How to Play Badminton: Brief Guide to Badminton Rules

Badminton is an interesting and popular sport across Asia and it also attracts a lot of interest across Europe. The rules of the games are outlined by the Badminton World Federation and we will discuss the simplified rules of the Badminton game here. It is an old age game and it is about 2000 years old. this game was once played by the higher society in England as a pastime and the game was practiced by hitting the shuttlecock forward and backward. The rules of the modern-day badminton game date back to the year 1893.

About the Badminton Game

The objective of the badminton game is that it is similar to several racket games. The game can generally be played in three variants, namely singles game, doubles game, and mixed doubles games. The shuttle cock is shot with the help of a wired metal-rimmed racket across the net. This is called service and the shuttlecock is sent to the other side of the court over the net. The players on the other side of the net will send it back and the game continues until one of the sides loses.

Players on both sides will try to land the shuttle cock on the opposite side and it is important for the cock to fly over the net to reach the other side. The cock generally volleys among the teams to complete the rally until it lands on the opponent’s side and one of the players commits a game fault. The player on one side of the team will score the point if the opposite player misses the shuttle. They will try powerful shots and smashes to bring the opponent down. 

How to Play Badminton

Badminton team size

The badminton team can be of a single membered team or a double membered team. They can be of any gender and can be mixed games as well. So, the game has either a single player or two players in each team. 

Badminton accessories

The important equipment that is required to play badminton games is the badminton racket and the birdies. The modern badminton racquets are lightweight and do not weigh more than 100 grams. The frame of these racquets will be made of metals such as aluminum or steel. Some rackets can also be made of tough carbon fiber materials, alloys, and even ceramic. The length of these racquets doesn’t exceed 680 mm and their width doesn’t generally go beyond 230 mm.

The birdie or the shuttlecock that is tossed over the net has about 16 feathers fixed in a cork base, enveloped in a thin sheet of leather, to make a shuttlecock. The best badminton shuttle cocks are made from goose feathers. The cock should not weigh greater than 5.5 grams, and it is generally between 4.74 and 5.50 grams in weight.

The racket and the cock are important accessories to play the badminton game and the other accessories that are required to play the game efficiently are a good pair of badminton shoes, badminton grip, and head a wrist band or headband, to play the game peacefully and without getting distracted.

Badminton court dimensions

Badminton is predominantly an outdoor sport and the badminton court is a rectangular court that is divided into equal and symmetric halves. The court is divided into two parts by a net suspended from two vertical posts that are fixed on either side of the court. The courts will be marked for singles and doubles games, as these games differ in dimensions. The doubles court for badminton is generally larger in breadth than the singles court and it also has a shorter serve length dimension.

The width of the badminton tennis court is generally 20 feet and the singles court is generally 17 feet. When it comes to the length of the badminton fields, both of them are 44 feet in length. 

The service line is marked on both sides of the court at a distance of about 6 feet and 6 inches from the net. A double long service line is also present and it runs across the breadth of the court at about 13 feet from the short service line. The end of the court will mark the long service line for the singles game. 

There is also a center line that runs parallel to the length of the court, and it divides the court on either side into two halves. There is a net suspended from the poles, on either side of the court, on the doubles sidelines. The bottom of this net is at the height of 5 feet and 1 inch from the ground at the edges and about 5 feet from the center. 

Badminton Rules – How to Play Badminton?

Badminton is more or less similar to other racket sports, but it demands tremendous and swift arm and wrist movements. The feathered shuttle cock holds a great aerodynamic drag and thus it swings differently from the ball. Thus the rules of the game could be quite different and below is the detailed insight on the game rules.

a. Serve

The game starts with the serve and the team that will be serving first will be decided from a simple toss. The referee will toss the coin with one player choosing the head and the other player choosing tail. The player or the team that wins the toss will decide to either start or receive the service in the game. They will also get to choose their side of the court. If the toss winner chooses their side of the court, their opponent will choose to serve or receive it and vice versa.

