Boxing Tips for Beginners

This is a sport where if you are not ready for the attack, the opponent can and will, surely knock you down. Just like this dialog from a boxing movie ‘Rocky’ starring Sylvester Stallone;

Mickey: Your nose is broken.
Rocky: How does it look?
Mickey: Ah, it’s an improvement.

Yes, this is what is the quintessential sport boxing we are talking about here. The likes of Mike Tyson and Cassius Clay aka Muhammad Ali, they have been there done that. These boxers slogged and slogged hard to get to the top.

Tips for Boxing
Proper Gear
It is extremely significant that you have a good pair of gloves at your disposal at the onset when you want to learn boxing. Apart from that, you would need hand wraps, mouth piece, headgear and shoes.

Basic Techniques
You would most probably begin with learning what is, in boxing jargon, called a jab. Here is what you do.

  • Get in a boxing stance with your lead foot forward.
  • With the weight on your toes, take a step forward, and simultaneously throw a straight punch using your lead hand.
  • Get your fist back in its original position and repeat.

Once you get the jab, it will serve as a pathway for learning other techniques involved in boxing. One of them is footwork and the other is blocking. Footwork for most part would be taken care of while jabbing, but still you would need to work on that. Blocking will help you know how to block those power packed blows from an opponent. There too, you have to analyze the situation and then block. In addition to this, you also need to attack. So, for attacking, you need to create opportunities to throw that lethal punch. A good punching bag will do the needful for you. Along with this, you need to be mentally prepared to take hard blows as well. That will be developed as you train more and more. Another factor when you are in a ring is preemption. Somewhere down the line, you would be required to anticipate a punch, where in you will need to attack before that. Again, this would be a result of your hard training and love for the sport. There are some more techniques, but they are better left for the trainer to explain and teach!

Fitness and Nutrition
Imagine you have a great potential, have all the punches, blocks and preemptive methods in your kitty. But you blow it off in just the 3rd round. Reason? Lack of stamina and requisite endurance. So the point is to be fit as a fiddle and concentrate on maintaining perfect health. This is done by proper nutrition or eating habits, rigorous boxing workouts, and stamina building exercises. For instance eating carbohydrates before training and proteins after training. Running or any other cardiovascular exercise is excellent for improving stamina. Without this, all your mind-boggling boxing skills can go for a toss.

Sparring
Sparring, in short is fighting it out like an actual boxing contest with a partner. But this a bit of an advanced stage. Sparring gives you a real feel of being in the ring. Fine, you can punch the punching bag to a lump, but are not so good in front of an opponent. The solution for this is sparring. Sans sparring, you would not get any idea about how to go about defending, clinching, and distancing.

Last but not the least, you would need a truckload of patience, ye fellas, because boxing is not child’s play. It is a sport where you should be ready to take blows in the same spirit as you are to throw punches. It is all a part of the game.

History of American Boxing

Boxing―the sport itself creates an image of swollen appendages and a bruised face. However, the flip side of the coin is that this sport has also enabled many a country to create a niche in the world of sport, and many a sportsperson to find true self-expression. The sport originated from typically primitive hand-to-hand combats of ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome. The earliest forms of expression of the sport probably rose out of the need to declare supremacy of the physical body, and the extent to which it can be resilient. The sport is believed to have become a part of the American world of sport and history in the 18th century. The pugilism was passed on when the British colonized the Americas. The sport ‘arrived’ via the youth of wealthy southern families.

The Early Days

The earliest recorded history of boxing in America is one of a public spectacle. At that point in time, the matches were fought bare knuckles. There were no-holds-barred combats that were encouraged. The boxing exhibited then included wrestling. Spectators formed the ring, and the absence of a referee and time limit made the sport a brutal affair. The primitive sports psychology applied was ‘fight till one man is finished’. Boxing bouts used to last for hours. The boxers were allowed to choke, throw, and kick their opponents. There was no ‘weight’ category, and neither were victors recognized officially. The sport was brutal and bloody.

