The Latest Badminton Rulebook: Players Need to Know Now

A fast-paced, thrilling sport, badminton’s exciting gameplay and strategic moves never stop attracting players and admirers throughout the globe. A fair and enjoyable game of badminton requires all players, regardless of experience level, to remain up to date on the latest general rules. Our in-depth guide will cover all the recent changes and rules about this popular sport, giving you the information you need to succeed on the court.

I will give you a quick overview of badminton before getting into the most recent rules. Badminton is a professional sport with regulated rules and regulations that originated in ancient civilizations and gained appeal across continents. In badminton, which may be played in singles or doubles, players must rally a shuttlecock across the net while using skill, strategy, and dexterity to outwit their rivals.

Latest General Rule of Badminton:

Similar to other sports, badminton’s governing organizations evaluate and improve their regulations regularly to improve fairness, safety, and competition. Although the fundamentals of badminton haven’t changed, several new modifications have been made to improve certain areas of the game. Let’s examine some of the most recent badminton general rules:

1. Service Rules:

The Service Rules in badminton are essential for maintaining fair play and ensuring that each player has an equal opportunity to serve and score points. Understanding and adhering to these rules are crucial for players, umpires, and spectators alike.

Service Court:

  • The service court is the area where the shuttle must be served.
  • In singles, the service court is the area diagonally opposite to the server’s position.
  • In doubles, each side of the court has a specific service court for serving.

Service Sequence:

  • The server and the receiver stand diagonally opposite each other.
  • The server must serve from within the service court, with both feet stationary on the ground.
  • The shuttle must be struck below the server’s waist level.
  • The racket head must be pointing downward when striking the shuttle.
  • The shuttle must be hit within the server’s side of the court.
  • Once the serve is made, the receiver must let the shuttle drop before hitting it.

Service Rotation:

  • In singles, the server serves from one service court until a fault is committed. After a fault, the serve alternates to the opponent.
  • In doubles, both players on the serving side have the opportunity to serve, and service alternates between partners after each point is scored or a fault is committed.

Faults in Service:

  • Common faults during service include:
  • Failure to hit the shuttle below waist level.
  • Striking the shuttle above the waist.
  • Moving the feet before striking the shuttle.
  • Missing the service court or hitting the shuttle outside the boundaries.
  • Serving when the receiver is not ready.
  • Serving before the umpire’s signal.
  • Serving when the score has not been called.

Let Service:

  • A let service occurs when a rally must be replayed due to certain unforeseen circumstances, such as the shuttle hitting the net and landing in the correct service court.
  • The decision to call a let service is at the discretion of the umpire.

Service Judge:

  • In official matches, a service judge may be appointed to specifically monitor the legality of the serve.
  • The service judge makes the final decision regarding faults in service.

Consequences of Faulty Service:

  • If the server commits a fault, the opponent is awarded a point.
  • If the server’s fault occurs while serving, the serve is alternated to the opponent.

2. Scoring System:

The scoring system in badminton is straightforward yet crucial for determining the outcome of matches. It involves keeping track of points earned by each player or team throughout the game.

Rally Scoring:

  • Badminton typically uses a rally scoring system, meaning a point is awarded for every rally won, regardless of which player or team served.
  • This system ensures that every rally contributes to the overall score, making matches more fast-paced and competitive.


  • A badminton match is usually played to 21 points.
  • To win a game, a player or team must reach 21 points first, with a margin of at least 2 points over their opponent.
  • If the score reaches 20-20, known as “deuce,” the game continues until one player or team gains a two-point advantage and wins the game.

Serving and Receiving:

  • Points are scored whether the serving side or the receiving side wins the rally.
  • After each rally, the server rotates to the opposite service court if they win the point.
  • In doubles, the server continues serving until they commit a fault, and then the serve passes to the partner. The serving side remains the same throughout the game, but the server alternates between partners.

