on Badminton?
Playing badminton in rain or snow isn’t possible and while it’s not impossible to smash those shuttles in wind, it does add an extra dimension to your strategy.
The effect that the wind could have on playing badminton outdoors is to do with the weight of the shuttlecock, which, at around 5 grams is one of the lightest object used for playing a racket sport (a table tennis ball weighs around 2.7 grams), is immense. This is the primary reason why playing badminton outdoors becomes so much tougher than sports like tennis or pickleball.
Wind could add some extra swirl to the shuttlecock, making it difficult to pick for the players. What could make it even more difficult is when the wind changes its direction, thereby throwing any kind of player strategy out of the window.
The speed of the shuttle could also change randomly because of the gusts of wind making it difficult to control it during rallies.
How to Play Badminton Outdoors?
As mentioned earlier, playing badminton outdoors has its own issues but that doesn’t mean players looking to have some fun and at the same get themselves some workout cannot play it on an outdoor court.
The one way to play badminton outdoor is to ensure you are playing in your backyard which has a high wall surrounding your court. This will prevent wind from having a deep impact on the shuttlecock.
The other way to go about playing badminton outdoors is to look at AirBadminton as an option.
What is AirBadminton?
The one way to play badminton outdoors is to use a newly introduced concept by the name of AirBadminton. Developed by the BWF, it helps players take the sport to outside of the four indoor walls, making it more accessible around the world.
AirBadminton uses the AirShuttle which is a kind of shuttlecock with a better durability, stability and wind resistance according to BWF.
According to BWF, AirBadminton can be played in conditions with wind speeds up to 12 km/hr. At lower wind speeds, it becomes easier to play using the AirShuttle, which is about 8 grams in weight.
What’s interesting to note is AirBadminton can be played in the singles, doubles and triples format. In the triples format, a player cannot hit the shuttlecock on successive shots.
Can You Play Badminton on Sand?
Unlike tennis, badminton isn’t quite a sport to experiment playing on sand or clay. The risk of injury far outweighs the rewards for a quick sport like badminton with the players’ knees and ankles feeling the worst hit as a result of continuous play.
There’s also a worry of slipping at times and add that to the possible wind, it takes away from enjoying the sport for what it actually is supposed to be.
If you end up playing badminton on a sandy beach, the wind becomes even more difficult to manage and if you stray too close to the ocean, there is always that risk of the shuttlecock becoming wet.
What is Crossminton?
Crossminton or Speedminton, as it’s also called, is a different sport from badminton which can be played outdoors.
While there are some similarities between the two sports, crossminton essentially has some intrinsic differences from badminton including the dimensions of the court, the lack of a net and the use of a ball instead of a shuttlecock.
Final Words on Playing Badminton in Windy Conditions Outdoors
While badminton played at the highest level or even in lower-level tournaments is typically played indoors, if you are one of the badminton aficionados looking to play this sport as a hobby and for its health benefits, playing it outdoors should not be a big problem.
You would obviously be wary of some of the factors, like strong gusts of winds, which could take the fun away from playing badminton outdoors but there are ways to circumvent some of the issues associated with it.
And who knows, some wind might even add an extra dimension to your badminton-playing experience.