Badminton is a racquet sport played by all age groups, and it has a history dating back to the 16th century. This game is played by either 2 players (singles) or 4 players (doubles) and usually played indoors with the Olympics being the peak of the sport.
Besides being a popular Olympic sport, badminton is played, at a recreation level, by millions of people around the world.
The game is straightforward; the goal is to hit the shuttlecock with the racquet over the net to the other side of the court. But, if you want to excel at badminton, you must know the main rules of the game.
These are 25 basic things to know about Badminton rules and regulations.
In badminton, before you start a game, there should be a toss. The player who wins will choose either the side of the court to play from or to become the first to serve. The opponent will take up the remaining choice.
2. The basic rule for winning a point
At the basic level, you win a point whenever the shuttlecock lands in your opponent’s court. The opposing player has the same goal of hitting back the shuttle to your court.
Besides this, you can also win points whenever your opponent makes a mistake, for instance, if he hits the shuttlecock into his own court, into the net, or out of the court.
So, if you feel your opponent’s shot will land outside the court, leave it to hit the ground, but if you choose to hit back the shuttle, then the game will continue. Unlike squash or tennis, where the game continues when the ball bounces, for badminton, the point is over once the shuttlecock hits the ground.
3. Starting the point – Singles
Before the game starts, you and the opponent should stand on the diagonal opposite of the service courts. The game starts at an even score of 0-0, and if the score is odd, a player must serve from the left service area. If the score is even, then you or the opponent must serve from the right side of the court.
Irrespective of who served, the player who wins the rally will serve the next point.
4. Starting the point – Doubles
Like in singles, the serving player and the receiving player need to stand within diagonal on their respective courts. Whenever the score is even, for instance, 0-0, the serving player must stand on the right side of the service court. Likewise, if the score is an odd number, the serving player must start from the left service court. The team that wins the point serves the next one.
5. Where to stand while serving
In both singles and doubles, the serving player must stand in front of the line, which is usually about 2 meters from the net, and hit the shuttlecock diagonally on the opposite service court. If the serving side wins that point, then it keeps the service, but this time it serves from the alternate side based on the current score (odd or even). If the server faults, the receiver wins the point and becomes the new server.
In doubles, the serving player must face diagonally opposite the receiving player. Only the player facing diagonally opposite the serving player is expected to return the service. If the partner of the receiver touches the shuttlecock, it shall become a fault, and the serving team earns a point.
7. Who serves?
In doubles, the two players on each side of the net must have a turn to serve. Besides observing the odd and even score rule, more rules are needed to determine who to serve and where to serve from.
If the serving side scores, the player who served keeps the right to serve but will serve from the other side of the service court. This will continue until the opponents win the right to serve. Even at this point, they will not change the service court yet, since they only change the service court when the serving side wins a point.
8. Scoring system
In badminton, matches are played to the best of three sets. Any side can win a point irrespective of who was serving. For this reason, the opponent’s mistakes will earn the other player points.
In order to win a set, a player must win 21 points; but a player can only be declared the winner of the set if she is leading by a difference of two or more points.
9. Win by two or up 30
If the players tie at 20-20, the set will continue. Eventually, the player who leads by two points will become the winner of the set. And if no player leads the other by a minimum of two points, then the first player to get to 30 points will win the set.
For instance, a set is won if the score is either 22-20, 23-21, 24-22 till 30-28. A set can also be won with a 30-29 score.
10. Changing sides
At the end of each set, players should change ends. Usually, players have a short break between each set; two minutes to be precise. Also, when the second set is over, players may need change ends if a third set will be played. During the third game, the players change ends when one side has scored 11 points.
While it is expected that the game will continue until the end of the match, certain circumstances can affect the course of play, for instance, intervals and delays in play.
Players can have a break not exceeding one minute when the leading side hits 11 points. They can also have a two-minute break as they change side when a set is over. Whenever necessary, the umpire may halt a game. Besides this, a player may leave the court to receive coaching whenever the shuttle is not in play.
12. The shuttlecock and the net
A shuttlecock shall be considered not in play if it has remained intact in the net or suspended on top of it. Also, if the shuttle, during the serve, hits the net and falls on the server’s side, the receiving side will get the point.
13. Services court errors
Service court errors usually occur when a player serves from the wrong side, serves out of turn, or stands in the wrong side while waiting to return the shuttle. If the error is discovered when the next point has already started, the played point should stand.
