We know of no entirely satisfactory substitute for the birds and the standard birds are so constructed that they must be carefully handled if a maximum amount of use is to be obtained from them. Beginners should not attempt to flip the birds up from the floor with the racket but should pick them up with the hands. The feathers in the birds should not be allowed to dry out, being kept sufficiently moist by a dampened sponge or blotter placed in the container. Good feathers in partially destroyed birds should be retained for repairing other birds.
The rubber tipped birds, which are a little heavier, are usually used for out-of -door play. They carry truer through the varying outdoor winds, are much faster, and seem to last longer than the cork tipped birds.
A large ordinary sponge, trimmed round to about the size of one’s closed hand, makes quite a satisfactory substitute for the shuttlecocks.
Another method of making a substitute bird is to place a small sponge rubber ball in the center of a 7-inch square of cloth.
The cloth is twisted and tied close to the ball, then cut into tail-like slits that give it somewhat the appearance and effect of the shuttlecock as it is hit and passes through the air.
It might be well to add here a variation of the one- and two-handed games, which is not so scientific but will permit more individuals to participate and tend to develop cooperation through teamwork. In India, where the game was originated, instead of using only one or two players on a side, it is quite a customary practice to use a five-man team and play on courts 36 feet by 78 feet in size. In place of the shuttle, a ball of wool wound on a double disc of cardboard about two and one-fourth inches in diameter is used.
This ball is much faster than the shuttle and if missed by one of a team’s players, may be played by another until it hits the net or ground. This variation will prove advantageous in in- troducing the regulation badminton fundamentals to large groups.