Those looking around for an easy-to-get-into sport that will get their heart pumping during all seasons of the year, here’s a good one: Badminton.
Often misconceived for a slower, more sensible sport, badminton can be quite the heart-beat pusher, as it entails pacing back and forth to get the right shot (or any shot for that matter). And unlike many other sports, it can be played indoors as well, hence making it an excellent fitness activity for those winter month evenings.
Roger Temple, one of the main co-ordinators of the Sooke Badminton club, says on top of all the sports he’s taken part in over the years- such as running marathons, biking and tennis, badminton still remains his favourite.
“I’m 67 and I’ve been playing since I was 14 years old, when I played with the school team in England for a few years,” he said. “I never stopped playing badminton – it’s definitely my preferred sport.”
What keeps people hooked and on their toes, Temple says, is the speed of which badminton matches progress – unlike tennis, which moves a lot slower in comparison.
“If you’re playing singles side to side, you’ve really got to move. Tennis is slower because you got a lot more time to go across the court to get the ball,” he said. “With badminton, you got to really be on your toes.”
It makes sense, considering the surprising speed of which the ‘birdie’ or ‘shuttlecock’ as it is technically named, can move at.
According to Temple, the “shuttlecock” – the moment in which the birdie hits the pan of the racket – is poised to enter the Guinness Book of Records at 162 miles per hour (261 km/h) — the speed it travels on the smash — compared to squash`s 151 mph (243 km/h) and a mere 138 mph (222 km/h) for tennis.
“Hopefully the record will help move it out of other racket sports’ shadows, particularly in regions where tennis and squash reign supreme,” he said in hopes this may bolster the sport’s image.
But it’s not just the speed, or the competition, it’s the inclusivity of new players – boys and girls – including a relaxed age bracket. As such, players at the moment vary between roughly 11 years for the youngest, and up to 70 for the oldest – in other words, if you can handle a badminton racket and make a swing, you are qualified to take part.
And don’t worry about your skill set, either – Temple says one of the badminton club’s highlights is its members’ ability to play with the skill level of a new player, regardless of how experienced they actually are.
Meaning, you don’t need the swing strength of a comet to show you’re capable of taking part in the sport.
“We have some heavy-hitters who have a real game, but then we play to whatever level it is,” Temple said. “We try to put in some consideration to that person so they don’t feel like they’re out of it.”
Temple added by saying the club encourages youth to get into the sport, particularly high school students who get it as part of their physical education program anyway.
“We try to back that by letting them (the youth) come out to join us – it’s a good way to get people into it,” he said.
To take part, the wardrobe and equipment list is rather simple: a breathable shirt, comfortable running shoes, shorts (if the weather allows) a badminton racket and a birdie.
The Sooke Badminton Club, meets regularly from September through June on Tuesday evenings at Edward Milne community school gym at 7:30 p.m.