Badminton: Understanding the Game and Its Basic Rules

Badminton is played in every free space (parks, backyards, building fonts, parking lots, etc.) available.

You will see these places filled with badminton enthusiast happily shouting at the top of their voices for serving rights and point dissections. While other bystanders (more like players waiting for their turn) joining the arguments.

Nevertheless, irrespective of whether you are an occasional player or an aspiring professional badminton player, it’s important to understand the game and its basic rules.

Read on to find about more about them.

Origin of The Sport

Officially included in the Olympics Games during the year 1992, the countries that are seen to dominate the competitions are likewise mostly Asian countries such as China, India, South Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore, etc.

With China being the country with the greatest number of star athletes and gold medals to boast about so far.

But is the history of Badminton only so recent? The answer to that is no. Almost impossible to imagine, the chronological root of the sport dates back to 2000 years ago!

For many centuries, games using ‘shuttlecocks” were played across Eurasia by people where the earliest form of the game was known as “battledore and shuttlecock.” With Battledore about specifying a primitive version of the modern ‘racquet’ which is seen to be employed in the games today.

The sport back in those times consisted of two people striking a shuttlecock (generally a conical shaped item mostly made of feathers that had pronounced projectile function) with battledores (racquets) in hand. The game was mostly played as a form of recreational activity.

Introduction to The Modern-Day Badminton

The development credit of the modern version of the game, however, lies with the British expatriates who resided in India during the 19th century.

Besides, it was also in the middle of this era that the name of the sport was officially reformed to being called “Badminton.”

As to why the sport was renamed ‘badminton’ remains clandestine. But history does indicate that it might have been influenced by the Duke of Beaufort’s country house. Famously called the ‘Badminton House’ located in Gloucestershire, England. The sport was said to be a popular pass-time in the household.

Thus, common speculation leads to believe that the sport took on the label of the house although no official document was ever confirmed in this regard.

In the 19th Century, badminton was found principally popular in the region of Poona (a state of India) among the British officers and the common masses alike. And it is exactly here that the very first rules of the game were established.

British officers during this phase were so smitten with the sport that once they returned to England, they went on to introduce the game to their fellow countrymen and were even known to open the first badminton club by the year 1875 in the port town of Folkestone.

Badminton Only A Recreational Sport?

Much change has been made to the rules and regulations of the game.

Despite the sport’s domineering nature depicted in international competitions such as Olympics, World Championships, Para-Badminton World Championships, Thomas Cups, etc., it is a bit unfortunate to find that the image of badminton still retains to that of a “recreation- sports” in the perception of the majority.

But if you are to see and talk to athletes and personnel who dedicates themselves to this profession, your views regarding the “fancy” part of the sport would make a 360-degree turn.

Don’t believe me? Just run a search across YouTube using keywords like ‘badminton athletes” or ‘badminton practice sessions,” and watch what comes up!

Alas! because of the stereotype involved, even the most basic rules of badminton are not a common topic of knowledge among most people excluding, of course, the game enthusiasts and experts in the field.

Nonetheless, as the proverb goes “knowledge is power,” thereby the more you know about how something is done by the book, the more advantages you have on the court.


The Rules of The Game

So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the rudimentary “Laws of Badminton Regulation” mostly set by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) that encompasses 176 member countries across the globe.

To start a game of badminton, you will require a playground/court, rackets, shuttlecock, and of course players willing to play.

  • Team Set-up

Badminton usually involves the participation of two or four people in which case the former setup is termed ‘Singles’ (i.e., one on one), and the latter is called ‘Doubles’ (i.e., two against two).

There is another type of pair setup known as ‘Mixed Doubles’, where the pair is specifically made up of opposite genders that is one male and one female in each team.

  • Where to Play: Open Arena Vs. Indoor Courts

With the team-style set. The next step is to decide where to play.

Beaches, garden, parking lots are all fine spots if what you are looking for is a friendly match with friends. However, the same places will not work if your aim is serious competition.