The first serve is made from the right-hand court and is done diagonally. The server hits the shuttle under the arm. While serving, the server should not step on the boundaries and should serve appropriately from the right service court. If the shuttle hits the net and doesn’t cross the net after the service, then it has to be served again. If the server commits any fault while serving the birdie, then the opponent will get the opportunity to serve over the net.

The opponent will receive the shuttle cock diagonally opposite to the server’s side of the court and also returns it, indulging in a rally. Players can move all through the court of their side, to maintain the rally and not lose the cock. If the player sends the birdie outside the boundaries of the court, or if they miss their chance to return the shuttle over to the opponent’s court, then the opponent gets the point and the rally ends. Now the player who has secured the point will get their chance to serve. At the end of one game, the players will change their sides and the best of three games will be taken to choose the winners.

The serving rules for the doubles games will be slightly different. Each team will get two chances to serve, one for each player. The members of the team will serve alternatively. When they lose two serves, the opposite team will get a chance to serve and they will start serving from the right end of the court. If the players have scored an even number of points, then they will serve from the right side of the court and if the player has scored an odd number of points, then they will serve from the left side of the opponent. 

b. Scoring systems and winning the badminton match

The scoring system in the badminton match is simple and it is easy to understand. When the serving side of the team wins a rally, a point will be added to their score and the player will serve the next rally. When the receiving side wins the rally, they will also add a point on their scoreboard and get the chance to serve next and begin the rally. When a player or the team of players make a fault (losing the serve or the shuttle landing in their court), their opponents are said to win a rally. 

Apart from these two, other common faults are committed during a rally. They are, not hitting the shuttle before it lands on the court, hitting the shuttle into the net, shuttle not flying above the net, birdie landing outside the boundary of the court, the racket or the player’s body coming in contact with the net, the same player hitting the cork twice, etc.

The team or the player who wins the best of three matches are considered to be winners. The team or the player who scores 21 points in the game first, is considered to be the winner of the game. The winner of one game gets the chance to serve first in the next game, in the best of three matches. 

c. Fouls in badminton game

The players in the badminton game are required to hit the shuttle only from their side of the court. The players should not touch the net or slide under it, as this is considered a foul in the game. The racket of the player mustn’t land on the side of the opposing team. The shuttle should not hit the players, nor cross the boundaries of the court. In the doubles game, the birdie should not hit the player or his clothing before his teammate hits it. Both the foot of the player should be on the ground while service and while receiving the service.

d. General rules for playing the badminton game

A player can compete in both the singles and the doubles game. A player should wait until their opponent is ready to serve. If the opponent attempts the return, then he is considered to be ready to play the match. The feet of both the players should remain in the stationary position until the service is been made. The feet should not be touching the line while serving. If the player misses the shuttle while serving it is not considered a fault. The shuttle should not be caught and slung along with the racket. Finally, the player should not hold the racket near the net to avoid a downward stroke by his opponent or to interfere with his game action.

While playing the best of three matches, an interval of one minute is allowed between each game. At the end of the game, the players will change sides and start playing the game. 

Mastering shuttle shots to help you win the game

The main winning strokes in the badminton game are either forehand or backhand shots. To win the game and strike the shuttle effectively, it is important to master a few lights and quick wrist actions. Footwork matters a lot in badminton games. The players should make use of several small steps to adapt to a comfortable position and strike the cork easily, without having to stretch much. 

The players should practice the backswing, the forward swing, and the smashes and use them effectively to gain a competitive advantage over the opponent. Practice hitting the round center portion of the cock every time, and not its feathers. Players should perfect their clear shots so that it strikes the shuttle in the best way possible and win the rally in their favor.

It is also important to practice the drop shots, that land the cock just over the net, as they are hard for the opponent to reach and win the point in your favor. Competent players also practice smashes as they are powerful shots used to hit the shuttle high above the net, making it hard for the opponent to return. 

Bottom Line

Badminton is a fun game that is been played by the majority of individuals for recreational purposes and by a few as competitive sports. Players have to master the rules and the basic strokes and get the right equipment to prove their skills on the court and win the matches easily.

Also check: How to Play Padel: A Definitive Guide to Padel Rules

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