Badminton Singles Vs. Doubles: A Full Comparison Rundown

Justin Ma - February 1, 2023 - 0 comments

Are you wondering about the differences between badminton singles vs. doubles? You’ve come to the right place. 

When you go head-to-head in singles, your game falls on you — your shot choices, how you cover your court, and your ability to anticipate your opponent’s next move. But in doubles, you’ll have to coordinate these skills with a partner to outplay the other team. And in either format, you’ll need agility, reflexes, and strategy to succeed. But how can you decide which version of the sport is right for you?

Below, we’ll cover the specific rules, strategies, and more regarding badminton singles vs. doubles. Let’s jump in!

Court Sizing 

A fundamental difference in badminton singles vs. doubles is court sizing. The doubles court has wider sidelines (6.1m or 20 ft) than the singles court (5.18 m or 17 ft) to make room for both players. 

In addition, the singles service boxes are slightly longer — with a boundary line that sits at the very back of the court. In contrast, the doubles long service line is 2.36 ft (0.72 m) closer to the net.


A diagram showing the dimensions of a badminton court.

Singles Vs. Doubles Rules

In both singles and doubles, the rules are essentially the same. However, one key difference is that you and your partner will need to keep track of service rotation in doubles — i.e., which one of you should be serving, and from which side. 

Fortunately, service rotation is pretty simple to keep track of. You’ll only rotate with your partner when both of these conditions are met:

  • Your team serves
  • Your team scores a point

Badminton Singles Vs. Doubles Strategies

Doubles combines the speed, power, and court coverage of two badminton players — meaning it calls for different strategies compared to singles.

With that in mind, here’s how the tactics can change depending on which badminton format you’re playing:

Badminton Doubles Offense: Tactics and Formation

In doubles, the attack formation usually involves one player covering the backcourt and the other covering the front. 

The backcourt player will use a variety of offensive shots — such as half smashes, full smashes, drives, etc. — to stay unpredictable. The frontcourt teammate will intercept shots when possible and increase pressure using body shots, drops, and net kills. Beyond that, the player closest to the net will often look for ways to set their partner up for a powerful offensive shot.

Depending on who’s in the best position to return the shuttle, you may also need to rotate with your teammate to maintain offense. As a result, it’s essential to communicate and stay mindful of your partner’s positioning in every rally.

Badminton Singles Offense Tactics

In singles, offense is a little more straightforward — and you won’t have to worry about coordinating your moves with your teammate.

Just like with doubles, the first team to force their opponent to hit a weak shot — like a short lift — can gain the advantage. But instead of using speed to force your opponent into a mistake, you can use the power of distance or deception to gain the upper hand. To be more specific:

  • You can use distance between shots to tire out your opponent more quickly. This might look like using a variety of drives, pushes, clears, and drops to areas on the court where your opponent is not standing.
  • As you advance in skill, you can also use deceptive shots to catch your opponents off guard.


Doubles Defensive Tactics 

In doubles, defense usually involves standing side-by-side with your teammate for the greatest court coverage. When your team is under pressure, you and your partner might use a combination of lifts, blocks, clears, and drives to eventually regain the upper hand.

Singles Defensive Tactics

In singles defense, these same shots (blocks, clears, etc.) can also limit the types of attacking shots that your opponent makes. For example, a good defensive clear can force your opponent all the way to the baseline, leaving them unable to hit another smash. 

One key difference in singles defense is that it’s less about speed and more about masterful positioning and footwork. For instance, if you’re in one corner of your backcourt, you should already be thinking about how you’ll cover your frontcourt (and potentially the opposite corner of your backcourt). This is because your opponent is most likely to aim their shot somewhere they think you won’t be able to reach.

Differences in Badminton Mixed Doubles

As a whole, mixed doubles is relatively similar to men’s and women’s doubles. However, the strategy and gameplay can look slightly different — simply because the men tend to cover the rear court while women players often stick closer to the net. 

The Takeaway on Badminton Singles Vs. Doubles

Whether you’re playing singles or doubles, the fundamentals of badminton remain the same — but the winning tactics for each format can look very different.

Doubles involves communication and playing off of a teammate’s strengths and abilities. It also requires staying mindful of your partner’s movement throughout the match, so you can plan your game accordingly. On the other hand, singles is a solo battle that involves you trying to outmaneuver and outlast your opponent. 

Ultimately, badminton has something to offer for everyone. And whether you like playing on your own or with a partner, both variations will put your endurance, anticipation, and mental toughness to the test. 

How to Choose Between Badminton Singles Vs. Doubles

If you need help choosing between badminton singles and doubles, ask yourself: Do I like the idea of coordinating with a teammate? Or do I prefer to play independently, where my game falls on me and me alone?

Whatever the case may be, remember that it can take time to master either variation of badminton. Once you discover which one you prefer most, you can use online resources, practice, and tips from friends to become the best player you can be.

For more help along the way, be sure to check out our singles strategy and double strategy guides today. Or, join the Badminton Justin YouTube community for regular tips and tutorials to level up your game. 

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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