Why do badminton players change ends in a match?

Racquet sports are those wherein a net divides a play court in two halves. On each half of the net, a player hits shots with their racquet to make sure it lands within bounds in their opponent’s half of the court. Players win points when they hit a shot that is within bounds and is beyond the reach of their opponent or when the opponent sends the ball or shuttle into the net.

Professional badminton is played in indoor conditions. Each professional event that is governed by the Badminton World Federation has to ensure that the badminton facility has adequate air circulation and lighting. Just like any other racquet sport, players change ends after a certain number of games or sets (depending on the scoring system). The reason behind changing ends is that players get an unbiased chance from either side of the net, thereby eliminating any potential bias arising due to air circulation or lighting from each end.

In professional badminton, change of ends depends on the scoring system used. If a match is played as a single game of 21 points, then ends change when a player or pair reaches 11 points. If a best of three games format is followed, then each game is worth 15 points. Here, ends change in the third game after a side or player scores 8 points.

Finally, if a match is played in the best of five games format, then each game is worth 11 points. The first change of ends takes place at the end of the second game. The second change of ends take place at the end of the third game (if a game has to play out a fourth game). The third change of ends take place at the fourth game (if a game has to go to a fifth game). The final change of ends take place in the fifth game when a side or player first scores six points.

Change of ends thus ensures fair play and eliminates any unambiguity in a match.

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