Badminton Rules

Badminton is a simple game but that said, there are still plenty of rules to follow. Obviously if you are only playing with friends, you can be a bit flexible when it comes to the exact badminton rules and how you play but if you are keen to play against other people or you want to join a league or proper set-up, it helps to know the proper rules of the game.

The basic play of the game is to strike the shuttle, using the racket, so it goes over the net and falls inside the court in the half of your opponent. All of the rules of the game are dedicated to allowing this to happen. If the shuttle lands in your opponents half, you win the rally and if you win a certain amount of rallies, depending on the game you are playing, you win a match. Of course, your opponent is trying to do the same to you.

The simplicity of the game is a massive reason why badminton is great fun to play and if people try to over complicate the game for you, ignore them, it’s a game to be enjoyed within the badminton rules!

You can win the rally by:

  • Getting the shuttle over the net and into your opponents half
  • Your opponent placing the shuttle into their own net
  • Your opponent placing the shuttle outside of the court

Badminton isn’t like squash or tennis, there is no scope for the shuttle to bounce and once the shuttle hits the ground, the rally is over and a player or team will win the rally.

In a standard game, you get a point when you win a rally and the player that reaches 21 points first is the winner of the game. However, you also need to have a 2 point lead to win, so if the score is tied at 20-20, the player who reaches 21 isn’t the winner at that point. If the score goes to 22-20, the player wins. I must admit, I’m not overly fond of this badminton rule and I think if you get to 21, you should definitely be the winner. Clearly if both players are tied on 20 points after 40 rallies it is a close and competitive game but I don’t see why there is a need to make this two point gap. There is an upper limit of 30 though so a score 30-29 would be enough to win the game, I’d be happy if the score of 21 was the upper limit. Sometimes this can make for really long games if both players are of a similar standard so if you are not playing competitively, feel free to vary the points total you aim for.

Games and matches are different

When you are involved with tournament or league play, you are focused on the match and a match is the best of three games. This means the player that wins two games is the winner and this means the match can last two or three games depending on how the games pan out. I like this, it means your outcome or fate isn’t just determined by one bad game. The need to win two out of three games means it is usually fair enough to say that the best player won.

When it comes to serving, if the server has an even number for their score, they serve from the right and if their score is odd, they serve from the left. I don’t mind this; it provides order and should ensure everyone knows where they are serving from.

The rules of serving are probably the biggest factor in ensuring you are ready to play badminton properly in a league or tournament. I understand the need for clarity in all aspects of serving but I feel the rules are a bit long-winded. To be fair, once you have played for a while, they become second nature but I definitely felt adhering to all of the service rules was off=-putting when I started playing properly.

The basic rules of play are simple enough for badminton but the more you progress, the more involved you will see the rules are. This is no bad thing and it should help everyone find their badminton level.

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