7 Unspoken Practices of Badminton Etiquette

In badminton, there are explicit rules that most player are familiar with. (If you aren’t familiar with the rules, check out the Fundamental Rules of Badminton – the World’s Fastest Racket Sport). However, there are also certain unspoken rules of badminton that players will hold you to as well. As a recreational player, you play with others to have fun and exercise. Likewise, others play with you for the same reasons. Breaking etiquette may come off as annoying or arrogant and players may not want to play with you anymore as a result. Make sure to follow these practices to keep everyone happy to continue playing badminton!

1. Shake hands with your opponent

This is the most basic and important gesture of good sportsmanship in just about any sport. It is an acknowledgment of your opponent’s effort and a way to thank your opponent for the game. Not shaking your opponent’s hand after a game shows disrespect and even hostility.

2. Provide Shuttlecocks

In recreational play, players need to provide their own shuttlecocks for their games. Unfortunately, some players seem to never provide shuttlecocks of their own and rely on someone else to provide them for the game. Understandingly, shuttlecocks are expensive. However, while conserving or using other people’s shuttlecocks sounds like a good idea for your own wallet, pushing the burden on someone else is unfair and stingy. Each player should provide shuttlecocks evenly and should not need to be reminded to do so. Players who do not provide shuttlecocks are noticed by others and will be talked about behind their backs.

If you play often or go through shuttlecocks quickly, you may want to consider buying shuttlecocks in bulk to get a lower price per tube. Get a group of your badminton friends together and each buy a few tubes from a wholesale purchase at your local badminton shop to get a decent discount. Further, buying well known brands such as Aeroplane or Aerosensa (AS) and steaming your shuttlecocks may help with the lifespan of your shuttlecocks. Check out our Complete Guide to Yonex Badminton Shuttlecocks (Feathered) post to see what shuttlecock fits for you.

Note: If you are having financial issues but still want to play badminton, it is reasonable if you do not provide shuttlecocks. If you play with a group of friends, communicate your situation to them and they will (hopefully) understand and provide shuttlecocks in your place.

3. Judge line calls fairly

Call the shuttlecock in or out to the best of your ability. It is understandable to make mistakes when the shuttlecock falls very close to the line, but purposely gaining points from bad calls is outright cheating. If you are unsure of a line call, give it to your opponent.

4. Pass the shuttlecock to your opponent

When you lose a point and the shuttlecock is on your side of the court or near the net, make the effort to get the shuttlecock and pass it back to your opponent. Don’t expect your opponent to pick it up. You lost the point, you (or your partner) pick it up.

5. Don’t serve before your opponents are ready

In doubles, some players try to surprise their opponents with flick serves by serving quickly. This takes advantage of players not being ready to start the rally rather than not expecting the flick serve. This tactic is borderline cheating if done intentionally. While it is most commonly done with the flick serve, this applies to other serves as well. Wait a few seconds for your opponent to be ready. On the other hand, don’t take too long to get ready.

6. Don’t distract your opponent during a rally

This would actually be considered a fault in tournament play. In recreational play, don’t have a conversation with someone else or try to scare your opponent. This applies to spectators of the game as well. Communicating short phrases like “in!” or “out!” to your partner is okay. Communicating the same phrases to your opponent(s) is not.

7. Don’t constantly teach others how to play

When this happens, it is usually when a less experienced player partners with a more experienced player. The experienced player may try to tell the less experienced player where to move and how to hit. While it’s admirable to help others, some do it far too often. If the player did not ask for help, the continual teaching will just become annoying.

Now that you know the basic badminton etiquette, apply it! The badminton community will thank you for it.

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