Service Over:

  • If the serving side loses a rally, known as a “service over,” the opponent becomes the serving side, and the player who won the rally becomes the new server.
  • This process continues throughout the match, with service alternating between the two sides after each rally.

Scoring Calls:

  • The score is called out before each serve, with the serving side’s score announced first, followed by the receiving side’s score.
  • For example, if the serving side has 3 points and the receiving side has 2 points, the score would be called as “3-2.”

Game Points:

  • When a player or team reaches game point (i.e., one point away from winning the game), the score is announced as “game point” by the umpire or referee.
  • Winning the game requires reaching 21 points first, with a minimum two-point advantage over the opponent.


  • A badminton match typically consists of the best of three games. The player or team that wins two games first wins the match.
  • If each side wins one game, a deciding game may be played, often to 15 points, with a similar two-point margin rule.

3. Player Conduct and Code of Ethics:

Player conduct and the code of ethics in badminton are essential for maintaining sportsmanship, fairness, and respect among players, officials, and spectators. Adhering to these rules ensures a positive and enjoyable environment for everyone involved.

Respect: Players must respect opponents, officials, and equipment.

Fair Play: Adhere to the rules and regulations of the game.

Honesty: Be truthful and report any infractions observed.

Control of Emotions: Maintain composure and avoid outbursts of anger or frustration.

Anti-Discrimination: Discrimination based on race, gender, religion, etc., is strictly prohibited.

Integrity: Uphold the integrity and reputation of the sport.

Role Modeling: Set a positive example for others, especially aspiring athletes and fans.

4. Equipment Regulations:

Equipment regulations in badminton govern the specifications and standards of the equipment used by players during matches. These regulations ensure fairness, safety, and consistency across all levels of play.

Size and Shape of Racket

  • Overall length of the racket frame must not exceed 680 mm.
  • Overall width of the racket frame must not exceed 230 mm.
  • The hitting surface (strung area) of the racket must be flat.
  • The strung area should form a pattern of crossed strings.
  • The total stringed area must not exceed 280 mm in length and 220 mm in width.
  • The shape of the racket head must be generally oval.
  • The strings must be attached to the frame and form a pattern of crossed strings.
  • The handle must be attached perpendicular to the shaft.

Material and Stringing of Racket

  • The frame of the racket can be made of various materials such as carbon fiber, aluminum, graphite, or other approved materials.
  • The strings can be made of synthetic materials such as nylon or natural materials such as gut.
  • The strings must be securely attached to the frame and form a pattern of crossed strings.
  • The tension of the strings is not specifically regulated by the rules but is typically adjusted based on player preference and playing style.
  • The stringing pattern must adhere to the standard configurations commonly used in badminton, such as the traditional “main” and “cross” string pattern.


Official badminton matches use feather shuttlecocks made from the feathers of ducks or geese. Synthetic shuttlecocks made of nylon are also used for recreational and training purposes. Shuttlecocks must meet specific speed and durability requirements to ensure consistent performance during matches. Shuttlecocks are labeled with a speed rating to indicate their flight characteristics, ranging from slow (e.g., 75) to fast (e.g., 79).


Badminton shoes must be non-marking, meaning they should not leave any marks or scuffs on the court surface. Badminton shoes must provide adequate grip and traction on the court surface to allow players to move quickly and change direction with ease. They often feature non-marking rubber soles to prevent damage to the court. Badminton shoes typically have reinforced support around the ankles to prevent injuries and provide stability during lateral movements.


Players are free to choose their attire as long as it is comfortable, allows for freedom of movement, and does not pose a safety hazard. But players are generally advised to avoid wearing jewelry or accessories that could pose a safety risk or interfere with gameplay. Depending on the climate and conditions of the playing venue, players may need to adjust their clothing choices accordingly. In official tournaments or competitions, players must adhere to any clothing regulations specified by the organizing body or governing authority. These regulations may include requirements regarding the color, design, or branding of clothing, as well as restrictions on the display of logos or sponsorships.

