Major Rules of Badminton

Although badminton is a popular outdoor recreational sport, competitive badminton is usually played inside. Badminton is a racket sport with similar rules to tennis. Players rally a shuttle across a net to score points. The Badminton World Federation is the international governing body of the sport and publishes the "Laws of Badminton." Singles badminton has one player per side and doubles badminton involves two players per side.


Badminton courts are rectangular. Official court dimensions are 40mm wide by 13.400m long. Court lines should be white or yellow for easy visibility. The posts for the net are 1.55m high. The posts are placed on the doubles sideline for single and doubles play. The net is 6.1m wide, with the top of the net 1.524m off the ground. The shuttle should weigh between 4.74g and 5.50g. Rackets should be no longer than 680mm and no wider than 230mm.

Coin Toss

Before the game, the players participate in a coin toss. The winner of the coin toss has the option of either choosing a courtside or deciding whether they want to serve or receive first.


The serving player and the receiving player stand diagonally opposite each other. Neither player may touch the boundary lines. Both players must have part of both feet on the court during the serve. The server must hit the base of the shuttle with the racket in an upward trajectory. The shuttle must be held below the server's waist. The serving side serves from the right side of the court when that side has no points or an even number of points. The serving side serves from the left side of the court when that side has an odd number of points.


After the serve, the opposing side hits the shuttle back to the serving team. Play continues with each side rallying the shuttle back and forth until it either touches the ground or a player faults.


A player commits a fault during the serve if they serve incorrectly. The server also commits a fault if the shuttle gets caught in the net. In doubles play, if the receiving player's partner hits the shuttle first instead, that side faults.

If the shuttle lands out of bounds, passes through or under the net or lands in the net, the side receives a fault. If the shuttle touches the body or clothes of any player, the side receives a fault. If the shuttle touches anyone or anything outside of the court, the side receives a fault. If the same player hits the shuttle twice in a row, or if a player and his partner hit the shuttle back to back before it goes to the opposite side, the side receives a fault. When the shuttle hits a player's racket, but does not go towards the opposing side, the side receives a fault.

Players commit faults when they touch the net with their rackets, bodies or clothing. If any part of a player crosses to the opposite side of the net, the player receives a fault. Players also receive faults if they distract or obstruct an opposing side during play.


The best of three games makes up a match. The first player to score 21 points wins the game. Each player or team wins a point for each rally won. If a game ties at 20, the first side to gain a two point lead wins. If a game ties at 29, the first side to reach 30 points wins. The winner of a game serves first for the next game.


Players switch sides at the end of the first game. If a third game is required to win the match, the players switch sides after the second game and when one side scores eleven points in the third game.

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About the Author

Heather Potter has more than 10 years experience as a writer. She specializes in travel writing, and her writing has appeared on national websites, including USA Today. She attended Boston University.