Badminton Rules and Regulations

Termed as the fastest racket sport, a player in a competitive badminton match is believed to cover around 4 miles on court. It made an Olympic debut in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. If you’re a young badminton enthusiast, or a beginner who would like to try your hand at the game, I’m sure you would be interested in acquainting yourself with some basic ‘laws’ of playing this game.

Badminton has five disciplines, namely, men’s singles, ladies’ singles, men’s doubles, ladies’ doubles and the mixed doubles, just like table tennis and lawn tennis. In case of singles, flexibility is the key, whereas in doubles, teamwork is the success formula. Let us take a look at some vital rules and regulations of the game.


➺ The prime objective of badminton is to strike the shuttlecock with the racket in such a way that the shuttlecock does not hit the net and falls back on the side of the server.
➺ The shuttlecock must cross over to the opponent’s side.
➺ At the same time, the shuttlecock should not land outside the lines which limit the court boundaries.
➺ A player or a team winning the first two sets wins the match.
➺ Since 2006, the game consists of three sets of 21 points each (the score can go above 21 points to a maximum of 30 points), wherein a player or a team has to win two sets to win the match.


Somebody has to start the play by striking the shuttlecock, and the shuttle being hit for the first time in the rally is called a serve.

➺ A toss is used to determine as to which player or team will serve. The winner of the toss has the right to decide whether or not to serve, and also choose the side of the court to start the play.
➺ The first serve of each set is to be played from the right half of the court to the diagonally opposite half of the receiver.
➺ The foot of neither the serving player nor the receiving player must go off the surface of the court until the service is complete.
➺ The service starts from the right side of the court if the serving side’s score is an even number. In this case the court is called an even service court. Likewise, there exists an odd service court for serving, on the left side when the score is odd.
➺ Same is the case in doubles, but if the serving team wins a point the same person of the serving team continues to serve and does not rotate the serve to the partner.
➺ The server and the receiver will stand simultaneously in their respective even service courts or odd service courts for service.
➺ Only a serving side can change service courts, provided it wins a point.
➺ Even though the receiving side gets the opportunity to serve on winning a point, it cannot change service courts and the serve depends on the scoreline.
➺ If the scoreline is an even number then the player in the even service court serves and vice versa.
➺ While serving, the server must place the shuttlecock below the waist.
➺ The side winning a set or a game serves first in the next game.


A score or a scoreline is of utmost importance, as it is the match decider. A match comprises the best of three sets. The side winning 21 points or 30 points, as the case may be, wins the set.

➺ The beginner of the rally, known as the server, starts with a scoreline of 0-0, also known as ‘love-all.’
➺ Every side gets one point each on winning a rally.
➺ When the receiving side makes a fault, the serving side not only gets a point but also continues to serve with the scoreline of 1-0.
➺ When the receiving side wins a rally, it earns a point and becomes the new serving side.
➺ If the scoreline is 4-1 in favor of the server, and the server loses the rally, the receiver earns a point.
➺The scoreline then becomes 4-2, with the receiver getting to serve.
➺ The receiver becomes the new server but the scoreline is always referred to as 4-2 in favor of the leading side.
➺ When each side has the same score like 7 points each or 12 points each, then it is termed as ‘7-all’ and ’12-all’ respectively.
➺ A set consists of 21 points and the player or team scoring 21 points first, wins the set.
➺ However, if both sides have an equal score of 20 each i.e. 20-20, a tie breaker is used to determine the winner.
➺ In the tie breaker, the side scoring 2 points more than the opponent wins the set. This means a difference of 2 points; a scoreline of 22-20 or 23-21, or 27-25 to win the set.
➺ When the scoreline is 29-29, then the side securing the immediate point wins the set with a score of 30-29. In this case the difference of two points is not considered for winning a set.
➺ A side has to win two sets in order to win the match.
➺ A third set is played only when each side has won a set each, as a match is the best of three sets.
➺ It is in the third set, also known as the deciding set, that the player or team on reaching 11 points changes sides.
➺ There exists a 60-second break when one team reaches 11 points and a 2-minute break after each set.