African-American boxing involved bouts between Black American and Hispanic American boxers, and at times, even Native Americans who were victims of slavery. They were betted on by their wealthy southern masters. The first great slave fighter known was Tom Molineaux. He won his freedom after knocking out a rival from an adjoining plantation. The fights were soon categorized into sports betting or prize fighting and sparring. In the former, the boxers fought for money, with bare knuckles. The bouts were often against local laws. In sparring, the combatants wore gloves and displayed a new kind of ‘science’ associated with the moves in the ring. The techniques were used, not for a purse or to inflict bodily harm, but to take the sport to the next level. Sparring was exhibited as a genuine sport at exhibitions and private gymnasiums. This was probably the era that marked the beginning of extreme sports.

Earliest Rules

The earliest set of rules laid-down included:

  • No hitting below the belt
  • No hitting an opponent who was ‘down’ in the ring
  • No wrestling holds below the waist
  • 30-second rest periods
  • Knockdown spelled round over

In 1866, the Marquis of Queensberry laid down a set of glove fighting rules that included:

  • Compulsory use of gloves
  • No wrestling
  • Rounds lasting three minutes
  • Rest period of one minute
  • Recovery period of ten seconds after knockdown

The Early Heroes of American Boxing

Tom Molineaux, a slave boxer: He ‘won his freedom’ in 1809 and went to England. There, he fought several times between 1810 and 1811, finally losing out to Tom Crib, the English champion.

Christopher Lilly: He is best remembered for defeating Thomas McCoy in a bout that lasted for a whole two hours and forty-one minutes! McCoy died in the 77th round due to fluid from wounds draining into the lungs. He had ‘drowned’! However, the match attracted immediate legal response.

John C. Heenen and Thomas Sayers: They enhanced their sports careers on becoming the first recorded joint winners of a bout. The fight took place on April 17, 1860, in Hampshire, England.

John L. Sullivan: Popular as the ‘Boston Strong Boy’, he became America’s first ‘sports hero’. He was known to be an honest fighter, who could adapt to any set of rules. He refused to fight a black, and knew nothing of the science of the ring, but he had a knockout punch.

American boxing developed out of sheer show of strength, but evolved into a sport that enabled many strong-willed and able-bodied men to ‘find’ the power of resilience.

Boxing Equipment Explained

Equipment Used in Boxing

Ireland Country Pride Heavy Bag
This is manufactured from patented synthetic leather. All seams are sewn from nylon and double stitched. D-ring tabs are reinforced triple times for stability and durability. A special blended filler absorbs impact and adds resiliency.

Heavy Bag Stand with Adjustable Speed Bag Platform
This is made from 2⅜-inch tubular powder coated steel. Also, there is a 24-inch wooden speed bag platform. There is a shortened base that provides unrestricted access to the speed bag. Screw-down plates are used for solid floor mounting.

TKO Boxing Training Set
This includes a pair of bag gloves, a mesh carrying bag, two leather focus targets, and a jump rope. This set is a great starters-kit for boxing enthusiasts.

Johnny Sockitomee

  • There is a flex neck collar that provides maximum flexibility and resilience to absorb the impact of punishing blows.
  • It has a sturdy base that holds up to 24 gallons of water.
  • The high-density base is rounded for an easy roll-away.
  • The nevatear outer shell overcomes mildew and wipes clean with a damp cloth.

Brain Pad Pro+Plus

  • Upper and lower bite channels.
  • Double mouth guard.
  • Strap and strapless mouth guard with two straps.

Power hands

  • This is manufactured from high-quality and washable Nubuck leather.
  • The Terry-lined palm provides additional padding and protection.
  • The design is fingers-free, and decreases heat and moisture buildup. There is an absence of the bulky feel as compared to other gloves.
  • A wide 2-inch cuff secures the wrists in a safe and ergonomic position while training.

6-piece Speed Bag Set

  • This has extremely durable powder-coated enamel brackets.
  • Vinyl bag gloves.
  • Nylon jump rope.
  • One pair of natural color hand wraps.
  • Upgraded plastic swivel.
  • 24-inch, smoothly furnished, adjustable, and wooden drum.

Types of Boxing Gloves

The main use of gloves is to safeguard the knuckles of the fighter. Nowadays, extra padding is used that coerces the boxers to input extra strategy, rather than use pure brute force. Given below are some types of gloves used in this sport.

