How to Play Badminton and Badminton History

Badminton is an Indoor Sport

It is played on a rectangular court measuring 44 feet x 17 feet (13.4 x 5.18 meters) for a singles match (one player per side) and 44 feet x 20 feet (13.4 x 6.1 meters) for a doubles match (two players per side).

The net is about 5 feet (1.5 meters) and stretches across the center of the court.

The court is then divided on each side by a service line, six feet six inches (1.98 meters) from the net for both singles and doubles, with an added long service line, two feet six inches from the back boundary.

There is an addition line that runs from the service line to the back boundary line, perpendicular to the net that divides the back part of the court into service courts.

The Equipment for Badminton

Each player has a racket and the game is played with a shuttlecock, sometimes called a birdie.

The birdie is shaped like a cone and moves much slower through the air than a ball.


A point is scored when the birdie hits the floor on the opponent’s side, regardless of who is serving.

The first team to reach 21 points wins the game. However, the winning team must win by two points.

In the case of a tie (20 points each), the first team to score two additional points is the winner.

The first team to reach 30 points is the winner, no matter what the other team has scored.

The first team to win two out of three games wins the match.

The Basic Rules of Badminton

No player is allowed to touch the net with their body or their racket at any time.
The birdie should not hit the floor.
The birdie should not come to rest on any player’s racket at any time.
The birdie should not land outside the boundary lines of the court.
The birdie should not hit the ceiling.
When serving, the birdie should be hit from below the waist in an underhand motion.
The team receiving the serve should not touch the lines on the court before the server has hit the birdie.

The Game

Badminton begins with a coin toss.

The team to correctly call heads or tails gets to choose to serve first or to allow the other team to serve first.

The player to serve always does so from the service line, regardless if it is a singles or a doubles match, and must land the birdie inside the service court opposite of where he or she is standing.

If the score is odd, such as on the very first serve of the game, then the server stands in his or her left service court and serves into their opponents left service court, directly opposite.

If the score is odd, it becomes the right service courts.

Both the server and the receiver must stay inside their service courts until the birdie is served.

In doubles, the server changes service courts, but the receiving team does not, so that the server is serving to a different player each time.

With each new game, the teams switch sides, and the winner of the last game serves first.
In the third game, the teams switch sides at the beginning, and then again when the team in the lead reaches 11 points.

NCAA Emerging Sports: Badminton


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