Basic badminton rules to help you and your kids enjoy a fun, simple game that’s a classic for players of all ages. Learn how to play badminton in minutes!
Badminton is a racket game played by 2 people (singles), but it can also be played by 4 people (doubles). The object is to hit a birdie over the net and into the opponent’s court in such a way that it can’t be returned.
The standard badminton court dimensions are a rectangle 20 feet wide and 44 feet long. A 2 ½ foot-high net is stretched across the playing area at half-court.
The top of the net measures 5' 1" from the floor.
Competitive badminton is best played on an indoor court where the wind can't affect the flight of the birdie. However, for strictly recreational purposes, it's a very popular backyard game that can be played outdoors just fine.
Badminton court diagram
You need a badminton racket, a shuttlecock (or birdie), and a net.
A badminton game is played to 15 or 21 points. Players decide before the game begins what they will play to.
The first player to reach 15 or 21 is the winner.
A match usually consists of the best of 3 games.
Players toss a coin to see who will serve first. The winner of the toss is the first server. The server begins the game by hitting the birdie over the net to the receiver.
A birdie landing on a line is considered inbounds.
If a birdie touches the net during the regular course of play (aside from the serve) and passes over it properly, it’s considered a good hit and is still in play.
If a player has a chance of striking the birdie with a downward motion near the net, his opponent can’t put up his racket to block it or interfere in any way.
Basic Badminton Rules
The server starts in his right hand service court and serves from the right side when his score is "0" or when he has scored an even number of points. The serve is delivered from the left-hand service court when the server has scored an odd number of points.
Both players change service courts after each point has been scored.
The server drops the birdie so that his racket strikes it in an underhand position. Both of the server’s feet must be touching the ground in the appropriate service court. The serve should land in the court diagonally opposite the server on the opponent’s side of the court. If the server misses the birdie, it is not a fault.
Only the serving side can win a point.
A player is "in" while serving and "out" while receiving. When the server during the play causes the “out” player to commit a fault, the server wins a point.
When the receiver ("out" player) during a play forces the "in" player to commit a fault the "in" player loses the serve and the "out" player then becomes the server.
A fault is an infringement that ends a rally. If the server commits a fault, the service goes to his opponent. If the receiver commits a fault, the server wins a point.
Service Faults - It’s a service fault if, on the serve:
General Faults - It's a fault if:
Basic Badminton Rules
A let causes a play to be redone. It occurs when:
Sometimes it's difficult for little kids to hit the small birdie with the little head that a badminton racket has.
Depending on the number of players, skill level, available equipment, or the size of your playing area, you can modify the basic badminton rules to fit your needs.
Here are some modifications you can make that might help the game be more fun for everyone:
Jumbo size racket or paddle with a big head and short handle
Jumbo size birdie
Lower the net or don't use one at all
Play in the dark
Try Speedminton (cross between badminton, tennis, and racquetball)
Arrange hula hoops or other targets inside the court area and earn points by hitting the birdie so it lands in the target areas
Allow players more than one hit to get the birdie over the net
These are just a few ways you can change the basic badminton rules to fit your needs. You can probably think of others.