Rules of Badminton

Below is a brief summary on the rules of the game, for a full and complete version of the I.B.F. (International Badminton Federation) rules please see

Badminton is a game between two players or a team of doubles hitting a light, feathered shuttlecock with a racquet over a central net. Only the serving side can score a point, while the receiving side is trying to win the right to serve the following point.

A badminton match is played as the best-of-three games. In doubles and singles, the first side to score 15 points wins the game.

A coin toss decides who is to serve first and which side of the net a player will initially defend.


The shuttle must be hit below the server's waist with the racquet head below the server's hand, and the server must have part of both feet stationary in contact with the ground. The shuttle then must fall within the receiver's service court to be deemed legal.

General play

Once the shuttle is in play, the point continues with players attempting to hit the shuttle back and forth across the net. A side wins the rally by hitting the shuttle to the floor on the opponent's side of or if the opponent fails to keep the shuttle in play.

The shuttle is declared out of play if it fails to cross the net, lands out of the court or hits the ceiling of the venue.

A rally is also lost if a fault is committed. A fault is called if a player touches the net during play with either body or racquet, hits the shuttle before it comes across the net or is hit by the shuttle.

Other rules


A badminton court is a rectangle 13.4-metres long and 5.18-metres wide for singles, extended on each side with 42-centimetre alleys for doubles (making the doubles court 13.4m x 6.1m). It is divided into two equal sections by the net, 155cm high at the posts at either side and dipping to 152.4cm in the centre.

The shuttle

The shuttle consists of a rounded cork base covered in a thin layer of leather. Sixteen goose feathers are attached to this base. Each shuttle requires three birds because a wing has six feathers and manufacturers cannot mix those from left and right wings, because they have different curvatures. Most high-quality shuttles tend to use feathers from the left wing of the bird, considered stronger. Note: all the feathers come from birds that have been raised for food.

The length of the shuttle may vary between 64 to 70 millimeters, provided that all feathers are equal length. Each shuttle should weigh between 4.74 and 5.5 grams.

The racquet

A badminton racquet may be up to 68cm long and 23cm wide, with a head up to 29cm long.



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