5. Anti-Doping Measures:

Anti-doping measures in badminton are crucial for maintaining the integrity of the sport and ensuring fair competition among athletes. These measures aim to prevent the use of prohibited substances or methods that could enhance performance and give athletes an unfair advantage.

Prohibited Substances and Methods:

  • The Badminton World Federation (BWF) follows the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code, which identifies prohibited substances and methods.
  • Prohibited substances include anabolic steroids, stimulants, diuretics, and hormones, among others. Prohibited methods include blood doping, manipulation of urine samples, and tampering with doping control processes.

Testing Procedures:

  • Athletes participating in badminton competitions may be subject to doping control tests conducted by authorized anti-doping organizations.
  • Testing procedures may include urine and blood sample collection, conducted either in competition or out of competition.

Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs):

  • Athletes with legitimate medical conditions requiring the use of prohibited substances may apply for a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE).
  • A TUE allows athletes to use prohibited substances for medical treatment while competing, provided they meet specific criteria and receive approval from the appropriate authorities.

Whereabouts Reporting:

  • Athletes in the Registered Testing Pool (RTP) may be required to provide information about their whereabouts for the purpose of out-of-competition testing.
  • This information allows anti-doping organizations to locate athletes for testing at any time and helps maintain the effectiveness of the anti-doping program.

Consequences of Doping Violations:

  • Athletes found guilty of doping violations face sanctions, including disqualification from competitions, loss of medals, fines, and suspension from competition for a specified period.
  • Repeat offenders may face more severe penalties, including longer suspensions or lifetime bans from the sport.

Anti-Doping Organizations:

  • National Anti-Doping Organizations (NADOs) and the BWF work together to implement and enforce anti-doping measures in badminton.
  • These organizations collaborate with WADA and other international bodies to ensure compliance with anti-doping regulations and uphold the principles of clean sport.

 6. Technology and Video Review:

Technology and video review rules in badminton have been introduced to enhance the accuracy of officiating decisions and provide players with a fair and transparent adjudication process. Here’s a detailed explanation of these rules:

Instant Review Technology:

  • Hawk-Eye System: Badminton tournaments may utilize the Hawk-Eye system, a technology-based review system that uses high-speed cameras to track the trajectory of the shuttlecock and determine whether it landed in or out of bounds.
  • Challenge System: Players or teams are typically allowed a limited number of challenges per game or match, during which they can request a review of a line call or other contentious decision made by the officials.
  • Umpire Review: In some cases, umpires may initiate a review themselves to confirm or overturn a decision, especially if there is uncertainty or disagreement among the officials. 

Process of Video Review:

  • Initiating a Challenge: To challenge a decision, players or teams must indicate their intention to do so immediately after the disputed call occurs.
  • Review Process: Once a challenge is initiated, the video footage is reviewed by the officials or a dedicated review team. The decision is then communicated to the players, spectators, and officials.
  • Outcome: If the review confirms the original decision made by the officials, the challenging player or team loses the challenge and may not challenge again until their next opportunity. If the review overturns the decision, the challenging player or team retains their challenge, and the correct decision is applied.

Limitations and Considerations:

  • Limited Challenges: Players or teams are typically limited in the number of challenges they can make per game or match, preventing excessive stoppages and ensuring the efficient flow of play.
  • Technical Limitations: While video review technology is highly accurate, it may not be infallible. Factors such as camera angles, lighting conditions, and the speed of play can affect the accuracy of the review process.
  • Umpire Discretion: Ultimately, the decision to uphold or overturn a call rests with the umpire or officiating team, who may use their judgment and discretion in interpreting the video evidence and making a final decision.

7. Court Dimensions and Boundary Lines:

Court dimensions and boundary lines rules in badminton are essential for ensuring consistency and fairness in gameplay. Adherence to these rules helps maintain the integrity of the sport and provides a standardized environment for players.