In order to end a rally and gain a point, one side ought to make an error commonly termed as a fault.

➺ A player touching the net or the poles with the racket, in person or with a part of his clothing.
➺ The player storming into the opponent’s side of the court.
➺ The player invading into the opponent’s side under the net such that the opponent is obstructed and disturbed.
➺ The receiver’s partner hitting the shuttle (in case of doubles).
➺ The shuttle passing through or under the net.
➺ Settling of the shuttle outside the lines that demarcate the court boundaries.
➺ The shuttle being hit twice by the player or being hit by the opponent and the opponent’s partner.
➺ A wrong serve, as there exists no two chances to serve unlike lawn tennis.
➺ The shuttle hitting the ceiling or the sidewalls.


➺ Drop: It is a gentle shot placed slowly. It requires utmost precision to win a point on such a shot. It is considered as a shot in disguise as the shuttle, just clears the net.
➺ Smash: As the word suggests, it is a vigorous and commanding shot. It is considered the best shot when hit from above the height of the net.
➺ Flick: The shot, which is tough to play takes the opponent by complete surprise. Wrist rotation is the key for this shot.
➺ Drive: Similar to smash in terms of speed, this shot passes low just over the net. It cuts down horizontally, immediately after crossing the net.

Related Facts

➺ Court: Rectangular in shape and bisected at the center, the court measures 13.4 meters in length and 5.1 meters wide for singles and 6.1 meters wide for doubles.
➺ Net: Acting as a barricade, distinguishing the two sides of the court, the net stands at a height of 1.524 meters in the center and 1.55 meters at the edges.
➺ Racket: There exists no specific rule with regards to the size, type, and make of the racket. Normally the racket weight varies between 80 to 100 grams, and its length is about 680 millimeters.
➺ Side lines and Back lines: The side line and the back line, limit the width and the length of the court respectively, and are not the same for singles and doubles. For singles, the inner side line and the outer back line of the court form the overall boundary, while for doubles, the outer side line and the inner back line constitute the boundary.
➺ Shuttle: Whether made up naturally out of goose feathers or synthetic material, it travels at a great speed and has the flight characteristics.

The overall responsibility, authority, and accountability for International Badminton descends on the Badminton World Federation (BWF), formerly known as International Badminton Federation. Set up in 1934 with 9 founder member countries, the BWF now has more than 150 countries due to the prominence of the sport worldwide. Considered to be a very popular sport, the key to a player’s success would be quick reflexes, precision, agility, and immense stamina.

Badminton Court Dimensions

Diagonal Length
The diagonal length of every badminton court has to be 14.723 m.
Badminton is a game that demands strength, agility, and precision. It is one of my personal favorites. To build a court for this game, one needs knowledge of the standard dimensions. The right dimensions ensure the right playing space. This article is aimed at discussing these court measurements, decided upon by the international body that regulates affairs, related to badminton.

The game has its origins in colonial India and has a special connection with the city of Pune, in India, where it was first played. A badminton court is designed for singles and doubles plays. It is sectioned in a fashion, that’s similar to a lawn tennis court, but the measurements are different, along with the rules.

It is necessary that the dimensions of a badminton court are standardized, as it is a game played at the international level. That’s why, if you are building a new court, it’s necessary that you have the right court size. It ensures that the court can be used for tournaments and gives it wider recognition. Precision matters when it comes to badminton and the same goes for the court dimensions. The rules are set by the Badminton World Federation.

Standard Badminton Court Dimensions
badminton court dimensions
To start with, let us understand the basic structure of a badminton court. Its shape is rectangular, and bisecting the court exactly at the center, is a hoisted net, set on parallel poles. This net divides the court into a playing space for opposite players.

The court is marked with lines that limit the playing space. There are separate bordering lines for singles and doubles play. There is a central line that runs in both halves of the court, subdividing it, into four parts.

The width of the court must be 20 feet or roughly 6.1 meters, according to international rules. The length is limited to 44 feet or roughly 13.4 meters. Each one of the white or yellow lines, that mark the court boundaries, should be precisely 40 mm in width. Therefore, the total play area of the court is 880 square feet Or 81.74 square meters.

