Who Can Make Points in a Badminton Game?

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Points, matches, games, and series. There’s a lot to take in badminton and it can be sometimes confusing to beginners on how points are calculated in badminton’s scoring system. In this article, we’ll determine who can make points in a badminton game and how they are earned. 

Who Can Make Points in a Badminton Game?

Any player within the scope of the playing court can make points in a badminton game. A point can be scored for everyone, no matter who is serving. Modern badminton games can be played up to 21 points based on the Badminton World Federation.

The traditional scoring system of badminton was different then. Nowadays, they are adopting the rally point scoring system for a faster pace of the game. This was done to attract more audience in a faster and entertaining pace of badminton. 

Final scores in a badminton game

How Can One Earn a Point in Badminton?

You serveYou can score a point
You are tiedYou need to win by two points of advantage
You win two of the three gamesYou win the match

Here’s how badminton scoring usually goes in official matches:

  • Matches will usually consist of the best of 3 games. Each game is decided by who scores 21 points first. 
  • Whenever there is a serve, a point can be scored.
  • Whichever side wins a rally, gets a point to their total score. 
  • If the score is tied at 20, whichever side gets a 2-point lead first, wins the game. 
  • If the score is tied at 29, whichever team scores their 30th point wins. 

Who Serves First in Badminton?

In most major tournaments, a coin toss is usually done to decide which side will go first. The winner usually gets to decide to serve first while the opponent decides which side of the court to start. 

In casual badminton games, people just usually throw the shuttlecock in the air. Once it lands, the side which it’s pointing at gets to serve first. People only want to play badminton to stay fit, so it doesn’t really matter if they follow the coin toss. 

During the game, the winner of a rally always gets to serve for the next rally. The opponent can only get a chance to serve if they win a rally. 

How to Determine Which Side to Serve?

There are two areas of service court that you can serve, the right side and the left side. Badminton official matches around the world generally follows the odd-even rule for serving. 

When the server’s score is an even number, he/she will serve from the right side of the service court. When the server’s score is an odd number, he/she will serve from the left side of the service court. 

This is why people often call the right side of the court, the even service court while the left side, the odd service court. 

Odd and Even Numbers

Just a refresher for you, in case you don’t know what are odd and even numbers. 

  • Odd numbers start from 1 and increases in increments of 2s. 
  • Even numbers start from 0 and increases in increments of 2s.

Given that information, the odd numbers are:

1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 21

While even numbers are :

0, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20

The game always starts with a player serving from the right side of the service court since 0 is an even number. Odd and even are generally easy to identify so it shouldn’t be a problem during the game. 

Man trying to hit back a shuttlecock in a badminton game

Receiver’s Role

The receiver will always follow the side depending on the server’s score. The receiver must also stand in the service box diagonally opposite from the server. 

Another way of explaining this is if the server’s score is even, both the server and receiver will position in the even service court. If the server’s score is odd, both the server and receiver will position in the odd service court. 

How Does Scoring Works in Doubles?

While scoring in doubles works the same, it is entirely different when it comes to service. Since there are two players occupying each side of the court, it might become confusing which player will serve. 

At the start of the game, the serving team chooses which player will serve for the first rally. The receiving pair also gets to decide who will receive the serve. The odd-even ruling still holds true in doubles games. 

Switching Service Players

Whenever the serving side wins a rally, the same person serves again only that he/she will stand on the odd-even side of the service court based on their points. 

The server does not alternate between partners, it stays with one server until the opponent wins a rally and gets to serve. The teammate of the server can position anywhere on the court during serve and rallies. 

When the receiver side wins a rally, the serve is switched to them. Their service court does not change from the previous rally. They will also follow the odd-even system and whoever is in the correct service court, gets to serve. 

Related Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about making points in a badminton game.

Can You Score 2 Points in Badminton?

No, you can’t score 2 points in one rally in badminton. To score 2 points, you would need to win two rallies in a row. Otherwise, there are no ways you can score two points.

What Are 0 Points Called In Badminton?

When a player has zero points, it will be regarded as ”love”. For instance, when the match starts both players have no points, which is why it is called ”Love All”. If a player has 5 points, and the other has zero, the referee will say ”Five, Love”

What Happens if the Score Reaches 20-20?

If the score reaches 20-20, the referee will say ”deuce”. This means the players will have to lead with 2 points to win. For instance, 22-20 or 24-26.


Scoring in badminton is easy to understand. Only players from inside the playing court can make points in a badminton game. Referees, however, can also award points based on faults. The modern badminton scoring system has made it faster to score points. 

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.