Court Dimensions:

  • Length: The length of a standard badminton court is 13.4 meters (44 feet).
  • Width: The width of a singles court is 5.18 meters (17 feet), and for doubles, it is 6.1 meters (20 feet).
  • Service Courts: Each side of the court is divided into two service courts by a centerline. The service courts are 1.98 meters (6 feet 6 inches) wide.

Boundary Lines:

  • Sidelines: The sidelines mark the outer boundaries of the court’s length. Shots must land within these lines to be considered in play.
  • Baselines: The baselines mark the outer boundaries of the court’s width. Shots must land within these lines to be considered in play.
  • Centerline: The centerline divides the court into two equal halves and separates the service courts.
  • Service Courts: The service courts are marked by short service lines that extend 1.98 meters (6 feet 6 inches) from the net and perpendicular to the centerline.

Doubles and Singles Courts:

  • Singles Court: In singles matches, players use the inner sidelines as the court boundaries. The width of the court is reduced to 5.18 meters (17 feet), and the full length of 13.4 meters (44 feet) is used.
  • Doubles Court: In doubles matches, players use the full width of the court, extending to 6.1 meters (20 feet). The length remains the same at 13.4 meters (44 feet).

Markings and Colors:

  • Clear Markings: Boundary lines must be clearly marked and easily distinguishable from the surrounding court surface.
  • Contrasting Colors: Lines are typically marked in a contrasting color to the court surface to ensure visibility for players and officials.

Umpire Oversight:

  • Umpire Responsibilities: Umpires are responsible for enforcing court dimensions and boundary lines rules during matches.
  • Line Judges: In official competitions, line judges may be appointed to assist the umpire in making accurate line calls.

 8. Substitution and Injury Timeout Rules:

Substitution and injury timeout rules in badminton are designed to address situations where a player becomes injured or unable to continue playing during a match. These rules aim to ensure fairness and player safety while minimizing disruptions to the flow of the game.

Substitution Rules:

  • Voluntary Substitutions: Players are allowed to substitute during a match, typically during designated intervals such as between games or during timeouts.
  • Injury Substitutions: If a player becomes injured during a match and is unable to continue playing, a substitution may be allowed at the discretion of the referee or tournament organizers.
  • Designated Substitute: Each player or team may have a designated substitute player who is eligible to enter the match in the event of injury or other circumstances requiring substitution.
  • Player Eligibility: Substitutes must meet eligibility requirements, including being listed on the official team roster and complying with any age or qualification restrictions imposed by tournament regulations.
  • Notification: The referee or tournament officials must be notified of any substitution before the substitute player enters the match.

Injury Timeout Rules:

  • Injury Timeout Duration: An injury timeout allows a player to receive medical attention for an injury sustained during a match. The duration of the injury timeout may vary depending on tournament regulations but is typically limited to a specific time frame, such as one or two minutes.
  • Requesting an Injury Timeout: A player may request an injury timeout by signaling to the referee or tournament officials and indicating the need for medical attention.
  • Medical Assessment: During the injury timeout, medical personnel may assess the player’s condition and provide treatment if necessary. The player may also use this time to recover and determine if they are able to continue playing.
  • Time Management: The referee or tournament officials are responsible for managing the duration of the injury timeout and ensuring that play resumes promptly once the timeout expires.
  • Consequences of Injury Timeout: If a player is unable to resume play after the injury timeout expires, they may be forced to retire from the match, resulting in a win for their opponent or the opposing team, depending on the match format.

Players, coaches, and officials need to be up to speed on the most recent general badminton regulations. Players can compete with confidence if they follow these rules since they guarantee that matches are performed fairly and in compliance with established guidelines. A complete awareness of the most recent regulations guarantees a fair playing field and preserves the integrity of this cherished sport, regardless of your level of experience—from leisure players enjoying a friendly game to professional athletes competing for championship titles. So let’s grab our racquets, hit the court, and enjoy the exhilaration of badminton while adhering to its age-old customs and guidelines.

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