In singles competitions, the court dimensions are a bit altered. The width of the court for singles is lesser and is limited to 17 feet or 5.18 meters, by an inner boundary line, while the length remains the same. Thus, in singles, the players can exploit the full length of the court, but not the entire width. In short, the court for singles is narrow, but long.

The short service line is placed parallel to the net, at a distance of 6 feet 6 inches (1.98 meters) from the net, in both halves. Then there is a service center line which divides the court into two, width wise, and starts from the short service line. This center line is placed in such a way, that it divides each half court on both sides of the net, into exact halves.

In doubles play, there is a long service line at the end of both the court halves, away from the net. This long service line for doubles is marked at 2 feet 6 inch (0.76 meters) from the back boundary. This creates two types of lobbies, which are the back lobbies and the side lobbies. The side lobbies are only used in a doubles game. Also, there should be at least 5 ft of run-off area on each side of the court.

Net Measurements
net measurements
As illustrated in the diagram presented above, the net poles should be at a height of 5 feet 1 inch (1.55 meters) at the edges (poles) but it should be at a height of 5 feet (1.524 meters), at the net center. The mesh size of the net should at least be 15 mm or 20 mm at the most. The width of the net must be at least 6.1 meters. That concludes our short overview of the measurements.

How to Play Badminton

Well, let’s get to the basics first. Badminton is a game played with a racket and a shuttlecock (known as shuttle birdie in some parts of the world), between two or four players. It was introduced into the Olympics in 1992 as men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s doubles, and mixed doubles. Badminton is an indoor game. There are several similarities between badminton and tennis; and also an equal number of differences. However, playing badminton is considered easier than tennis; though many will disagree. Here is brief information about playing badminton that will be helpful for beginners.

Badminton Tips for Beginners

Apart from the racket and the birdie, there are several other terms used in badminton that you need to be aware of before beginning to play. The movement of the birdie is affected by the wind, and hence, badminton is always played indoors. Similarly, the most basic thing to remember is to use proper technique and strength to hit the shuttle back, and score points. Now that you know the terms, let us see how to play and score in badminton.

Game Play

  • Both, the server and the opponent should stand inside their service courts during the serve.
  • In singles as well as doubles, the serve is always done diagonally from one’s own right corner to the right corner of the opponent.
  • Now, unlike tennis, the birdie should not bounce on the opponent’s court before he hits it. It is a direct shot between the server and the opponent.
  • The serve should always be done underhand. You can either serve forehand or backhand. However, you should make sure that the serve is underhand.
  • The opponent should try to hit the birdie back to the server, without touching the net.
  • The back and forth hitting continues until the birdie falls on the ground.
  • The lift, the push, and the drive are the common shots that are used while hitting the birdie back to the opponent.
  • If the birdie is below the height of the net, you need to lift the birdie upwards to send it back to the opponent’s court.
  • Secondly, you can push very slowly to the opponent’s court too. Thirdly, you can drive it flat to the opponent’s court with full strength.
  • Lastly, you should note that you can hit the birdie only once in order to defend / attack and send it back. No double shots or hitting the birdie twice (by the same player) is allowed.


  • The professional game of badminton is a match of best of three games. A single game comprises 21 points, with a minimum difference of 2 points to win.
  • The player gains a point if the opponent fails to hit the birdie back, hits the birdie into the net, if the birdie lands out of the court, if the shuttle touches any of the body part of the opponent.
  • If the person serving loses the point, the service is immediately changed, and the opponent serves next.
  • Now, in case of a doubles’ match, if the serving team scores, the same person serves, but to a different opponent.
  • On the other hand, if the opponent team wins the point, and the new score is in odd number, then the player in the left service court serves. Secondly, if the new score is in even number, then the player in the right service court serves.

These are the rules, tips and techniques on playing badminton for beginners. Note that mastering these basic techniques and using them in the right manner can help in playing the game in a better way. Good luck!

