Badminton Vs. Tennis: Which Is More Challenging?


Justin Ma - March 15, 2023 - 0 comments

In an earlier post, we covered a complete rundown of the differences between tennis and badminton. But you might still be asking yourself the ultimate question: Which one is more challenging

Is tennis tougher, since the racket is heavier and the court is larger? Or is badminton harder due to the precision and explosive movement you’ll need to succeed?

Although these two sports are similar at first glance, there’s a lot to look at before you can say which is more difficult. Below, we’ll dive into the techniques, intensity, match length, and more to decide whether badminton vs. tennis is the harder sport.

The Differences In Techniques

Is badminton harder than tennis? Or is it the other way around? As a first step in answering this question, we can look at the techniques used in each sport. 

Footwork is a key aspect of both. But in badminton, you can expect to do a lot of high-intensity jumping and upward movement — especially in competitive play. Tennis, on the other hand, requires near-constant sprinting and side-to-side movement to retrieve the ball.

While badminton shots do require strength, they must also be extremely sharp and accurate to perform well. In tennis, shots rely more on power and slightly less on accuracy. And in both sports, higher-level games require advanced skills like spinning, slicing, and deception.

Court Size and Equipment

The surface area of a tennis court is around three times bigger than a badminton court — meaning you’ll have to traverse further distances while playing tennis. This means you can expect to run during a tennis match, while you’ll probably move in quicker, shorter spurts during badminton.

Because the average weight of a tennis racket (around 300 grams) is much heavier than a badminton racket, tennis shots require more overall arm strength and power. Badminton rackets are lighter (around 70 to 90 grams), making them slightly easier to wield through the air. However, the movements tend to be sharper, snappier, and quicker — meaning you’ll still need to have plenty of forearm, wrist, and shoulder strength. 

Endurance, Stamina, & Length of Games

Tennis is an endurance-focused game, with the classic best-of-three match often lasting around 90 minutes. And for the pros, a single tennis match can go on for several hours. 

On the flip side, the longest-ever badminton match was just two hours and 41 minutes long during the 2016 Asian Championships. But the average badminton match can be over in 30 to 45 minutes. 

So, what about the rest periods in tennis vs. badminton? Total break time can make a major difference in how exhausting each sport can be. Here’s how they compare in this arena:

  • Badminton offers a two-minute break in between each game. During each game, players can also take a 60-second rest when the leading score reaches 11 points. With these stricter break rules, badminton matches tend to have more time with the shuttle in play
  • Tennis matches tend to offer more break time overall. One article by the Wall Street Journal found that the active playtime in two tennis matches averaged out to 17.5%.

Physical Exertion & Calories Burned

The energy it takes to get through a badminton vs. tennis match can tell a lot about how demanding the sport is — at least when it comes to physical exertion. As a casual badminton player, you can expect to burn around 300 calories per hour. And for competitive play, you could be burning twice as much.

What about tennis? One source notes that competitive tennis can reach up to 775 calories per hour, while more casual games can burn around the 350 to 500 mark. The extra calories burned in tennis likely have to do with the sheer amount of running in each game (along with the use of a heavier racket). 

The Bottom Line: Is Badminton Harder Than Tennis?

Even though you might see badminton vs. tennis compared frequently, they differ in many ways. Badminton is a precision-focused game that all takes place on a smaller court — meaning it’s packed with short, explosive movement. It also involves a lot more jumping and 3D motions, as opposed to sprinting further distances.

Tennis, on the other hand, is a sport that involves tons of sheer power. The heavier racket, combined with the much larger court size, makes for a serious workout. And although the matches go on for longer than they do in badminton, they tend to offer more break time overall.

If you’re looking at calories burned, tennis may very well take the win. But if you combine the need for accuracy, explosive movement, and an endless variety of skillful shot techniques, it’s tough to say which sport is truly harder. And ultimately, it may very well depend on the player.

More Badminton Resources

For more resources on all things badminton, explore the Badminton Justin blog or subscribe to the YouTube channel today.

Justin Ma

I am passionate about helping people find joy in playing badminton, while also showing them how competitive the sport can be.

Justin Ma

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