I’ve been playing badminton for a really long time now, as of writing this I’ve pretty much played for 17 years, and while I was watching a professional badminton match, I realized that one of the rules of badminton I thought was true this whole time was actually not! For the entire time I played badminton, I thought that all players had to keep their feet on the ground until the service was finished (i.e. the shuttle was struck by the server’s racket). However, this is actually incorrect! My badminton life has been a lie!
Let me explain.
The Laws of Badminton state the following: “9.1.4 some part of both feet of the server and the receiver shall remain in contact with the surface of the court in a stationary position from the start of the service (Law 9.2) until the service is delivered (Law 9.3);”
In singles, both players are always a server or receiver, so neither of them are able to move their feet off the ground until the service is delivered. However, in doubles, the server’s and receiver’s partner are able to move their feet off the ground during the service. I looked searched through the Laws of Badminton and there’s nothing there that prohibits them from doing so!
Well, you might be skeptical as you should be. After all, everyone always has their feet on the ground during service right? Even in professional games you’ll see everyone just standing still without moving their feet around.
Well, the video I found of a professionally broadcasted badminton match actually PROVES that you are allowed to move during a service as long as you’re not the receiver or server. In fact, it happened in the finals of the China Open (a Super 1000 tournament with huge prize money).
The occurrence happens at 1-0 in the first game, around the 8:48 mark of the below video. Chen Qing Chen serves while Baek Ha Na, the receiver’s partner, stumbles a bit accidentally during the serve. The Chinese pair complain to the umpire saying that Baek Ha Na moved during service, but there was no fault given.
You can barely hear the umpire under the noise mention “only the receiver, not the partner…”
The experienced commentator, Gill Clark, then states “They’re complaining that Baek Ha Na moved…she’s…that’s not a problem. She wasn’t the receiver. She doesn’t have to be stationary.”
Then, Gill’s co-commentator Steen Pederson remarks “I wonder if we’re entering an era where we’ll see the partner moving around all the time whilst the opponent is serving.”
So, there you have it. The server’s and receiver’s partners can, in fact, move during service. Did you know that already? Or were you like me? If you didn’t know that, don’t feel too bad. Even Chen Qing Chen and Jia Yi Fan didn’t know and they’ve been World Champions 4 times already.
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