Badminton one of the most fun racket sports. It’s also very popular around the world. The great thing about badminton is that you don’t have to break the bank to acquire equipment. Also, if you’re new to it, it’s easy to learn. All you need is a net, shuttlecock, rackets, and a badminton courts and you’re ready to go!
But, to play the game, you’ve got to know the rules. Here is a breakdown of badminton rules:
Terms you should know:
Serving side: The side that has the right to serve
Receiving side: The side playing against the serving side.
Rally: A sequence of strokes starting from service to when the shuttle is no longer at play.
Stroke: When a player swings the racket with the intention of hitting the shuttle.
Singles and doubles
When playing badminton, you can either have two or four players on the court. A match involving one player on each side is called singles. A match with two players playing against two players is called doubles.
In doubles, players don’t have to take turns, any of them can hit the shuttlecock. The only exception is on the first two shots of a rally.
Types of badminton include:
- Men’s singles
- Women’s singles.
- Men’s doubles.
- Women’s doubles
- Mixed doubles (a team of a woman and a man on each side). Women’s doubles and men’s doubles are also referred to as level doubles.
- Men’s doubles vs women doubles (a team of two women vs a team of two men).
A badminton court’s full width is 6.1 meters (20ft). When playing singles, the width is reduced to 5.18 meters (17ft). The court’s full length is 13.4 meters (44 ft). A center line divides the width of the court.
For doubles, the service courts are bordered by a service line that’s 0.76 meters ( 2ft 6inch) from the back boundary.
The net is 1.524m (5ft) high at the center of the courts and 1.55m (5ft 1inch) at the sidelines of the doubles court. The net covers the double sidelines even in singles matches.
Before a match starts, a coin is tossed. The side that wins the toss chooses either to serve first or return first. In case they choose to be the receiving side, the side that lost ( now the serving side) chooses their preferred side of the court
The side that wins the toss can also select their preferred side of the court; in this case, the right to decide who serves first shifts to the side that lost.
A match consists of up to three sets. The first side to reach 21 points wins a set (exception: when they don’t have a two-point lead.) If a side wins two sets, they win the match. A third set is played when both sides have won one set each.
The sides change ends after each set. A 90 seconds break is allowed between sets and in the middle of the sets (when the first player hits 11 points.) However, the players aren’t allowed to leave the court during the break, coaching is allowed though.
A rally is won when opponents cannot return the shuttle and it hits the ground in their side of the court (including on lines). You also gain a point when your opponents hit the shuttle and it doesn’t cross the net or when they hit the shuttle and it lands outside the court boundaries.
A rally is also won when:
The opposing player(s) touch the shuttle with the body even before it hits the ground (both inside and outside of court).
Players on receiving side touch the net with either body or racket while the shuttle is mid-air.
Players on receiving side hit the shuttle before it crosses the net (overreaching to serving side’s side of the court.)
Players on one serving side double-touch the shuttle.
One player touches the shuttle more than once.
The winner of a rally gains a point regardless of the serving side. So for every mistake, even a faulty serve, your opponent is awarded a point. Avoidable mistakes are heavily penalized.
The winning score in a set is 21 points. So the closest winning score is 21-19. If the players tie at 20-20 score, the first player or pair to build a lead of 2 points OR the first side to hit 30 points wins the set. That means possible combinations of winning scores is 22-20, 21-23, 22-24,…..,29-27, 30-28 or 30-29.
When a score is 29-29, the first side to score a point (30-29) wins. This the only time when a side is allowed win by one point.
Each side is allowed to serve only once (even in doubles). In a singles match, the position of serving depends on the serving player’s score. When the score is even you serve from the right side of the court when the score is odd you serve from the left.
In a doubles match, the players of a side take turns in serving. Again, where they should stand n the court when serving is hinged in the score, an odd score (left) or an even score (right). If a player scores a point, that player has the right to serve again but the player should now shift and serve from the other side of the service court.
The process goes on until the returning side gets a point. In that case, they become the serving side but at that point, they don’t change service courts. They only change if they win another point.
Here is a list the badminton faults:
If a shuttle passes under or through the net, lands outside the court fails to pass the net, touches the body of a player or touches any other person or object.
If a player touches the shuttle before it crosses to their side of the net. A player can, however, follow a shuttle over with their racket in the course of striking.
If a player gets in contact with the net or its supports with their dress, body or racket, or if a player crosses over the net to the opponent’s side with a racket or body when not permitted.
If a player obstructs or distracts an opponent by invading their side of the court under the net with a racket or body.
If a player deliberately distracts opponents by shouting or by any other distracting actions.
If the shuttle is held to a racket and then slung during play.
If on play, the shuttle gets caught and remains suspended on the net.
A ‘let’ is called by an umpire or player to stop the game.
A let is given for any accidental or unforeseen incident. These are the ‘lets’ allowed by the rules of badminton:
If a shuttle gets caught and remains suspended on the net.
If both the serving side and the receiving side are both at fault during service, it shall be a let.
If the serving side plays before the receiver(s) are ready.
If during a rally, the shuttle disintegrates
If during a rally, the line judge unsighted and thus the can’t make a decision.
A let may also occur s a result of service court error. When a ‘let’ occurs, the serving side serves again and any play since the last service is disregarded with the exception of instances where the Law of Service Court Errors apply.
Officials and appeals
A referee is the overall manager of a tournament. An umpire manages the match, the court, and its surroundings. The umpire reports to the referee. A service judge keeps on an eye for on serving and calls all serving faults. A line charge indicates whether the shuttle landed in or out of the lines. The officials’ decisions on points of facts that they are charged with are final.
An Umpire shall:
Enforce the rules and especially calls for a ‘let’ or ‘fault’ when either occurs
Decide on appeals regarding all points of dispute made before the next service is delivered.
Inform the players and spectators on the progress of the match.
In consultation with the referee, appoint service judges and line judges.
Arrange how an official’s duties will be carried out in case the appointed official is unsighted.
Keep track of all matters relating to misconduct, continuous play, and penalties and report to the referee.
Inform the referee on all unsatisfied appeals on questions of law. (Appeals must be made before the next service. If it’s at the end of the game, the side that has an appeal must present it before they leave the court)
Now that you know the rules, let the games begin!