If you play badminton competitively, you should about the various badminton hand signals and their meanings. They are instrumental and help you to understand what you are doing that may be incorrect or against the rules.
Read more: Badminton official terms that you should know.
Being a badminton enthusiast who loves to watch and follow badminton on TV, knowing what the referee is trying to communicate during the match can prove to be very useful, as it will help you completely understand the game.
You wonât be lost to what is happening during the game. Or why a particular player loses a point if you know these signals?
Badminton hand signals:
#1. Undue delay of serve:
Not only the server, even the receiver should be ready for the service and shouldnât cause unnecessary delay. The judge swings the right arm to the left, indicating the player has been penalised.
In badminton, no player is allowed to delay the game after the server and receiver are both ready. Before showing this hand signal, the umpire actually has to provide a verbal warning, asking the player not to delay. If the receiver does not get ready sooner, the umpire can give a verbal warning. The next steps on this foul are âshowing off a yellow cardâ followed by a âred cardâ.
Some badminton players even go into a servicing motion but do not serve. This is also considered a foul owing to delay. You must have seen some players moving their racket here and there to ensure they see where their opponent would be moving, and they can serve to surprise the opponent. You must serve the shuttlecock in one singular motion. Suddenly, changing the speed of your hand or wrist while serving is considered a foul.
Read more: How to serve better in Badminton?
#2. Feet on the service line or even off the ground:
The server and receiver should stand diagonally opposite to each other while at the time of service. Also, they must stand inside the bounds of the court lines.
While serving or receiving, standing on the service line or any other court line is considered a foul. The umpire would do these hand signals if they saw you standing on the line right before the serve was done. There could be one more reason why the umpire could make this signal. That is if both your feet are not grounded when you are serving/ receiving. It is necessary to keep at least some parts of both your feet on the ground whenever you are serving or receiving.
This rule was made to not allow any player take advantage of staying too close to the net or on the net and take advantage of a quicker serve or a quicker response to a serve.
#3. Service too high:
This is one of the most common hand signals you will see a judge using. This kind of fault often occurs in a match, even on an international level.
This fault is one of the most common faults/fouls in badminton. Whenever the umpire does this signal, it means the shuttle was higher than the waistline of the server. According to the rule, the shuttle needs to be held lower than the waistline of the server. The tricky part here is waistline is not simply the waist of the server, but the lower part of the body under the serverâs last rib is considered the waistline. The whole reason for this rule is to avoid servers getting an advantage from a tennis-like serve, where you smash the ball to your opponent.
#4. The Racket handle should face down while serving:
If it is not facing down, it calls for a violation of the service rules, and the service judge will make this gesture to indicate the same:
This violation is very common among beginners! When you are learning to serve, it is very common to keep your racket horizontally straight and ensure your opponent does not take advantage of the loop in your serve. But this is a fault. The rule actually states that the entire racket of the server should be facing down when it hits the shuttle during a serve.
#5. When the shuttle falls outside the court lines:
This signal is commonly seen on TV matches. It is also a significant signal as it is the final decision, though it can be reviewed.
There are 4 court lines that umpires consider while watching the shuttle landing inside or outside the court. 2 are on each side of the court, and 2 are distributed near the left and right end of the lines. These signals are generally made by the court line judge, trying to judge if the shuttle falls inside or outside the court. This hand signal is made for singles when the shuttle drops outside the inner court line, while for doubles, it is caused when the shuttle falls outside the outermost court line.
#6. When the shuttle lands inside the lines of the court:
This is very crucial as the decision of the lineâs judge is the final one with regard to whether the shuttle was in or out. It is very important that the lineâs judge stays altered and gives the right signal at the right time.
Similar to the one listed above,, this is just the opposite, where the shuttle has rightly landed inside the line in the right spot.
#7 Hand signal from a line judge showing unclear sight
There would be times in a game when the line judge cannot see the exact fall point of the shuttle. Though nowadays such decisions are easily reviewed using technology, back in the day, there was a hand signal where the line judge tried to indicate that they could not sight the shuttle properly. This hand signal is done by the line judge putting his hands in front of his face with his palms facing the eye.
#8 Hand signals by players for short flick serve
While playing doubles, we have seen occasions when the serving player puts in a hand signal indicating where he/she will serve. Between the teammates playing doubles together, they can decide 4 fingers to be the 4 corners, and the finger that the server puts behind is where he/she will serve from. Players also set up a combination of fingers to indicate whether they will do a short or flick serve.
#9 Raising an arm to signal a challenge to the decision of any judge/umpire
This, again, is a badminton hand signal made by players to indicate where they feel they would like to challenge a decision given by the umpire or a line judge. The player must raise his/her hand to register a challenge. Each player is allowed 2 challenges per match. If the challenge is successful, the challenge of the player is retained; otherwise, the failed challenge reduces the challenge count for the player.
#10 Hand signal with a yellow card
Whenever a player misbehaves during a game, the umpire can raise it as misconduct and issue them a Yellow card. The player is called by the umpire with his left hand, and the umpire always raises the card with his right hand.
Summing up Badminton Hand Signals:
These are the most important hand signals one should know about in badminton, as they can come in handy, especially while watching the sport on TV.
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