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Badminton Rules, How to Play Badminton

Badminton is known as a racquet sport and can be played in a variety of locations including both a court or a lawn. It is also a sport that can be enjoyed in leagues or in a more casual manner in the backyard of one’s house. Badminton is a great way to not only get your exercise in and stay active, but also to socialize with others and branch out of your comfort zone. But what exactly are the rules of the sport?

There are several official rules in the sport of badminton. One of the most important to note is that the winner of the badminton match is the player or team that wins the best of three individual games by reaching twenty-one points. A match can be played in singles where there are two total players or doubles where there are four total players, two for each team.

You know how many points it takes to win a game and how to win a match, but what about the other rules of the sport? Keep reading to learn the basic rules of badminton and the differences between singles and doubles matches.

What are the Basic Rules of Badminton?

The sport of badminton has long been enjoyed by many across the world and has been a part of the Summer Olympics since 1992. Other than being played professionally, badminton is also commonly enjoyed as a casual backyard game.

As mentioned above, the winner of a badminton match is whoever wins the best of three games. Each game goes to 21 points. If the score is 20-20, then an individual/team must win by two clear points. In the case the score reaches 29-29, the first side to score a 30th point wins. (source)

Here are some of the other basic rules of the sport badminton.

Winning a Point

Playing for a point is called a rally. The player who wins the rally gets the point. Here are some more rules about what winning a point consists of.

  • A point is won by one side hitting the birdie, also known as a shuttlecock, on the ground of the opponent’s side, even if it hits on the lines.
  • If the birdie lands outside the court’s boundaries, the point is conceded.
  • The point is also conceded if a player hits the birdie with his or her racket more than once and if a player touches the net with his or her body or racket.
  • When the score is odd, the serve is done from the left. When the score is even, the serve is done from the right.

Other Rules of Badminton

Besides winning a point, there are other important rules to note about the sport of badminton. These rules include but are not limited to:

  • Games must include two rest periods. A 90-second one after the first game and a 5-minute rest following the second.
  • Players cannot intentionally distract his or her opponent.
  • Competitive matches must be played indoors and on a court with the official dimensions.
  • When competing for a point, the player can return the birdie from inside or outside the court.

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Badminton Rules: Singles

As mentioned above, there are two types of badminton matches, singles and doubles.

A match is labeled with the term ”singles” when it is played between only two single players, one on each side. The rules listed above apply to the singles badminton matches, but here are some of the more important ones to note.

The players on both the serving and receiving end must remain stationary until the serve takes place and be diagonal from each other. If the serving side wins the point, then each player will switch sides for the next serve.

If the receiving end scores, that individual will serve from whichever side is indicated by their score, left for odd and right for even. Whoever wins the game serves first in the next one.

Badminton Rules: Doubles

A badminton match is labeled as being “doubles” when it is played between two pairs opposite each other. Again, many of the rules above apply to a doubles match with the biggest difference being that there are two players on each side instead of one player.

Here are some rules to note about a doubles match.

When the serving side wins the point, the same person that served the birdie serves again. If the receiving side wins the point, then that side then becomes the serving side for the next rally.

In the case of a doubles match, each pair is referred to as a “set”. There is one set per side. Just like in singles, in doubles the birdie is served diagonally over the net.

Badminton Rules: Serving

Serving might just be the most important part of a badminton game. It is how each point play is started. Without a serve, there is no point to be won.  The serving player hits the birdie diagonally over the net to the other side. The receiving side then tries to return the birdie back.

How to Serve

Because serving is so instrumental to the sport of badminton, it is essential to serve correctly and follow the rules. An incorrect serve would cost the play serving not only a point, but it would also cost him or her the benefit of serving again consecutively.

Below are some of the rules of serving in badminton.

  • The birdie must be hit from below waist height.
  • The birdie must be served diagonally into their opponent’s side.
  • Both players are to remain still until the serve is made.
  • Each player continues to serve as long as he or she is winning points. This means that if the receiving side wins the point, that person takes over the serve.
  • Second serves are not allowed.


Whether played professionally in an official game or in someone’s backyard for a casual match, badminton is an exceptionally popular sport that can be enjoyed by almost anyone. It is a great sport that can be an excellent source of exercise and friendly competition.

While a fun sport to partake in, there are rules to the game that need to be followed. A match is won by winning the best of three games. A game is won by the first person or set reaching a score of 21.

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