Home Badminton Do Alleys Count in a Doubles Game of Badminton?

Do Alleys Count in a Doubles Game of Badminton?

Badminton, known for its speed, agility, and precision, is a sport that demands strategic play and an in-depth understanding of its rules. One of the aspects that often confuses players, especially beginners, is the role of alleys in doubles games. The question, “Do alleys count in a doubles game of badminton?” is a fundamental one that affects how the game is played and strategized. This article delves into the specifics of how alleys function in doubles badminton, their historical context, and their strategic implications.


Understanding the Court Dimensions and Layout

To fully grasp the concept of alleys in doubles badminton, one must first understand the court’s layout. A standard badminton court is rectangular, measuring 13.4 meters (44 feet) in length and 6.1 meters (20 feet) in width. This width includes the alleys, which are the additional spaces on each side of the court that expand its width from 5.18 meters (17 feet) in singles play to 6.1 meters in doubles play.


The court is divided into two halves by a net, standing 1.55 meters (5 feet 1 inch) high at the edges and 1.524 meters (5 feet) high at the center. The court is further divided into service courts, demarcated by a center line running perpendicular to the net, and short and long service lines. In doubles, the court has distinct service and playing boundaries, where the alleys come into significant play.


The Role of Alleys in Doubles

In doubles badminton, the alleys are the areas on either side of the court that are not used in singles play. These alleys are each 0.46 meters (1.5 feet) wide. The addition of these alleys expands the effective playing area in doubles, fundamentally changing the dynamics of the game.


During the Serve

The rules for serving in doubles are different from those in singles, and the alleys play a crucial role. In a doubles game, the serve must land within the diagonally opposite service court, bounded by the long service line for doubles, the center line, the short service line, and the side line, which includes the alley. This means that the alleys are considered inbounds during a serve in doubles.

The service area for doubles is shorter but wider compared to singles. The long service line for doubles, which is 0.76 meters (2.5 feet) closer to the net than the baseline, marks the limit for serves. Including the alleys, this creates a more challenging serve-return scenario, requiring precise placement and strategic thinking from the server and the receiver.

During Rally Play

Once the shuttlecock is in play following a serve, the alleys are included as part of the playable court area in doubles. This means that any shot landing within the entire width of the court, including the alleys, is considered inbounds. This significantly changes the gameplay dynamics compared to singles.

The inclusion of alleys in doubles broadens the attacking and defensive possibilities. Players can exploit the wider court by aiming for the alleys to create angles that are difficult for the opponents to reach. This strategic use of alleys can force opponents into making weak returns or moving out of optimal positions, providing an advantage to the attacking team.

Strategic Implications of Alleys in Doubles

The expanded court in doubles, due to the inclusion of alleys, requires a different approach compared to singles. Here are some strategic considerations:

Positioning and Movement

In doubles, players typically adopt either an attacking formation (front and back) or a defensive formation (side by side). The alleys influence these formations by requiring players to cover a wider area, necessitating quick lateral movements and coordination.

When in a side-by-side formation, each player is responsible for their respective half of the court, including the alleys. This demands excellent communication and understanding between partners to avoid overlaps and ensure that the entire width of the court is covered effectively.

Shot Placement

Utilizing the alleys can be a potent offensive strategy. Shots aimed at the alleys, particularly deep clears and drives, can stretch the opposing team and create openings. Drop shots to the alleys can also be effective in disrupting the opponents’ positioning and rhythm.

Smashes directed towards the alleys can exploit gaps in the opponents’ defense, especially if one player is drawn out of position. Similarly, cross-court shots that land in the alley areas can be challenging to return due to the increased angle and distance the opponents need to cover.

Defensive Strategies

Defensively, the alleys require players to be vigilant and adaptive. Covering the alleys means being prepared for a wider range of shots and being able to move quickly across the court. Effective defensive positioning involves anticipating the opponents’ use of alleys and being ready to counteract with quick footwork and strategic shot placement.

See also   How To Play Badminton Singles Rules

Historical Context and Evolution

The inclusion of alleys in doubles badminton has been part of the sport since its formalization. The wider court in doubles is designed to accommodate the presence of two players on each side, making the game more dynamic and inclusive of a broader range of shots and strategies.

Historically, badminton’s rules have evolved to enhance the sport’s competitiveness and spectator appeal. The use of alleys in doubles is one such evolution, adding complexity and excitement to the game. This change encourages players to develop comprehensive skills, including precise shot placement, agile movement, and strategic thinking.


In conclusion, alleys play a crucial role in doubles badminton, significantly affecting the game’s dynamics and strategies. Understanding that alleys are inbounds during both the serve and rally phases of doubles play is fundamental for players. The expanded court dimensions due to alleys necessitate different positioning, movement, and shot placement strategies compared to singles.

For players, mastering the use of alleys can provide a significant competitive edge, enabling them to exploit the full width of the court and create challenging angles for opponents. For spectators, the inclusion of alleys adds to the excitement and complexity of doubles matches, showcasing the players’ skill, coordination, and strategic acumen.

As badminton continues to grow in popularity worldwide, both recreational and professional players must understand and embrace the role of alleys in doubles. This understanding not only enhances gameplay but also deepens appreciation for the sport’s rich strategic depth and historical evolution.


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