Serving 101: What Are The 3 Rules For Serving in Badminton?

Serving in badminton isn’t simply a matter of tossing the shuttle in the air and hitting it with your racket. On top of the general rules for serving in badminton, singles and doubles games have some specific serving rules too! So what are the rules for serving in badminton?

The 3 principal rules for serving in badminton are that the server and receiver must have both feet on the ground in their service court until they hit the shuttle. In addition, they must serve under their arm and below the waist. Finally, the shuttlecock must fly diagonally to the opponent.

There are more specific rules for serving in singles and in doubles games beyond just these three, which I will teach you more about below. However, most of the rules are the same except for one crucial difference with the non-serving player. More on that in a minute.

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The YONEX Nanoray Light 18i Graphite Badminton Racquet is a great pick for an absolute beginner because it comes tuned with just the right amount of string tension.

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General Rules on How To Serve Properly in Badminton

Unlike in tennis, you cannot make an overhand serve in badminton. You must also hit the shuttle in a specific way to avoid a service fault. Specifically:

  • You must first hit the cork (the bottom part of the birdie) and not the shuttle with your badminton racket. The entire bird must be below the waistline of the serving player when the racket touches it.
  • The serve must fly cross-court from the right side to the left or vice versa. In addition, the shuttle must fall somewhere within the boundaries of the opponent’s service court.
  • The top of the racket cannot be above the serving player’s racket hand. Therefore, you must serve in an upward swing — whether it’s a short or long one.
  • You must hit the shuttle in one swing. Otherwise, failure to make contact with the shuttle or hitting it twice would incur a service fault. You’re also not allowed to make a “shadow swing” or anything that can be interpreted as deceiving your opponent.
  • The server’s feet must be on the ground and in the service court. The server cannot leave the ground when serving and must serve from their designated service court.

Related: Have you ever heard badminton players shout during a match? Find out the real reason why badminton players shout during a match!

A Beginners Guide To Serving in Badminton

Hitting a flawless service in badminton requires that you adhere to various rules. These rules include specifics regarding the service court, rules for hitting the shuttle, and laws dictating the right to serve. These rules become a little more complicated in game of doubles badminton.

Lets review.

Choosing the Player or Team To Serve First in Badminton

Like in many other sports, badminton players determine who gets to make the first serve by tossing a coin. The winning team or player in the coin toss can choose their preferred side of the court. They also decide whether they or the opponent will make the first serve.

General Service Court Rules in Badminton

The service court is marked by the service line drawn 1.98 m (6.5 feet) from the net. It’s then divided into two equal sections, denoting the right and left service courts. The outer boundary lines change in singles and doubles games, making the court narrower and long or short and wider, respectively.

Badminton’s general service court rules apply to singles and doubles games. It states that:

  • The first serve and the even points must be served from the right service court. The player or team with odd points must serve from the left service court.
  • The server and receiver must be in their respective service court until the service is concluded. In addition, their feet must be touching the court floor.
  • Neither the server nor the receiver’s feet should touch the white lines marking the service courts. However, they can position themselves anywhere within their respective service courts.

The Right To Serve in Badminton: Singles

A badminton singles game has specific laws regarding the right to serve. The player who makes the initial service will keep playing until they lose a point. When the opponent scores a point, they get the right to serve and continue to do so as long as they keep winning points.

However, both players must change service courts after each rally or when a point is scored. This ensures that the general rules regarding odd and even points will apply naturally.

The Right To Serve in Badminton: Doubles

Determining the right to serve is more complicated in a doubles game as it needs to shuffle between the teams and the individual players of each unit. However, the service court rules remain the same, except for an added provision for the non-serving player. It states that:

  • The non-serving or non-receiving teammate can stand anywhere on their court. However, their position mustn’t obstruct the serve or the view of the serving and receiving player.
  • Any player in the first-serving team can make the first serve, but they must do so from the right service court. The team that wins a point will get to serve next until they lose a point.
  • The initial player to serve will continue to do so until they lose a point. However, they must change the service court with their partner before making each serve after scoring a point.
  • The team that loses a point should not change sides within their courts. The court change applies only to the servicing team when they win a point.
  • The number of points determines the serving player of the opponent team. It should be based on the number of points scored (odd or even).

The order of servers is also determined by these rules. Only the serving team can change sides by scoring a point, so it automatically dictates which opponent player would get to serve when their turn comes. It also ensures that no player on the receiving side receives two consecutive services in a game.

Fun Fact: Badminton can burn a ton of calories! Find out why people are choosing Badminton over going to the gym.

What Are The 3 Rules For Serving In Badminton – My Final Thoughts

If you’re new to badminton, the rules of serving can seem a little whacky. You must remember where you should be positioned on the court, the ideal shuttlecock height before and during your swing, how you’ll rotate with your partner/opponent, and which court you should be in (among other things) to make a faultless serve.

The 3 rules for serving in badminton are:
1. The server must have both feet on the ground and in their service court.
2. You must serve underhand and below the waist.
3. The shuttlecock must fly diagonally to your opponent.

Once you’ve mastered these three basic rules to serving in badminton, you’ll be serving like a pro in no time.



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