Practice Boxing Gloves

  • Elastic wrist furnishes a secure fit, and there is no necessity of laces.
  • High-density foam is both lightweight and shock-absorbing.
  • Tied thumbs.
  • Cotton-fiber cushioned grip for additional contact.

Laceup Boxing Gloves

  • Comfortable fit with handwraps.
  • Laces for a tight, professional fit.
  • Ideal for sparring, cardio programs, or simply practicing on the bag.
  • Soft-cell foam for superior protection and comfort.

Bag Gloves

  • Soft-cell foam for superior protection and comfort.
  • Ideal for use on speed bags, heavy bags, double-end bags or focus mitts.
  • Good for power training and speed.
  • Powertek material construction for durability.

Fight Boxing Gloves
French style full contact fight gloves with a wide elastic closing.

Boxing Sports Gloves
Sparing glove with padding at the palm area. A short hook and loop wrist closing for easy on and off.

Punching Boxing Gloves
Super sparring gloves specially devised for the modern game, and has thick padding at the back and extra padding at the palms to absorb kicks while training for Thai boxing.

Boxing Bag Gloves
All-time favorite sparring gloves manufactured with extra cushions on the inside for hand comfort and a snug fit.

Leather Boxing Gloves
Professional fighting glove with multiple-layer rubber padding, lace style, and extra piece foam for added comfort.

Training Boxing Gloves
Heavy hitter lace-up training boxing gloves with soft, extra-thick high-density rubber padding for the gloves.

Focus Mitts

  • Full hand pocket.
  • Wrist wrap and adjustable buckle.
  • Shock-absorbing foam.
  • Useful for boxing, kickboxing, boxing aerobics, or MA needs.

Boxing Headgear

  • Rubber padding which absorbs shock.
  • Thickly-padded with cheek protection.
  • Designed protection and durability with velcro closure.
  • Adjustable.

Speedbag

  • Reinforced loops.
  • Laceup for easy bladder removal.
  • Triple-stitched seams to ensure quality and durability.
  • 9 inches in size.
  • Lined for additional durability.

Depending on the type of boxing and your training routine, you need to choose the right gear to suit your needs.

Types of Baseball Pitches

Nolan Ryan, one of the greatest baseball players, delivered pitches that were a whopping 100 mph in speed. Pitches mark the way in which the ball is thrown toward the home plate which marks the start of a game. Ryan’s pitching was labeled by the media as the ‘Ryan Express’ because of the incredible speed he could generate in his pitches. He had mastered all the weapons required for pitching different baseball pitches.

There are many ways of pitching a baseball and in this following Buzzle article, we will give you more information about the same. Continue reading for more details.

The Commoner
Fastball is a significant and common weapon in the arsenal of a pitcher. In this, the pitch is thrown at a very high speed. However, the pitcher has to also maintain a good control over the direction, as it has to come straight at the batter. There are several variations like the two-seam fastball, split-finger fastball, four seam fastball, and cutter and sinker in fastball, which are very commonly used by pitchers. Nolan Ryan, as mentioned earlier, was a master of this type of a pitch. This pitch is pure speed and there’s nothing else to prevent the ball from being hit by the batter.

The Deception
The ‘breaking ball’ is not aimed straight at the batter and is not supposed to be as fast as the fastball. A breaking ball has a sideways or downwards motion to it. These balls can deceive the batter if they are delivered accurately, this is because they change their direction and may even hit the ground before reaching the home plate. Curveballs, sliders, knuckle curve, and screwball are a few variations of the breaking ball. A pitcher who uses breaking balls during his pitching is called a junkballer.

‘Speedy’ Change
Change up is yet another pitching style in baseball. It could be any pitch that is slower in pace than the fastball. It has a similar arm action as that of a fastball, but is delivered at a slower velocity because the ball is held in a special grip. Due to its resemblance to the arm action of a fastball, the change up can confuse the batter. A few types of change up pitches, are namely the straight change, palmball, and circle changeup.

