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Mastering the Court: A Complete Guide to Badminton Doubles Rules

Welcome to the ultimate guide for all badminton enthusiasts looking to dominate the court in doubles! Whether you're a seasoned player or just starting out, understanding the ins and outs of badminton doubles rules is crucial. In this comprehensive blog post, we'll unravel every aspect of this exhilarating game - from rules around serving and positioning on the court, to court dimensions, fouls, and faults. So grab your racquets, lace up your shoes, and get ready to master the court like never before with our complete guide to badminton doubles rules!

Table of contents

Introduction to Badminton Doubles Rules

Badminton is a game that brings together speed, agility, and mental prowess. Although it can be played in both singles and doubles format, doubles is often considered the more dynamic and challenging version of the sport. In this section, we will provide you with a comprehensive introduction to badminton doubles and cover all the important rules that you need to know before stepping onto the court.

Firstly, let's understand what exactly constitutes a badminton doubles match. As the name suggests, it involves two teams of two players each competing against one another on opposite sides of a rectangular court divided by a net. The objective of the game is to hit the shuttlecock over the net and into your opponent's side of the court in such a manner that they are unable to return it. A point is scored every time this happens.

Now let's dive into some basic rules that apply specifically to badminton doubles:

1. Service Rotation: Unlike singles where only one player serves throughout the entire game, in doubles both team members take turns serving after every point won by their side. This means that if player A wins a point while serving, then player B gets to serve next.

2. Court Dimensions: The official dimensions for a badminton court are 17 feet by 44 feet for singles matches and 20 feet by 40 feet for doubles matches. The net should be placed at a height of 5 feet at its center.

3. Serving: A serve must always be diagonal and must cross over the net to land in the opponent's service court. The serve must be hit below waist level and the shuttlecock should be struck below the server's waist.

4. Scoring: A rally ends when the shuttlecock hits the ground, goes out of bounds, or if a player commits a fault. In doubles, a point is awarded to the serving team if they win a rally and to the receiving team if they win a rally while their opponents were serving.

5. Faults: A fault is committed when a player violates one of the rules of badminton such as hitting the shuttlecock outside of their designated playing area, touching the net with their racket or body, or making contact with the shuttlecock more than once in succession.

6. Rotation after Point: After each point has been completed, teams switch sides of the court. This means that if Team A was previously serving from their right-hand side, they will now serve from their left-hand side.

The Court

The court and equipment are essential components of badminton doubles, as they provide the framework for the game. Understanding the dimensions and features of the court, as well as knowing the different types of equipment used, is crucial for mastering this sport. In this section, we will take a closer look at the court used in badminton doubles.

The Court:

A badminton court is rectangular in shape and divided into two halves by a net. The standard dimensions of a badminton court are 44 feet long and 20 feet wide for doubles play. The net should be positioned at the center with its height set at 5 feet from the ground at its poles. It is important to note that these measurements may vary depending on whether you are playing professionally or recreationally, so it is best to check with your specific tournament or club for exact measurements.

badminton court
Badminton court

The boundaries of the court are marked by lines that determine if a shot is considered "in" or "out." The outermost lines running along each side of the court mark the sidelines, while the innermost lines parallel to them mark the back boundary line. Shorter lines perpendicular to these sidelines form service courts where players must serve from during gameplay.

doubles serve area even
Doubles serve area even

doubles serve area odd
Doubles serve area odd

Doubles area play after serve
Doubles area play after the serve

Scoring System in Doubles

In badminton doubles, the scoring system is slightly different from singles. While the objective remains the same – to outscore your opponents by hitting the shuttlecock into their side of the court and preventing them from returning it – there are some key rules and nuances that players must be aware of in order to master this game.

The basic principle of scoring in badminton doubles is similar to singles, where a player or team scores a point when they win a rally. However, there are some differences in how points are counted and awarded in doubles.

Firstly, let's understand the terminology used in doubles scoring. A team consists of two players – one serving and one receiving. The serving team is referred to as "in" while the receiving team is referred to as "out." This terminology may seem confusing at first but it simply refers to which side of the court each player starts on before serving or receiving.

