Everything you wanted to know about a badminton court

From service courts to net play, badminton is nothing short of fine art. Every stroke matters. Here's why.

By Naveen Peter
Picture by 2014 Getty Images

Badminton has become a popular sport in India in the last decade or so. Largely played in social clubs and as a pastime during winter months, badminton saw a massive transition after Saina Nehwal won a bronze medal in the 2012 London Olympics. The craze to take up badminton and play it at a competitive level saw a great jump.

With PV Sindhu winning a silver at Rio 2016 and regularly making her presence felt at world championships, interest in badminton grew manifold.

It’s the fast-paced nature of this racquet sport that makes badminton exciting for the spectators. Be it the shuttle travelling at a speed upwards of 400kph or the delicate of drop shots, the margin for error is virtually nil. Hence the understanding of the court and how to use the space make all the difference between winning or losing.

A badminton court is usually laid on a wooden floor with synthetic mats used as the surface of the court. The courts are meant to provide cushion and comfort to shuttlers who crisscross the playing surface to deceive their opponents with smashes and clever strokes to win points. Hence keeping the court surface prim and proper is mandatory.

A badminton court provides for two types of competition -- singles and doubles. The lines of the court are accordingly drawn.

Badminton court size

As per the guidelines laid down by the Badminton World Federation (BWF), the length of a standard badminton court remains the same - 13.40m (44 feet) - for both types of competitions. But the width differs with the singles court running wide till 5.18m (17 feet), denoted by the side lines, while for the doubles court, the width is extended to 6.1m (20 feet), marked as the doubles sidelines.

A standard badminton court is marked for both the singles and the doubles game.
Picture by 2015 Getty Images

The court has two halves measuring 6.7m (22 feet) each and separated by a badminton net that stands at a height of 1.55m (5 feet 1in) at the ends and dips to 1.52m (5 feet) in the middle.

The two playing areas on either side of the net are further vertically divided down the middle demarking the service areas. This means a badminton court has four service courts each of which is 3.96m (13 feet) long and 2.59m (8.5 feet) wide.

With laws of badminton dictating specific rules for service in badminton, the court has two service lines, the short service line, which is 1.98m (6.5 feet) from the net, and long service line 0.76m (2.5 feet) in from the baseline, specifically marked for this purpose.

In singles, the service needs to be beyond the short service line and within the boundary lines while in the doubles game, the service should be beyond the short service line but it’s the long service line that acts as the marker on the backcourt. This means, in doubles the serve length is shorter than in singles.


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