Badminton offers dynamic singles play between two opponents and fast-paced doubles with two-player teams on each side. While the basic rules are similar, important differences exist between singles and doubles formats surrounding service, court positioning, scoring, faults, and gameplay.
Understanding these nuanced rules specific to singles and doubles badminton is vital to maximize your success and avoid penalties. Let’s examine the key rules and distinctions:
The badminton service rules for singles and doubles follow these guidelines:
- Badminton Singles Serves: The server serves diagonally into the opposite service court without crossing the short service line. The receiver can stand in any position and is free to move after service.
- Badminton Doubles Serves: Only the serving team’s receiver may stand within their team’s service court. The non-receiver must stay outside the service court until service is delivered.
- In doubles, only the serving side diagonally opposite server can serve. After every 7 points, service alternates between left and right service court.
- The whole shuttlecock must be below server’s waist at point of contact for legal service in both formats. Racket head must be pointing downwards.
- Singles and doubles: Serve must clear the net and land inside the diagonal service area. Any serve touching the net is a fault.
The key difference is the receiver positioning restrictions for doubles to prevent service returns being obstructed by partners. Violating any service rules means conceding a fault.
- Singles matches are best of three games played to 21 points each. Players must win by a margin of two points once 20-all is reached in a game.
- Doubles matches are best of three games played to 21 points. No two-point margin is needed – a score of 30-29 is a winning game score in doubles.
- If score reaches 20-20 in a doubles game, the side which reaches 30 points first wins that game. 30-29 is a valid final game scoreline.
- At 29-all in doubles, the side scoring the 30th point wins that game. There is no “deuce” or need to win by two points once 30 is reached.
This difference prevents doubles matches from being excessively prolonged. Two-point margins are only needed during the overall 1-21 scoring in singles matches.
Serving and Receiving Position Rules
- Singles: Players can move freely across their entire court area after service. No player has an assigned “receiving” end.
- Doubles: One designated receiver must stay in the service court diagonally opposite the server until the service is delivered. The non-receiver can stand anywhere.
This prevents obstruction of the receiver in doubles and enables quick, coordinated counterattacks. Violating the receiver’s position is a fault.
- In singles and doubles, players switch serving sides after every 7 total points, regardless of odd/even game scores.
- Only the designated server and receiver switch positions after 7 points in doubles – partners do not swap sides. This maintains service responsibilities.
Faults are committed when:
- Singles and Doubles: Illegal underarm or overarm service, service obstruction, improper shuttle contact, touching the net during play, hitting the shuttle twice, smashing before it crosses the net, or deliberate distraction.
- Doubles: Server’s partner serves instead of the designated server, incorrect ready position, or receiver obstructing server visibility.
- Singles: Unintentional net contact on the serve or any distraction of the opponent during play.
These faults are exclusive to one format. Knowing the additional restrictions in doubles is vital to avoiding conceding penalties. Players must loudly call faults when they occur and concede the point.
Let situations requiring a rally restart include:
- If the shuttle disintegrates and becomes unplayable during a rally in singles or doubles.
- If the shuttle gets entangled in the net or in a player’s clothing/racquet during play for both formats.
- In both formats, if a stray shuttle enters the court once a rally has begun.
- Singles: If the server serves before receiver is ready. Doubles has no such provision.
This difference recognizes that doubles players need to coordinate serving and receiving, while singles server must wait for their opponents. Failure to do so is penalized only in singles.
- If the wrong player serves in doubles, it leads to a fault. This scenario is a simple fault in singles.
This affords some leeway to switch partners if doubles servers get confused, avoiding unnecessary point penalties.
- Racket specifications like strung area, frame stiffness and string tension are identical for singles and doubles formats.
- However, doubles players often use lighter and more flexible racquets to specialize in net play and react quickly to angled shots. Singles requires more power in strokes.
- Shuttlecocks must meet standard weight, diameter, and 16-feather requirements in singles and doubles without discrimination.
Court and Net Measurement Rules
- The court length, width, service area dimensions, and net height at the center and sides are uniform across singles and doubles badminton.
No differences exist in court markings or equipment norms. Dimensional regulations ensure fairness across formats. Only the movement and position rules vary between singles and doubles.
By understanding the specialized service, scoring, fault, let, and movement rules in each format, you can avoid basic errors as a beginner while progressing to high-level competitive play. Both singles and doubles offer unique strategic opportunities within their defined frameworks.
Equipping yourself with strong fundamental skills, match experience, and a solid grasp of format-specific rules will set you up for badminton excellence. So master those precision overheads, deceptive drops, and service combinations according to the correct regulations. Outwit your opponents psychologically and positionally while operating within the boundaries of fair play.
Keep learning, practicing, and playing by the badminton rules on your journey to mastery!