Badminton Rules Doubles | Court, Serving, Scoring & Strategy

A game without rules is lifeless. Rules instill life into it. They bound the players to respect the game and play it in a fair manner. They also compel the players to exhibit honesty, decency, fair play, sportsmanship and respect for the game.

If any player goes against the laws of the game, he is to pay the price ( usually the loss of points) for it. Similar to other games of the planet, Badminton game holds its specific rules to maintain the discipline as well as decorum. Badminton is one of those games, which can be played as singles and doubles, with skills and tactics. The singles and doubles have different rules to follow, e.g  in serves, smashes, scoring etc. . We will discuss their rules separately.

Rules for Badminton Doubles, Tips, Serving Strategies, Fouls & Penalties

Badminton doubles is slightly different from the singles. Let’s check those slight differences out. The object of badminton doubles is similar to the singles. In it, players of the serving team have to hit the shuttlecock to make it pass the net and land on opposite side of the court.

On the other hand, the players of receiving team have to respond it by hitting the shuttlecock back to the serving team. Either team that misses to respond the shots properly, loses the points.

class="wp-block-heading">1. How to Play Badminton Doubles?

  • For playing double, each team needs to have 2 players. It means four players, in total, play the doubles.
  • Both the teams have to go for the toss to decide which team serves first.
  • The winner of the toss may choose to serve first, and can also pick its side of the court.
  • Four players of two teams having entered the court, may decide and take their positions respectively.
  • As per rule, one player from each team stands in the front box of the court, and the other player stands straddle on the center line, in the back of the court.
  • The toss winning team has to decide, which player is going to serve the shuttlecock. The player who serves the shuttlecock first is the server. The server has to stand in the front box and start the serve.
  • The server has to serve the shuttlecock diagonally. He has to observe the rules of the serve which we will discuss shortly.
  • The serve starts the game, specially the rally. The rally is an exchange of shots between two opposing teams.
  • If any team misses to respond any of the shots of the opposing team, and lets the shuttlecock kiss the surface or mistakenly hits it to the net and it falls on its side of the court, or even falls prey to any of the fouls, this team loses the rally and thus loses a point.
  • Once a team loses the rally, it not only loses a point but also the serve. Remember, a team can score on serves only.
  • The serve now goes to the other team and it resumes the game in the same fashion.
  • Each game ends when a team scores 21 points before the opposing team. And each match comprises 3 games.
  • The winner has to win 2 games out of three.
  • While attempting shots, both the teams have to follow certain rules to avoid fouls and consequent penalties.

2. Dimension of the Court

The court of badminton is rectangular. Is measures 44 feet in length and 20 feet in width. The length of doubles is similar to that of singles but its width is slightly wider. The court is divided into two equal halves by the middle net which is 5 feet and 1 inch high. Each half measures 22 feet in length.

The surface of the court is painted with 1.6 inches wide lines. These lines designate different areas of the court such as service box, center line, short service lines, long service lines, side lines and boundary lines.

3. Team Composition and Formation

Badminton doubles requires two players in each side. It means four player are required to play badminton doubles. The formation of players of both the teams is similar before the serve.

One player, from each team, stands in the service area and other player stands straddle on the T-shaped center line in the back of the court.

This formation turns different as soon as the rally starts. One player of serving team covers the front of the court, while the other player covers the back of the court. Conversely, one player of the receiving team covers the right box of their court and the other player covers the left of the box.

4. Duration of the Match

The duration of each game is 15 minutes. Thus, a complete match of three games lasts for 45 minutes excluding break times.

5. Starting of the Match

It is obligatory to start the match with a toss. Umpires arranges the toss for the teams. The winner of the toss may choose to serve first, and occupy its preferred side of the court. The side of the court gets changed after a game gets over.

6. Serve Rules in Doubles

  • The first and foremost thing is to stand in the service box before serving the shuttle.
  • You need to stand within the bounds of the service box lines. You are not allowed to cross its lines or touch them before the serve.
  • You need to have your both the feet on ground while executing the serve.
  • You cannot move here and there to dodge your opponent while serving. It means you have to stand in resting position and there is no need to attempt jumping, ducking or waving during the serve.
  • The server must pass the shuttle diagonally to his opponent, who stands on the other side of the court.
  • For instance, if the server is standing in the left box of his court, he has to feed the shuttle to his opponent, who is standing in the right box of his court.
  • The server has to play the serve shot below his waist. He must not hold the shuttle more than 5 seconds before hitting it to the opponent. If he takes more time, the match referee might penalize him.
  • After you attempt the serve, the shuttle must land on the other side the court in the service area (service line).
  • Precisely it should land in the cross-court direction and where the opponent is standing.
  • The area other than that of your diagonal opponent is no land area. If your shuttle lands in other areas, it is a foul. However, after the serve, entire court becomes playing area.
  • If your serve collides with the net and falls on your side of the court, lands in other area than service of your opposing team, or goes out of the court, you lose a point and the opportunity to serve.
  • Teams have to change their server after each rally. If server A serves a rally and it ends with winning a point. Then the server B of the same team serves to start the fresh rally.
  • In case the opposing team wins the rally, one player acts as the server to start the rally.If they win another rally, the other player acts as the server.
  • Simply, each player of both the team has to be the server on alternate turns.
  • There is a concept of even and odd scores. If your score is an even number, you have to serve from the right side of your playing area to the left side of the opponent.
  • If your score is an odd number, you have to serve from the left.
  • The server is allowed to attempt the serve in three ways; low serve, high serve, flick serve.

a. Low Serve: This serve takes lower trajectory and does not go high in air. It stays low and just crosses the net. The server needs to push the shuttle with gentle forehand or backhand shots to make it reach the front of the opponents’ court.

b. High Serve:  This serve goes high in the air. It requires some force to propel the shuttle high and long. The server needs to exert energy in his shot to make the shuttle reach back end of the opponents’ court. This serve usually gets missed by the back end opponent while he attempts to respond it.

c. Flick Serve: A flick serve is used to take advantage of opponents. The serve has to hit the shuttle with the flick of his arm to make the shuttle cross the net easily and fall in a targeted area.