How to Grip a Badminton Racket

Badminton is a very popular sport amongst many people from all around the world, and this is a game that comes naturally to many people. Learning the game is not that difficult at all, and the rules are also very simple to understand. All you need to do is hit the shuttlecock between the players with the help of a badminton racket. Official games have a net that needs to be scaled, and unofficial games between friends and family members can be played pretty much anywhere.

When someone is looking to play badminton for the first time, or even when someone is looking to improve their game, the first thing that they should do is learn how to grip the racket properly. The right grip can affect one’s game majorly, so it is absolutely essential to learn the correct technique involved. Anyone who is experiencing difficulties with gripping the racket will definitely have a hard time playing the game properly and learning other aspects of badminton as well.

The Badminton Racket

Badminton rackets have traditionally been very light, and they typically weigh anything between 70 and 95 grams. The materials used for manufacturing these rackets are varied in nature, but they are typically composed of carbon fiber composites, graphite reinforced plastic or even solid steel. In the beginning, badminton rackets were made of wood or aluminum. The shape of the rest of the racket is oval, but some new rackets are also shaped isometrically. The head has many taut strings that are pulled tight so that they can transfer kinetic energy easily, and some rackets even have materials like carbon nanotubes or fullerene in order to increase the transfer of this energy.

The strings (which are generally made of nylon) generally have a thickness of about 0.62 – 0.73 mm and the tension at which they are tied makes a big difference in the shots that a player makes. Strings with lower tension provide more powerful shots, whereas strings with higher tension improve the control and the direction of the shots. When it comes to the grip of the racket, it is the personal choice of the player that gains importance. Sweaty palms can affect the grip in many different ways, so the player must choose between a towel-like material grip or a polyurethane synthetic grip.

Gripping the Racket Right

The shape of the grip of the badminton racket is octagonal, and each of these sides are known as bevels. You should also be aware that when you hold the racket, you should relax your forearm muscles. Gripping the racket too tightly will spoil the shots you make, and this is something that most people do not realize. You should only tighten your muscles when you are actually hitting the shuttlecock, but at other times you should hold the racket in a flexible manner so that you can shift it around in your hand easily.

In order to learn the proper grip, you must hold the racket so that the face is perpendicular to the ground. Now you must extend your right hand towards the grip as if you are shaking hands with the racket. Now simply wrap your fingers around the racket, and move your thumb so that you feel comfortable. You can further adjust the thumb and the index finger to get to the most comfortable position. Now move the racket around and see if you can do so freely. This is the best way to grip a racket in order to play a forehand shot, and even to play a backhand shot in most cases. Many experienced players say that the best way to see if your grip is right, is to check if there is a V-shape between your thumb and your index finger when you see the back of your hand. If this position fits the V-shape then the grip is absolutely correct.

While this orthodox forehand grip is great for playing backhand shots, you can also use the common backhand grip for playing such shots. In order to do this you will have to break the V-shape of the thumb and the index finger, and move the thumb higher up the grip than the index finger. The biggest benefit of this grip is that the individual can exert greater leverage on the racket by pressing the thumb downwards. A third grip known as the frying pan grip is also commonly used and in this case you will need to grip the racket in the same manner as in the forehand grip. The only difference here is that the face of the racket should be parallel to the ground, rather than perpendicular to it. This grip allows one to freely play forehand shots and backhand shots without changing the grip in the middle of the game.

All these tips are commonly known to many players, and anyone who is starting to play the game should also be well aware of this. You can try experimenting with a few grips before you settle on one that you are comfortable with, and this is something that you should never forget. It is far more important to grip the racket in a manner that comforts you, rather than just blindly follow a predetermined grip.

Badminton Terms

Badminton, a sport played with rackets and shuttlecocks, is a popular game today. Due to its increasing popularity, the game was included as an Olympic sport in 1992. The game involves two opposing players (singles) or two opposing pairs (doubles). The objective is to hit the shuttlecock into the opponent’s half of the court.

