Badminton is easy to get started and various clubs offer a great opportunity to meet people from diverse backgrounds. There’s plenty of online resources to learn the technical part of the game but when you’re a newcomer, what do you do?
Do get some training if you can. You’re learning a new skill so be sure to get plenty of practice: practice your footwork, technique and serves. Serving and receiving are the two most important shots in a match so practice them too.
Do watch the top players. When you watch Fu Haifeng or Lee Chong Wei jump backwards, turn their shoulders and get their racquets back, you won’t find cleaner or quicker footwork. No matter how fast the shuttle is flying to them, (and it’s seriously fast) they’re ready. Now, as mere mortals on planet Earth we know fitness is key. They may not have time to get in great position to hit their shot, but it’s never because they’ve been tardy with their preparation.
Do increase your fitness levels. Badminton rallies are typically fast-paced. Getting behind the shuttle and being prepared requires effort and speed. The quicker your footwork, the more ready you feel, the calmer you play. Preparation and poise? A killer combination.
If you’re intending to play regularly, do get a pair of badminton shoes to help avoid injury. If you wear a pair of shoes that mark a court’s rubber flooring, it won’t endear you to organisers who have to spend money on maintaining the court surface.
Don’t offer unsolicited advice during a social game. In my experience, grumpy old people who only play socially and complain about their partners shots or speed should keep their advice to themselves. The safest policy is to stick to the topics you’re qualified to advise on.
Don’t compare yourself. If other players are that good, they should be playing with the pros. Focus on your journey.
Don’t worry about getting the best racket, strings or tension. These will change as your game improves. Badminton central has a good guide to badminton equipment here. If you learn how to drive a Ferrari without understanding the basics, you can either (a) injure yourself or (b) damage your equipment which cost you a lot of money. Either way, you’d be better off getting a decent pair of badminton shoes and training.
Most importantly, don’t take anybody too seriously. Be sure to have fun and enjoy the game!