Tip:  When you start to hit the shuttle, your grip should be like handshaking, and the head of the racket must be vertical to the floor. You can attempt forehand and backhand shots.

7. Badminton Doubles Scoring System

The way of scoring in doubles is similar to that of singles. Matches, in both the formats of badminton, consist of three games. The total wining points are 21. The team that scores 21 points before its opposing team, wins the game. In case both the teams have scored 20-20, the team scoring 22 wins the game.

If both teams have scored 29 points, the team reaching 30 points, wins the match. The final winner of the match has to win two out of three games. Each point depends on respective rally. If you win a rally, you will get one point. To win a rally, a team has to beat the opponent team in a number of following ways;

  • To manage the shuttlecock drop on the playing surface of opponents’ courts.
  • To beat your opponent by hitting smashes. Smashes are forceful shots which make the shuttle pass your opponents’ racket and fall on their surface.
  • To beat your opponent by net shots. Net shots are gentle shots. They are played softly to make the shuttle cross the net very nearly and fall on the other side of the court.
  • Here, your aim should be to beat your back standing opponents by just pushing the shuttle cross the net and fall on opponents’ side.
  • To force your opponent to hit the shuttlecock to the net.
  • To make your opponent hit the shuttlecock in a way that carries all the way out of the court.
  • To force your opponent cross the boundaries of the court while responding your shots.
  • To bring your opponents near the net and thereby making them touch the net while hitting the shuttle.
  • To make your opponent commit any other foul during the match.
  • Score is announced on each serve.
  • The pattern of score is serving teams score-receiving teams score. For example serving team has 12 points and receiving team has 10 points. So, it would be like that: 12-10.

8. Badminton Mixed Doubles

This format is played in the same way as doubles. The only difference is that this game requires two players of opposite gender in each team. It means, in mixed doubles each team has a man and a woman player.

Let’s know more about mixed doubles

  • In mixed doubles, each team consists of one man and one woman.
  • Mixed doubles is considered more interesting than singles and doubles due to its unique combination of players.
  • A male player is the strength of his team. While a female player is the blessing for other team.
  • In mixed doubles, male player usually covers the back of the court to defend the larger area, and female player operates in the front part of the court to cover smaller area.
  • Man has more potency to take the position of back of the playing area and play smashes or playing attacking game.
  • On the other hand, woman is swift and takes fine position in front of the net to play gentle net shots, and respond to the net shots of her opponents woman.
  • Generally in mixed doubles, female player is considered the weak opponent and that’s why she has to face most of the shots of opponent team.
  • Sometimes, a female player is as good as his male partner and may take any position as she wishes to.
  • The method of serving in mixed doubles is little bit different. When man serves, the woman has to take the position before him. The woman stands in the front position no matter who is serving the shuttle.
  • The main purpose of this position is to offer better opportunity to both the players to play very effectively.

9. Fouls and Penalties in Badminton Doubles

Badminton game is fraught with fouls and penalties. So, a player has to be well-versed with all the prevailing fouls in badminton in order to avoid them during the match. Let’s peep into those fouls and penalties.

  • It is not permissible to serve while being outside of the service box or coming in contact with its lines. If you do so, your opponents get point.
  • It not permissible to jump or take one leg off the surface while attempting the serve. If you do so, you cost a point.
  • It is not permissible to move your body or shake it like one dances, when you serve the shuttle. You have to be in stationary position. Is you go against this rule, you will lose a the rally.
  • If you hold the shuttle for more than 5 seconds, it is a foul.
  • When your serve fails to cross the net or collides with it and falls inside your own half of the court, it is a foul.
  • When your serve goes out of the boundary line of opponents’ court or does not fall in the service area, it is a foul.
  • If your opponent team hits the shuttle and it carries all the way out of the court, it is a foul.
  • If any player touches the net while attempting shots, it is foul.
  • If you hit the shuttle after it touches the surface of the court, it is a foul.
  •  It is also a foul if you hit the approaching shuttle by jumping above the net, and don’t let the shuttle cross the middle of the court.
  • If any player goes out of the court while attempting a shot, it is a foul.

Note: Each foul results in the lose of a rally, and award of one point to the other team as a penalty for the violation of law of the game.

10. Strategy in Badminton Doubles

Badminton doubles relies on proper formation. A better formation helps you in bagging points. A team has to position its better player in the back area where he can defend the smashes of his opponents.

While the other player may stand in front to cope with the net, drop, clear or drive shots of his opponents. It is very important to know that when you are playing in doubles, you should not hit the shuttle at high position.

If you hit the shuttle at the high position, it will be easier for your opponent to attack you with a smash. Rather you should compel your opponent to play high shots and thus giving you license to attack with smashes and thereby getting points.

Doubles is a fast paced game. Shots come like hailstorm. You and your partner have to make a strong coordination to tackle each shot of you opponents. Decide that who will guard certain areas, who will play aggressive and who will play defensive.


Unlike singles, in doubles each player has to perform specific role and operate in his specific area. Once a player goes astray or falls prey to misunderstanding, he will cost a rally.

So, maintaining excellent communication, giving equal opportunity to each other, closing watching opponents, relying on each other are the most needed strategies in badminton doubles.


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