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Badminton Rules & Beginners guide: How to Play! (2023)

Are you looking for a fun, energetic, and competitive way to banish boredom? Look no further than the fun racquet game of badminton! We’re going to cover all badminton rules, steps to learn how to play badminton, and other helpful content to get you started as a beginner!

Taking up this new hobby would be a great way to curb boredom when you’re relaxing outside with friends on a nice summer day, or even in competitive scenes if that is something you’re interested in!

So, let’s explore how to play badminton, today!

racquet and shuttlecock in grass

What is Badminton?

Badminton is a racquet sport that combines agility, speed, strategy, and skill in an exhilarating display of athleticism.

It’s played on a rectangular court, usually indoors due to the lightness of the shuttlecock, and is enjoyed by millions worldwide, both casually and competitively.

The sport can be played by two players in a singles match or by four players in a doubles match.

Originating over 2,000 years ago, this fast-paced game has players volleying a feathered projectile, known as a shuttlecock, back and forth across a net.

With its origins in ancient civilizations, badminton has developed into a modern sport governed by a detailed set of rules and regulations, while maintaining its core elements of fun and fitness.

shuttlecock stuck in net

Badminton matches can be fast-paced and intense, often requiring split-second decision making, a variety of skillful shots, and effective strategies to outwit opponents.

The shuttlecock, made of feathers or synthetic material, moves at surprisingly high speeds, making badminton one of the fastest racquet sports in the world.

Fun fact: Did you know that the shuttlecock can reach speeds of over 200 mph?

One of the unique aspects of badminton is its accessibility. It can be played in backyards, parks, or on the beach for fun, and at the same time, is a competitive sport featured in prestigious global events like the Olympics.

racquet and shuttlecock, shoes

The Objective of Badminton?

When you’re learning how to play badminton – the objective of badminton is simple – outscore your opponent by landing the shuttlecock within the designated boundaries of their side of the court.

It’s a game of cat and mouse where players have to anticipate the flight of the shuttlecock and position themselves accordingly to return it.

racquet and shuttlecock, woman

The Basic Badminton Rules

Badminton Rules in Court

Just like any sport, there’s an imaginary playing field where all the action happens. In badminton, this is the court.

Officially, a badminton court measures 20 feet in width and 44 feet in length.

badminton rules section, shuttlecock on court

The court is divided into two halves by a net, and there are different markings for singles and doubles play.

In both cases, the boundary lines form a rectangular shape. If the shuttle lands on or inside these lines, it’s considered “in”. If it lands outside, it’s “out”.

Remember, any shuttle landing on the line is considered “in”!

Badminton Rules & Regulations

Now that we’ve tackled the court, let’s skim through some of the most important rules and regulations:

  1. Scoring System: Badminton follows a best of three games, with each game played to 21 points. Every time you serve, there’s a chance to score. Win a rally, win a point!
  2. Serve: Service must be delivered underhand, and the shuttlecock must be hit below the server’s waist. More on this in the next section!
  3. Faults: If the shuttlecock hits the net and doesn’t go over, hits the ground before crossing the net, lands out of bounds, or hits a player or their clothing before landing, it’s considered a fault. The point is then awarded to the other side.

There are more intricate rules, but these are the basics that will get you started.

woman serving shuttlecock, badminton rules for serving

Serving Badminton Rules

The service in badminton is a crucial part of the game.

Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Service court: When the server’s score is even, the server serves from the right service court. If it’s odd, the serve is made from the left court.
  2. Underhand serve: The serve should be delivered underhand, meaning the racket must strike the shuttlecock from below the waist level of the server.
  3. Serving sequence: In doubles, there’s a certain serving sequence, which we’ll discuss in the next section!
two people playing badminton, badminton rules for doubles

Badminton Rules for Doubles

You can actually turn badminton into a fun team sport! A common way to play is with doubles (4 players)

When playing doubles, you have to consider two main aspects: the serving sequence and the boundaries of the court:

  1. Serving sequence: The team that serves first only gets one serve. After that, each team gets two serves (one from each player) in a row. The serve switches to the other team when a point is lost.
  2. Court boundaries: The court for doubles is wider than for singles. The sidelines for doubles are the outermost lines on the court.

Now, how about singles?

sunset playing badminton

Badminton Rules for Singles

Playing singles in badminton? Keep these rules in mind:

  1. Serving and receiving positions: You serve from the right court when your score is even, and from the left court when your score is odd.
  2. Court boundaries: In singles, the sidelines are the inner lines of the court.

What about scoring?

Badminton Rules Scoring

2 racquets, yellow shuttlecock

Badminton uses a scoring system called “rally scoring”. In other words, a point is scored on every serve, regardless of which team serves. This is badminton rule is different than a sport like tennis or racquetball which only awards points to the serving player.

Here’s a rundown of badminton rules for scoring:

  1. Each game is played to 21 points, and a match is best of three games.
  2. If the score reaches 20-all, the side which gains a two-point lead first wins the game.
  3. If the score reaches 29-all, the side that scores the 30th point wins the game.

