• Introduction
  • The object of the game
  • Scoring in badminton
  • Serving rules in badminton
  • Gameplay
  • Game intervals
  • The badminton court
  • Rules and regulations for badminton equipment
  • Other rules of badminton

Scoring 

  • A match is the best of 3 games of 21 points. 
  • A serve must be delivered below the waist diagonally into the opponent’s service box.
  • The player who wins the rally gets a point
  • If both players are tied at 20, the player who gains a two-point lead wins the game.
  • If both players are at 29 points, the player who scores the 30th point wins the game.
  • The player who wins the game serves first in the next one.

Intervals and Changes

  • When a player reaches 11 points, there is a 60s interval.
  • There is a 2min interval between every game.
  • During the third game, players change ends when the first player reaches 11 points.

Singles gameplay & serving

  • Singles court uses long service lines and narrow sidelines.
  • At the beginning of a game and when the server’s score is even, the player serves from the right service court. 
  • When the server’s score is odd, the player serves from the left service court.
  • If the server wins a rally and scores a point, they serve from the other service court.
  • If the receiver wins a rally and scores a point, they become the new server. The player then serves from the appropriate service court (right if the score is even, left if the score is odd).

Doubles gameplay & serving

  • Doubles court uses short service lines and wide sidelines.
  • A side has only one set.
  • A side has only one attempt to return the shuttle.
  • At the beginning of a game and when the server’s score is even, the player serves from the right service court.
  • When the server’s score is odd, the player serves from the left service court.
  • If the serving side wins a rally and scores a point, they serve from the other service court.
  • If the receiving side wins a rally and scores a point, they become the serving side. 
  • The players change their serving courts whenever they win their own serve. The same player keeps serving until they lose a rally.

Introduction

Badminton has a long history spanning for over 2000 years. It was played in European and Asian civilizations as battledore (bat and paddle) and shuttlecock, where the goal was to simply count how many times you could pass the shuttlecock back to your opponent. In the 1600s Badminton was primarily an upper-class pastime around European countries. 

Modern-day rules of badminton can be traced to mid-19th century British India, where British soldiers added a net into the traditional game of battledore and shuttlecock. This version of the game was later introduced to the Duke of Beaufort at his stately home of Badminton in Gloucestershire, England. From there, the game quickly became popular all over the country by the name of badminton.

Nowadays, Badminton has solidified its place as one of the most well-known racket sports around. It continues to be a popular competitive sport all over Asia and produces some of the world’s best players. 

The object of the game

The object of badminton is relatively simple; you must hit the shuttlecock over the net and try to land it inside your opponent’s side of the court. Of course, your opponent has the same goal and they try to prevent you from returning the shuttle to their side of the court.  

If your opponent is able to return the shuttlecock from your serve, a rally occurs. This rally continues until either player commits a fault, such as hitting the shuttle into the net or out of the court. The player who wins the rally gets a point. 

There are also three variants of badminton; singles (1 vs 1), doubles (2 vs 2) and mixed doubles.

Scoring in badminton

A badminton match consists of the best of three games of 21 points. Thus, the first player to win two games is the winner. In a situation where both players are tied with 20 points, the first player to gain a 2-point lead wins that game. However, if both players are 29 all, the player that scores the 30th point is the winner. The winner of the game also serves first in the next game. 

A player gets a point if they can successfully hit the shuttlecock over the net and land it on your opponent’s court. You also gain a point if your opponent hits the shuttlecock into the net or outside of the court. Note that you can hit the shuttle only once before it goes over the net. This same rule applies to both singles and doubles.

The shuttlecock can also hit the net as long as it falls on your opponent’s side of the court.

Serving rules in badminton

The basic rules of badminton state that players must serve diagonally across the net to their opponent’s side. There is only one serve and it must also be hit underarm and below the waist. Overarm serves are not allowed. Additionally, if a player has an even number of points, they will serve from the right service court. Conversely, an odd number of points indicates that the player must serve from the left service court.

During serving, both players must stand within their service courts with both feet touching the ground. However, neither player can touch the lines while either one is serving. Each serve must be one fluid motion, meaning that the server must not move the racket to distract the receiver. The server should also make sure that the receiver is ready, while not taking too much time to continue the game. In fact, ”undue delay” can lead to point reductions for both players. However, this is up to the umpire’s discretion. 

