Doubles badminton is played with four players, or two on each side of the net. Unlike singles badminton, the boundaries of a doubles game are marked by the outer lines of the court. The one exception to this rule is that the server uses the inner back line. The net on a doubles badminton court is set at 5 feet high. Rules for doubles badminton play are set by the International Badminton Federation.
Before each doubles match begins, service is determined by the flip of a coin. The International Badminton Federation, or IBF, states that service for doubles always takes place in the right service court. The team that serves is known as the server and the other team is known as the receiver. The receiver in the court that is diagonally across from the server, must return the shuttle. After the initial serve is returned, play continues with any player hitting the shuttle from any court. Serving alternates between the right and left courts as long as the initial server wins points, according to the Iowa State University Recreation Services. Once the serving team loses a point, the serve is won by the other team. When the first team wins the serve again, the second player on the first team now serves.
After the serve has been returned, either doubles partner can return the shuttle from any position on the badminton court, according to the IBF. Shuttles that land on the boundary lines are considered inbounds. The shuttle is considered "good" and play is continued even when it touches the net but still passes over to the other side. Shuttles that touch the ground in between plays are faults and can cause the serving team to win points. Each doubles team--but only one player per team-- can only hit the shuttle once before it passes over the net.
Badminton doubles games are played until one team wins the game with 11 points. The serving team can win points; the other team must wait until they win the serve in order to score. Unlike some other racket sports, gaining a two-point lead in order to win the game is not necessary in doubles badminton.