How to Play Badminton: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

2 kids playing badminton

Playing badminton is a fun way to spend your free time and bust that boredom. Here’s a simple guide to help you get started:

Gather Your Equipment

To play badminton, you don’t need much:
Badminton Racket: There are different types of rackets to suit different styles of play, but any beginner’s racket will do when starting.
Shuttlecock: Also known as a ‘birdie’, this is what you’ll be hitting back and forth!
Badminton Shoes (Optional): These help in movement and provide the necessary grip but aren’t compulsory for a casual game.
Badminton Court: Whether it’s a formal court at a sports center, or a makeshift one in your backyard, as long as you’ve got some space, you’re good to go!

Understand the Serve

In badminton, the game begins with a serve. Remember, it must be hit underhand.

Practice this a few times to get it right.

Practice the Basic Shots

There are three basic shots you’ll want to start with:
Clear Shot: This is a defensive shot that sends the shuttle high and to the back of your opponent’s court.
Drop Shot: A subtle, tactical move, where you lightly tap the shuttle just over the net.
Smash Shot: The most aggressive shot in badminton – a hard, fast downward hit to your opponent’s court.

Beginning of the Match: The Toss and the Serve

A badminton match starts with a toss.

The winner of the toss can decide whether to serve or receive first or they can choose which end of the court to start play. The player who serves first starts the rally.

The Rally: Attacking and Defending

After the serve, a rally commences. This is where the fun begins!

The shuttlecock flies back and forth as each player tries to outmaneuver their opponent.

Be alert, move swiftly and think two steps ahead of your adversary. Remember, the rally continues until a fault is made.

Scoring: Grabbing Points

Every rally ends with a point. This can be due to a smashing winner, a subtle drop shot or even a fault made by your opponent. The player who wins the rally wins the point and serves the next shuttlecock.

Winning the Game: Reach 21 First

The first player to reach 21 points wins the game. But there’s a twist: you must win by a margin of at least 2 points.

If the score reaches 20-all, the game continues until one player leads by 2 points.

However, if the game reaches 29-all, the player who scores the 30th point wins the game.

Winning the Match: Best of Three Games

A badminton match usually consists of the best of three games. This means the player who wins two games first wins the match.

If each player wins one of the first two games, a third deciding game is played.


  • Badminton Rackets
  • Shuttlecock (Birdie)
  • Badminton Court

Exploring Badminton Shots & Advanced Techniques

Mastering a variety of shots and techniques can take your badminton game to the next level. Let’s get started:

woman hitting shuttlecock black background

Essential Badminton Shots

While there are numerous shots you can use, here are a few basics every beginner player should know when you learn how to play badminton:

  1. Clear Shot: The objective of the clear shot is to send the shuttle from your side of the court to your opponent’s backcourt. This can be played as an attacking shot (faster and lower trajectory) or a defensive shot (higher and deeper into the court).
  2. Drop Shot: This is a delicate shot that just clears the net and then drops sharply. The goal is to make the shuttle land as close to the net on your opponent’s side as possible.
  3. Smash Shot: This is the most aggressive shot in badminton, often described as the “winning shot”. It’s a hard, fast downward hit towards your opponent’s court.
  4. Drive Shot: This is a flat and fast shot that travels over the net in a horizontal flight. It’s often used in doubles to increase the pace of the game.
  5. Net Shot: This is a shot played from the front of the court that just clears the net and then falls rapidly. It’s similar to the drop shot but played much closer to the net.

Advanced Techniques

hitting shuttlecock off ground, blue floor

Once you’ve got a handle on the basic shots, consider trying these advanced techniques:

  1. Deceptive Shots: These are shots that are intended to confuse or trick your opponent. For example, a player might pretend to hit a hard smash, but instead play a gentle drop shot.
  2. Jump Smash: This is a more advanced version of the smash shot, where players jump to hit the shuttle at a higher point, creating a steeper and faster smash.
  3. Slice Shot: By angling the racket upon impact, you can cause the shuttle to spin and curve in the air, making it harder for your opponent to predict the trajectory of the shot.
  4. Footwork: Good footwork is crucial for reaching the shuttle quickly and efficiently. Advanced techniques include the chasse step (a quick, shuffling step) and the scissor jump (used when smashing or clearing).

The Victory: Strategies to Win

2 people high fiving over net

Winning in badminton is about more than just scoring points.

Here are a few strategies for beginners:

  1. Keep your opponent moving: Try to keep your opponent on the run, this will tire them out and might make them prone to mistakes.
  2. Master your serves: A good serve can give you an early advantage in the rally.
  3. Vary your shots: Mixing up smashes, drop shots, and clears will keep your opponent guessing.
  4. Practice: The more you play, the more your skill and strategy will improve.

And remember, the ultimate goal is to have fun! The victory is sweet, but the enjoyment of the game is the cherry on top.

Common Mistakes & How Beginners can Avoid Them

hitting shuttlecock over net

Badminton may seem easy at a glance, but newcomers to the sport often fall into several common traps.

