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What you need to know about badminton rules


Badminton is a fun game to play, but if you’re ready to play it by the rules and get competitive instead of improvising in the backyard, then we’ve outlined the basics in the following lines. Before going into the details and becoming a professional, try to get familiar with these few rules so you can get started.  



The aim is to hit the shuttlecock with a racket and send it over the net into the adversary’s half court. Once you do that and the shuttle lands, you win a rally. You can also score if the shuttle hit by the opponent hits the net, goes under it or out of the court.

There is no fixed playing time; the rally ends once the shuttle hits the ground. You can’t hit it more than once, even if you’re playing a double.

There is a 1 or 2 minutes interval between the games and in the third game players switch courts when the score reaches 11 points.

Official contests are held indoors because any breath of wind can send the shuttle off course. The dimensions of the field are 6.1m by 13.4m, and the net has to be set at 1.55m.



A game of badminton can be played by two or four players. When there are two players, each on one side of the net, the game is called singles. When it’s two-against-two, the teams play in doubles.

Depending on the players, these are the badminton kind of games you can play: men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles. Outside of tournaments, players will sometimes compete in teams made of two men and two women respectively.


The lines and service courts

When you start playing, you have to remember what the lines are for, because among other things, that’s what will make your serving correct.

Any badminton court has the lines marked for both singles and doubles, that’s why they won’t make a lot of sense to you at first.

The width of the singles court is drawn by the sidelines that are inside the outermost line, while the outermost line defines the court during a doubles game.

The sidelines for the singles and those for the doubles make a narrow, alley-like side for the court. These are called ‘tramlines’ or ‘side tramlines.’ Another easy way to remember how the courts are used is to keep in mind that the tramlines are ‘in’ for the doubles and ‘out’ for the singles.  


How to serve

The player or team that starts first is usually decided by a coin toss. That gives one of the players or teams the right to serve and thus initiate the game. To prevent the server from gaining too much advantage, there is a series of restrictions that refer to serving.

A serve should be hit underarm and below the server’s waist. It’s not allowed to serve tennis style. In other words, the shuttle must be at a certain height. The maximum point is somewhere at the top of the shorts.

Serving has to take into account the position of the players, the score, and the serving courts. When the score of the server is an even number, he has to serve from the right service court. When his score is even, the left service court is used. That’s why the courts are also known as ‘odd service court’ or ‘even service court.’

The receiver has to stand diagonally from the server, so they’ll be in the same (even or odd) court as the server.  


Singles and Doubles

Winning a rally gives you the right to serve again and losing it means you have to give the service to the opposing player or team. Changing service is easy in the singles matches, but in doubles that could look confusing.

Here’s what happens. At the beginning of the game, the serving pair decides who serves for the first rally, while the receiving pair makes a decision as to who will be diagonally opposite from the server.

Then the odd and even rule is applied. As long as the server and the receiver are diagonally opposed, their partners can stay anywhere on the court, although they have their own service court.

Basically, what happens is that when the serving side wins a rally, they have to swap service courts, while the receivers don’t.

Scoring system

Whoever wins a rally wins the point, and the player or team that reaches 21 points wins the game. That is except the players are tied at 20. In that case, the player or team that scores two points for a lead wins the game.

If neither of the teams has achieved this and the score goes to 29, then the winner is declared when they reach 30. The match is won by taking two out of three games.



Some faults pertain to service, while others concern gameplay or conduct. It’s important to know that the opponent wins a rally if you commit a fault.

The umpire calls a fault if the shuttle is higher than the servers’ waist or the head of the racket is horizontal at the moment when the shuttle is hit. It’s also a fault if the shuttle doesn’t land in the correct service court, if a serve or shot lands outside the court boundaries, passes under the net or through it or touches any other obstructions.

On the other hand, the boundary and service line is considered in play when the shuttle hits them.

It’s forbidden to feint or balk the opponent before the service or during the serve, as it’s also a fault.

In case the server’s feet are not in the service court or if the receiver is not in the court diagonally opposite to them. The player that is serving mustn’t step forward as he or she serves.

Touching the net or hitting the shuttlecock twice are also faults, and the same is valid when you strike the shuttle before it crosses the net.

A few other rules can be added, but since this is not a detailed description, you can use these indications to get the game going.  



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