But why wouldn’t the same places work you might ask? The reason for that lies in the shuttlecock.

Being a high drag projectile, a shuttlecock is susceptible to even the slightest fluctuations of the wind. This ultimately poses a problem where it becomes difficult to maintain a steady game build-up by the players necessary for competitions.

Hence to minimize the risk of discrepancies caused by adverse weather, it is a must to hold competitive badminton indoors at BWF specified courts.

  • The Court Dimensions

A badminton court is shaped in a rectangular form that runs along 44 feet in complete length. This remaining the same, it is the width of a badminton court that changes depending on the ‘doubles’ (20 feet) and ‘singles’ (17 feet) playing mode.

Territory wise a badminton court is separated into two identical halves for the opposing team to play. This is usually done with the help of a nylon mesh net more commonly known as the badminton net.

An ideal net is usually woven tight across the court width and is typically 5 feet 11-inch-long around the edges/corner sides, and 5 feet long in the middle portion.

The badminton court for a competitive stage is typically seen to be marked in white lines. Labeled as ‘service line,’ ‘center service line,’ ‘baseline,’ ‘center-mark,’ ‘doubles sideline,’ ‘singles sideline,’ etc., the purpose of which is to ensure fair play and to offer cautionary guidelines for players to abide by rules during heated competitions.

  • Coin-Toss

With the court set and the team style formed the game begins. But who is to go first?

Like all other games are rescued from this very taxing problem, it comes to the “coin-toss solution.” The team that wins the toss gets the chance to decide which side of the court they would like to play and whether they would like to ‘serve’ or ‘receive’ first and vice versa.

  • The Guidelines for The First Serve

The game of badminton starts with a ‘serve.’ A ‘serve’ is the action of one player hitting the shuttlecock with his dominant racquet hand so as to pass it over the net to the opponent’s half of the court. If you want to dominate the game, you must learn how to serve properly.

Although there are some rules to follow when delivering a serve. To start with, during a ‘serve’ both opponents must stand in a diagonal field across one another, making absolutely sure not to touch the boundary lines drawn on either side of the court.

The most important point lies with maintaining waist-line while serving. A serve is generally done in an upward hand-fling motion contrary to how a serve is usually played in tennis.

Which is why the serving rule implies that the maximum height at which a serve can be made must not exceed the alignment of the server’s waist. To put it in plain terms, a serve is best done when the racquet shaft is placed downwards or in alignment with the waist-line of the server.

  • Rallying the Match

With all the things mentioned above established, the main objective of the game is to strike the shuttle in a way such that it crosses over the net and drops into the opponent’s side of the court. This stunt in the game’s language is called a rally.

The more rally a player manages to score, the higher is the chance to win the match. The similar is true for your opponent as well. So, if he manages to strike return the shuttlecock, the rally continues.

A rally usually ends when the shuttlecock touches the ground. This enables the player who hit the shuttlecock last to gain a point as well as the right to serve for the next innings.

  • Points, Scores & Winning Ratios

The whole game of badminton revolves around passing the shuttlecock between players trying to outsmart the other at winning rallies and scoring points. Generally, each match is set with a score target beforehand. For example, 11 points, 15 points, 17 or 21 points could be decided in advance, and whoever scores the target first wins the match.

Because if allowed, players could go on to play the game forever, in December 2005 the BWF introduced the new scoring system of 3 games set of 21 points for competitive badminton.

According to this rule, a badminton match is constructed of 21 points per set, and each team is expected to play three sets per match, out of which, the team with the best scores will be declared the winner.


These are some of the very basic rules that one needs to know in order to play a set of badminton match.

Nevertheless, I hope this site can be your one-stop solution to knowing the game in all its glory with real-time updates and more!

And if you are someone who only dabbles in the sport during winter to keep warm or a health-conscious individual who plays the sport to keep in shape, then the knowledge of basic rules will help you to boast over your colleagues in a friendly match the next time.

One last thing, if you have any questions or suggestions for us, let us know in the comments section. we’ll do our best to help you out.

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