In badminton, there are unspoken rules that all experienced players follow. These rules are known as badminton etiquette.
As a beginner, you might feel a little unsure about the unwritten ways of the game. What is the politest way to give the shuttle back to your opponent? How can you make sure you show integrity during a match?
Without knowing these rules, you might accidentally do something that makes you appear impolite. And too many mishaps could inadvertently lead to people shying away from accepting matches with you. You want your opponents to want to play with you — and that’s why badminton etiquette is so important.
Below, learn the basic badminton etiquette tips to help you play every game with the unspoken rules in mind.
Badminton Etiquette Tips
When it comes to badminton court etiquette, the tips below can help other players feel comfortable and have a good time. Keep in mind that if you have a judge or a referee, you might not be responsible for some of the calls on the court. However, the rest of these tips will still apply.
1. Be Fair and Honest
It’s your job to call the shuttle’s position as “in” or “out” when it lands on your side of the court. So, be honest about where the shuttle falls. (After all, you’d want someone to do the same for you.)
If a shuttle’s position by the line is difficult for you to determine as “in” or “out,” then it’s best to make the call that benefits your opponent.
Additionally, if you hit an illegal shot, be sure to call it right away. A quick response to these situations shows honesty and integrity. And this part goes without saying, but you should still call any fouls you make even if it seems like no one else noticed.
2. Serve with Your Opponent in Mind
Before serving, be sure to wait until your opponent is ready for your shot. Discourteous players may attempt to score a point by serving when their opponent is unprepared — and that won’t earn you respect or friends on the badminton court.
Beyond that, you should announce the score before each serve. The server’s score is said first, and the receiver’s score is said second.
(Side note: If an official is present, you probably won’t have to do any announcing — so keep this in mind if you’ve got a ref on the court!)
3. Hand the Shuttle Back Politely
It’s customary to hand the shuttlecock back when it lands on your side of the court. Avoid picking it up with the head of your racket, as this can damage it. Instead, pick it up and hand it back politely to your opponent.
In some cases, you can use a light underhanded stroke to hit the shuttle back to your opponent’s side of the court. Use your best judgment based on your distance from the net and how the other players have been returning the shuttle.
4. Bring Shuttlecocks
If everyone brings a few shuttlecocks, it ensures that one person will not always be supplying them. It can get expensive if you’re the only person with extras, so this is an excellent way to show compassion for your fellow players.
5. Shake Hands
One basic badminton etiquette tip to remember is to shake your opponent’s hand at the end of every game. This gesture is a simple way to show good sportsmanship and friendliness to every person you play with.
6. Keep Calm
It’s easy to get frustrated when you’re not playing your best. But no one wants to be the angry guy or girl throwing tantrums on the court. Every badminton player wants to play with someone who has fun — no matter what happens during a game.
With that in mind, do your best to stay calm during every game, even if you lose. No one wins every match, and that’s okay! Having fun and improving with practice are both more important than beating your opponent every time.
Putting Badminton Etiquette into Practice
Now that you know what basic badminton etiquette is, you can use it on the court. Remember to keep a calm and polite demeanor, bring extra shuttles, and stay fair and honest whenever you can.
If you find yourself in a situation where you’re unsure of what you should do, choose your next action based on integrity and politeness. Even if you make a mistake, other players will likely be understanding. Everything will work out as long as they see you doing your best to be a good sport.
The bottom line is that badminton is meant to be fun. So, have a good time playing, and take care to make sure your fellow players have fun, too!