Unpredictable―Knuckleball
When a pitch is erratic and unpredictable, it is called a knuckleball. It is thrown in such a way that it reduces the spin on the ball while it is in the air. The way this ball is thrown creates vortices over the seams of the ball in the course of its trajectory. This causes the pitch to change directions while it is in the air. This is sometimes difficult even for the pitchers to control. It is a challenge for the batters as well as catchers to deal with this ball.

The ‘Nothing Ball’―Eephus
Considered as junk in baseball, the eephus pitch is low in speed (55 miles per hour or less). The batter is caught unawares with this delivery from the pitcher. Interestingly, there is a theory that in Hebrew, the word ‘eephus’ means ‘nothing’. A different kind of strange, high arcing trajectory is identified with an eephus pitch. Rather than being akin to a baseball pitch, it seems more like a slow softball pitch.

There are other different types of pitches that include gyroball, spitball, shuuto, knuckleslider etc. as well.

Whether it is the fastball or the eephus pitch, the motive of the pitcher is to hit the target, and if not that, then at least to ensure that the batter is not able to hit the ball for a run. Now we know how Nolan Ryan could weave magic.

Layout of a Baseball Diamond

It is the ‘diamond’ which is most referred to when it comes to a game of baseball. It simply refers to the area on which the game is played. The area of the pitching base and the other accompanying bases are made in such a way that the whole formation looks like a diamond.

The excitement in a baseball game begins with the home plate. It is a pentagon-shaped irregular white rubber. This rubber measures 17 x 8.5 x 12 x 12 x 8.5 inches. The batter’s box is adjacent to the two parallel 8.5-inch sides of the pentagon. One corner of the 90-foot square is the point at which the two 12-inch sides meet at right angles. The other three corners are the three bases when counted counter-clockwise from the home plate. They are the first, second, and third base. Four bases at the corners of the infield are formed by these three bases and the home plate.

First Base
For the batting team to score a run, this is the first base that must be touched. A batter can reach the first base by walking, hitting by pitch, error, dropped third strike, catcher’s interference, umpire’s interference, etc.

Second Base
Commonly called 2B, this is the base which has to be touched by the batting team to score a run. It is touched in succession to the first base by the base runner. It is also known as the keystone sack. A runner on the second base is supposed be in a scoring position, as the chances of the runner reaching the home plate is high.

Third Base
The next in line for the batting team to reach for scoring a run is the third base. The runner on the third base is very important in case 2 batsmen are out.

Home Plate
Reaching this point completes a run. It is designated as the home base. The shape of the home plate is facilitated in such a way that it helps the umpire judge the balls and strikes.

Batter’s Box and Catcher’s Box
The batter’s box is where the batter stands, to receive the pitch from the pitcher. There are two batter’s boxes―for the right handers and the left handers. The catcher is the person standing behind the batter. The place where the catcher stands is the catcher’s plate. He receives the balls from the pitcher in case the ball is left alone by the batter. The catcher sits crouching behind the batter, and wears gloves and a helmet.

Foul Poles
These are the poles which help the umpire determine if a ball which is hit above the fence line is a foul or a home run.

Pitcher’s Mound
This is a low, artificial hill situated roughly in the middle of the main square of the baseball field. The square is on an equal distance to the first and third base. There is a rubber plate on the mound, called the pitcher’s plate. The pitcher stands on the mound while pitching to the batter.

Baseline
It is the straight line between two adjacent bases. However, it is not marked or drawn with chalk or paint.

Outfield
This is the area where the fielders, apart from the basemen, are positioned. It is either made of thick grass or artificial turf. There are right, center, and left field positions for the fielders in the outfield.

For the baseball enthusiasts, this diamond, in all plausibility, is worth more than the actual stone!

African-Americans in Baseball

African-Americans were banned from major league of the game, until Jackie Robinson stepped on the field for the Dodgers. From 1871 to 1947, African-American players were forced to play only those teams made up of blacks. Here are some well-known African-Americans, who not only played for their respective teams, but also fought against racism.