Here are some common badminton mistakes and how you can avoid them:

Incorrect Grip

Beginners often grip the racket too tightly or in the wrong way, which can affect their shot control and power.

Learn the correct ways to grip your racket and remember to relax your hand.

Ignoring Footwork

Footwork is incredibly important in badminton.

Many beginners focus solely on hitting the shuttle and neglect their footwork, leading to slower movements and less effective shots. Practice your footwork separately until it becomes second nature.

Poor Positioning

Positioning oneself correctly on the court is crucial. New players tend to stay at the back, making it hard to return drop shots. Always move back to the center of the court after making a shot, ready for the next one.

Incorrect Serving

A wrong serve can give an advantage to your opponent right at the start of the rally.

Ensure that you know the correct serving techniques in singles and doubles games.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) on Badminton Rules

FAQ Man on computer looking confused. looking for answers, questions

How many minutes is a badminton game?

It depends! A game of badminton can vary in length depending on the players’ skill levels and the intensity of the match.

On average, a game might last around 12-20 minutes. However, an entire match, which is typically best of 3 games, can last from 40 minutes to an hour.

Can you hit the shuttle twice in badminton?

No. Each player (or team, in doubles) is allowed to strike the shuttlecock only once before it goes over the net. Hitting the shuttle twice in one movement is considered a fault.

Is there a halftime in badminton?

There’s no traditional “halftime” in badminton, but players are allowed a 60-second interval when the leading score reaches 11 points in any game, and a 2-minute interval between each game.

What happens if the shuttlecock lands on the line?

In badminton, if the shuttlecock lands on the line, it is considered “in”. This can often lead to close calls but remember, the rules favor the server or hitter.

In Conclusion: The Benefits of Playing Badminton

2 badminton racquets and white shuttlecock

There you have it, folks! We’ve traveled through the riveting world of this fun racquet sport! Now that you’ve finished learning the rules of badminton, you’re ready to grab a racket and hit the shuttlecock!

But, why should you dive into badminton?

Here are a few compelling reasons to start playing badminton!

Firstly, playing badminton is an excellent way to improve your physical fitness. It’s a high-energy sport that works out your entire body, enhancing your muscle tone, strength, and endurance.

Plus, with all the jumping, twisting, and lunging, it’s a great way to boost your cardiovascular health and flexibility.

Secondly, badminton sharpens your reflexes and improves hand-eye coordination. The rapid pace of the game necessitates quick thinking and quicker reactions, skills that are valuable not just on the court but in day-to-day life as well.

Thirdly, badminton is a strategic and social game. It promotes teamwork in doubles matches and encourages critical thinking as you must outmaneuver your opponents. And let’s not forget the bonds and friendships formed on and off the court, making badminton a delightful social activity.

Lastly, anyone can play badminton! It’s an inclusive sport with simple basic rules and affordable equipment. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a curious beginner, there’s always a place for you on the badminton court.

In the end, whether it’s for a fun way to pass the time, a competitive pursuit, or a method of staying fit, badminton serves up an exhilarating challenge.

So, why not pick up a racket and experience the joy of this sport? Say goodbye to boredom, and say hello to the exciting world of badminton!

racquet and shuttlecock, about to serve

Badminton Glossary of Terms

  1. Shuttlecock: Also known as a birdie, the shuttlecock is the object that players hit back and forth over the net. It’s made up of feathers or synthetic material and has a semi-spherical top.
  2. Racket: The instrument used by players to hit the shuttlecock. It’s usually lightweight and made up of carbon fiber, steel, or aluminum.
  3. Court: The area of play for badminton matches. The court is rectangular and marked for both singles and doubles play.
  4. Serve: The act of putting the shuttlecock into play at the beginning of each rally. The serve must be hit underarm and the shuttlecock must be hit below the server’s waist.
  5. Rally: A series of back and forth shots between the players. A rally ends when a point is scored, a fault is made, or the shuttlecock is out of play.
  6. Clear Shot: A defensive shot where the shuttlecock is hit deep into the opponent’s court.
  7. Drop Shot: A delicate shot that just clears the net and drops sharply on the other side.
  8. Smash Shot: An aggressive, hard-hitting shot directed steeply downward on the opponent’s court.
  9. Drive Shot: A fast and flat shot that travels horizontally over the net.
  10. Net Shot: A shot played from near the net that just clears it and drops sharply on the other side.
  11. Fault: A violation of the rules. Faults result in a point being awarded to the opposing player or team.
  12. Deceptive Shot: A shot meant to trick or confuse the opponent about where the shuttlecock will go.
  13. Jump Smash: An advanced version of the smash shot, where players jump to hit the shuttle at a higher point.
  14. Slice Shot: A shot where the shuttlecock is hit with an angled racket to make it spin and curve in the air.
  15. Footwork: Refers to the movement skills and techniques that players use to move effectively around the court.
racquet, shuttlecock, pink court

External Resources:

badminton-rules-featured-image, man with racquet and shuttlecock