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Badminton Match – How to Play a Badminton Match and Much More!

The core of badminton is the badminton match, where the players come against each other and use all their skills and energy in order to beat the opponent.

In this article, we have collected everything there is to know about badminton matches. We will start with where you can play a badminton match. We will follow it with a description of the equipment needed to play a badminton match. After that, we will explain how to decide who is serving and how to keep the score. Last, but not least, we will finish with some data about the most significant matches of all history. Let’s get started!

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Where can I play a badminton match?

As we explained in our badminton basics article, badminton matches are played indoors in tournaments for both professional and amateur levels. At the professional level, badminton mats are usually used as a surface onto which the matches are played.

When badminton is played more for recreational purposes, it can also be played outdoors, although it becomes quite complicated with just a little bit of wind.

Badminton being played outdoors as a recreational sport

What equipment do I need in order to play a badminton match in a Sports Hall?

If you are playing indoors in a Sports Hall were all the equipment for the court is already provided, you need the following equipment:

  • Rackets:
    • The quality of the racket will depend on your level. If you are just starting, I would recommend buying a fairly simple and inexpensive racket.
  • Shuttlecocks:
    • What you are using also depends on your level. If you are just starting, I would recommend that you use plastic shuttles as they are cheaper and they last much longer. If you are at a higher level, the feather shuttles are definitely the way to go.

Ideally, you also want to bring the following items:

  • Shoes for indoor playing ideally shoes for badminton:
    • This becomes more critical the better you become at the game. Badminton can be a very demanding sport for your feet, with very fast changes in direction. Having good shoes will ensure your damage is kept to a minimum, even though I have to say that I have ended up with bloody socks in more than one occasion after a very tough game!
  • Sportive outfit. Ideally shorts and a T-shirt.
    • This also will become more important the better you become, but having a comfortable outfit also helps improve your game. Shorts are important in order to allow for faster moving around the court and a T-shirt will help making your shots with the maximum ease.

What equipment do I need in order to play a badminton match outdoors?

If you are playing outdoors or in an indoor space where the court equipment is not provided, you will need the following equipment:

  • Badminton poles:
    • The poles are placed on the side of the court. They are either stuck in the ground or they carry a weight that keeps them standing when the net is added and tense.
  • Badminton net:
    • The badminton net is added on top of the badminton poles and it helps to divide the court in two sides.
  • A way to mark the boundaries of the court

You will obviously also need the rackets and shuttles as described in the previous section.

If you are playing just for fun in your backyard, a good option is to buy a complete badminton set like this one, where you get all the necessary equipment (rackets, shuttles, net and poles) in one case.

How do you start a badminton match?

In order to star a badminton match, you need to know who is going to be serving.

In an official tournament, the umpire will toss a coin as it is done in most sports. Whoever has chosen the winning side can choose either to serve or receive.

In more unofficial environments or during training, the shuttle is usually used. You throw the shuttle up and, when it lands, whichever side the cork of the shuttle is pointing towards, is the side that decides if it wants to serve or not.

Alternatively, the shuttle can be placed feathers down onto the net and let it fall from there. As with throwing the shuttle up, when the shuttle lands from the net, whichever side the cork of the shuttle is pointing towards, is the side that decides if it wants to serve or not.

The current badminton score system

The current badminton scoring system dates from 2005, being officially adopted by the Badminton World Federation in 2006.

The score is the same for both male and female and for both singles and doubles. It is played to the best of three sets. Each set is played to the best of 21 points, with a point scored every time the point is played. This means that it doesn’t matter if you have served or not. If you win a point, you score a point in your scoreboard.

If the game reaches 20-20, then a player must have two points of difference in the scoreboard (22-20, 23-21, …) in order to win the set. If the scoreboard reaches 29-29, the player to score the point 30th wins the set.

How many serves do you get in badminton?

In badminton, you only get one serve, both in singles and in doubles. If you miss the serve, then your opponent scores a point and gets the service. As long as you keep winning the points, you keep serving. Whenever you lose a point, the service goes to your opponent. For more information about this, please check our badminton basics article.