Bud Fowler
Bud Fowler was born on March 16, 1858, in Fort Plain, New York. His real name was John W. Jackson, and he learned baseball in Cooperstown, New York. He was the first known African-American professional player, and is first mentioned to have pitched for a team in Chelsea, in April 1878. Later the same month, he pitched a game for the Lynn Live Oaks against the Boston Nationals, and finished that season with Worcester. He continued to play for teams in New England and Canada for the next four years. He also played for teams in Niles, Ohio, Stillwater, and Minnesota. Fowler died on February 26, 1913, in Frankfort, New York. His death was primarily because of illness and poverty, and received national attention.

Rube Foster
Andrew Rube Foster was born on September 17, 1879, in Calvert, Texas. He is considered to be one of the best African-American pitchers of the 1900s. He started his professional career in 1897, with an independent black team Waco Yellow Jackets. Foster founded the Chicago American Giants, which was considered as one of the most successful black baseball teams of the pre-integration era. He went on to play for Frank Leland’s Chicago Union Giants, Bardeen’s Otsego Independents, and Cuban X-Giants. Later, he joined the Chicago Leland Giants as its playing manager, and under his leadership, the team won 110 games. Out of these, it won 48 straight matches and lost only ten matches. In 1920, Foster, along with the owners of six other mid-western clubs, formed a professional circuit for African-American teams. He died in 1930, because of mental illness.

Jackie Robinson
Jack Roosevelt Robinson (popularly known as Jackie Robinson) was born on January 31, 1919, in Cairo, Georgia. He graduated from Dakota Junior High School in 1935, and got enrolled in Muir Tech. Jackie was inspired by his elder brothers Mack and Frank, to pursue his interest in sports. He played in the baseball, football, and basketball teams, and was very fond of tennis. He was selected for the All-Star Games, from 1949 to 1954, and was the recipient of the inaugural MLB Rookie of the Year Award, in 1947. He also went on to win the National League MVP Award in 1949, being the first black player to be so honored. He was the first African-American television analyst in Major League Baseball, and the first African-American vice-president of a major American corporation. Robinson was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. He died on October 24, 1972, in Stamford, Connecticut, of a heart attack.

Moses Fleetwood Walker
Moses Fleetwood Walker was born on October 7, 1857, in Mount Pleasant, Ohio. He played for Oberlin College’s first varsity baseball team, in the spring of 1881, and for the University of Michigan, in 1882. Walker signed with the Northwestern League Toledo Blue Stockings in 1883, and played in Western League for Cleveland, in 1885. He also played for Waterbury, in the Eastern League through 1886. Later in 1887, Walker moved to the International League Newark Little Giants. After he was attacked by a group of white men in Syracuse, Walker became a firm supporter of black nationalism. He also published a 47-page pamphlet titled Our Home Colony: A Treatise on the Past, Present and Future of the Negro Race in America. Walker died on May 11, 1924, in Cleveland, Ohio.

Besides the players mentioned above, many others like Leroy ‘Satchel’ Paige, Josh Gibson, Walter ‘Buck’ Leonard, and Ray Dandridge were also some famous African-Americans in baseball.

Origin and History of Baseball

A bat, a ball, a ninety-square-feet square or diamond patch and two teams with nine payers each; that is all you need for a baseball game. Yes, baseball is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of nine players each. Each team has to score runs by hitting a ball with a bat and touching each of the four bases marked on the ground. One turn at the batting end makes an inning and nine such innings constitute one baseball game. Where did baseball originate? Since when has baseball been played? Let us find out.

History of Baseball

It was once believed that Abner Doubleday, a United States Army officer and Union General in the American Civil War, invented baseball. However, no evidence in favor of this belief has been found. It was in 1364, during the rule of King Vlaicu Voda, that Oina, a game similar to baseball was mentioned. It is also believed that baseball evolved from the North-American game of rounders. The American and British documents of the 18th century show many references to baseball and the bat-and-ball game. The Russians played a version of baseball, way back in the 14th century. This game of theirs was known as Lapta. Lapta was played between a pitcher and a batter. A batter was supposed to hit the ball thrown, with a short stick and then run to the opposite side and back, in order to score runs. Lately, it has been found that baseball was played by the British before anyone else.

