How to Play Badminton: Rules and Scoring

In this article, we will talk about the how to play badminton, some basic badminton rules and scoring system.

I am Bun, an ex-professional badminton player with a world ranking of 30 for mens’ singles, and I have been teaching badminton for over 20 years.

Badminton is a very exciting and fun sport with lots of history, it is now a sport that is widely played all over the world. Although synonymous with Asian sports, badminton is now also gaining popularity in other parts of the world, such as Europe, America, Australia, and Africa.

Since 1992, badminton has been regularly contested in the Olympic multi-event. In 1996, the Olympics began to compete in 5 categories, after mixed doubles have competed at the sports event in Athens. In the past, badminton achievements were dominated by Asian countries such as Indonesia, China, Japan, South Korea, and European countries such as Denmark. Now, new champions have emerged from countries such as Spain.

At the 2016 Rio Olympics, women’s badminton player from Spain, Caroline Marin won the gold medal. Then, at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, badminton player from Guatemala, Kevin Gordon, reached the semifinals. In fact, now, new countries have emerged that have enlivened the Thomas Cup and Uber Cup badminton events, such as Tahiti and Algeria. This is proof that badminton is increasingly popular everywhere.

For those of you who want to know badminton, here is an article that will introduce the rules and how to play badminton.

Badminton Scoring System

Badminton matches usually begin with the coin toss method. This method is used to determine which player should serve first. The current badminton game uses a best of three 3 x 21 scoring systems. So, badminton matches can last from two to three games or sets. If any singles or doubles player wins two games in a row, the third game is not required.

In each game, the winner is the player who managed to collect 21 points first. If there is a draw at 20-20 (deuce), the match will continue until one of the teams or players is ahead by a difference of two points. If the score continues to the number 29-29, the player who first reaches a score of 30 will win the game.

The player who wins the game will start serving first in the next set. When the score reaches 11 points each game, the player is given a rest period of 60 seconds. An interval of 2 minutes between each game is allowed. In the third game, players switch fields again when the score reaches 11 points.

The Old (Classic) Badminton Scoring System

At first, the scoring system in badminton used a best-of-three system of 3-15/11. Men’s singles and all doubles use a 15-point system. Meanwhile, the women’s singles use the 11-point rule. The game of badminton at that time also still used the ball transfer system. So, new players can add points after winning the rally with the condition of holding service.

Service over will be applied in doubles when a pair loses the rally on the second player’s serve. Meanwhile, if the score is 14-14 (or 10-10 for women’s singles) in a game, then the deuce will be applied. The player who first reaches the game point has the right to determine the continuation of the game in the game.

The winner can be determined by the first player to score 17 (13 for women’s singles) or continue only to 15 (11 for women’s singles).

This classic badminton scoring system is considered non-sell because it can be very long in duration. There are rules for moving the ball in the classic scoring system. Therefore, the match sometimes lasts very long if there is often a change of ball and rubber sets.

Development of Badminton Scoring System

In 2002, badminton also used the best of five 5 x 7 scoring system. Like the classic system, this new scoring rule still uses the ball transfer rule. Players are only counted for points if they are serving.

There is no difference in the calculation system, both for singles and doubles and male or female players. With this system, the winner who wins three sets first will be crowned.

In this system, each game consists of 7 points. If there is a 6-6 position, the player who reaches 6 first will determine whether there is a deuce 2 (the game will end at 8) or not (the game still ends at 7 points).

Another rule, if both players win two games, the winner is determined in the fifth game. In the fifth game, both players will change the field if one has reached four points.

However, this scoring system was only able to last for eight months. The 5×7 scoring system in its application did not succeed in reducing the duration of the match. Badminton matches in all the average numbers continue to last a long time. The reason for the long match was none other than the maintenance of the rules for moving the ball.

In addition, there is still a proposal for a new best-of-five 5 x 11 system. The badminton game with a 5 x 11 scoring system consists of five games, which ends when one player or a double pair wins 3 games. Each game can be won by a player or a double player who first reaches 11 points.

In the 5 x 11 point system, there are rules of changing the playing field after the second, third, and fourth games, when a player or double team reaches 6 points in the fifth game.

The game pause on the 5 x 11 scoring system in badminton is only done at the end of each game and or in the fifth game when one of the players or the double team scores 6. However, this system has not been used to replace the best of three 3 x 21 systems currently in use.

How to Play Badminton – Rules for Singles and Doubles

The way players get points in the badminton game is as follows. A single or doubles player successfully places the shuttlecock in the opponent’s playing area. A player or pair of doubles scores points when the opposing team makes a mistake in serving or the result of his stroke falls outside the playing area.

According to the referee’s assessment, a player or double number pair gets points if the opposing team violates the match rules. Every point earned for a player or a doubles pair in a badminton game is accompanied by a turn to take a serve.

In badminton, service is one of the essential elements of a match that marks the start of a match. In fact, in badminton matches, there are service judges who determine whether the service is according to the rules or not.

In addition, service is the main capital for a player because it can often determine the course of the match. For example, when the serve is performed perfectly, the opponent receiving the serve will not get a chance to attack.

On the other hand, a poor serve will leave the opponent a great chance to attack. The serve is made from one side of the court (left or right) across the net into the opponent’s area.

If the shuttlecock falls on the opponent’s field that does not cross, it is declared out. Not only that, single players and doubles players also have different service areas.

If singles play falls in the front box and side box, the shuttlecock is declared out. As for the doubles game, the shuttlecock is declared out if it falls in the front box and backbox.

The left or right position where the service is made is determined from the number of points that have been collected by the player who will serve. The right position is for the even number of points, and the left position is for the odd number of points.

Serving from the right position is also performed when points are still zero.

For doubles matches, each pair only gets one chance to serve, there is no second serve. The serve is made by the player whose position is in accordance with the points that the pair have achieved. The same player will continue to serve until the opponent wins the next point.

More Badminton Rules

Check here out for more badminton rules.

  • The server should hit the shuttle with the badminton racket pointing downwards, and you should hit the shuttles underarm and below your waist height.
  • No second serves are allowed.
  • When you serve, the shuttlecock cannot bounce.
  • No player should touch the net with any part of their body or racket.
  • A player can return the shuttles from both inside and outside of a badminton court during a point.
  • No player can hit the shuttlecock twice.
  • A player should not deliberately distract their opponent(s).
  • The referee may call a ‘let’ if an accidental issue occurs.


Here are some quick answers relating to how to play badminton.

How can I learn badminton fast?

For a beginner who wants to learn badminton fast, the best way is to book a private session with a great badminton instructor for at least once per week. It is the best way to develop a solid foundation.

For an intermediate badminton player, you may want to record down your playing video, simply send it to an instructor and asking for their opinion is a pretty good idea. Practice with real feather shuttlecocks will speed up your learning process too.

How should I prepare for badminton?

Here are some great tips to prepare you for badminton:

  • Warm-up properly
  • Check your equipment, from rackets, strings, shuttles, knee support to shoes
  • Book a lesson with a great instructor to master the basics
  • Practice footwork and cross-training to build up stronger
  • Keep checking the court to make sure there is no feathers or sweat on the floor
  • Book an indoor badminton court

Does badminton make you fit?

Yes, badminton does make you fit. It’s a full-body workout that will bring you many physical and mental benefits. You will build up stronger arms, back, core, legs, glutes, quads, and calves.

Just make sure you do enough warm-up and wear the necessary supports to avoid injuries.

Wrapping Up

I hope you find this article helpful in learning how to play badminton. It’s a great game, and I am sure you will have lots of fun.

Do message me if you have any questions.

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