Badminton Rules for Singles | Scoring, Serving, Faults

Badminton is the game of art and strategy. The following players guide is given the detailed discussion on badminton rules for singles, serves rules & Scoring system in singles, Fouls, Penalties, Tips & Strategies for playing badminton singles game.

Badminton For Singles; Scoring System, Serving Rules, Faults & Strategies

Badminton singles is played in the same fashion as doubles. However, there are some rules that differentiate this format from that of the doubles. The rules of singles have been mentioned down below:

The primary object of this game is to win by scoring 21 points before one’s opponent. To achieve this purpose, players have to hit the shuttlecock over the top of the net, and make it land on the other side of the court of your opponent. If a player succeeds in making his opponent unable to send the shuttlecock back to him in appropriate manner, he earns a point.

2. Dimension of the Court in Singles

The whole area of the court is rectangular. The length of the court is 44 feet and width is 20 feet. There is a 5 ft and 1 inch net in the middle of the court, that divides the court into two equal half of 22 feet. The lines of the court are painted with 1.5 inches lines. Each area is defined by certain lines such as; long service line, side line, center line, shot service line, boundary line.

class="wp-block-heading">3. Duration of the Match

A badminton match consists of 3 games. Each game lasts for 15 minutes. Thus, a complete badminton match will be of 45 minutes.

4. Starting the Match

It is necessary to start a Badminton match with a toss. The referee has to arrange the toss proceedings. The winner of the toss has the chance to choose either serving or receiving first. The loser of the toss is left with no choice at all.

5. How to Play Badminton Singles?

  • For playing Badminton Singles, one player has to compete against one player. It means 1 versus 1.
  • Both the players have to go for the toss in the presence of an umpire. Whosoever wins the toss, may decide either to serve or to receive first.
  • The winner of the toss can serve first and can also choose his side of the court.
  • Both opposing players enter the court and take their positions. Each player stands in the respective boxes.
  • The server stands in the service box. He has to maintain his position by not crossing or touching the line of service area. He has to remain stationary and play the serve according.
  • The server has to serve diagonally to his opponent’s court. His opponent stands in diagonal or cross court position.
  • The server has to hit his serve from the waist height position. The aim should be to win a point.
  • The serve always starts a rally. The rally is an interchanging process of shots between two opposing players. The server can score a point when he wins a rally.
  • To win a rally, a player has to beat his opponent with the shuttlecock, manage to drop the shuttlecock in the opponent’s court, force him hit the shuttlecock out of the court, make him touch the net while hitting his shot, or make him fall prey to any of the fouls.
  • A Badminton match consists of three games. To win a game, a player has to score 21 points before his opponent. If both the players score 20-20 points, the player scoring 2 extra points wins the match.
  • To win a match, a player has to win two games out of three.

6. Serving Rules in Singles

  • To serve the ball, the server has to be inside the serve area before he serves the shuttle.
  • When the server takes his position inside the service box, he is not permitted to cross the service lines or touch them before serving.
  • When you serve, your feet must touch the ground.
  • You have to fully control your body while you serve the shuttlecock. It means, unnecessary movement of the body is prohibited.
  • You have to be upright and no need for jumping up and down or waiving your body to dodge your opponent.
  • A player must hit the shuttlecock diagonally to his opponent’s court. For Example, if you are taking a position of left side of the service court, you have to hit the shuttlecock to right side of the service court of your opposing player
  • When you start the serve, you have to be careful that the shuttlecock must be below your waist.
  • You cannot hold the shuttlecock for more than five seconds before striking it to the opponent.
  • If you take it in your possession for more than specific time, the referee will take action against you.
  • When you serve the shuttlecock, after serving it, your shuttlecock must land on service lines of your opponent’s court.
  • A server has to be very careful while the serve. He cannot touch the net with his body or his racket while serving the shuttlecock.
  • A server has to keep one thing in his mind that serving always starts with right hand side.
  • The score of players also plays a role in their sides of the court. For Example, if your score is an even number such as;2,4,6,8, then you are bound to serve the shuttlecock from the right side of your service box, if your score is an odd number for instance; 1,3,5,7, you have to serve from the left side of the court.
  • Player can serve in three different ways; a low serve that stays low, a high serve that goes up in the air and lands on in the back of opponent’s court, and a flick serve that is played with the flick of the wrist

7. Scoring System in Badminton Singles

The method of scoring system in singles is similar to doubles’. Both the formats has best of three games.

  1. Each game lasts for 15 minutes and goes on until one of the players scores 21 points.
  2. While a match lasts for 45 minutes and a player has to win at least two games to claim his victory.
  3. As it has been mentioned above, the winning target is 21 points.
  4. However, if both the players score 20-20 points, the first player to score 2 extra points wins the game.
  5. Every single point is based on winning a rally. If a player wins a rally, he gets a point.

Let’s check out various way a player can win a rally and consequently a point.

  • You have to hit the shuttlecock very carefully so that islands in playing areas of your opponent’s court, and he (your opponent) misses to reply your shot.
  • You have to compel your opponent to hit the shuttlecock to the middle fixed net.
  • If you want to beat your opponent, you have to make him confused and lead him to hit the shuttlecock forcefully that carries out of the playing area.
  • To force your opponent lose his balance and go out of bounds of the court.
  • To force your opponent reply your net shot, and thereby making him come in contact with the net.
  • To entangle your opponent to hit a lose shot and give an easy opportunity to hit a smash.
  • To force your opponent go to the back of his court, and thus offering enough space for you to play a net shot.
  • To make your opponent fall prey to following fouls.

8. Fouls and Penalties

  • Each player must know about fouls and penalties which occur in a badminton game while playing it.
  • When the server serves his shuttlecock in a wrong direction. It is a foul. As per rules, a player has to serve diagonally and his shuttle must land in the service areas of his opponent.
  • When the server, while serving the shuttlecock, crosses the service line or touches it. If he does so, his opponent gets a point as a result of penalty
  • When a player or his racket touches the net while attempting shot. It is a foul.
  • When you take one foot off the ground while serving the shuttlecock. You should ground both your feet while you execute the serve.
  • When you play a shot, and your shuttlecock hits the net and falls on your side of the court. It is a foul and it results in a point for your opponent.
  • When you hold the shuttlecock for more than 5 seconds, during the serve. It is a foul to hold the shuttle for more than 5 seconds.
  • When a player tries to hit the shuttle with force and it goes out of the bounds of the court. It is a foul too.
  • When a player, in an attempt hit the shuttle, goes off balance and trespasses the boundaries of the court, he is considered out. This is also a foul.


Badminton singles has somehow similar rules as we see in doubles. However, Badminton singles has a smaller court in terms of width. In singles, one player stands on the one side of the court and the other stands on the other side.

Both the players should continue hitting shots as long as one of them fails to return the shuttle in a proper way. When a player misses to respond his opponent’s shot and lets the shuttle fall on his side of the court, he loses the rally and ultimately a point.

In singles, the scoring target is similar to that of doubles, and a player has to reach 21 points before his opponent to claim his win. Whereas, again similar to the pattern of doubles, a match of badminton singles comprises the best of three games; the winner has to win two games out of three. It is hoped that this article will provide you accurate-cum-complete information regarding Badminton Singles. However, for further study, you can refer here;

  1. Badminton Rules Explained
  2. What are Badminton Fouls and Penalties?
  3. What Skills Needed to hit the Competitor down?

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