The modern-day rules of baseball have been derived from Alexander Cartwright’s list of baseball rules, which he codified in 1845. On June 19, 1846, the New York Nine team played against the Knickerbockers defeating them with a score of 23-1. This was the first baseball game to be recorded. In 1953, Alexander Cartwright was declared as being the inventor of baseball. During the early 1960s, the number of baseball clubs dropped drastically, resulting in a temporary decline in the popularity of the game. The Civil War caused the number of baseball clubs to drop, while also leading to the spread of baseball to other parts of the world. By the time the war ended, people from different regions had grown interest in baseball. By the 1960s, the game had become a national pastime of America.

The year 1871 witnessed the establishment of the first professional baseball league that was called the National Association of Professional Baseball Players. The National League was founded in 1876.

Today, baseball is played all around the world. It has been played in the US and in Canada, since a relatively long time. But the first baseball league outside US and Canada was established in Cuba in 1878. It has been one of the strongest teams in international baseball. Between the world wars and after the Second World War, baseball leagues were established in several countries across the globe. In recent years, baseball has become popular in Australia. The increasing popularity of baseball has given it a place in the list of Olympic sports.

How to Increase Throwing Velocity

Any pitcher in baseball wants to increase his/her throwing velocity. Fortunately, this is not a god gifted talent and there are methods to increase it. What pitchers need to do is perform full body explosive exercises to energize as many muscles of the body as possible.

Throwing the ball properly itself will increase the speed. Apply direct force to the back of the baseball. The pitcher’s fingers should always be behind the ball. To stay behind the ball and increase straight line strength, use weighted baseballs and stretch cord.

Use available force from the wrist during the pitching motion. Studies have shown that wrist flexion and strength are significant contributors for increasing the throwing velocity. The wrist makes up 10% of the force applied to the baseball during the pitching delivery. The following exercises will help promote strength and speed of wrist motion:

  • Weighted balls
  • Shot put flips
  • Wrist rolls

The forearm is important to achieve high speed in the pitching delivery. Following exercises will help muscle development in the forearm:

  • Forearm curls with bar
  • Reverse forearm curls with bar
  • Hammer curls with dumbbell

The rotator cuff joint is a vital contributor to the overhand throw. Pitchers must have a strong and healthy rotator cuff since the pitching motion needs straight and curved finger action. Strengthening the shoulder and corresponding tendons should build the pitching velocity. For that do:

  • Arm swings
  • Jobe exercises with 2 lb. dumbbells
  • Football throws

Elbow extension is one of the four important elements. Elbow extension occurs during the acceleration phase of the delivery, right before the release of the ball. The following exercises will help add strength and speed of extension:

  • Shot put
  • Shoulder press
  • Triceps pull down

The scapular muscle is often underutilized by new pitchers. This muscle is not developed because many believe weight training, specifically, upper body resistance training may promote injuries. The following exercises will help develop strength in the scapular muscle and provide general upper body resistance training:

  • Bench press
  • Seated row
  • Lat pulldown
  • Push-ups and Dumbbell flies

The speed and strength of a pitcher’s torso affects the pitching power too. The speed of the trunk is not the only aspect of the torso that needs to be worked upon. Late trunk rotation is a movement that can help improve force applied to the ball along with keeping the arm safe and healthy. Exercises mentioned below will prove beneficial:

  • Exercises using the medicine ball
  • Total Abdominal workout
  • Leg lifts

Hence, full body exercises including upper and lower body plyometrics, is the right way for pitchers to get in shape. These workouts help improve velocity and also the body is conditioned to prevent injuries while pitching. Increasing the flexibility of the body through yoga or stretching exercises is another suggestion. Incorporating these exercises in your workout routine can surely enhance your throwing power.

How to Throw a Sinker

A sinker is a term used to describe one of the pitches in a ball game. Another term for it is a ‘sinking fastball’. However, this pitch is not as fast as a regular fastball. Other types of pitches are a cutter, a sharp curveball, and a split-finger fastball.

A sinker is thrown at a slight angle than normal, so you get a late movement on it, and the ball moves down to the right. This makes it one of the favorite pitches in a ballgame. Hitters have trouble making contact with it, and so pitchers have more opportunities of getting ground-ball outs. Knowing how to pitch an effective sinker takes time and practice. Many will probably advice you, if you are 16 or under, to hang around a bit more before you attempt this type of pitching. The reason being, youngsters run a danger of damaging their hands by stretching their fingers too much for a widened grip on the ball. Of course, if you were born with an extra-large set of hands, you might not face this problem.