There are also some other interesting rules for serving. For example, the server must keep the shaft of the racket pointing downward when hitting the shuttle. On top of that, the server’s racket must initially hit the base of the shuttle. Also, if the server misses the shuttle completely, it is not counted and the player may serve again. 

Gameplay 

Once the shuttlecock is at play, players can move freely on their side of the court. Players can also hit the shuttlecock from outside the playing area. Although the shuttlecock can hit the net as long as it bounces to the other side, a player cannot touch the net with a racket or any body part. If this happens, it is deemed a fault and leads to losing that point. Other faults include distracting your opponent, catching the shuttlecock or hitting it twice. Continuously breaking the basic rules of badminton may lead to point reductions, forfeiting a set or even disqualification. These rules are overseen by an umpire and line judges. 

In doubles, the players follow the same serving rules as in singles; when a score is an even number, the player serves from the right side and vice versa. Each side also has only one set. If the serving side wins a rally, the server continues serving from the other service court. However, if the receiving side wins the rally, they score a point and become the serving side. Keep in mind that the players do not switch service courts until they score a point when they are serving.

Game intervals

Once the first player reaches 11 points, there is a 60s break. There is also a two-minute interval after every game, during which players switch ends (sides). In the third game, players also switch ends when the first player reaches 11 points.

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A player serves from the right service court if their score is an even number - and vice versa.

The badminton court

The singles badminton court is 13.41m (44ft) long and 5.18m (17ft) wide. On the other hand, a doubles court has the same length but is slightly wider at 6.1m (20ft). The net is 1.55m (5ft 1in) high at the ends and dips to 1.53m (5ft) in the middle. 

The service line is 1.98m (6.5ft) from the net and also splits in the middle into right and left service courts. There is also a doubles service line 0.76m (2.5ft) from the baseline. All in all, each service court is 3.96m (13ft) long and 2.59m (8.5ft) wide.

Nowadays competitive badminton is only played in indoor facilities on a wood or a synthetic surface.

Rules and regulations for badminton equipment

In addition to athletic apparel, badminton only requires two pieces of equipment; the shuttlecock and the racket.

The shuttlecock, or birdie, is a cone-shaped ”ball” with feathers or synthetic material connected to a cork or rubber base. This design also helps the shuttlecock fly cork first until it is hit again. The birdie is usually 62-70mm (2.44-2.76in) long and weighs anywhere between 4.74g-5.5g (0.17-0.19oz). The tip of the feathers or synthetic material has a diameter of 58-60mm (2.3-2.4in) whereas the cork base has a diameter of 25-28mm (1-1.1in) and a rounded bottom.

The racket consists of an oval-shaped head, slim shaft and a thicker handle (grip). Although badminton rackets come in several materials, head shapes, weights, grip sizes, stiffnesses and balance points, they all have to follow the basic specifications made by the Badminton World Federation (BWF). This states that the length of the string can’t be longer than 27.94cm (11in) and 20.9cm (8.22in) wide. The racket itself can’t be longer than 68cm (26.77in) or wider than 23cm (9.05 in).

Other rules of badminton

The player who serves first can be determined by hitting the shuttlecock upwards – the side that the cork points towards gets to choose which side he plays on or who serves first. If the first player chooses the side, the other player can decide which player goes first – or vice versa. 

The shuttle can touch the net even during a serve, whereas your racket can never touch the net. The shot is considered in if the shuttle lands inside the lines or on the line. In unclear situations, a player or umpire may call a let, which means the same point will be played again. However, a legitimate let should be called immediately and not when the rally is over. In good sportsmanship, the opponent should always thank the player interrupting a rally for safety reasons. 

A let is usually called in situations such as when a shuttle flying in from another court, the other player not being ready for a serve, when the shuttle is caught in the net or when both players have faulted during the same rally. However, some situational differences may be so intricate that it requires you to carry your own badminton rules handbook.

Furthermore, any misuse of the shuttle or racket as well as cursing are also considered faults and may lead to point reductions.

Did you learn anything new about the rules of badminton? Let us know in the comments!

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