How many serves do you get in badminton? 1 (one) per point, unless a let is called.
There is a lot of confusion about this rule among club players. And a brief segue into the history of badminton might clarify the issue. So here we go.
Prior to 2005, badminton was played under the “traditional rules,” which were a tad complicated. There were separate rules for men and women. We had “setting.” Games ended at 15 points…and on and on.
The International Badminton Federation decided to simply the rules, and decrease the time it took to finish a game, by introducing the 21-point rally format.
The biggest change brought to badminton by the 21-rally point format was that the winner of the rally scored a point, regardless of who served. Under the old system, you only scored a point when you served. And so, we had a “service over” call. This is where, I believe, the confusion stems from.
With the old rules, you could serve multiple times without a change in the score. And many club players understood that as multiple serves per point.
But in the old 15 point and the new 21-point system, you only get one (1) serve! Unlike tennis.
Now, there are instances where you get to redo the serve. These are rare! They are less common than faults.
When an umpire/player calls a “let”, then the player that served last serves again and play since the last service shall not count (the score does not change).
A let is stopping, then a redo, of the play, you get to play again for the point.
There are many types of lets in badminton. And I’ll pen a post on common badminton lets, but let’s look at some of the serve lets in badminton.
Common Serve Lets in Badminton
1. Server serves before the receiver is ready
This is the most common service let that I see in badminton clubs. The server must wait for the receiver to be ready before they serve. If the receiver is causing undue delay, serving before they are ready is not the recommended action. You should refer them to the umpire/referee. Badminton is a gentleman’s game, and so we usually wait for the receiver to be ready before for the serve. However, if the receiver attempts to make a return, they are judged to be ready.
2. Server and receiver are faulted
This is rare, but it does happen. If the server and receiver are faulted, then a let is called. Now, there are lots of service faults that I’ve outlined in another post. But for a let to be called, both the server and receiver have to be at fault. A good example is when both the server and receiver don’t have both feet on the ground when the serve is made.
Those are the 2 most common serve faults that I see in badminton clubs. There are a lot of serve faults that people tend to call as a let. For instance, if the shuttle touches the top of the net and crosses to the receiver’s court, that’s not a let. If the shuttle is over the service line, it is in play. If it’s not over the service line, then it’s a fault. And the opposing team earn a point and get to serve.
Another common fault is when the shuttle gets stuck on the net after a serve – that’s a fault and not a let. However, if the receiver returns the shuttle and it’s caught on the net, then that’s a let. In fact, if the shuttle gets stuck on the net during a rally, that’s a let.
So you only get one serve for every point in badminton, unless a let is called. Questions? Comments? Please post them below…