Badminton Rules and Regulations For Doubles

Recently, I did a post on badminton rules and regulations for singles and thought that it might be helpful also to do a badminton rules and regulations for doubles post. You’ll find that most of the rules are the same as singles with minor differences and they apply to all types of doubles play; men’s and women’s doubles as well as mixed doubles.

Let’s get into lines and scoring first.

Lines and Scoring

As the name suggests, doubles is a variation of badminton played with two people instead of one. Thus, the lines will change a little.

Because of the two people, doubles play makes use of the entire court. Meaning that shots within the outermost lines are in.badminton doubles lines

The same thing as singles, if you’re a professional player, the highest level tournaments will often allow you to challenge the calls by the line judges. Of course, most of us are not at that level and don’t have to worry.

Another difference of doubles with singles is the lines used for serving. Unlike singles where the horizontal back line is used at all time, the front horizontal line is used when players serve. Basically, you can’t serve as far as you usually can in singles.

badminton serving lines

Scoring in doubles is the same as scoring in singles. You get points by either landing the shuttle in on your opponent’s side, or your opponent hits it out on your side. Games once again go up to 21 and matches are usually of best of three.

In each game, players must also win by two or until one player reaches 30 points. Basically, the score can go from 22-20, 23-21, 24-22, 25-23, all the way until 30-29 when the game ends.

At 11 points or in between games, coaches will usually get an opportunity to talk to you just like in singles.

Service and Starting A Game

To start a game of badminton, you must first decide which pair is serving. It’s done in the same way as singles either officially through a coin flip or casually by throwing up the shuttle and seeing which way it points to.

Before the game, both sides should get an opportunity to practice serve in which all players on the court will take turns serving once. Sometimes it will depend on your tournament rules as well.

Whoever is serving will start on the right side because the score is even. If it’s odd, one of the players will serve on the left side. Players also need to stand behind the service line and serve the shuttle past the opponent’s service line. If they don’t, it is called short and your opponent’s point.

During the match is when it gets more confusing. If you serve and you retain the serve by getting points consecutively, you will continue serving and switch sides depending on the score. If you lose the serve and then regain the serve, whoever was serving before will, and the other player will serve. This means, if you were serving before, your partner would now serve, and if your partner were serving previously, you would now serve.

I hope that makes sense. If you have any questions, please ask in the comment section down below!

badminton doubles server

Another rule with doubles is that when you serve, you must stand on one side and behind the service line. However, your partner does not have to and can stand anywhere on the court. Generally, although not the rule, in women’s and men’s doubles, your partner stands behind you, and in mixed doubles, the guy usually always stands behind the girl.

If you’re playing a match, the winner of the previous game will get to serve next.

The service height rules are also the same as singles where you officially have to serve below 1.15 meters. But usually serving below the waist should suffice. Make sure you check the tournament rules.

Checking service height is a lot more common in doubles as players like to play a variety of serves such as a punch serve and flick serve and some players will often hit it too high above their waist.

Double Touch, Carries, and Other Faults

There are plenty of shots that can be considered as faults. Some of the most notable ones are hitting the shuttle twice in a row, scooping it up from the ground, and touching the shuttle if it goes out. If any of this happens to you, it will automatically be the opponent’s point and vice versa.

Another common thing to check is when a pair’s rackets clash. Generally, this is okay, but in some tournaments, they rule it as double touch. Make sure you check the tournament rules out. You should be okay though because racket clashing is relatively uncommon with excellent synergy.

I didn’t note this in the rules and regulations of the single because it basically never happens, but in doubles, especially professional doubles where the rallies are incredibly intense, if you drop the racket and play the shuttle with your hand, it does not count. Again, sporadic case but I did see it happen once.

Something that I found from badminton beginners is that they think you’re not allowed to switch rackets while in a rally. While this is uncommon, in doubles, it is feasible and more frequent when players break their racket strings, and there is no regulation regarding this.

Similar to the situation above, there also isn’t a rule regarding how much a player has to hit the shuttle. As long as the pair follows the service rules, technically only one person has to hit the shuttle. There is no “everybody needs to play” rule.

Playing Around The Net

Many faults occur at the net. Players may often play too aggressively and either hit on the opponent’s side or hit the net itself. Like singles, here are some net play rules.

