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I’ve mentioned elsewhere that the badminton shuttlecock is still “in” when it falls on a line. But when can it be truly “out?” Here’s a simple answer — when it ends up in an alley!

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Alleys in badminton are designated spaces marked by parallel 40 mm lines on either the sides or both ends of the court. The alleys on both sides of the court are “illegal” areas for singles play. Players can move into this area during doubles play, however. The side alleys are 420 mm each for singles play while the back alleys measure 720 mm each, per the Laws of Badminton.

Read on to learn more about what an alley is on the court and how you can get ahead by using it properly!

What are Alleys and Back Alleys in Badminton?

There are two kinds of alleys — the ones on the sides and the ones on the ends of the court.

The alleys on the side of the badminton court represent illegal areas measuring 420 mm, running from one end of the court to the other. The back alleys are 720 mm each, running from one side of the court to the other.

What are the Purposes of the Alley and Back Alley in Badminton?

Ultimately, both the alleys and back alleys serve one purpose:

The purpose of the alley and back alley is to designate legal playing areas at certain times of the game. Alleys represent illegal service and playing areas during singles games; but are legal service areas for doubles games. However, the back alleys are illegal areas for service during doubles games. The back alleys are legal for long service for singles games and after. They’re also part of the legal areas of play in both singles and doubles games.

CRAZY Badminton Saves Part 1
CRAZY Badminton Saves Part 1

Are Alleys Included in Singles Games?

In singles games, the back alleys become part of the legal area of play following service. For alleys, it’s a different story.

Alleys aren’t included because they’re illegal areas for both service and play. In a singles match, if the shuttlecock falls on these alleys during a rally, the last person to hit loses a point. Serving in an alley also constitutes a service fault, giving the opposing player the point and the right to service.

How Can You Use the Alley to Win a Badminton Game?

There are two ways you can use the alleys to your advantage:

When you’re playing a singles match, you can strike the shuttlecock as close to the side alley as possible. It might seem risky, but it will force your opponent to decide between trying to hit it or letting it drop. The moment of hesitation makes things harder for your opponent either way.

Capitalize on the Alley Whenever Possible

More than what the alleys are for, they’re potential parts of the court that you can use in your strategy. However you decide to use the alley, it will require practice and skill. If you’re looking to take advantage of alleys and back alleys, up your game first!


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