Posted by: sportsandbeans | July 30, 2006

The Downside of the Badminton Boom

Miloby Milo

I am actually happy that badminton has become a pretty popular sport in the Philippines nowadays.  Finally, there is another sport that has managed to emerge from the deep and murky waters of Philippine sports and has joined the “elite” pack of basketball, boxing, bowling and billiards.  Warehouses have been turned into badminton courts, racquet, shoes and shuttlecock sales are at an all-time high, badminton savants and “experts” have popped up in the open and television coverage of badminton are wider that even small time tournaments like a barangay-sponsored badminton meet gets airtime.

Sports will make and keep you healthy and fit, as it is usually billed here in the country.  The boom of badminton came from not only the fact that it is cheaper and easy to play, but it also rode the tsunami-like wave of health consciousness, hence the sudden appearances of gyms and spas in every corner of the country.

Unfortunately, thinking that badminton will make you fit also warps the age-old adage in sports science.  It is a saying that probably cannot be seen in any manual anywhere, but common sense and years of athletic history make this statement an implied rule of thumb.  I remember one of my physical education teachers (I forget who)

“You don’t play a sport to get fit; you get fit to play a sport”

Most people think the opposite, and as a result, injuries happen.  And that is exactly what has happened during this badminton era in the country.  More so if you’ve only gone to play your first sport now.  Hey, laugh if you want, but even low-impact sports like billiards can produce injuries.  Yes, it’s mostly due to bumping hard on the pool table, the rare occasion that you get hit by a flying billiard ball, or stupidity (Did you know that in England, a boy accidentally impaled himself through the scrotum and out his stomach with a snooker cue when he pretended that the cue stick was a pogo stick?).  The game of billiards requires a certain extent of flexibility to reach those long shots, and yes, I’ve heard stories of players overstretching themselves causing strained muscles.  Nevertheless, injuries can still happen if you do not have the level of fitness required by billiards, or any sports for that matter.

This holds the same with badminton, even more so with this sport since it is high-impact.  It involves and puts a lot of pressure on one’s bones and muscles that an untrained person will playing badminton more than what he/she is physically capable will lead to an injury later.  Even serious athletes need to warm up and do some stretches to prepare their body for the workout they are going to have once they play the sport.  What more a regular schmoe?

And believe me, this aura of badminton’s “easiness” leads to people thinking that they can play longer without resting and more competitively even without proper training, warm-up, flexibility or equipment.  It will take longer, but you need to prepare your body for the sport.

Yes, there is such a thing as one’s own style, but there is also such a thing as an improper style.  One example of a common injury caused by improper style is the “tennis” elbow, or in more scientific terms, lateral epicondylitis or lateral humeral epicondylitis.  It is a painful inflammation of the tendon at the outer border of the elbow resulting from overuse of lower arm muscles often occurring to players who grip a racquet too tightly, sport weak forearm muscles, overuse and overplay, use a poor backhand technique, or have oversized racquet handles.

Injured knees are also common in badminton due to the continuous movement and running, shifts of direction and jumping required for the sport.  Improper techniques in lunging and lack of knee and calf strength add to the probability of injury.  Improper shoes can also contribute to knee injuries.  Yes, there is a proper badminton shoe, and no, don’t rely on basketball shoes for this.

Other than these injuries, there are still more related to badminton that can be received like eye injuries and the uncommon Achilles’ heel injury.  Girls might also want to look up on those high-impact sports bras, while guys might want to check up on some athletic supporters for that matter.  We cannot fully avoid injuries, but we can lessen their occurrence with proper preparation.

This article should not frighten you to enjoy and play badminton; much less play any sport in particular.  That is not the point of my piece.  However, it should scare you into getting yourself into shape first before attempting to play.  Exercise, do cardio workouts, stretch, lift weights, eat healthy, go to the gym if you must in order to prepare your body to play such a high-impact sport.  Once you do those, then use badminton to keep fit, and perhaps, if you do well, a step to the higher leagues.

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Responses

  1. Very true! A friend’s uncle suffered a heart attack because he didn’t warm up before a badminton game. He wasn’t even that old – but yeah, he played badminton to get fit…he didn’t know he had to get fit in order to play badminton

  2. i love to play badminton specially during the weekends. this game rocks.^

    Most recent write-up on our own blog
    <img src="http://www.foodsupplementcenter.com/benefits-of-almond-milk/“>

  3. always warm up first, don’t use sandals, use proper grip, stroke and footwork.


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