It’s true that badminton doubles and singles share plenty of the same rules — but there are some key differences in doubles that every player should know.
The good news is that when you know these rules well, you can play smoothly and avoid losing points or redoing rallies due to simple mistakes.
In this post, find a quick guide on badminton scoring doubles rules, along with some of the most common mistakes to look out for.
Scoring in Badminton Doubles
Scoring in doubles works more or less like it does in singles. The only difference is that your score will apply to your team, rather than to you as an individual player.
But before we dive in deeper, here are a few general guidelines to keep in mind:
- You’ll play three matches consisting of 21 points, with a point being won every time a team wins a rally.
- The main way to score points is to hit a shuttle into your opponent’s court without them being able to return it successfully. However, you can also win points if the opposing team commits certain badminton faults.
- The team who wins two of three matches will be the overall winner.
The Main Badminton Scoring Doubles Rule Differences
When it comes to the differences in doubles vs. singles, the court boundaries and service rules are the two main changes to know about.
When the score is 0-0 in doubles, you and your opponents will use a coin or shuttle toss to determine which side serves first. If your team wins, you and your partner can choose which one of you will serve from the right service court.
From there, service will work similarly to singles. You’ll still serve from the left side when your team has an odd score, and the right side when it’s even. The only difference is that you and your partner will rotate at specific points during the game.
When Do You Rotate Sides with Your Partner?
For many players learning to play doubles, one of the biggest questions is: How do I know when it’s time to switch sides with my partner?
As a rule of thumb, only switch service courts when both of these conditions are met:
- It’s your team’s serve
- Your team wins the rally
For example, if you serve and your team wins the point, you’ll rotate to the left side and continue serving from there. Your partner will then technically be on the “right” side (although they may be standing closer to the center for better coverage.)
This process continues until you lose a rally. At this point, each player should stick to their original sides (no rotation), and your opponent’s team will serve.
Common Badminton Scoring Doubles Rule Mistakes
Now that you know the main rule differences in doubles, here are some of the most common mistakes to watch out for:
Serving Out of Turn
Serving out of turn is an easy mistake to make as a beginner — simply because you might forget who served last, and which partner is assigned to which side of the court.
When in doubt, check whether your score is odd or even, and ask your partner and opponents if they can remember whose serve it is.
Receiving Out of Turn
Receiving out of turn is another common mishap among new doubles players. This happens when the partner who isn’t the official receiver mistakenly tries to hit their opponent’s serve.
Double Hitting the Shuttle
Doubles games can get fast and intense — meaning it’s not uncommon for a player to accidentally whack a shuttle that’s just been hit by their partner. This is an automatic fault, and gives one point to the opposite team.
Touching the Net
Touching the net is a fault in both singles and doubles. But because of the shared court space in doubles, it can sometimes be easy to accidentally hit or step past the net when trying to return a shot.
With that in mind, be sure to avoid:
- Touching the net with your racket
- Touching the net with any part of your body or clothing
- Stepping past the boundary of the net when you’re going for a shot
On top of memorizing all the other faults and fouls in badminton, doubles rules can be tricky to learn.
The good news is that they’ll become second nature to you over time. And with practice, you’ll be able to focus more of your energy on the things you enjoy most — like refining your smashes, speeding up your footwork, or improving your strategy to win the game.