But if the error is noted before the start of the next point, then the following shall apply:
- If one side made the error and scores a point, it would be a let. If both sides committed the mistake, it should also be a let. However, if the side that committed the error lost the point, the point will not be rectified.
- If there is a let and the error is corrected, the point should be replayed. But if the error remained uncorrected, then the game should continue as it is.
14. Common faults
A fault occurs, for instance, if the player hits the shuttlecock into the net, or when the player has served from the wrong side of the court. Fault can also occur when shuttlecock lands outside the court. Finally, it’s also considered a fault when the shuttlecock passes under the net.
15. Faults against opponent
It is also a fault if you invade your opponent’s court over the net either with your body or racquet in a way that obstructs your opponent, though there are exemptions to this.
If you invade your opponent’s side of the court under the net in a way that obstructs or prevents your opponent from hitting the shuttle, it will be counted as a fault, and your opponent will earn a point.
Finally, if you deliberately shout or make any gestures that are likely to distract your opponent, it’ll be considered a fault.
16. Can you hit the shuttle twice in a row?
It is considered a fault, if you hit the shuttlecock more than once in a row, for instance, hitting the shuttle two times with two swings.
Lets can be called by the umpire, and in the absence of the umpire, by any of the players. In most cases, a let is given under the following circumstances:
- When the server hit the shuttle before the receiver is ready.
- When the server and the receiver, during service, are at fault at the same time.
- Whenever the shuttlecock is suspended on top of the net or after passing over the net, remains attached to the net.
- When the line judge is unable to make a call, and the umpire cannot make a decision.
- When the shuttle disintegrates during the point such that the base is completely detached from the shuttlecock.
18. Court size
The court size will depend on whether the game is singles or doubles. If it is singles, the court measures are 13.4m (43.9ft) by 5.18m (17ft), and it’s divided into two equal sections. For doubles, the court is slightly larger; the width is increased to 6.1m(20ft).
Needless to say, the court needs to be rectangular.
19. Service boundaries
For singles and doubles, the court usually stretches full length from baseline to baseline. However, the service boundaries differ for singles and doubles. For singles, the serving area is longer but narrower, and for doubles, it’s shorter but wider.
The court shall be defined by lines. These lines need to be easily distinguishable. White or yellow markings are preferred. These lines will together form part of the sections they define on the court.
21. Net & posts
The net divides the court into two equal sections and should be raised 1.5m (4.9ft) from the ground. The posts should stand vertical when the net is stretched and should stand 1.55 meters from the surface. These posts should not extend beyond the boundary lines.
According to the Badminton World Federation (BWF), the net needs to be made from fine fabric with a mesh measuring 15 – 20 mm.
The shuttlecock should be made from synthetic or natural materials. Besides this, the shuttle needs to produce similar flight characteristics as a natural feathered shuttle, and it should have a cork base made from a thin layer of leather.
For feathered shuttles, they should have 16 feathers held together on a firm base. For non-feathered shuttles, the skirt needs to replace natural feathers.
With the exemption of breaks and/or play suspension, players are not allowed to intentionally delay the game or act in a way that breaches the Laws of Badminton.
They are also expected to behave in a non-offensive manner. Deliberately damaging or modifying the shuttle is also highly prohibited.
24. Match Officials
In badminton, the referee remains the overall leader, as well as the principal authority of the tournament. But the umpire, whenever appointed, is the person in charge of the match, which includes the entire court and the immediate surrounding areas.
The line judge shall determine if the shuttle falls within or outside the marked lines, while the service judge monitors the server to identify faults. The decision made by these officials shall remain final, but when it is beyond any reasonable doubt that either the line or service judge has made a wrong call, then the umpire reserves the right to overrule the decision.
25. Other rules to keep in mind
If by any chance you miss the shuttle while serving, you are allowed to serve again as long as the racquet did not touch the shuttle during the attempt.
If while returning a service the shuttle touches the net, it is a let as long as the service was good. Birdies that hit the line, or hit the net as they cross are considered good.
So, that’s it! These are 25 rules that we think you should know as a badminton player. If you think we should add other rules, share them with us know on the comment section. Also, if there is any misinformation about the rules, please let us know, as well.
Thanks for reading!