Have you ever wondered what is the badminton ball called? The game of badminton, loved by many for its fast-paced action and strategic gameplay, hinges heavily on a small, feathered object that players hit back and forth - the badminton ball. But is it really called a ball?

In this article, we will delve into the fascinating world of badminton, focusing primarily on the object that keeps the game alive - commonly referred to as the 'ball'. We'll explore its official name, structure, material, types, and much more.

What is the Badminton Ball Called

The official term for a 'badminton ball' is a 'shuttlecock', also colloquially known as a 'bird' or 'birdie'. This term originates from the shape and feathered design of the object, which resembles a bird in flight.

This unique shape helps the shuttlecock fly and float better than a traditional ball would, making it ideal for the game.

Although it's often referred to as a 'ball' due to common parlance, using the term 'shuttlecock' is technically more accurate and widely accepted within the badminton community.

Whether you call it a 'ball', 'birdie', or 'shuttlecock', understanding this key component of badminton is essential for anyone involved in the sport. As we move forward, we'll dive deeper into the intricacies of this fascinating piece of equipment. So, let's get started!

Parts of a Badminton Ball

Understanding the different parts of a shuttlecock is crucial to appreciating its design and function in the game of badminton.

Detailed description of the different parts

A badminton shuttlecock consists of two primary components: the 'feathers' and the 'cork base'.

  1. Feathers: The feathers, also known as the 'skirt' or 'fly', make up the bulk of the shuttlecock. They are arranged in a cone shape, typically consisting of 16 overlapping feathers. These feathers play a significant role in determining the flight path of the shuttlecock.

  2. Cork Base: This is the heavier part of the shuttlecock that players strike with their rackets. It's usually covered in a thin layer of leather or synthetic material for durability. The weight of the cork base helps maintain the shuttlecock's balance and trajectory during play.

Construction and Material

The construction and materials of a shuttlecock significantly influence its performance, durability, and, therefore, the flow of the game.

Explanation of how a badminton ball is made

Shuttlecocks are usually made of 16 feathers attached to a rounded rubber base called a cork. While professional players typically use high-quality feather shuttles, recreational players usually use synthetic ones.

The making of a shuttlecock is a meticulous process. The feathers, usually derived from the left wing of a goose or duck, are carefully selected and sorted based on their size and quality. They are then trimmed to the correct length and pre-bent into the right shape.

The cork base, made from high-quality cork, is shaped into a hemisphere and covered with a thin layer of leather or synthetic material. The prepared feathers are then inserted into the base and secured with adhesive. The feathers are aligned and adjusted to form a perfect cone shape, ensuring a stable and predictable flight path when hit.

How Badminton Birdies Are Made | Design Insider

Discussion on the materials used

The choice of materials for a shuttlecock can have a significant impact on its flight characteristics and durability.

  1. Feathers: Natural feathers, mainly from geese or ducks, are preferred for their superior aerodynamic properties. They provide a more stable and predictable flight path compared to synthetic materials. However, they are less durable and more expensive.

  2. Cork Base: High-quality cork is typically used for the base due to its excellent balance of lightness and solidity. It provides the necessary weight for balance without making the shuttlecock too heavy.

  3. Covering Material: The covering material on the cork base, usually leather or synthetic material, adds durability and allows for a better grip on the racket strings.

Types of Badminton Balls

In the world of badminton, shuttlecocks come in various types, each with its own characteristics and uses. The two primary types are feathered shuttlecocks and synthetic (or plastic) shuttlecocks.

Introduction to Different Types of Balls

  1. Feathered Shuttlecocks: As the name suggests, these are made from natural feathers, typically from ducks or geese. They are most commonly used in professional and high-level amateur play due to their superior flight performance.

  2. Synthetic Shuttlecocks: These are made from synthetic materials like nylon. They are more durable and less expensive than their feathered counterparts, making them a popular choice for casual and beginner players.

Pros and Cons of Each Type

Feathered Shuttlecocks


  • Provide a more stable and predictable flight path
  • Offer better speed control
  • Preferred for professional tournaments and matches due to their performance


  • Less durable; they can wear out quickly, especially in long or intense games
  • More expensive than synthetic shuttlecocks

Synthetic Shuttlecocks


  • More durable and can withstand rough play
  • Less expensive, making them ideal for practice sessions and beginners
  • Require less maintenance as they are not affected by moisture or temperature variations


  • The flight path is less predictable compared to feathered shuttlecocks
  • May not provide the same level of speed control
NYLON VS. FEATHER SHUTTLE - Which is better for playing badminton? | Badminton Coach Kennie

Impact of Badminton Ball Design on Gameplay

The design of a shuttlecock – from the materials used to the way it's constructed – can significantly affect gameplay.

Analysis of how the design affects the game

  1. Speed and Trajectory: The aerodynamic design of a shuttlecock, primarily determined by the feathers or synthetic skirt, directly affects its speed and trajectory. Feathered shuttlecocks tend to fly more smoothly and predictably, providing better control to the players.

