How to play Badminton

As the fastest racket sport in the world, badminton boasts a long history, dating back to the 16th century. Although it’s enjoyed the world over, badminton is especially popular in Asian countries such as India and China. Here’s how to play it.


Badminton is played with a racket and shuttlecock. Because the shuttlecock is lightweight, the sport is best played indoors, where there is no worry that the wind could send it off course.

Play takes place on a badminton court, with a net running through the centre of it. There are lines around the court, which signal where the players and shuttlecock can, or can’t, go.

Badminton can be played with either two people (singles) or four people (doubles). The lines on the court represent either singles or doubles matches, with the outermost lines used for a doubles match, and the inner ones for a singles.

Objects of the game

Badminton involves hitting the shuttlecock with the racket into your opponent’s designated court space. If your opponent doesn’t hit the shuttlecock back to you or makes a fault, you gain a point. You can also gain a point if your opponent hits the shuttlecock into, or below, the net in the centre of the court, or if the shuttlecock lands outside the court lines.

However, if your opponent hits the shuttlecock back towards your designated court space, a rally then begins. If you then return the hit, play continues, but if you fail to return it to your opponent, or the shuttlecock hits the net or goes outside the court lines, then your opponent will receive a point.

You will also give a point away to your opponent if you touch any part of the net, with either your racket or your body.

The winner of the game is the first person to reach 21 points. Three matches are normally played, so you would need to win at least two of these.


There are various rules of play that govern the game of badminton, which must be observed whether you play singles or doubles.

Unlike tennis, if the shuttlecock touches the ground, the rally is over. You can’t hit the shuttlecock more than once when you pass it across to your opponent.

If you play badminton in doubles, apart from the first two shots, it doesn’t matter which of the two players on a team take the shot during a rally.


A coin is usually tossed to decide who will serve first. A server needs to stand inside the service court area when they first hit the shuttlecock to their opponent, who must stand in the service court diagonally opposite.

There is a left and right service court. Each time a point is scored, players need to change courts.

There are certain rules as to how the shuttlecock must be first served. Unlike in tennis, you can’t use an overarm hitting action. It must be underarm, below your waist, and in an upward direction.