In singles (two players), serve from the back line. Hit the shuttlecock, or birdie (a feathered cork), from beneath with your racket so that it flies over the net beyond your opponent’s short service line but remains inside the side lines and the back line. If you fail to do this, your opponent serves. If his or her service is playable, you must hit the birdie back over the net before it falls to the ground.
Continue volleying back and forth until either you or your opponent fails to return the birdie or hits it out of bounds. If the server misses the birdie, the serve changes sides. If the server’s opponent misses the birdie, the server gains a point and serves again. Only the server can gain points. The game is usually over at 21 points.
For surprise effect, try a drop shot or a smash. When you are close to the net, make a drop shot by tapping the birdie lightly so that it just clears the net and drops on the other side. Return the birdie with a high-speed smash by slamming the birdie downward toward the far corner.
In doubles (four players), you serve from the long service line and use the entire width of the court. At the beginning of the game, the serve passes to the other side as soon as the server makes the first fault, but thereafter the serve rotates to the partner of the server before passing to the other side.