A racket is the equipment used by badminton players to hit a shuttlecock. It weighs about 3 ounces, and is 27 inches long. Nowadays, the frame is usually made of boron, graphite, carbon, or ceramic. They are also made of carbon fiber and graphite-plastic composite. These materials allow the player to have better control of the shuttlecock defensively, and generate more power while smashing. The strings are made up of either synthetic or natural material. Natural strings are made up of pig gut, and give better control and feel, but are expensive and are less durable.

Also known as the birdie, it is the projectile that is used in shot exchange when playing badminton. It is conical in shape, and is open on one side. The base consists of the cork, which is covered with a layer of leather. Feathers, usually belonging to a duck or goose, are embedded in the cork. The feathers give the aerodynamic quality to the birdie. However, with the advancement of the game, shots have become increasingly powerful, and rallies have become longer. This results in damage to the shuttlecock, where it breaks after 2-3 rallies. Hence, shuttlecock manufacturers make them with nylon skirts instead of feathers. This makes the birdies more durable, and hence, last longer.

Serve or Service
During service, opponents stand in diagonally opposite service courts. The server then hits the shuttlecock in the opponent’s service court. The service requires the server to hit the shuttlecock below waist-height, with the racket-head pointing down.

Service Court
The bounded area of the court, where, after service, the shuttlecock is allowed to land, is termed as the service court. The service court is different for singles and doubles. If the shuttlecock lands anywhere outside the service area, it is a fault or a wrong serve.

Short Service Line
The line which is 1.98 meter away from the net, is the short service line. The serve must reach beyond this line to be legal. If the service fall short of this line, it is a wrong serve or a fault.

A match is nothing but the number of games played to decide a winner.

The court is the area where the game is played, and is defined by the outer boundary lines.

Center Line
It is that line which runs perpendicular to the net. It is also a line that divides the right and left service courts.

Long Service Line
At the end of the court, there are two lines in each half. In doubles, the line on the inside determines the end of the court, i.e., doubles long service line. In singles, out of these two lines, the one on the outside determines the end of the court, that is the singles long service line. This means, for serves, the court length for singles is longer than that of doubles by 0.76 meters.

The forecourt is the area between the net and the short service line. This is the area of the court where the drop shots usually land.

Mid court
The mid court is the section of the court which is halfway between the boundary line at the back and the net. Smashes are aimed at the extremities of this part of the court.

The area between the parallel lines on either side of a badminton court is known as the alley. This is also known as the third court. This area is where a lob, drive, or a long serve usually lands. This area of the court is also called a back alley by badminton players.

A clear is a shot which is struck in such a way that it goes deep into the opponent’s court. This shot is also known as a toss. This shot is usually accompanied with height, so that the player who has hit it, has sufficient time to recover his position.

When a player hits the shuttle low and fast, so that it goes horizontally just over the net, it is called a drive.

It’s a shot wherein the player hits the shuttle in such a way, that it falls close to the net on the opponent’s side.

A flick is used in serving, and when playing defensive shots. There is a sudden movement in the wrists along with the forearm movement, which converts a short serve into a long one. Hence, this helps in deception. This shot is also used when the player is retrieving a drop shot. Here, the player might feign a drop shot, and instead, with a flick hit a lob instead.

Hairpin Net Shot
A hairpin net shot has two versions. One is the serve version, where the server hits the shuttle from a low height. Here, the shuttlecock just clears the net, and lands just beyond the short service line. In the other version, the player hit the shuttle so that it lands just inside the opponent’s court, barely clearing the net. The risk while attempting this shot is that the shuttle may fail to clear the net, because of the tight hairpin-like trajectory.

Half Court Shot
A half court shot is one wherein a player who serves, hits and directs the shuttlecock so that it goes towards the middle of the court.

Push Shot
A push shot is one wherein a serving player gently pushes the shuttle with a slight wrist movement. This shot is usually played from the mid court or the net to the mid court of the opponent.

When the players hit the shuttlecock back and forth a number of times, before one of the players scores a point, is called a rally.

The Court Area
The area of a badminton court is 13.4 meters long, 6.1 meters wide, and is rectangular in shape. While playing doubles, the complete court width is used. This width is reduced to 5.18 meters while playing singles. The service area is indicated by the horizontal lines near the net, which are present on both sides of the court. At the centermost point of this horizontal line, a vertical line starts, which ends at the back of the court. As a result, the service area is split into two blocks.

