What Are Badminton Rules? | Paddle2Racket

What are badminton rules? Whether you’re new to the game or just want to refresh your memory, you may be looking for a comprehensive list of badminton rules.

Badminton is a popular sport all around the world, so it’s no surprise that there are plenty of people who want to know how it’s played.

The basic rules of badminton revolve around how points are scored, the rules for serving, and those of faults. Other rules include how to play singles or doubles. Knowing the rules helps with improving your game and avoiding faults.

In fact, sometimes players who learn from others may have been playing for a long time, but still not be aware of all the rules! Reading up on them every once in a while is a good idea, so you know what you’re doing and remain updated on any changes.

We researched on how to play badminton while putting our info together. Since badminton is also an Olympic sport, we looked up the official rules that they follow as well.

Table of contents


Rules of Badminton

The basic rules of badminton are determined by the BWF (Badminton World Federation). Let’s go over each category.

Scoring System

The rules for badminton also include rules around the scoring system. Points are scored with every serve, and are given to the side which wins the rally. Then, the next serve is given to the winning team. Each match consists of 3 games, each with 21 points.

A point is scored when the birdie or the shuttlecock hits the ground in the opponent’s court.

For the winning point, you need to either hit the 21st point first, while the other team is at least 2 points behind, or win two consecutive points. That means that if you were to hit 21 when your opponent’s team is at 19 points, you will win.

However, if you are both at 20 points, then you’d need to hit 2 points consecutively to win. Otherwise, both teams will keep playing until either a 2 point difference makes the winner, or if the score is 29-29, one team hits the 30th point first.

Serving Rules

There are also rules around how to serve in badminton. For one thing, the shuttlecock must be hit from below the waist, and the serve has to be diagonal.

In singles badminton, the server has to start from the right court. The number of points determines which side they serve from. If they have an even number of points, they serve from the right court, and if they have an odd number of points, they serve from the left side.

In doubles, the server starts from the right side, and will keep alternating sides with their partner as long as they are winning the rally. This means that if the serving side wins the rally, they will switch sides for the next serve. They do not switch while the rally is still ongoing.

When the receiving side scores, they get to start the next serve.


There are also rules about faults - what counts as a fault, and what doesn't.

If the shuttlecock is hit when it’s above waist level, this is considered a fault. If it lands in the wrong service court, or if the server is not standing in the right court, this counts as a fault. Alternatively, if the receiver’s feet are not in the right court (that is, the one that is opposite the server on the diagonal side) this also counts as a fault.

If the server makes a step forward when serving, this is also considered a fault. Feints are also not allowed in badminton.

Any serves that go outside the overall cout boundaries, passes under the net or touches any part of the player’s body will also be considered faults.


There are also some rules around intervals. That is, when the score of the team in the lead reaches 11 points, players can take a one minute break (exactly 60 seconds). A 2 minute break is also allowed between each game. Since there are 3 games in each match, this makes two 2-minute breaks per match, and three 1-minute ones.

In the third game, the players also change ends with the score hitting 11.

Badminton is quite a popular sport - though more so in Asia than other continents - so it’s understandable that people want to know the rules of the game. Sometimes, rules change, so it’s best for players to keep themselves updated on how the game is played.

While casual players may not have as much of a problem with outdated rules, professional players need to stay on top of any changes. Knowing the rules of any game helps make sure that you can play well, and can avoid any missed or lost points. Since badminton doesn’t need you to score that many points to win as it is, a missed point here or there can make or break the game.


Michael Stevens

Michael Stevens

Since initially playing at the collegiate level, I have amassed several decades of experience playing racquetball, tennis, and pickleball. I have played thousands of matches and games, and won medals and awards in multiple tourantments. I am constantly improving my game and enjoy mentoring and coaching other players in strategy and technique. I have authored dozens of articles on the sport.

Read More About Michael Stevens