The main objective of badminton is simple: to prevent the shuttlecock from landing within the boundaries of your half of the court. Opponents will rally the shuttlecock back and forth across the net multiple times before one misses, and causes the shuttlecock to fall to the floor. Speed and agility are especially crucial in this sport, as the player needs to be able to quickly anticipate where the shuttlecock will fall towards and intercept it before it contacts the court.
Every badminton match consists of three games, and each game consists of 21 rallies. There are no time limits.
Each rally begins with a serve. Every serve must be underarm, initiated from below the waist, and aimed diagonally across the net. With the exception of the very first rally of the game, the winner of the previous rally will be the one to serve.
Badminton is played on an indoor court that measures 20 by 44 ft, and is divided into two equivalent halves by a 5 ft-tall net.
Only two pieces of equipment are needed to play badminton: a racquet and a shuttlecock.
Badminton can be played in either singles or in doubles. There are different sidelines and serve lines for both.
Players are only given two breaks during a standard badminton match - a 90-second break after the first game (the first 21 rallies), and a five-minute break after the second game (the second set of 21 rallies).
While serving, players may not cross the line of service; afterward, however, players may hit the shuttlecock from anywhere, even outside the bounds of the playing area.
The two most common defensive shots are the clear shot and the drive shot. The two most common offensive shots are the drop shot and the smash shot.
In order to win the match, a player or a team must win two out of the three games. Each game consists of 21 rallies, and one point can be earned per rally. A point is awarded to a player or a team if their opponent either fails to return the shuttlecock or commits a fault.
There are five main faults that a player can be penalized for during a badminton rally: contact fault, over the net fault, service fault, receiver fault, and double hit fault. When a player commits a foul, he or she will automatically lose the rally and the opponent will be awarded one point.
In the case that the 20th rally is finished at a tie, the player or the team to score two more points will be declared the winner of the game.