The Basic Rules of Badminton: A Complete Guide

The Basic Rules of Badminton: A Complete Guide

Playing a sport without knowing the rules limits the ability of play. Knowing the most basic rules of Badminton before playing is a big must. It is the Badminton World Federation (BWF) who lays down in detail the laws of Badminton.

Each player is expected to follow and abide these rules.

The obvious:

Let’s break down the absolute basics. Badminton is a sport that is played between two player (singles) or four players (doubles). The idea is for a player to score by points against his opponent by hitting a great shot or by forcing his/her opponent to make errors. Once the shuttle falls on the floor of the player, he/she loses the point.

Typically, each match lasts 21 points. In a professional/ tournament setting a best of 3 matches is played.


A game starts with a service. Hence, it becomes one of the most important shots in Badminton. But there are some rules a player must follow before serving. These rules are:

  • The service starts from the even side of the court (that is the right side of the court).
  • While serving, the player needs to make sure that no part of his leg/shoe is touch any of the lines.
  • Serving above the waist is considered a fault.
  • In singles, a service till second base line is allowed, whereas in doubles, anything beyond the first base line is considered out.
  • While serving, the player must serve in one smooth action. He/she can’t stop his/her service mid way.
  • If the shuttle hits the net and falls on the opponent’s side of the court but before the service line, the opponent gets the point.
  • During the entirety of the service, the server’s legs must be planted on the ground. The server may lift just his/her heel or ankle during serve, but cannot drags his/her feet.


To start the rally, a good return of service is expected. There are some things a receiver should keep in mind while receiving service:

  • He/she can’t move before the server contacts the shuttle.
  • He/she can’t make gestures to distract the server.
  • The shuttle should not touch any part of the receiver’s body before he/she hits the shuttle


  • Each match should consist of 21 points
  • Every time a service ends, the player/ his opponent gets a point
  • In the event the score reaches 20 all, a difference of 2 points is played.
  • If the score reaches 29-29, then the player(s) to reach 30 first, win.


Basic singles rules:

There are some rules in singles that differ from doubles. The main difference is area of play. Let’s look at the basic rules of singles:

  • The side lines in singles is out at all times; even during service.
  • The back box is considered in during service, i.e in-between the two base lines.
  • Besides the above service rules and area of play rules, all rules listed above apply.


Basic doubles rules:

As mentioned earlier there are just a few differences in the singles and doubles rules. They are:

  • Area of play for doubles is the full court.
  • However, for service, the back box, i.e in between the two baselines is considered out.
  • You can serve within the sidelines as well.
  • If the server’s side loses the point, the service will get transferred to the opponents. There is no second serve.
  • Besides the above service rules and area of play rules, all rules listed above apply.



Faults are errors in a game that are not allowed. If a player makes a fault, he/she will lose the point. The opponent will gain a point and the service. Besides the service faults listed above, some of the faults are:

  • At any time during play a person hits the net, he/she will lose the point.
  • If during play, the shuttle hits touches a player’s body, they will lose the point.
  • Hitting the shuttle twice is not allowed
  • Once the shuttle has landed on the ground, it cannot be played. The point will be given to the winning side.
  • If the shuttle hits the ceiling, it is a fault.
  • In doubles, if the shuttle nicks/ slightly touches the racket/ body of one player, his/her partner cannot attempt to send the shuttle back. This is considered a fault.


The above stated laws are the most basic rules in Badminton. Knowing the rules is a definite

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