Now, let's delve into how points are scored in badminton doubles:

1. Rally Point System:

Similar to singles, badminton doubles also follows a rally point system. This means that every time you win a rally, regardless of whether you were serving or receiving, you win a point.

2. Best-of-Three Games:

A match in badminton doubles consists of three games instead of just one like singles. The first team to reach 21 points wins a game. If both teams have 20 points each, then whoever reaches 30 points first wins that game. If both teams have 29 points, then the team that reaches 30 points first wins by a margin of two points.

3. Rotating Serve:

Unlike singles, where one player serves throughout the entire game, in doubles, the serve rotates between teammates after each point is scored. This means that if you win a point while serving, your partner will serve for the next point and vice versa.

4. Serving Order:

The order of serving in doubles is determined at the beginning of each game and does not change throughout that game. The first server for each team is chosen by a coin toss or spin of a racket, followed by their respective partners, and then it alternates between teams after every subsequent change of service.

5. Faults on Serve:

If a fault is committed while serving, it results in a loss of serve and a point for the opposing team. Some common faults include:

- Serving out of turn

- The shuttlecock landing outside the service court

- The shuttlecock hitting any part of the body or clothing before being hit over the net

- The server's feet crossing the service line before contacting the shuttlecock

- The server's racket touching any part of the net

Serving Rules: How to serve legally in doubles

Before diving into the various serving rules in badminton doubles, it is important to understand the overall objective of serving. The main goal of a serve is to start a rally by hitting the shuttlecock over the net and into your opponent's service court. In doubles, there are specific rules that players must follow in order to serve legally and avoid any penalties.

1. Service Court Boundaries: The first step to serving legally in doubles is understanding the boundaries of the service court. Each side of the court is divided into two rectangles - one for the server and one for their opponent. These rectangles are further divided by a center line and a front service line which marks the area where players must stand while serving. Check out the image below or check out the court section of this article to get a better visualization of where the boundaries are.

2. The first serve of the game must always start from the right-side service area.

First serve area for doubles badminton
First serve of the game starts on the right service area or when the score is even

A player will always serve from the left service area when the score is odd. The order of the server depends on the score. For example, if the receivers score a point bringing their score to 4 (even), and become the new servers, whoever is in the right-hand box at the time becomes the new server (because all even scores are served from the right-hand box). If the score had been 5 (odd), whoever was stood in the left-hand box would become the new server.

3. Alternate Serving: In doubles, each team has two players who take turns serving. This means that after every point, teams must alternate who serves next. The player who serves first in each game will also be responsible for starting subsequent games until their team loses a point.

4. Diagonal Serving: Another important rule in badminton doubles is that all serves must be hit diagonally across the net from one service court to another. For example, if you are standing on your right-hand side service court, you must serve towards your opponent's left-hand side service court.

5. Underarm Serve Only: Unlike singles, where players can use both underarm and overhead serves, doubles only allows underarm serves. This means that when serving, players must have at least part of their racket below their waist at all times.

6. Serve Height: When serving in doubles, the shuttlecock must be hit below the server's waist. This is to prevent players from gaining an advantage by using a high serve that is difficult for their opponent to return.

7. Service Faults: There are several instances where a service can be considered a fault, resulting in losing a point or having to re-serve. Some common service faults in badminton doubles include:

- Serving from the wrong service court

- Stepping on or over the service court boundaries while serving

- Serving above the waist

- Moving before making contact with the shuttlecock

It is important for players to pay attention to these faults and ensure that they are serving within the rules to avoid any penalties.

8. Let Serve: A let serve occurs when the shuttlecock hits the net during a serve but still lands in the correct service court. In this case, the serve is replayed without any penalty.

9. Receiver's Ready Position: Before each serve, the receiver must be standing in their designated service court and show that they are ready by holding their racket up and still. If they are not ready when the server serves, it can result in a fault .

Player Positions and Rotations: The roles of each player on the court

In a game of badminton doubles, there are two players on each team, making a total of four players on the court at any given moment. Each player has a specific role and position on the court that is crucial for their team's success.

The positions in badminton doubles are divided into three parts - frontcourt, midcourt, and backcourt. The frontcourt consists of the area near the net, while the midcourt is in between the net and service line. The backcourt is at the far end of the court, near the baseline.

