Is the Line In or Out in Badminton?

Is the Line In or Out in Badminton

For beginners, it can be difficult to know all the specific rules of badminton. For that reason, I have created this post where I answer whether the line is in or out in badminton.

So, is the line “in” or “out” in badminton? The lines in badminton are considered “in” because they form part of the area they define. Therefore, if the shuttle lands on the line, that will be considered “in” and the point will go to the striker of the shot.

Now that I have answered the question quickly, let’s get a bit more into detail to clarify all the possible circumstances that might cause confusion.

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Is the line in or out in badminton? The thorough answer

According to the Laws of Badminton, the document of reference from the Badminton World Federation, the lines are considered “in”. The following is the specific part of the document where this is explained:


1.3 All the lines shall form part of the area which they define

Laws of Badminton

That means that if, for example, a line is defining the singles’ court, because the line forms part of the area of the singles’ court, when the shuttle lands on the line, it has landed inside the area. Therefore, the shuttle has landed “in” and the point goes to the striker.

What is important to notice is that what is counted as landing is the first point of contact of the shuttle with the court and not wherever the shuttle stops. So you should not be taking into consideration where the shuttle is when it has stopped, but where exactly did the shuttle hit the court.

That can be sometimes difficult to know, especially when the shot has been a fast one, such as a smash.

What happens when the shuttle lands on the centre line of the court after a serve?

This one might be a bit tricky for some people since the line is in-between two areas. However, the same logic that we applied before applies here. In the case of a serve, the line will always form part of the “in” area at that moment of the match.

So, if you are serving from your right to your opponents right and the shuttle lands in the center service line, then it would be considered “in” and the point would be for you.

If in the next point, when you are serving from your left to your opponents left, the shuttle lands again in the center service line, then it would be considered “in” as well and the point would be for you.

This is because the line is always part of the area that it is defining. On the first point, the area it was defining was the service area on the right, so the line was included there. In the following point, the area it is defining is the service area on the left, so the line is also included here.

How can you know if a shuttle has landed in or out?

Knowing whether a shuttle has landed in or out can be very challenging. When you are a beginner, you don’t have much experience so some calls that will be easy to advanced players will seem very tricky to you. You might not even see the shuttle, let alone see where it hit the court!

Even though you will get better at seeing this, the level of your opponents will most likely raise also, so you will have the added difficulty of faster shuttles and more accurate shots. That is why even professional players make mistakes sometimes when calling out a decision from a badminton official.

If you are playing a tournament, though, you don’t need to worry too much about this. The umpire and service judges are responsible for making the calls and they will take care of the decision. In important tournaments, if you do not agree with it, you can always request the Instant Review System (if it is in place).

For training sessions or for friendly matches without an umpire, usually, the person closest to the shuttle will make the call. This can be a point of tension if there is not much trust or friendship between the players since the player closer to the net has the incentive of calling “out” in order to win the point.

What can you do if you don’t know if the shuttle has landed in or out?

Whenever there is doubt or disagreement in regards to whether the shuttle has landed in or out, a common practice is to call a let and repeat the point. This can be frustrating if you are confident you know where the shuttle has landed, but it is usually the best practice since leaves the controversy out of the match and you can move on to the next rally.

This is true both in training sessions and in friendly matches. In tournaments, usually the umpire will be able to see much better if a shuttle has landed in or out and, he or she will also have the help of the line judges. The line judges are placed usually facing one specific line and their only job is to indicate whether the shuttle has landed in or out.

If you want to know a bit more about line judges and umpires, you can check our Badminton Officials post, where the roles and responsibilities of these and the other officials are explained in detail.

What part of the shuttle determines if the shuttle has landed in or out?

The part of the shuttle that determines whether the shuttle has landed in or out is the first part of the shuttle that hits the court. In almost all cases, because of the aerodynamics of the shuttle, that will be the cork (base).

However, it could happen that, in a net kill that goes down very fast, the shuttle will not have enough time to turn so then it would be whichever part of the shuttle has hit the court first.

What are other interesting facts about the lines in a badminton court?

Now that we have covered the answer in all its depth, lets move onto other interesting facts about the lines in badminton.

Lines must be 40 millimeters wide

The first rule on the Laws of badminton, rule 1.1, states that the lines of a badminton court must be 40 millimeters wide.

In the measurements that you can see on the image below, the 40 millimeters is also included in the total distance. So, for example, you can see that the side line for doubles is 0.46 meters away from the side line of singles. That means that the distance between the end of the singles line and the beginning of the doubles line is 0.42 meters and then there is 0.04 m ( or 40 millimeters ) of line thickness until the end of the court.

So, for these measurements, the line is always counted within the dimension it is defining, following the logic of the rules.

Badminton court measurements in meters
Badminton court measurements in meters

Lines marking out the court shall be easily distinguishable and preferably be colored white or yellow

One last interesting rule is the color of the lines. If you have ever watched badminton matches on television, you will have noticed that the court is always green and the lines are always white. This is the preferred arrangement. The lines are white so that they contrast easily with the green court.

If, instead, the lines are marked on a Sports Hall where other sports are also played, the important characteristic is that they are easily distinguishable from all other lines, so the color will depend on what is already installed there.

Final words

And with this, we have arrived at the end of the post. If you want to know a bit more about badminton rules, you should check our Badminton Game Rules post, where we explain the badminton rules in an easy to understand language.

Is there any circumstance where you are still not sure whether the line would be in or out? Is there anything else that you would like me to clarify? Then let me know in the comments below!

License for featured image

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons license “Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International”.

Attribution: Syed Ahmad FathiWikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0

By MiquelM

I have been playing badminton since I was a kid, playing in both national and international tournaments at a semi-professional level. If you want to know a bit more about me, check my "About me" page.

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