Badminton serving rules

by Anjula

(Newcastle upon Tyne, UK)

Question: Player A serves to player B who was running to return the shot. Player B misses the shot but the shuttle hits his body while he was outside the service box (between the 2 back lines). Does player B still lose the point?

Hi Anjula, thanks for your question.

Based on the scoring rules, Player B commits a foul because he touched the shuttlecock with his body before it reaches the ground. Therefore player B loses the rally.

Badminton players are not allowed to touch the shuttlecock with any part of their body during a rally. Otherwise, it’s a foul.

Although it seems very obvious that Player A’s serve was heading out of the court, it has not touched the ground.

Player B must not touch the shuttle UNTIL it hits the ground.

If player B leaves the shuttlecock and does not touch it before it hits the ground, player B wins the rally.

Play Let

In some cases where the server (Player A) makes the service before the receiver (Player B) is ready, a “let” will be given. In official tournaments, the umpire makes the call for a Let.

In your case, a play let cannot be given because player B has already moved backwards to retrieve the shuttle. Therefore player B is considered “ready” to retrieve the serve.

In order to ‘get’ a let, the receiver (Player B) must not make any attempt to retrieve the service. This means that when Player A serves, the receiver will stand still and allow the shuttle to fall onto the ground.

When a let is called, the server will redeliver the service and there will be no points awarded for the previous service.

Take note that a Let is given based on the umpire’s discretion. So you must convince the umpire that you are not ready to receive the serve. A good way will be to raise your non-racket arm high up and keep it up there until you are ready.

If your opponent serves when your arm is still high up, the umpire will be convinced that you are not ready. You are more likely to be given a Let.

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