Can a badminton racket cross the net? This is a question that many beginner players ask themselves, so I have done a bit of research to explain this in a very easy way.
So, can a badminton racket cross the net? Yes, a badminton racket can cross the net, but only as a continuation of a stroke where the initial point of contact with the shuttle is on the striker’s side of the net. If you hit the shuttle on the other side of the net, then it would be a fault.
The line on what is a fault and what is not a fault can be very blurry for beginners, so in the next part of the post, we will clarify the answer a bit more.
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When can a badminton racket cross the net?
As I mentioned before, you can cross the net with the badminton racket only as a follow-through of a stroke that you have hit on your side of the court.
In the Laws of Badminton, point 13.4.2, this is the exact wording that is used:
It shall be a ‘fault’ if, in play, a player:
13.4.2 invades an opponent’s court over the net with racket or person except that the striker may follow the shuttle over the net with the racket in the course of a stroke after the initial point of contact with the shuttle is on the striker’s side of the netLaws of Badminton
What does that mean? It means that if, for example, you hit a net kill on your side of the court and after that, your racket passes to the other side of the court as a follow-through of the shot, that would be fine as long as you do not obstruct your opponent from returning the shot.
The reason behind this rule is that it is understood that there is a certain movement required after you have hit the shuttle so you are allow to continue with that movement on the other side of the court because you are not taking any advantage from that.
This is different from hitting the shuttle before it crosses to your side, which we will talk a bit more in the next section. In that case, you are taking advantage of the situation by hitting the shuttle before it has reached your side of the court, so the action is considered a fault.
When is it considered a fault if the badminton racket crosses the net?
Apart from the situation we have just described, where you cross the net as a follow-through of a strike on your side of the court, all the other situations in which your racket crosses the net will be considered a fault. The main three circumstances where that would happen are described as follows:
- You hit the shuttle with your racket on your opponent’s side of the net: If you, by mistake, hit the shuttle on your opponent side of the net before it crosses the net, then that would be considered a fault.
- You simply cross the net with your racket: If you cross the net with the racket without having hit the shuttle first on your side of the court, that would be considered a fault.
- You obstruct your opponent from returning a legal shot: If by crossing the net after you hit the shuttle, the umpire thinks that you have obstructed your opponent into making a legal return shot, then that would be considered a fault. This comes from point 13.4.4 of the Laws of Badminton.
13.4.4 obstructs an opponent, i.e. prevents an opponent from making a legal stroke where the shuttle is followed over the net;Laws of Badminton
What can you do to avoid committing the fault?
So, now that we have learned about when it is considered a fault when you cross the net with the racket, here are some tips in order to avoid committing faults:
- Using a net kill when you are too close to the net is not a good strategy. The main risk here is not crossing the net, but hitting the net with your racket in the follow-through of the stroke.
- My recommendation is that, whenever you are very close to the net, you use a net swipe instead of a net kill. In a net swipe, the racket does a similar movement to that of a windshield wiper, so crossing or hitting the net is much less likely.
- If you want to use a net kill in any case, try reducing the follow-through movement as much as possible. This can be done by using only your wrist and your fingers when doing the net kill and not the whole arm. If you are interested in this, just check our post about the net kill where this is explained in detail.
Other situations near the net in which you can commit a fault
Being close to the net is a tricky business and, if you are not careful, you can end up committing a fault and losing the rally. To avoid that, I have listed here for you the other faults you can commit when being close to the net.
1. The player touches the net or its supports with racket, body or dress
One action that is considered a fault is whenever a player touches the net or its supports with racket, body or dress. In this case, the fault is called instantly and the point goes to the opponent.
So, whenever you are close to the net, be very careful not to touch it at all since doing so will make you lose one point straight away.
2. The player or racket invades the opponent’s court under the net in the following circumstances
If the racket or person invades the opponent’s court under the net such that an opponent is obstructed or distracted, that will also be considered a fault, even if neither the racket nor the person has touched the net.
3. The player tries to distract the opponent
Whenever you are near the net you are very close to your opponent, so the umpire can take even an innocent gesture as a way to distract your opponent, so calling a fault. This can be especially challenging in doubles. If you are on the net and your team member is on the back smashing, don’t start making strange gestures to distract the opponents as the umpire will most likely call a fault.
And with this, we have arrived at the end of this post. Do you still have any doubts regarding you racket crossing the net? Then let us know in the comments below!