A baseball comes with a closed-end horseshoe seam pattern. The horseshoe seam comes in handy for knowing where to place your fingers and how to throw different pitches. You can use different types of grips to throw a sinker. You place your first two fingers―the index one and the middle one―parallel to each other on the seam at the horseshoe’s closed end. Place your ring finger and little finger lightly on the side, to both, give some stability to your grip and to make it easier for you to make your throw. When you throw, do so in the way you would normally throw a fastball, but release the ball with a quick downward flick of your wrist, with your index and middle fingers propelling it forward.

Now, move your index and middle finger close together, so that they now lie between the ball seams. Place your thumb sideways, so that it lies in a 7 ‘o’ clock position in relation with the two fingers. This type of pitch will make the ball turn over naturally as it is thrown. When thrown by a right-handed pitcher, this kind of pitch gives the ball a clockwise, topspin.

Some pitchers―the extra-large handed ones―even manage to grip the ball in the webbing between their fingers. This is known as a fork ball. Don’t try this, especially if you have small hands. Let your fingers gradually accustom to this type of hold, before making it a permanent part of your pitching repertoire.

A few things to keep in mind when you throw a sinker:

  • You should make the ball roll off your index and middle finger when you pitch.
  • You should not get under the ball when you throw.
  • You should not throw the pitch high.
  • You should aim at the hitter’s waist, throwing low and a little on the inside.
  • You shouldn’t throw so many sinkers that you end up straining your shoulder or arm.

Badminton Rules and Regulations

Termed as the fastest racket sport, a player in a competitive badminton match is believed to cover around 4 miles on court. It made an Olympic debut in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. If you’re a young badminton enthusiast, or a beginner who would like to try your hand at the game, I’m sure you would be interested in acquainting yourself with some basic ‘laws’ of playing this game.

Badminton has five disciplines, namely, men’s singles, ladies’ singles, men’s doubles, ladies’ doubles and the mixed doubles, just like table tennis and lawn tennis. In case of singles, flexibility is the key, whereas in doubles, teamwork is the success formula. Let us take a look at some vital rules and regulations of the game.

Basic

➺ The prime objective of badminton is to strike the shuttlecock with the racket in such a way that the shuttlecock does not hit the net and falls back on the side of the server.
➺ The shuttlecock must cross over to the opponent’s side.
➺ At the same time, the shuttlecock should not land outside the lines which limit the court boundaries.
➺ A player or a team winning the first two sets wins the match.
➺ Since 2006, the game consists of three sets of 21 points each (the score can go above 21 points to a maximum of 30 points), wherein a player or a team has to win two sets to win the match.

Service/Serve

Somebody has to start the play by striking the shuttlecock, and the shuttle being hit for the first time in the rally is called a serve.

➺ A toss is used to determine as to which player or team will serve. The winner of the toss has the right to decide whether or not to serve, and also choose the side of the court to start the play.
➺ The first serve of each set is to be played from the right half of the court to the diagonally opposite half of the receiver.
➺ The foot of neither the serving player nor the receiving player must go off the surface of the court until the service is complete.
➺ The service starts from the right side of the court if the serving side’s score is an even number. In this case the court is called an even service court. Likewise, there exists an odd service court for serving, on the left side when the score is odd.
➺ Same is the case in doubles, but if the serving team wins a point the same person of the serving team continues to serve and does not rotate the serve to the partner.
➺ The server and the receiver will stand simultaneously in their respective even service courts or odd service courts for service.
➺ Only a serving side can change service courts, provided it wins a point.
➺ Even though the receiving side gets the opportunity to serve on winning a point, it cannot change service courts and the serve depends on the scoreline.
➺ If the scoreline is an even number then the player in the even service court serves and vice versa.
➺ While serving, the server must place the shuttlecock below the waist.
➺ The side winning a set or a game serves first in the next game.

Scoring

A score or a scoreline is of utmost importance, as it is the match decider. A match comprises the best of three sets. The side winning 21 points or 30 points, as the case may be, wins the set.