  1. You cannot hit the shuttle while it’s on your opponent’s side.
  2. Your foot cannot be on the other person’s side when hitting the shuttle.
  3. You cannot hit the net with your racket or other parts of your body when playing the shot at the net.

Although I see situations where a player net kills, and the other player’s racket is up and blocks the net kill less in doubles than in singles, it is still a situation that receives a lot of controversy due to the speed of the game.

Most lower level tournaments don’t have an umpire watching the net from a higher viewpoint which makes it even more difficult to judge whether or not a player has violated the rules. The only thing I can say here is to do your best and try to come to an agreement with the other player.

One thing to note is that you cannot hit the net with your racket or other parts of your body but the shuttle can hit the net, and it will be your point if it lands on your opponent’s side. Just a reminder for when someone calls you out on the shuttle hitting the net.

Tournament Specifics

Although what I said are standard across BWF terms and most tournaments, each individual competition will have different rules and regulations that you have to follow.

Some variations include scoring and how much your coach is allowed to talk to you. I know that school badminton often change up the scoring rules because of the number of players, time, and limited court space. During junior high/middle school, I found that all of the games were being played to 15 with no deuces and everything was best of one. Coaches were also not allowed to talk to us until after the game too.

Other times, tournaments would have regulations regarding sizing of logos on your shirt or even the color of the shirt you’re wearing. Many higher level tournaments also require that your shirt has your name and country on it as well.

For doubles specifically, most higher level tournaments require that the players wear matching clothes. Meaning that the shirt and the shorts are often the same. Same thing for mixed doubles although girls are allowed to wear skorts while the boy wears shorts. They just have to be the same color.

It all depends on the tournament specifics. It’s why you should play more badminton tournaments. Because when you come to different settings and new rules, you won’t be bothered or surprised too much and thus your play won’t deteriorate.


Comment down below if you thought I missed anything or if you have something to add! You should be able to get a game of doubles set up now after seeing this post. If you’re a badminton singles player, make sure you check out my post about badminton rules and regulations for singles too!

As always, good luck in your games and have a great day!

Badminton Rules and Regulations For Singles

In almost every game or sport in the world, there are rules. Rules and regulations are needed to maintain order in the games and badminton are no different. Thus, here I am making a post about badminton rules and regulations for singles players for those that want to get started playing.

badminton rules infographic

Lines and Scoring

One of the most fundamental parts of badminton is scoring. There are two players in badminton singles; one on each side. To get points, the shuttle must either land in on your opponent’s side or land out on your side. Simple right? The whole point is to hit the shuttle within the court dimensions to somewhere your opponent can’t get it.

Usually, the first person to 21 points wins but if a deuce happens, one player must win by two points or until someone reaches 30 first. For example, if the score is 20-20, a player could not win 21-20, but they could win 22-20, 23-21, 24-22, all the way until 30-29. Matches would also usually be best of three.

Generally at 11 points and between games players get a short 30-second break where you can drink liquids, towel yourself down, and have your coach talk to you. You will also switch sides between games and at 11 points if you’re playing the third set.

Now, you need an understanding of what is out and what is in. A badminton court has two lines that run vertically and two lines that run horizontally. In singles, the court is long and narrow and thus we use the inner two vertical lines and the horizontal back line.

badminton singles lines
Badminton singles lines highlighted in blue

Anything that lands within the box or right on those lines is in, and anything outside those lines is out.

An interesting scoring system that was used about a decade ago required a player to have the service to score. For example, if I was playing against you and I was serving, I could score points on you, but you couldn’t score points on me. To score points on me, you would have to hit the shuttle down onto my side and reverse the service. During that time, players also played to 15.

Now you don’t have to worry about the old scoring system anymore. You can gain points no matter who’s serving!

If you play competitively, you should also note about challenging individual calls. Usually, the player who’s on the side that shuttle landed on gets to make the call if there is no umpire or line judges. There’s no much you could do if they call out a shot that you don’t agree with unless you are playing higher grade tournaments where you can challenge the call.

Unfortunate, but it is what it is.

Service and Starting A Game

Now that you understand how to win a badminton game and the scoring system, it’s time to talk about service and starting an actual game of badminton.

