general description

The players strike the shuttlecock with their rackets so that it passes over the net and into the opponents' half of the court. The rally ends once the shuttlecock touches the ground: every stroke must be played as a volley. In doubles, either player of a pair may hit the shuttlecock (except on service), but only a single stroke is allowed before the shuttlecock passes again into the opponents' court (unlike volleyball). Players are awarded a point if the shuttlecock lands on or within the marked boundary of their opponents' court, or if their opponent's stroke fails to pass the net or lands outside the court boundary.

A rally begins with the service, in which the serving player must strike the shuttlecock so that, if left, it would land in the diagonally opposite service court. In doubles, only one player, the receiver, may return the service (thereafter either player may hit the shuttlecock); the order of doubles service is determined by the Laws, which ensure that all the players shall serve and receive in turn. If the server wins the rally, he will continue serving; if he loses the rally, the serve will pass to his opponent. In either case, the winner will add a point to his score.

A match consists of three games; to win each game players must score 21 points (exceptions noted below). There are five events: men's singles, women's singles, men's doubles, women's doubles, and mixed doubles (each pair is a man and a woman).