Ch. 5 Rules and Regulations

 Ch 6  

Beginning Play
Match Play
Service Rules
Faults During Play
Unwritten Rules





Rules and Regulations

Each game shall begin with a toss. The toss is normally done by hitting the bird  in an upward motion. Whichever side the nose of the bird points toward in the winner and receives the choice of three options. Flipping a coin or racquet are optional tosses.

  1. Serve or receive
  2. Choose to start on either end of the court
  3. Defer the choice to your opponent

Beginning Play

Play is started by an underhand serve and a side can score only when serving. Each time an exchange or rally is won while serving, one point is recorded for the server. If the rally is lost while serving, neither side is awarded a point. Instead, the serve passes to the opponent or the next player in rotation if playing doubles. All games are played to 15 points. A player or team must be ahead by two points to wind the game. If the score is tied 14-14, play continues until one side is ahead by two points.

Match Play

A match shall consist of two out of three games. The players shall change ends at the beginning of the second game. If a third game is needed, the players change ends at the beginning of the game and after one player has scored eight points. The purpose of the change of ends of the court. If players forget to change ends, they shall change as soon as their mistake is discovered.

Service Rules

A serve is considered completed upon completion of the swing or contact with the bird. Swinging and missing the bird on the serve counts as an attempt and results in loss of serve. Unlike tennis, only one attempt is allowed for a player to put the bird into play. A serve must be made to correct court. The server should not serve until the receiver is ready. The receiver does not have to play the serve if they are not ready. They should let the shuttle fall and raise one hand over their head, indicating they were not ready. Any attempt to hit or return the serve puts the bird in play an signifies that the player was ready A server may not use a feint or fake to deceive their opponent.

  • If the serve hits the net the receiver should let the bird drop to the floor. A serve that lands outside the boundaries of the service court is a fault.
  • If the served bird hits the net and lands within the boundary lines of the service court, a let is called and the bird is reserved.
  • During the serve only the receiver in the proper service court can return the serve and the receiver must be with the service court at the time of the serve.

In doubles, the receiver's partner may not strike a serve meant for his/her partner. Loss of the rally and point is the penalty for this action. After the serve is returned either person may return the bird in doubles.

  • A shot falling inside the boundary lines or directly on a line is considered good.
  • Birds landing outside the lines are out. Even if a player attempts to hit the bird but misses it, the bird is still out.
  • If a player swings at the bird and tips it before it lands out, the rally is won by their opponent. If an unusual occurrence interferes with the play, a "let" (replay of point) should be invoked.
  • Disputed line calls are not reasons for replaying a point. If players cannot agree on line calls, an official or umpire should be used. (Top of Page)

Faults During Play

If the shuttle lands outside the boundary line, goes into or through the net, hits the roof, side walls, or anything hanging above the court, the rally is over and the player committing the fault is penalized by losing the rally.  In gymnasiums where low beams or other obstructions hang over the courts, birds hitting these obstructions may be counted as a let.

A player may not contact the bird on his/her opponent's side of the court. He/She must wait for the bird to enter their side before making contact. The net divides the court and the bird is considered to be on your side when it enters the space above the net.

  •  Any part of the bird that touches or breaks the imaginary line directly above the net is considered playable.
  • Follow through the racquet on the opponent's side is allowable as long as contact is made on the proper side.

Touching the net with your racquet, your body, or your clothes which the bird is "in play" is a fault. If you hit the net following a stroke after your shot has struck the floor, it does not result in a fault because the point is over.

Only one hit is allowed per return. If the bird does not go over the net after one hit, it is a fault and loss of the rally is the result.

  • A tipped bird is considered a hit. A bird that is tipped by one player and returned by his/her partner is illegal.
  • The bird may not be intentionally caught on the racquet and slung during the execution of the stroke.
  • A missed poor timing errors are accepted as legal shots as long as the bird does not stay on the racket for an extended length of the time.

If a player is hit by the bird, whether he is standing within the boundary lines or out of bounds, it is a fault and the player who is hit losses the rally. Catching a bird that is obviously out to avoid having to bend over and pick it up is also a fault.

  • A bird is not out until it lands out of bounds.
  • If a bird sticks to the racket or the net, it is a fault of the player making the shot.
  • The only exception to this is if the bird rolls over the net and sticks on the opponent's side. This is a let and should be played over.

A player may not intentionally hold his racquet or extend it above the net when it would obstruct the opponent's stroke. This will happen occasionally when a player close to the net hits a poor net shot and tries to defend against a smash. On the other hand, holding the racket in front of your face for protection is a good maneuver and any resulting shot is acceptable.

The receiver is entitled to see the complete service motion. This rule is applicable in doubles when the server's partner stands between or blocks the receiver's vision, An obstruction of the serve is a fault  on the serving team.

Play must be continuous. A player may not leave the court or rest at any time from the start to the conclusion of the match. A five minute rest interval between the second and third game is allowed in all matches if either player requests it.

  • One three minute injury period match is allowed.  If a player is unable to continue after the three minute injury interval, they must forfeit the match.
  • Stalling or delaying the match to improve your breathing is to allowed. An umpire or official shall be summoned upon request or either player.
  • Service shall start within ten seconds of the conclusion of each rally.

The umpire shall give warning about keeping play continuous first, then an official 2nd warning, and for each delay over ten seconds after the 2nd warning, loss of service or a point will depend upon whether server or receiver is stalling. (Top of Page)

Unwritten Rules

Pington, like all sports, has unwritten as well as written rules. Common courtesies and etiquette should be a part of each match.

Conduct on the Court

  1. Conduct the toss before the warm up. This allows you to warm up on the side where you will play the first game.
  2. Allow sufficient time for the warm up (5-10 minutes).
  3. When warming up with your opponent, hit the bird to them so they can also warm up (wait for the match to begin to make them run.)
  4. If you are serving, call the score before each serve.
  5. Make sure your opponent is ready before you serve.
  6. Call any fault on yourself if committed (example, touching the net or the bird touching you).
  7. Make line decisions quickly and correctly. Nobody likes to play with a cheater.
  8. Indicate all line decisions with a hand signal or verbal call so your opponent knows whether the shot was out or good.
  9. Retrieve birds on your side of the net and those nearest you. When you return the bird, hit it to your opponent and do not just shove it under the net. They will appreciate not having to go over and pick the bird up.
  10. Avoid abusive language and racquet throwing. Emotional outbursts have no place on a Pington court or anywhere else for that matter. Temper tantrums are a show of poor sportsmanship. Be a good sport!
  11. Play your best even if your opponent does not have your expertise. It is insulting to your opponent to do otherwise. Lower skilled players improve their skills by playing higher skilled players, but only if the more highly skilled players play up to their ability. (Top of Page)