Want to learn how to play badminton — the official way? You’ve come to the right place.
If you’ve ever looked at the complete list of badminton’s rules and laws, you know they can be overwhelming to digest. The good news is that you don’t have to memorize every detail of these rules to try badminton — and knowing just a handful of them can get you playing an official match in no time.
Below, learn about the top ten rules and laws of badminton, along with a few pointers to help you get started.
Badminton is a centuries-old sport that involves a shuttlecock (also called a bird, birdie, or shuttle), rackets, and a net. You can play a one vs. one version known as singles, or a two vs. two option known as doubles.
The goal of the game is to win points by hitting the shuttle over the net and into your opponent’s court — without them being able to return it back to you.
When it comes to starting your badminton journey, the first step is to make sure you’ve got a proper set of equipment. That means access to an official badminton court (with specific dimensions and boundary markings), along with a standard-sized shuttle and beginner-friendly badminton racket.
- Your badminton racket should be less than 680 mm long and 230 mm wide.
- Your shuttles can consist of synthetic or natural materials, but they should weigh about five grams and have feathers that are 62 mm to 70 mm long.
Top 10 Rules and Laws of Badminton
Without further ado, here are the top ten rules and laws of badminton to help you play an official match:
- You and your opponent will flip a coin to determine who serves first.
- Whether you’re playing singles or doubles, a badminton match is made up of three games that go up to 21 points each. The team or player who wins the best-of-three games wins the match.
- Every serve starts a rally, and the team who wins the rally gets the next serve.
- You win a point every time your shot lands in bounds on your opponent’s side — including when it lands on a line!
- You can earn a point when your opponent commits a fault, such as when they touch the net or hit the shuttle out of bounds.
- When you serve, it should always be to the diagonal court on your opponent’s side. This area is known as the receiver’s box, and your serve is “in” as long as it lands in (or on) this box’s lines.
- When it’s your turn to serve, your score will determine which side you serve from. Serve from the right when your score is even, and the left when it’s odd. (This applies in both singles and doubles — but in doubles, you’ll also rotate with your partner at certain points in the game. Check out this guide for a deeper look into service rotation in doubles.)
- Both the server and receiver’s feet should always stay planted on the ground until the server hits the shuttle.
- You must keep your feet within the lines (and not on them) while serving.
- You can only hit the birdie once while it’s on your side of the net. Double hits are a fault and will mean a point for your opponent.
The rules covered above are the main ones you need to know in order to play an official badminton match. But if you want to dive in even deeper, feel free to check out the Badminton World Federation’s official rulebook for detailed guidelines on the sport’s best practices.