Serving rules: Must both feet be stationary during a serve?

by Robert Cosar

(Kelowna,B.C. Canada)

Question: Greetings from Kelowna, B.C Canada. Must the server’s feet be still when he serves? In other words, can he walk and serve at the same time?

Hi Robert, thanks for your question.

According to the official badminton rules, both feet (part or the whole foot) must be touching the ground and must be still before a serve.

During a service, the server’s feet cannot move away from his original starting position until the racket makes contact with the shuttlecock.

As for your second question, the server CANNOT walk and serve at the same time.

If the server walks, both feet will not on the ground. Therefore this violates the serving rules in badminton.

The Strictness of the Old Rule Removed

To address the first part of your question in more detail, the server’s feet must be still in the sense that it must be touching the ground. It cannot be lifted up before the racket makes contact with the shuttle.

I still remember the old rules stating that a server is NOT allowed to move AT ALL.

And when they mean not moving at all, they really mean it, you can’t even move your knees slightly during a serve.

Nowadays with the New Rules, as long as both feet are touching the ground, they are considered to be still. The server’s legs do not necessarily have to be 100% still.

A Trick Professional Players Use to Stay Within Rules

In tournaments, some professional players (especially doubles players) tip-toe to deliver a service.

This does not violate the rules because the part of the server’s feet is still touching the ground.

When they tip toe, it increases the height of their body, which increases the height of their ‘waist line’.

Why do they do this? One of the rules states that the server’s racket must be struck from below the waist in an upward direction.

By increasing the height of the waistline, the server is able to produce a lower and flatter serve, which is essentially a higher quality serve.

Receiver’s Position

It might also be good to know that not only the server must have their feet on the ground, but the receiver as well.

Both feet of the receiver must be still (both feet on the ground) until the server has made contact with the shuttle.

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