What is the role of a service judge in badminton?

Badminton Rules
service judge in badminton

The service judge is one of the important officials of badminton. They make sure that players serve the shuttlecock correctly. Serving right is crucial because it can give one player an advantage if done wrong. If any rules are broken, they signal it to the main referee. Then, the opponent player gets the point. They play a vital role in ensuring that both players have an equal chance of winning the game. So, let’s discuss the essential responsibilities of a service judge in badminton.

Ensuring the proper badminton service rule

The Badminton World Federation (BWF) sets the service rules to ensure fair gameplay between the opponents. The service judge has to make sure the player follows the badminton service rules.  Here are some basic rules that every player has to keep in mind in professional games.

Underhand serve in badminton

The service must be performed underhand. This means the server must hit the shuttlecock below its waist, and the racket’s head should be pointing downwards when making contact with the shuttlecock.

badminton service
                                                                            Underhand service in badminton

Service court in badminton

Each side of the court has a specific service court for singles and doubles matches. The server’s feet must remain within the service court boundaries during the service. They should not move until after the shuttlecock has been struck. The receiver must be ready for the serve by adopting a ready position with both feet inside their service court.

service court in badminton
                                                                                          Service court in badminton

Direction of shuttlecock

The serve should be directed diagonally over the net. There should be no pause or delay in the service motion. The shuttlecock must be served without applying any spin or rotation. It should be hit cleanly with a flat racket face. Otherwise, the receiver would get the point.

badminton service
                                                                     Shuttlecock direction

Detecting the service faults in badminton

 The Badminton service judge detects service faults by watching the server’s actions carefully. They use these hand signals to communicate the fault to the players and the umpire. 

Hand signal for shuttle above the waist

In badminton, the “Hand at Waist” signal is used by them to indicate a service fault. When the server’s racket hits the shuttlecock above their waist, this means the service is too high.

Pointing to Feet Signal in Badminton

There are two possible cases here. First, When a server’s footsteps are out of their service court, and second, he moves before hitting the shuttlecock. Then, they pointed toward the feet to show that the server’s foot position was incorrect. This signal helps to continue the fair play between the two sides.

Waving Hand Signals in Badminton

The service judge watches for any pause or hesitation in the server’s motion. They wave their hand to signal a fault. The service must be smooth without stops. 

Hand Tilted Upward

The face of the badminton racket should be downward when the player contact with the shuttlecock. But if the server’s racket faces upward while hitting the shuttlecock, then it is the service fault. They tilt their hand upward to signal a fault.

Rotating hand signal in badminton

When the service judge observes that the server has hit the shuttlecock in a way that spins or rotates in the air, in this case, they use a rotating hand signal to indicate a fault. The shuttlecock should be served without applying any spin or rotation. 

Moving the arm horizontally in badminton

When the server tries to confuse the receiver by a double movement of the racket, then it is a service fault. The service should be smooth with a single movement of the racket. If the player is caught by the service judge violating this rule, he moves his right hand horizontally to indicate the fault.

How many service judges are there in badminton?

If you get the experience of watching badminton games, then you must notice around the court. A badminton match has a one-service judge. The BWF mandates that the service judge sit across from the umpire. This is necessary for the precise moments of service.

They can be replaced or substituted if necessary. This situation occurs when the original service judge cannot continue due to various reasons, such as injury, illness, or any other circumstances. The decision to replace is made by the tournament organizers, referee, or the head umpire of the match.

badminton service judge
                                                                                          One service judge in badminton

Badminton service judge equipment

There are required specific equipment and tools for this. Here are some essential items they use.


They typically wear a specific uniform that distinguishes them from players and other officials. This uniform is often a collared shirt or a jacket with a badge or log. It helps players and the crowd to identify them on the court easily.


A whistle is an essential tool for a service judge. They use it to get the attention of the players and umpire. When they see a service rule violation, they immediately blow the whistle, and the game stops. Then players, umpire, and spectators must pay attention when they listen to the sharp sound of the whistle.


 The service judge can provide a spare shuttlecock If the shuttlecock gets damaged or becomes unfit for play. This ensures the game can continue without delays, as players need a proper shuttlecock for each serve. 

Chair or Stool

A service judge in badminton has a chair to sit on to ensure they have a good view of the game. This helps them watch closely and make fair calls when players serve. So, the chair is like a special seat to help them do their job well.

Service judge training and qualification

Service judges have important jobs as a technical official of badminton. They must complete training and get certified through their national member associations. They can recommend them for roles within their continental confederations with experience. When they reach this level, they can officiate important BWF tournaments.

If you want to become a professional service judge in badminton, then you should start with a national association.  Once you’ve passed the necessary training, then you would able to apply for local events. National associations hold developmental courses for technical officials. Once you’ve gained sufficient experience, you may request a nomination from your national association. After this, you’ll be nominated for the big BWF events.


In conclusion, the service judges in badminton is the guardian of fair play. Their duty involves making immediate judgments, signalling faults, and communicating with the players and the umpire as needed. They watch every serve very closely. They do this to make sure that every serve follows the strict rules made by the Badminton World Federation (BWF).


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