OBJECTIVE OF BADMINTON: Be the first team to reach 21 points by hitting the shuttlecock over the net and preventing the other team from returning it.

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2 or 4 players, 1 or 2 on each team

MATERIALS: 1 badminton racket per player, 1 shuttlecock, 1 badminton net




Badminton is a sport played in either singles (1 vs 1) or doubles (2 vs 2). The goal of badminton is to hit the shuttlecock (which is a small, lightweight cone used as the “ball”) over the net to the opponent’s side of the court before it hits the ground on your side.



A badminton court measures 44 feet by 16.7 feet in singles or 44 feet by 20 feet in doubles. The court is split in half by the net, which measures about 5 feet tall. Each half of a badminton court is divided into the right and left service courts, with a center line marking the divide. There is also a sideline that marks the out-of-bounds area, a separate sideline for doubles, and a back boundary line.

You’ll also find two types of service lines in a badminton court: the short service line and the long service line.


The game starts with a coin toss. The winner of the coin toss can decide whether to serve or receive first. Players will hit the shuttlecock (or birdie) back and forth until one player hits it out of bounds, or fails to hit the shuttlecock before it hits the ground.


The server must stand within the service court while serving. The serve must clear the net and cross the court diagonally to the opponent’s service court past the short service line. The server must keep both feet on the ground and hit the shuttlecock from below the waist when serving. 

The server and the receiver should stay in the designated service court until the shuttlecock has been served. If the serve lands anywhere outside of the correct service court during the serve, the opponent gets a point.

Right or Left Service Court

The server must serve from the right service court if their own score is an even number, and from the left service court if their score is odd.

Hitting the Net

If the shuttlecock hits the net and still goes over to the opponent’s service court, it is a valid serve. But if the shuttlecock hits the net and doesn’t make it over to the other side or falls short, the opponent gets a point and serves.

In Doubles

The service court boundary is slightly larger in doubles. The non-serving and non-receiving players on each team may stand anywhere on the court, as long as they are not in the way of the server or receiver. The designated server continues to serve for their team until the opposing team gets a point. The players on the serving team should swap positions after each serve, because the server will need to switch between the left and right service courts after each point.


After the serve, the players will hit the shuttlecock back and forth over the net until one player faults or fails to return the shuttlecock. The rally can go on for as long as the players continue to legally hit the shuttlecock within the appropriate boundary lines.

The shuttlecock cannot hit the ground, and players cannot hit the shuttlecock more than once in a row.

Hitting the Net

A player or their racket is not allowed to touch the net, but if the shuttlecock hit the net and still goes over to the other side, it is still in play. 


1 point is awarded to a player if they win a serve or if the other team faults. When a player wins a point, they serve for the next point and they will continue serving until the opposing team wins a point.


Here is a list of faults that will result in losing a point to the other team:

  • A player’s racket or body touches the net.
  • Hitting the shuttlecock with your body.
  • Hitting the shuttlecock before it passes to your side of the net.
  • Serving from above the waist.
  • Lifting a foot off the ground during a serve.
  • Moving feet before the serve.
  • Hitting the shuttlecock more than once consecutively.
  • Hitting the shuttlecock out of bounds.
  • Allowing the shuttlecock to hit the ground on your side of the court.


A badminton game is played to 21 points, but the game must be won by at least 2 points. So, if the score is 20-20, the game will continue until one player wins by 2. If a game goes to a tie of 29-29, the next point wins. Generally, badminton matches are played out of the best of 3 games.

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