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Basic Badminton Rules

Badminton is a game between two players or a team of doubles hitting a light, feathered shuttlecock with a racket over a central net. Only the serving side can score a point, while the receiving side is trying to win the right to serve the following point.

A coin toss decides who is to serve first and which side of the net a player will initially defend.

Scoring System

  • A match consists of the best of 3 games of 21 points.
  • Every time there is a serve – there is a point scored.
  • The side winning a rally adds a point to its score.
  • At 20 all, the side which gains a 2 point lead first, wins that game.
  • At 29 all, the side scoring the 30th point, wins that game.
  • The side winning a game serves first in the next game.


The shuttle must be hit below the server's waist with the racket head below the server's hand, and the server must have part of both feet stationary in contact with the ground. The shuttle then must fall within the receiver's service court to be deemed legal.

General play

Once the shuttle is in play, the point continues with players attempting to hit the shuttle back and forth across the net. A side wins the rally by hitting the shuttle to the floor on the opponent's side of or if the opponent fails to keep the shuttle in play.The shuttle is declared out of play if it fails to cross the net, lands out of the court or hits the ceiling of the venue.

A rally is also lost if a fault is committed. A fault is called if a player touches the net during play with either body or racket, hits the shuttle before it comes across the net or is hit by the shuttle.

Other rules

  • A shuttle that lands on a line is in bounds.
  • A player may let his racket cross over the net in his or her follow-through on a shot.
  • A shuttle may hit the net on a serve as long as it then lands within the opponent's service court, otherwise it is a fault.
  • If a shuttle should get caught on top of the net or in the net, having passed over the net during play, a let is called and the rally replayed, except on service when a fault is called.
  • A fault is called if a player swings and misses while serving.
  • Players are guilty of a fault if they deliberately distract an opponent by shouting or making gestures.


The court

looks like this: