Don’t you just hate learning a simple lesson in a complicated way?

I bet you do.

I found several resources online to learn badminton rules.

But you know what?

Most of them are presented unnecessarily in a complicated way.

To make your life easy in this article of badminton rules, I am going to present the rules in a super simple way.

So, buckle your seat belt with me. You will understand all the rules in no time after reading this article.

Any particular badminton match is played between either two players (one player per side that’s why we call it “singles”  ) or among four players (two players in each team hence we call it “doubles”).

The match starts with a toss. If you win the toss you have the choice to either go for the serving first or choose the side you want to stand at the beginning.

General Rules of Badminton

I am considering you are playing “singles” ( you and your opponent ) while describing these general rules.

Later, I will mention the “doubles” specific rules to cater to you.

  • You will win a match if you win 3 sets ( in some countries “set” is referred to “game”). To win each set you got to get 21 points.
  • On the way to get 21 points if both you and your opponent reach to 20 points then we call it “deuce”. Once you guys reach deuce, then either one of you needs to go ahead by 2 points to win that particular set. For example, 22-20 or 24-22 or 23-25 or whatever but anyone of you is ahead of other by two points.
  • In this way, if you guys both reach to 29 points together, meaning if the score becomes 29-29, then the one who goes to 30 points first will win the set.
  • How do you win a point then? The one who wins the rally wins the point.

If you are not sure what the heck a rally means; A rally is the series of shots between the players (for singles) or team (the for doubles) starting from the service and ending once a point is won by any player (singles) or team (doubles).

Now let’s see when you are considered as a rally winner and when the faults occur.

  • Suppose you are hitting the shuttlecock ( either serving or returning your opponent’s hit), and your opponent misses to return the shuttlecock by performing a valid shot then you win that rally.
  • But remember, once your opponent misses the shuttlecock, it needs to land within the opponent boundary to get you a point.
  • If the shuttle lands outside the line of opponent’s court, or lands on the wrong side of the opponent’s court (i.e. the other side where your opponent is not standing), or the shuttle hits the net or goes through the net or under the net after you hit it, these are called fault. All these results a point for your opponent.
  • None of you are allowed to touch the shuttle twice for a single shot.

Now let’s learn some serving rules.

  • While you are serving you must stand inside your service court and should not step forward as you serve.
  • If you are serving, you must hit the shuttle underarm and it should reach below the waist height of your opponent. Otherwise, your opponent will get a point.
  • When you are serving, your opponent needs to stand on the diagonally opposite court of yours and the serve should reach to that court.
  • When the set/game starts at the score (0-0) and when the server’s score is even he/she will serve from the right court. But when the server’s score is odd he/she will serve from his/her left court.
  • Suppose you are serving and win the rally, so you get a point and change the side to serve next.
  • But suppose you are serving and your opponent wins the rally, then your opponent becomes the new server. He/she will then follow the above mentioned left/right court rule against the point he/she just reached. For the even point, he/she will choose his/her right court, and for the odd point, he/she will choose his/her left court.
  • None of you are allowed to distract each other intentionally by any means during the serve or any other moment during the play.

So, those are the general rules when you are playing “singles”.

Let’s find out the differences between “singles” and “doubles” in terms of badminton rules.

The basic rules, the objectives, and the requirements to win a set and a match are similar for “doubles” like the “singles”.

Here is the list of the major differences for “doubles”.

  • For doubles, the boundary of the court is up to the outer line. But for the “singles” the boundary was up to the inner line of the court.
  • Suppose your team is serving and you are the server. Similar to “singles” rule you will serve to the opponent who is standing diagonally opposite to your standing court.
  • If your team win this rally you will serve again ( not your partner ) but you and your partner will change the court so that you serve to the other opponent this time ( not to the same person last time you served).
  • If your opponent team win this rally then if their current point is now even then their right court player will serve now, but if their current point is now odd then their left court player will serve now.
  • Not to mention, the player’s court is determined by the position they were standing before the rally starts, not after the rally ends. As a result, once a team regains the serving, the other player gets the chance to serve who didn’t serve last time.

Final Words

Let’s recap.

In this badminton rules article, I tried to present the rules in the simplest way possible.

If you are not familiar to this game at all, still you will be able to learn the rules for both “singles” and “doubles” play after reading this article.

Now go out and start playing badminton.

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