Badminton is a racquet sport that is similar to tennis, where the two teams volley a feathered cone shaped object, known as the "birdie," back and forth. The game is usually played in either a singles or doubles style. The object of the game is to force your opponent to commit an error in the process of returning the birdie over the net.
A set begins with a serve from one of the teams. In serving, one player starts on the right side of their court, known as the right service court, and attempts to hit the birdie diagonally over the net into the opposing team's right service court. During a serve, the player must hit the birdie below their waist. The winning team of each rally is awarded the next serve.
If playing singles, the player on one team continues to serve and alternate between left and right service courts, until they lose a rally (the player commits an error). When playing doubles, the same process applies but each time the team regains possession of the birdie, or begins to serve again, the server alternates.
Aside from the serve, there are a few other hits in badminton including the clear, drop shot, and smash. A clear is when a player hits the birdie high in the air and towards the back of the opposing side of the court. A drop shot is when the birdie is hit to land just over the net on the opposite side. A smash is when a player swings overhand at the birdie and hits it with great force.
Points are scored in badminton when a team commits an error during a rally. Each time a team commits an error, the opposing team is awarded one point. This includes allowing the birdie to hit the ground, hitting the birdie out of bounds, hitting the birdie into or under the net, or a player hitting the birdie twice in a row. A point can also be scored if a player on the opposing team comes in contact with the net either with their body or racket.
The first two sets are played to a score of 21 points. In order to win the set, a team must have a two point advantage over the other team. So, if a team reaches 21 points but the other team has 20, the set is not over. The teams will keep playing until a team is up by two points or a team reaches 30 points. A match is won by whichever team wins two sets. Therefore, if a team wins set one and two, they win the entire match.
If one team wins the first set and the other team wins the second, a third set is needed to determine the winner of the match. Like the first two sets, a team must score 21 points with a two point advantage to win the set. The team that wins the third set is the winner of the match.
In badminton, teams can only score one point at a time. A team scores a point when the opposing team ends the rally by letting the birdie hit the ground or hitting the birdie into the net or out of bounds. A game is played in three sets to 21 points (the team must also have a two point advantage). The first team that wins two sets wins the game.
Badminton first started in India and was originally called Poona. The Duke of Beaufort brought the game back in 1873 to his estate in England, named the Badminton House, and began introducing it to others. Evidently, this is where badminton received the name used today. By 1877, an official set of rules were created for the game by the Bath Badminton Club. While a popular sport since the 1800s, badminton was not made an official Olympic sport until 1992 in Barcelona.
A team loses points in badminton by losing a rally. A rally is lost if the team hits the birdie out of bounds, into the net, or is not able to return the birdie over the net. Teams can also lose points by running into the net, allowing the birdie to hit their body, or by hitting the birdie before it passes over the net.
When badminton first started around 1877, each set was only played to 15 points. Additionally, points were only awarded to teams if they won the rally and were the serving team. If the team won the rally but was not the serving team, they would become the serving team but would not be awarded any points. In 2002, the BWF (Badminton World Federation) tried a scoring system including five sets played to seven points. In 2005, the current 21 point system was implemented.