Is Touching the Net a Foul in Badminton?

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Badminton rules have similarities with sports like volleyball and tennis. Thus, there seems to be confusion regarding rules especially for beginners, one of the most common questions I hear is: is touching the net a foul in badminton? 

Is Touching the Net a Foul in Badminton?

If you accidentally touch the net in badminton, instead of calling it a foul, it is called a fault. A fault happens when any part of your body, racket, and dress touches the net or its support. Although some people call it a foul, the most common term people use in badminton is a fault.

Player wonders if touching the net is a foul in badminton

It’s also a fault if you invade an opponent’s court over the net with a racket or yourself. However, there are exceptions. If you are the striker, you may follow the shuttlecock over the net with the racket in the course of a stroke. It should only be after the initial point of contact with the shuttlecock is on your side of the net. 

You also can’t invade an opponent’s court under the net with your racket or body that makes your opponent distracted or obstructed from playing. 

What’s the Penalty for Touching the Net?

If you touch the net or the posts, you automatically lose the rally, and your opponent scores a point. Touching the net happens commonly when you try to do a net kill. Some people try to do a net kill when the shuttlecock is too close to the net and it is hard to play a net kill without hitting the net with your racket. 

You are not allowed to reach over the net to make a play for your shot. However, if you make contact with the shuttlecock on your side, your racket can pass over the net upon your follow-through action. 

Some players accidentally place their foot under the net when they lunge forward to catch a tight drop or net shot. This isn’t considered a fault unless it obstructs or distracts your opponent. 

Badminton net

What is Considered Obstruction and Distraction?

Considered Obstruction or DistractionNot Considered Obstruction or Distraction
You purposely affect your opponent’s shotYou take your time before serving
You use your voice or any tool to distract the opponentYou accidentally touch your teammate’s racket
You go over the net and interact with your opponentYou talk softly to yourself or to your teammate

Many people consider an obstruction and distraction when:  

  • You prevent an opponent from making a legal shot where the shuttlecock is followed over the net. 
  • You deliberately distract an opponent through any actions like shouting or making distracting signs or gestures.

Your follow-through can go through the opponent’s net. If your opponent tries to block this and puts their racket in the way that you need to hit it, it’s called obstruction and you automatically win the rally.  

Your opponent can put his racket in the shuttlecock’s path. However, the racket should not be in the path of your stroke or block your stroke. Stroke is the movement of your racket. The other player is allowed to block your shot yet not in a manner that blocks your stroke.

Some people can also consider shouting and making gestures as obstructions and distractions. In those cases, it’s up to officials to call them as such. For example, if you are shouting when doing a smash or clenching your fist up after winning a rally, most officials won’t consider them an obstruction or distraction. 

What is a Fault in Badminton?

A fault is an error committed by a player in accordance with badminton rules. There are 5 common faults in badminton and they are: 

  • Contact fault
  • Over the net fault 
  • Service fault
  • Receiver fault
  • Double hit

The most common fault in badminton is players failing to return the shuttlecock to the opposing player’s court. Either the shuttlecock fails to travel over the net, is not inside the opponent’s court, or just failed to hit the shuttlecock at all. 

Most officials would categorize touching the net an over the net fault. Likewise, any contacts related to the net would be faults. If you ever accidentally hit the ceiling with the shuttlecock, that’s also a fault. 

Couple playing badminton

Related Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about fouls in badminton

What’s the Penalty for a Fault in Badminton?

If you make a fault, you will lose the rally. In addition, one point is handed to your opponent, who then gets to serve. Be aware that winning a game of badminton largely depends on avoiding mistakes and effectively returning the shuttlecock to the opposite team’s side.

Is Racket Clash a Foul in Badminton?

In a doubles match, it’s not a foul if your racket unintentionally collides with a partner, after all, racket collisions are pretty frequent.

However, if you and an opponent happen to collide rackets it could be considered a fault over the net. Based on what they saw, officials will determine who is responsible.

What Happens if the Shuttle Touches the Net?

A shuttle touching the net is regarded as a legal move. In fact, some players actively do so in order to mislead opponents.  When a shuttle strikes the top of the net and falls to either side of the court is called as a “Net Cord.

According to badminton, wherever side of the court the shuttle drops, the opposing court wins the rally and is granted a point. 


Certainly, touching the net in badminton is a foul. Whether you touch it with any part of your racket or body, it is still a foul. However, there are certain exceptions that allow your racket to go over through the net without actually touching it.

Tim Frechette is an avid athlete, having played sports like soccer and basketball his entire life. He brings a wealth of athletic knowledge to his writing.