Before you start, you must decide who gets to serve. The official way to determine who gets to serve is by a coin flip. One person chooses heads, the other tails. Whoever wins the coin flip gets to decide who serves. This is the way they will do it in BWF tournaments and most significant matches.

However, there are other ways to start a match as well, and it’s often dependent on your tournament’s rules. One of the most common ways to start a game is by hitting the shuttle up and then giving the services to whoever the spinning shuttle points to.

Before you start the game, you should also know that in many cases both players can be granted a practice serve. If they don’t outright give you a chance to practice serve, make sure you ask if you’re allowed one should you need it. It all depends on the official tournament rules.

When serving, players should be behind the service line, which is the closest horizontal line to the net,

badminton score sides
Red when your score is odd, blue when your score is even

and on either side of the vertical line that runs through the middle. The side is determined by the score. Serve on the right side if your score is even and the left side if your score is odd. For example, if you are 2-0 against your opponent, you would serve on the right side while if you 1-0, you would serve on the left.

Hitting the shuttle must also be done in a certain way. The shuttle must land on or cross the service line of your opponent’s side, and your racket contact with the shuttle must be below 1.15 meters. Although this rule has been controversial because tall people have to bend down to serve while short people might even be able to serve above the waist, it does provide a more objective call compared to the previous rule, serve below the waist which had problems with judges being unable to identify the waist because of longer shirts and different body proportions.

Serving below the waist still works as the general guideline and the rule is still used in many lower level tournaments and gameplay. You can definitely continue using this rule unless you’re over six feet tall in which you may need to bend your legs a little.

If you’re in a match, after each game, the person who won will serve first.

Double Touch, Carries, and Other Faults

During the game, you may encounter several controversial shots that could be argued over. Many common ones are the shuttle hitting the ground and a player scooping it up to return it or if a player hits the shuttle multiple times while it’s still on his side.

Another common one is that if you touch the shuttle and it goes out, it is the opponent’s point. Sometimes players may decline that they touched it and if you don’t have an umpire making those calls, the two players must sort it out themselves.

Take note of some of these faults and watch out for them. They can be quite subtle.

Another thing to watch out for is how you move on the court between each rally. Tournaments generally don’t like it when you step off or walk around for too long. Trash talking and poor attitude can also be called out and punished. Just respect others, and you will be fine.

Playing Around The Net

One of the frequent calls argued over other than line calls in badminton is when a player hits the shuttle at the net. Here are some rules for net play.

  1. You cannot hit the shuttle while it’s on your opponent’s side.
  2. Your foot cannot be on the other person’s side when hitting the shuttle.
  3. You cannot hit the net with your racket or other parts of your body when playing the shot at the net.

These rules always create a setting for argument as the net game is so fast and hard to watch and make a call. It’s especially argued over when a player net kills, and the other player’s racket is up and blocks the net kill. They often have to play it in slow motion to figure out what was the best call.

Unfortunately, casual players don’t usually have an umpire sitting and watching the net from an unbiased perspective, and as such, the two players must make the call themselves.

One common misconception around badminton rules and regulations though is that if the shuttle hits the net, it’s out. This is not true as wherever the shuttle lands after hitting the net will be a point for one of the players.

Tournament Specifics

Badminton rules and regulations always vary little by little. Although what I said was pretty standard and equal to the official BWF rules, each tournament might have their own little rules depending on certain factors.

Let’s take, for example, school badminton. In school, at least for me at the time, because of the restriction on time and space, matches were best of one and played to 15 with no deuces. Playing in school gyms also introduced a new variable of the ceiling which most called as out and even a rule of re-serving when players cannot agree with one another.

Also because of time and restricted space, some tournaments make it a rule that your coaches cannot talk to you at 11 points or even at all until you reach playoffs. Sometimes, things like how big the logos on your shirt are, what color your shirt and what shoes you wear can be rules as well.

Every tournament might be slightly different, but the general idea is not to complain but adapt. It’s part of the reason we tell you to play more badminton tournaments. You become more adaptable to different situations, and you won’t be relying on comfort rules and courts.


Did I miss anything? Comment down below on what you thought of this post! After seeing these rules, you should be okay to get yourself a game of badminton singles set up!

Also, comment down below if you would like to see rules and regulations for badminton doubles!

As always, good luck in your games and have a great day!