There are two horizontal lines at the back of the court which represent the outer bounds for a singles serve or a doubles serve. The line which is closer, points to the service area during a doubles match, whereas, the line which is furthest, points to the serving area during a singles match. The net is hung at a height of 1.55 meters at the center of the court, and is attached to two poles on either side of the court.

The Scoring Pattern
In a game of badminton, the aim of the players is to win a fixed number of games, usually, it’s a best of three match. Each game is played till a side reaches 21 points first. Each time a rally is won by a particular side, points are scored and they get the right to serve. The side which reaches 21 points first, wins the game.

A game must be won with a difference of at least two points. In case the score is tied at 20-20, it’s called a deuce. The game continues until a side gets a two point advantage.

The Serving Pattern
In badminton, a player while serving, must strike at the base of the shuttlecock in one stroke, and the racket-head should point down. The foot of neither the serving player nor the receiving player should go off the ground, till the service has been completed. If the serve is a fault, it results in a change of serve, and also awards a point to the receiver. Unlike lawn tennis, there are no double faults in badminton.

Thus, badminton is a game that requires you to be agile and flexible, and once you master the skills and techniques of the game, you will not only enjoy playing it, but also gain good health and fitness.

Badminton Tips

A badminton rally ends once the shuttlecock falls to the ground. The rule is that it can only be struck once by each side, over the net. The shuttlecock is a feathered projectile that is designed with unique aerodynamic properties that cause it to fly differently. The feathers create a higher drag and cause the shuttlecock to decelerate much more than a ball. Competitive badminton is always played indoors, because the flight of the shuttlecock is strongly affected by wind. As an Olympic sport, badminton has five competitive disciplines―men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles, and mixed doubles. The sport demands aerobic stamina, strength, and speed. The technical aspect of the sport requires good motor coordination.

Since badminton involves stamina and agility, you need to warmup accordingly. You could begin with a jog or skipping, and once your pulse is raised, stretch the legs, back, and shoulders to prepare for the lunges. When choosing a racket, check the grip―small grips for small hands and large grips for large hands. Develop a relaxed grip with flexible wrist movements, to perfect forehand and backhand shots. A wobbly shuttle indicates poor quality or faulty dynamics, and should be returned or chucked away as soon as possible.

After playing a shot, try as much to return to central base position, to be more likely to reach all possible opposing shots. As badminton is a fast-paced and highly unpredictable game, you should be prepared to change direction anytime. Incorporate some strategies into the game, and the best game plan to follow is to discover your opponent’s weakness. Once you identify one or many of his or her weaknesses, play to it as much as possible! This sport requires stamina and agility, and thus, brisk walking and jogging are ideal for providing knee strength that is required during a fast-paced game.

Badminton requires constant thinking and planning. Make sure that every shot has a purpose, and keep an eye on as much of the court as possible. Just like in any other game, exercise or physical activity, make sure you round-off your game with a cool-down phase. You need to ensure that you finish as you began, probably with a gentle walk around the court. You could also adopt some light stretching exercises. When attempting to take up badminton as a sport, focus on the major muscle groups. Even if you wish to concentrate on some others, let your choice depend on how the previous game was.

When stretching for a warmup before a game, ensure that you hold your stretches for around 30 seconds. This ensures a really deep stretch. Badminton is like any other sport, and whether played ‘singles’ or ‘doubles’ or ‘mixed’, the game demands teamwork. You need to understand and apply all the rules to the game, even during the workout sessions. The game requires you to have a lot of stamina, and hence, you need to monitor your diet. A fiber-rich diet, with just the right amount of good fats and carbohydrates, will work wonders on your energy levels.

Once you take to the sport of badminton, you should not shift focus from the essentials of the game, and develop a game plan all your own! Badminton, played as a leisure activity, is a great exercise, and a fantastic way of spending quality time with family and friends. There are dedicated clubs everywhere that operate to teach the sport to children and those genuinely interested in the sport.