Badminton and volleyball differ in a variety of ways – namely in the equipment used, the court itself, and the rules of the game. Badminton players use a lightweight racket to hit the shuttlecock across the net, while volleyball players use their hands to bat a ball across the net. Badminton courts are shorter and narrower compared to volleyball courts. Volleyball players can pass the ball to each other three times before batting it across to the opposing team, while in badminton the shuttlecock must be hit back across the net in a single hit per side.
Let’s further explore the major differences between badminton and volleyball.
As a hobby, badminton is sometimes played using a simple set-up of stringing up a cord or rope to hit across. This can be found either within household or outdoors. Competitive badminton, however, is played on a defined badminton court and always indoors.
The badminton court is 44 feet (13.4 meters) by 20 feet (6.1 m). This court can be used to play singles or doubles. Singles court dimensions are slightly narrower, at only 17 feet (5.2 m). In singles, one player is on each side of the net, a one versus one format. However, in doubles, there are two players on each side of the net, a two against two format.
The net in badminton is positioned halfway, at the 22 feet (6.7 m) mark from either end. A badminton net is 29.5 inches (0.75 meters) in length. Additionally the net must be 5 feet (1.5 meters) above the ground.
The volleyball court is larger, at 59 feet (18 meters) long and 29.5 feet (9 meters) across. A net, 40 inches (1 meter) in length is held at close to 8 feet (2.43 meters) above the ground, separating the court into 39.5 feet (9 meter) by 39.5 feet (9 meter) halves. For women, the height of the net is lower at 7.3 feet (2.24 meters) above the floor. Furthermore, these dimensions vary again with veteran and junior competitions.
Key Differences in the Court:
The badminton court is smaller compared to the volleyball court. Both shorter and thinner. The volleyball net is much higher off the ground than a badminton net, 7 feet 11 inches vs. 5 feet, respectively. The volleyball court is bigger because it accommodates more players. Volleyball is played by 12 players, six on six, while badminton is played one on one or two on two.
Each badminton court has a left and right service side. A server must serve diagonally from left to right or right to left and above the net. The server must aim for the opponent’s diagonal service area, shown below:
If the server hits the shuttlecock outside of the service area, they are penalized by losing the point. In singles, the server can serve diagonally without restrictions except for out-of-bounds marked by the back line and singles side line. In doubles, a player’s serve is restricted by the doubles side line and the double’s service line.
In both singles and doubles, the full court becomes fair-game after a successful serve, meaning that a player can now play anywhere within the court’s boundary.
Key Differences in Service:
The service area in badminton depends on whether you are playing singles or doubles. In singles, the service area is long and skinny, where in doubles the services area is shorter and wider – this will change the style of serves that a player attempts. Furthermore, depending on whether the serving team’s score is even or odd, the serving position will either be on the left side (odd) or right side (even) of the court. For volleyball, no such differences exist based off your score.
Scoring and Winning
Badminton uses racquets and a shuttlecock, while volleyball is played using hands and a ball. To score in badminton, a player or team from one side must hit the shuttlecock above the net and land on the other side. To score in volleyball, One team must hit the ball above the net to touch the ground of their opponents.
A badminton match is played to a best of three games, with each set ending at 21 points. However, if the game is tied at 20 points, the first player or team with two clear points before 30 becomes the winner. Moreover, if the scores tie again at 29, the player to reach 30 points becomes the winner. To earn a point, a player must hit the shuttlecock over the net to touch the ground on their opponent’s side, what is known as a rally. However, if the player touches the net, the rally ends as it is considered a fault, and the opponent is awarded a point.
Volleyball’s objective is to hit the ball with one’s hands and arms across and over the net to land within the opponents’ half. The opponents must prevent the ball from bouncing on the floor before returning the ball. If the ball bounces, the other team is awarded a point. The game is played out in a best of 5 format, with the winning team reaching 3 sets first. The first four sets are won at 25 points, while the last at 15 points. To add to that, a team must win a set by two points. Thus, if both teams reach 24 points, the game won’t end until one of them leads by two. Unlike badminton, there is no cap to how high points can go up to in a volleyball game.
Key Differences in Scoring and Winning:
For scoring, a badminton match is played to a maximum of 3 sets to 21 points each. Volleyball have match formats that play a best out of 3 sets as well, but also have a 5-set variation. Volleyball is normally played to 25 points, with the 5th game in a 5-set variant played to 15 points. Both sports have a win-by-two consideration when the scores reach a stalemate at the point value right before the winning limit, 20 for badminton and 24 in volleyball. Badminton has a score cap at 30, while volleyball has no cap.
There is only rotation in badminton in doubles matches and only when a team wins a point when they have possession of the serve. Only the serving team will swap sides of the courts before the server serves the shuttlecock. The defending team will not rotate.
