As an avid badminton player, I understand the importance of following the rules in order to have an enjoyable game. In this guide, I will provide you with all the information you need to know about badminton rules so that you can play with confidence and skill.
I enjoy playing badminton, which is a racquet sport that originated in India and has now become a popular pastime all over the world. In this game, a shuttlecock and a racquet are used, and the objective is to hit the shuttlecock over the net and into the opponent’s court. As a player, I understand that knowing the rules is crucial to playing the game effectively and safely.
- Court Dimensions and Markings: The badminton court is rectangular and divided into halves by a net. The dimensions of the court are 20 feet by 44 feet for singles and 20 feet by 20 feet for doubles. The court is marked with lines that define the boundaries of the court, including the sidelines, back boundary lines, and service lines.
- Equipment Requirements: To play badminton, you need a shuttlecock, a racquet, and a court. The shuttlecock can be made of feathers or synthetic materials, while the racquet is typically made of lightweight materials such as carbon fiber or aluminum.
- Scoring System: A game of badminton is played to 21 points, with a point awarded for every rally won. The first player to reach 21 points wins the game, provided they have a two-point lead. If the score reaches 29-all, the next point scored determines the winner.
- Serving Rules: The server must stand within the service court and hit the shuttlecock over the net to the opponent’s service court. The serve must be made diagonally, and the shuttlecock must be below the server’s waist when struck.
- Faults and Lets: A fault is committed when a player violates a rule. A let is called when a rally is interrupted for any reason other than a fault. For example, if the shuttlecock hits the net during a rally, a let is called, and the rally is replayed.
- Serving and Receiving: In singles, the server serves from the right side of the court, and the receiver stands on the left side of the court. After the serve, the players can move anywhere on the court.
- Movement Restrictions: In singles, the player must cover the entire court alone and cannot touch the net with their racquet or body.
- Court Positioning: In singles, the players must stay within the court boundaries and cannot step on the lines while the shuttlecock is in play.
- Serving and Receiving: In doubles, the server serves from the right side of the court, and the receiver stands on the opposite side of the court. After the serve, the players can move anywhere on the court.
- Court Positioning: In doubles, the players must stay within their designated service court and cannot cross the centerline or touch the net with their racquet or body.
- Communication Between Partners: In doubles, the players must communicate effectively to avoid collisions and to cover the court effectively.
- Strategies and Techniques: Advanced players use strategies such as attacking, defending, and changing the pace of the game to gain an advantage.
- Fouls and Disqualifications: Fouls can result in the loss of a point, while disqualifications can occur for repeated or serious violations.
- International Badminton Rules: International badminton rules are used in competitive play and include specific regulations for equipment, court dimensions, and game format.
To play badminton, we need a court with a net, a badminton racket, and a shuttlecock. A standard badminton court is 44 feet by 20 feet and marked off with service lines, center lines, and boundary lines for singles and doubles games. Read more about the court dimensions and lines here.
Badminton rackets are typically very lightweight and have a stringed area that is used to hit the shuttlecock. The shuttlecock can be made of cork with goose feathers or synthetic materials like plastic. We can buy badminton rackets and shuttlecocks separately or together in sets that include a shuttlecock and either two or four rackets.
The Basic Object
In badminton, our goal is to hit the shuttlecock over the net and have it land on the ground on my opponent’s side of the net within the court boundaries. As a player or a team, we need to get to 21 points with a two-point lead in order to win the game.
To start the game, we decide who serves first by throwing the shuttlecock in the air and seeing which person or team the cork or base of the shuttlecock faces when it lands. Then, we or our team must hit the shuttlecock over the net to the receiver’s service area of the court, which is diagonally opposite our service area.
There are a few basic rules about serving in badminton. First, we must stand inside our service area with our feet in contact with the court until the serve is made. The server must hit the shuttlecock from below the waist using an underarm serve with the head of the racket pointing down. Our racket must connect with the base of the shuttlecock.
After the first serve, we rally to hit the shuttlecock over the net. We can only hit the shuttlecock one time to get it over the net. This applies even in a doubles match where there are two players on either side of the net, meaning our team can only hit the shuttlecock once to get it over the net. We can also only hit the shuttlecock from our side of the net.
In badminton, we can score points in different ways. One is by hitting the shuttlecock over the net and making it land on my opponent’s side of the net within the court boundaries. If we successfully do this, we win the rally and earn a point. Another way to earn points is by taking advantage of our opponent’s mistakes, which are called faults. For instance, if an opponent hits the shuttlecock into or under the net, out of bounds, or into the net posts, they lose the rally and we earn a point.
How to Win a Badminton Game
As a player or a team, we aim to earn 21 points to win the set. It’s important to keep in mind that we need to win with a two-point lead. For example, if my score is 20-21, I must keep playing until I am two points ahead of my opponent. If both of us have tied at 29 points, the next point will determine the winner of the set. In professional badminton, we need to win the best two out of three sets to win the match.
Faults in Badminton
Faults are anything that can cause you to lose a rally and earn the opposing team a point. These are the basic faults in badminton:
- Serving incorrectly
- The shuttlecock hits the net or posts
- The shuttlecock lands out of bounds
- A player hits the shuttlecock with anything that is not the racket (e.g. limbs, clothing, etc.)
- A player hits the shuttlecock twice in succession
- A player catches the shuttlecock on their racket and slings it over the net
- A player hits the shuttlecock before it makes it over their side of the net (reaching over the net to hit the shuttlecock)
- A player hits the net with their racket or body during play
- A receiver moves their feet before the server makes contact with the shuttlecock
- Both players in a doubles game hit the shuttlecock on one play
- A player deliberately distracts their opponent(s) with a specific action like shouting or gesturing
In badminton, we use ‘lets’ as a reason to pause the game and start the rally over again. Some common reasons for a let include when I serve before my opponent is ready, the shuttlecock gets caught on the net after passing over the net, or when an unforeseen accident happens. In case of a let, I start the rally again with my serve.
When I play professional badminton, there is usually a referee who calls the faults and lets. However, when I play backyard badminton, I don’t have the luxury of having a referee. Therefore, I keep a guide handy so that I can refer to it whenever there are any plays in question or disputes.
Maintaining sportsmanship and respect towards other players and officials is crucial in badminton etiquette. In this section, I will cover some common etiquette rules that we need to keep in mind while playing badminton.
- Respect for Opponents and Officials
- Greeting opponents before and after the game
- Refraining from unsportsmanlike behavior
- Accepting the umpire’s decision
- Fair Play and Sportsmanship
- Avoiding cheating and playing with integrity
- Encouraging opponents during the game
- Displaying good sportsmanship, win or lose
- Conduct During the Game
- Avoiding distractions during the game
- Waiting for your opponent to be ready before serving
- Adhering to time limits and game schedules
In conclusion, I would like to emphasize that knowing and following badminton rules is crucial for me to enjoy the game and play it safely. Throughout this article, we have covered the basic and advanced rules, singles and doubles rules, badminton etiquette, and training tips. As a beginner or seasoned player, following these guidelines will help me improve my skills and enjoy the game even more. I will always remember to play with respect, fairness, and sportsmanship, whether I win or lose.