History of the badminton score

The original and most long-lived scoring system

The original and most long-lived scoring system dates back to 1873. In this scoring system, both doubles and men’s singles were played to 15 points, whereas women’s singles was played to 11 points. In this case, the player would need to be serving in order to be able to score a point. If the player won a point that started with the service from the opponent, that would simply be a “change of service” but no point would be added to the score.

With this score system, when playing to 15 points, when the score reached 13-13, the player that had reached 13 first would have the choice of continuing until 15 or extending the game until 18. If the choice was made to continue only until 15, the same choice would be given when reaching 14-14 to the player that reached it first.

When playing to 11 points, the same idea would occur. If there was a draw at 9-9, but the choice would be between going until 11 or until 12.

In 2002, the setting at 13-13 and 9-9 was dropped from the rules.

New scoring system implemented in 2002

In 2002, the Badminton World Federation decided to try a new scoring system. This was done, presumably, to avoid unpredictably long matches which was damaging the broadcasting appeal of the sport.

The new scoring system included 5 games of 7 points each, instead of 3 games of 15 or 11 points each. In this case, when the score reached 6-6, the player who reached six first could choose to finish the game in the 7th point or in the 8th point. This was the first time that men’s and women’s matches used the same scores.

This scoring system was abandoned shortly afterwards (in 2006), presumably due to the lack of success in shortening and making more predictable the duration of the matches.

The current scoring system was implemented in 2005-2006

Finally, in 2005 the current scoring system explained above was tested. It was adopted shortly afterwards (in 2006) by the World Badminton Federation.

Longest match in history

The longest match in history is, according to the information found on the Internet, a women’s doubles match in the Asian Championships in 2016, where Naoko Fukuman and Kurumi Yonao from Japan beat Nitya Krishinda Maheswari and Greysia Polii from Indonesia after two hours and 41 minutes (or 161 minutes).

Shortest match in history (without retirement)

The shortest match in history is, according to the information found on the Internet, a women’s singles match in the Uber Cup in Hong Kong in 1996. In there, Ra Kyung-min from South Korea managed to beat Julia Mann from England after only 6 minutes by the result of 11-2, 11-1.

Best matches in history

It is difficult to point at specific matches, but here it is our own selection. We would like to get more suggestions in the comments section below in order to extend the list.

  • 2012 Olympics Men’s Singles Final. Lin Dans vs Lee Chong Wei
  • 2011 World Championship Men’s Singles Final. Lin Dan vs Lee Chong Wei
  • 1997 IBF World Championship Men’s Singles Final. Peter Rasmussen Vs Sun Jun
  • 2006 Asian Games Men’s Singles Final. Taufik Hidayat Vs Lin Dan
  • 2008 Olympic Men’s Singles Final. Lin Dan Vs Lee Chong Wei
  • 2005 All England Men’s Singles Final. Chen Hong Vs Lin Dan
  • 2015 World Championship Men’s Singles Final. Chen Long vs Lee Chong Wei
  • 2016 Olympic Men’s Singles Semifinal. Lin Dan Vs Lee Chong Wei
  • 2017 World Championship Men’s Singles Final. Viktor Axelsen vs Lin Dan
  • 2014 Yonex All England Men’s Singles Final. Chen Long Vs Lee Chong Wei
  • 2017 Yonex Japan Open Men’s Singles Final. Viktor Axelsen vs Lee Chong Wei
  • 2013 World Championship Men’s Singles Final. Lin Dan vs Lee Chong Wei
  • 2010 Yonex All England Men’s Singles Quarterfinals. Peter Gade vs Taufik Hidayat
  • 2016 Dubai Superseries Men’s Singles Final. Viktor Axelsen vs Lee Chong Wei
  • 2016 Asia Badminton Championships Men’s Singles Final. Chen Long vs Lee Chong Wei
  • 2015 China Open Men’s Singles Semifinal. Lin Dan vs Lee Chong Wei

Final words

And with this, we have arrived at the end of this post. Is there any question about the badminton match that we have not answered? Something else you would like to know? Let us know in the comments below!

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