Knowing the rules enhances your competitive edge.
Badminton can be a friendly backyard game or a competitive sport. The game was introduced in 18th-century England as a variation of the Indian game of Poona. Badminton gained its name after the Duke of Beaufort introduced it at his country house of Badminton in Gloucestershire. The Bath Badminton Club of England formed standardized rules for badminton as it grew in popularity, and now the International Olympic Committee now recognizes the Badminton World Federation as the governing body of the sport.
The Badminton Court
The net separates the badminton court into two sides. The court is marked to establish boundaries for singles and doubles matches. In singles, the inner sideline marks the side boundaries, and the outside long service line marks the back boundaries. In doubles, the outside sideline marks the side boundaries and the inside long service line marks the back boundaries. The short service line marks the front of the service court, and the center line separates the left and right service courts. While the entire court is used for play, all serves must take place within the service courts.
The winner of a coin toss chooses their side of the court and which side will begin the rally with the first serve. Serves are always underhanded and served into the diagonal corner of the opponent's court. The server serves from the right service court when the score is even and from the left service court when the score is odd. Service is granted to the side who wins the point. The same server serves a doubles match until the point is lost, and then the partner serves once a point is won and service is regained.
Badminton is scored by rally points. The first side to score 21 points wins the set, and the side with the best of three sets wins the match. The shuttlecock is rallied back and forth until it hits the ground, is faulted or a let is called. The side that fails to return the shuttlecock loses both the serve and the point, allowing the opposing side the point and the serve to restart the rally. Players switch sides of the court at the end of the first two sets and once 11 points have been reached in the third set. Each set must be won by two points and a tied 20 to 20 set is won by the first team to score 22 points or no more than 30 points.
Faults and Lets
Badminton faults occur if the shuttlecock hits the net or a player, goes out of bounds or is hit more than once by the same side. The side responsible for the fault loses the serve and point, which are given to the opposite side to restart the rally. A let is called if the shuttlecock lodges in the net, player's racket or for any reason a player would need to interrupt the game. Points are not awarded or lost for lets. The serve is returned to the side that began the rally.