➺ The beginner of the rally, known as the server, starts with a scoreline of 0-0, also known as ‘love-all.’
➺ Every side gets one point each on winning a rally.
➺ When the receiving side makes a fault, the serving side not only gets a point but also continues to serve with the scoreline of 1-0.
➺ When the receiving side wins a rally, it earns a point and becomes the new serving side.
➺ If the scoreline is 4-1 in favor of the server, and the server loses the rally, the receiver earns a point.
➺The scoreline then becomes 4-2, with the receiver getting to serve.
➺ The receiver becomes the new server but the scoreline is always referred to as 4-2 in favor of the leading side.
➺ When each side has the same score like 7 points each or 12 points each, then it is termed as ‘7-all’ and ’12-all’ respectively.
➺ A set consists of 21 points and the player or team scoring 21 points first, wins the set.
➺ However, if both sides have an equal score of 20 each i.e. 20-20, a tie breaker is used to determine the winner.
➺ In the tie breaker, the side scoring 2 points more than the opponent wins the set. This means a difference of 2 points; a scoreline of 22-20 or 23-21, or 27-25 to win the set.
➺ When the scoreline is 29-29, then the side securing the immediate point wins the set with a score of 30-29. In this case the difference of two points is not considered for winning a set.
➺ A side has to win two sets in order to win the match.
➺ A third set is played only when each side has won a set each, as a match is the best of three sets.
➺ It is in the third set, also known as the deciding set, that the player or team on reaching 11 points changes sides.
➺ There exists a 60-second break when one team reaches 11 points and a 2-minute break after each set.

Faults

In order to end a rally and gain a point, one side ought to make an error commonly termed as a fault.

➺ A player touching the net or the poles with the racket, in person or with a part of his clothing.
➺ The player storming into the opponent’s side of the court.
➺ The player invading into the opponent’s side under the net such that the opponent is obstructed and disturbed.
➺ The receiver’s partner hitting the shuttle (in case of doubles).
➺ The shuttle passing through or under the net.
➺ Settling of the shuttle outside the lines that demarcate the court boundaries.
➺ The shuttle being hit twice by the player or being hit by the opponent and the opponent’s partner.
➺ A wrong serve, as there exists no two chances to serve unlike lawn tennis.
➺ The shuttle hitting the ceiling or the sidewalls.

Shots

➺ Drop: It is a gentle shot placed slowly. It requires utmost precision to win a point on such a shot. It is considered as a shot in disguise as the shuttle, just clears the net.
➺ Smash: As the word suggests, it is a vigorous and commanding shot. It is considered the best shot when hit from above the height of the net.
➺ Flick: The shot, which is tough to play takes the opponent by complete surprise. Wrist rotation is the key for this shot.
➺ Drive: Similar to smash in terms of speed, this shot passes low just over the net. It cuts down horizontally, immediately after crossing the net.

Related Facts

➺ Court: Rectangular in shape and bisected at the center, the court measures 13.4 meters in length and 5.1 meters wide for singles and 6.1 meters wide for doubles.
➺ Net: Acting as a barricade, distinguishing the two sides of the court, the net stands at a height of 1.524 meters in the center and 1.55 meters at the edges.
➺ Racket: There exists no specific rule with regards to the size, type, and make of the racket. Normally the racket weight varies between 80 to 100 grams, and its length is about 680 millimeters.
➺ Side lines and Back lines: The side line and the back line, limit the width and the length of the court respectively, and are not the same for singles and doubles. For singles, the inner side line and the outer back line of the court form the overall boundary, while for doubles, the outer side line and the inner back line constitute the boundary.
➺ Shuttle: Whether made up naturally out of goose feathers or synthetic material, it travels at a great speed and has the flight characteristics.

The overall responsibility, authority, and accountability for International Badminton descends on the Badminton World Federation (BWF), formerly known as International Badminton Federation. Set up in 1934 with 9 founder member countries, the BWF now has more than 150 countries due to the prominence of the sport worldwide. Considered to be a very popular sport, the key to a player’s success would be quick reflexes, precision, agility, and immense stamina.