Badminton Courts – Want to Win? Learn to Read Between the Lines!

Justin Ma - December 22, 2021 - 0 comments

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One thing everyone wonders when beginning a new sport or hobby is the rules of the game, and this holds true for badminton as well. Is there a difference between a singles court and a doubles court? Is competitive badminton played indoors or outdoors? What do the lines and markings on the court signify?

Beyond knowing the types of rackets, the types of types of serves you can make, or the basics of gripping a racket, you need to know about the court you are playing on. The amount of space you have available, and the lines used, will change depending on the game’s type. Understanding the differences between matches is essential if you plan to play competitively, and much like the standard rules of any competitive game, you must first know the layout of the badminton court itself.

a view from the corner of an empty gymnasium containing several indoor badminton courts
Big empty gymnasium with courts for playing tennis and badminton in a health club

When Do You Play On A Court?

The answer to this question can change depending on the type of game you are playing. If you are playing for fun with friends and family, then you can play virtually anywhere, whether that means your backyard, a park, the beach, or anywhere with enough available space.

If you are looking to play competitively, the answer is easy; you will be playing indoors. When it comes to competitions, players do not want to worry about the wind taking their shuttle or ruining a serve. So, whether they are singles or doubles, these matches are only played indoors to air on the side of caution.

What Do Those Lines On The Court Signify?

One thing to know is that badminton courts are all the same length of 13.4m or 44ft, as this is the standard length for singles and doubles. The court’s width is where we can begin to see the difference between the two types of courts. A single court tends only to be 5.18m or 17 ft wide, while a doubles court is 6.1m or 20 ft wide.

The singles court is marked by the first set of lines that are the closest lines to a player. At the same time, the lines for a doubles game are the second set of lines seen on the court, which are furthest from the player—these show where the players can play during a game to be in bounds.

When Do The Rules Change?

To put it simply, yes, some of the rules will change depending on the type of match being played. We will break down the few rules and regulations that differ from a single to a doubles match. However, do note that most of them do remain consistent. Some aspects do change.

Singles Games

In a singles game, you do not get to choose the side you are on. When the server has an even score, you will stand on the right service court. However, if the server has an odd score, you will be on the left side. It is a common rule and is followed for any rally played in a competitive game. This rule is significant in singles matches as you are responsible for knowing the score and where to stand, as there is no one on the other side of you to serve half of the time.

Doubles Games

Each partner can pick their preferred side to play on in a doubles game, with each teammate hopefully selecting a different side. This allows them to each play to their strengths. The server will still be determined by the score, though, similar to a singles game. When it is your team’s turn to serve, whoever is standing on the right side will serve when the score is even, and your teammate on the left side will serve when the score is odd.

Teams will switch sides of the court as well for each new game that begins. In the third game, teams will switch sides one last time when a team has eight points. When serving in a doubles match, the shuttlecock must land in the lines opposite them to begin the rally. After the initial serve has been returned, the shuttle can go anywhere in the court within the bounds of a doubles court.

White badminton shuttlecock and two rackets on the floor of modern leisure hall or sports center

Why Does Understanding Courts And Lines Matter?

Knowing about the court and the markings matters because many badminton rules and regulations are based on them, which in turn will affect how you play the game. Giving the other team a point because you stepped on a white line that is considered out of bounds while returning a hit would be frowned upon by anyone.

Several rules are the same for each match, whether it is a single or doubles game. Making these regulations even more fundamental to a game since they apply to any circumstance makes them essential to know. We are going to cover some of the basics that apply to any game.

When serving in a singles game, the proper form is to serve below your waist using an underarm swing. If the serve is not executed correctly and the player uses an overarm serve or serves from above their waste, it will be counted as a fault. The shuttle should also be hit at the base, rubber, and not the top part, which is feathered. Players should also be using only a single-stringed racket for competitive games.

However, it is essential to remember that these matches are meant to officially begin with a coin toss to figure out who gets to serve first. Then whoever wins that rally will have the next first serve that occurs in the match. One final rule that applies to any game of badminton is that the shuttle cannot hit the ground or be hit two times in the same court. These will both be counted as a foul, which gives your opponent the next serve.

In Conclusion

Now that you understand how badminton courts work and the basic rules of each game, you are ready to set up a court and play. While there are slight differences when playing singles vs. doubles matches, they are easy to catch onto and easily pick up as you play. The most critical items to keep track of are who is serving, when to serve, and what the score is as the game goes on.

Justin Ma

I am passionate about helping people find joy in playing badminton, while also showing them how competitive the sport can be.

Justin Ma


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