  2. Durability: The durability of a shuttlecock, largely dictated by the material and construction of the base and the skirt, impacts how long it can be used in a game. Synthetic shuttlecocks tend to last longer, reducing interruptions in play due to changing shuttlecocks.

  3. Playing Conditions: The performance of a shuttlecock can also vary based on playing conditions. For example, feathered shuttlecocks may not perform well in humid conditions as the feathers can absorb moisture and change shape.

Best Brands and Selection Guide

Choosing the right brand and type of shuttlecock can make a significant difference in your badminton experience.

List of Best Brands for Badminton Balls

While there are numerous brands available in the market, some of the most recognized and trusted ones include:

  1. Yonex: Known for its high-quality equipment, Yonex is popular among professional players. Their feathered shuttlecocks are praised for their durability and performance.

  2. Li-Ning: This brand offers a range of shuttlecocks suitable for both professionals and beginners. They are well-regarded for their balance of quality and affordability.

  3. Carlton: Carlton is renowned for its synthetic shuttlecocks, which are durable and ideal for casual play or practice sessions.

  4. Victor: Victor shuttlecocks are often used in international tournaments, reflecting their high quality and performance.

Guide on Selecting the Right Ball

Choosing the right shuttlecock depends on several factors:

  1. Level of Play: Feathered shuttlecocks are preferred for professional and high-level amateur games due to their superior flight performance. Synthetic shuttlecocks, being more durable and affordable, are ideal for beginners and casual play.

  2. Playing Conditions: If you're playing outdoors or in a humid environment, synthetic shuttlecocks may be more suitable as they are not affected by moisture.

  3. Budget: While feathered shuttlecocks offer better performance, they are more expensive and less durable than synthetic ones. Consider your budget and how frequently you'll need to replace your shuttlecocks.

Remember, the best shuttlecock for you is the one that matches your skill level, playing conditions, and budget.

History and Evolution of the Badminton Ball

The history of badminton is rich and fascinating, with roots tracing back to ancient Greece, China, and India. The game was closely related to the old children's game battledore and shuttlecock.

In fact, the beginnings of badminton can be traced to the mid-1800s in British India, where it was created by British military officers stationed there.

The evolution of the badminton ball, or more accurately, the shuttlecock, has been quite an epic journey. It started in 7th Century China, moved through Japan, India, Native America, and Europe, and finally evolved into its current form in 19th Century England.

Originally, a woolen ball was used in the early versions of the game. However, this changed over time as players sought equipment that would provide a more predictable and controlled flight path. This led to the development of the shuttlecock, which is unique in its design and flight characteristics.


Badminton is a dynamic and exciting sport with a rich history. From its origins in ancient civilizations to its modern incarnation, the game has continually evolved, especially in terms of equipment like the shuttlecock. Today, players have a choice between feathered and synthetic shuttlecocks, each with their own pros and cons.

Choosing the right shuttlecock can make a significant difference in gameplay. Factors such as your skill level, playing conditions, and budget should guide your choice. Remember to properly maintain and store your shuttlecocks to ensure they last longer and perform consistently.

Whether you're a professional player, a beginner, or someone who enjoys a casual game now and then, understanding the nuances of the shuttlecock can enhance your appreciation of the game and improve your performance on the court.


What is the official name of a badminton ball?
The official term for a badminton ball is a "shuttlecock."

What are the different parts of a badminton ball?
A badminton ball, or shuttlecock, consists of a conical array of feathers (or a synthetic equivalent) attached to a cork base.

How is a badminton ball constructed?
The construction of a shuttlecock involves attaching 16 feathers to a cork base. The feathers are usually from a goose or duck, and the cork is covered with a thin layer of leather.

What materials are used to make a badminton ball?
Shuttlecocks are made from feathers and cork. Synthetic shuttlecocks use nylon or other synthetic materials instead of feathers.

Are there different types of badminton balls?
Yes, there are two main types: feathered shuttlecocks and synthetic shuttlecocks.

How does the design of a badminton ball affect gameplay?
The design affects the shuttlecock's flight path, speed, and durability. Feathered shuttlecocks provide a stable and predictable flight path but are less durable. Synthetic shuttlecocks are more durable but offer less control over speed and trajectory.

What is the weight of a standard badminton ball?
A standard shuttlecock weighs between 4.74 to 5.50 grams.

How long does a typical badminton ball last?
The lifespan of a shuttlecock varies depending on the type and how it's used. Feathered shuttlecocks may only last for a single game, while synthetic ones can last for several games.

Can I play badminton with a ball instead of a shuttlecock?
While badminton is traditionally played with a shuttlecock, some variations of the game use a ball. However, this changes the dynamics of the game significantly.

How to maintain and store badminton balls?
Shuttlecocks should be stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. They should not be crushed or squeezed, and usage should be rotated to allow them to recover their shape.

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