Whilst positioning is more of a tactic than an actual rule, let us take a closer look at each player's role and responsibilities based on their positions on the court:

1. Frontcourt Player: This player stands close to the net and is responsible for intercepting any shots that come over it. They should have good hand-eye coordination and quick reflexes to react to fast-paced shots from their opponents. The frontcourt player also needs to have excellent footwork skills as they need to move quickly across the court to cover all areas near the net. Their main objective is to set up opportunities for their partner to make attacking shots.

2. Midcourt Player: The midcourt player stands in between their partner who is at the frontcourt and themselves who are positioned towards the back of the court. They play a crucial role in covering most of the court's central area by moving side-to-side or diagonally across it quickly. This player must have good anticipation skills as they need to be able to read their opponents' shots and be ready to intercept them. They also need to have good attacking skills to hit powerful smashes or drop shots from the midcourt.

3. Backcourt Player: The backcourt player stands at the far end of the court, near the baseline. This player is primarily responsible for returning any shots that go towards the back of the court. They must have good defensive skills as they will receive most of their opponents' attacking shots. Their main objective is to keep the shuttle in play and set up opportunities for their partner to attack.


During a game, players are constantly moving around the court, changing positions depending on who has served and which team has won a rally. Here are some common rotations in badminton doubles:

1. Side-by-Side: In this rotation, both players stand side-by-side at the front of the court after serving or winning a rally. This position allows for quick movement across the court and easy interception of shots.

side by side position
side by side position

2. Front-and-Back: In this rotation, one player stands at the front while the other stands at the back of the court after serving or winning a rally. This position provides good coverage of both ends of the court and allows for powerful attacking shots from the backcourt player.

Front and back position
Front and back position

3. Diagonal: In this rotation, one player stands at the front of the court on their side while the other stands at the back on the opposite side of the court. This position allows for maximum coverage of the court and is useful when defending against cross-court shots.

Diagonal position
Diagonal position

4. Switching Sides: In this rotation, players switch sides after every point, with one player moving from the front to the back and vice versa. This rotation allows both players to experience playing in different positions and helps maintain balance between attacking and defending.

Faults and Penalties: Common mistakes and their consequences

In any sport, it is important to understand the rules and regulations in order to play efficiently and avoid penalties. Badminton doubles is no exception. In this section, we will discuss some of the most common mistakes made in badminton doubles and their consequences.

1. Illegal Serving: The most basic rule of serving in badminton doubles is that the server must stand within the service court and hit the shuttlecock below waist level. However, many players make the mistake of serving from outside the service court or above waist level which results in a fault. This can lead to a point being awarded to the opposing team.

2. Stepping into Opponent's Court: Another common mistake made by players is stepping into their opponent's court during a rally. This can happen when trying to reach for a shot or while attempting to block an opponent's shot. According to the rules, a player cannot enter his/her opponent's court at any time during a rally and doing so will result in a fault.

3. Double Hitting: One of the most challenging aspects of badminton doubles is coordinating with your partner while hitting shots. However, sometimes players end up double hitting the shuttlecock which results in a fault being awarded to their opponents.

4. Touching the Net: The net is considered as part of the playing area in badminton doubles and touching it with any part of your body or racket during a rally will result in a penalty. This includes even accidental touches such as brushing against the net while reaching for a shot.

5. Delay of Game: Badminton doubles has a fast-paced nature and players are expected to continue with the game without any unnecessary delays. Any form of deliberate delay, such as taking too much time between points, will result in a penalty.

6. Faulty Serve Return: Just like serving, there are specific rules for returning a serve in badminton doubles. If the receiver fails to return the serve within the service court or if his/her partner hits the shuttle before it crosses the net, it will result in a fault and award points to the serving team.

7. Out of Bounds Shots: In badminton doubles, if a player hits the shuttle out of bounds or beyond the boundary lines, it will result in a fault and award points to their opponents.

8. Misconduct: Misconduct refers to any unsportsmanlike behavior on or off the court that goes against the spirit of fair play. This can include verbal abuse, physical altercations, or intentionally distracting an opponent during a rally. Such behavior can result in penalties such as warnings, point deductions, or even disqualification from the match.

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