Volleyball is most popularly played in a six player format. These six players in volleyball must rotate their positions every time there is a turnover or a change of possession – aka the serve changes from their opponents to their own team. Furthermore, only three players near the net can jump to block the opponents’ attach. There are no equivalent rules in badminton to restrict where a player can move during a rally.
Both the frontcourt and backcourt have three players. The backcourt players may jump to hit the ball if they jump from behind the attack line, which is 3 meters (9.8 feet) from the net. In general, volleyball has 2 blockers, 2 hitters, and a single spiker. Lastly, volleyball has a specialist role, a libero, a player with a different colored uniform. A libero cannot spike or block when the ball is above the net, or rotate into the front court. However, a libero can be substituted in the backcourt and plays a vital role in defending the backcourt and receiving serves.
Key Differences in Rotation:
Rotation in badminton only happens when the serving team wins a point. At that point, the server will rotate and serve from the opposite side of the court from which they served in the rally they just won. In volleyball, rotation happens when a team gains possession – aka the serve – from the opponents. Players will not rotate positions at the start of a serve if their team continues to win (or lose) without a change of serve.
In badminton, there is no substitution. The starting player(s) must compete and finish the game. If a player is hurt in singles, the game defaults to their opponent.
In volleyball, substitutions do occur. However, it only happens between two same player roles, an attacker for an attacker, a setter for a setter, or a blocker for a blocker. Volleyball allows for a single substitution per set. Still, if a player is injured, they can be replaced with another using the exceptional substitution but may not enter the game again.
Key Differences in Substitutions:
There are absolutely no substitutions in badminton. In volleyball, substitutions can occur between players of the same role.
Wear and Gear
In badminton, players use racquets to smack the shuttlecock across the net. The racquet can be very expensive, especially for the top competitions. The primary means of striking the ball in volleyball is a player’s hands and arms. As volleyball players do dive around to save a play, they wear knee protectives while badminton players don’t.
Due to the sudden change in direction in badminton, players wear badminton shoes with exceptional grip and ankle protection to ensure they do not roll their ankles and can turn in time to hit the shuttlecock. Badminton courts are made from wood, synthetic PVC/PU, cement, and acrylic. Usually, the cement courts are not recommended because of the stress they exert on players’ joints. Synthetic courts are the best because they provide adequate friction needed to make a quick change of direction.
Volleyball shoes are designed to be lightweight and well ventilated. They have flexible and elastic foam rubber bottoms that allow for contact and movement on the court without leaving skid marks on the surface. Since volleyball players are hopping constantly, their shoes must have a sturdy mid-sole to absorb impact when landing while allowing for flexibility.
Key Differences in Wear and Gear:
Badminton requires players to hit the “ball” of the sport using a racket and nothing else. In volleyball, players are technically able to use any body part to contact the ball, but are most standardly using their hands and arms.
Shoes make up a key component of badminton and volleyball players’ gear. Badminton shoes emphasize grip and ankle protection. Volleyball shoes prioritize lightweight and impact-absorption through a sturdy sole.
Types of Disciplines
There are five disciplines in badminton: women’s doubles, men’s doubles, women’s singles, men’s singles, and mixed doubles. There is no competition where men compete against women, but mixed doubles exist. Men tend to be more athletic than women, and posing them against the other would be a biased competition.
Key Difference in Disciplines:
Badminton offers a mixed event where a man and a woman can compete on the same team against another team with a man and woman pair. Volleyball only has events where all members on the team are the same sex.
Badminton and volleyball share a fair share of similarities, while have stark differences – which is true when comparing any two sports against each other. Make sure you consider these differences if you are thinking of changing between the two sports.
If there are any sports you’d like us to compare against badminton, drop us a comment below!
BadmintonBites is all about honest and authentic badminton content. Every piece of content is reviewed by the 2 BadmintonBites founders who have had over 15 years of badminton experience each in order to ensure that the information is accurate and honest.
If you’d like to support us, please consider becoming a patron at https://www.patreon.com/badmintonbites, we’d really appreciate it.
The goal of BadmintonBites is to create real value for the badminton community, which is often plagued with subpar or downright false content on the internet. Badminton deserves so much more and we’re here to share our experience and expertise with you. You can read more about BadmintonBites and our purpose on our About Us page.
As you can see from our Badminton Equipment page, we have plenty of high quality information and honest reviews of products that are so often lacking on badminton sites. Check them out and you’ll see the difference between our content and everything else out there.
We would love to have you with us on our badminton journey and we hope to provide you with as much value as possible. If you want to stay up to date on our content, subscribe to our email list below. As a welcome gift, we have included a free downloadable PDF in the first email.
Also, we never spam. Hope to see you there!
Here’s some guides and reviews on badminton products. We update this list whenever we add new equipment content – hope you enjoy!