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Badminton has come a long way from being a recreational game played in the backyards to a reputed international sporting event. During this journey, the game has seen millions of strikes and hundreds of phenomenal players that have both shocked and impressed the world.
The most notable part of the journey of badminton is the numerous reformations that the game has undergone over time. These reforms have made the game more competitive and convenient for the players.
To see the changes in badminton from the last 20 years, you can watch this video:
Such reforms were also made to the rules of badminton’s scoring system, and many of them are followed to date. To give you a fair idea of the multiple changes that were implemented over the years, we have compiled comprehensive information about them that you can read below.
Different types of changes in badminton’s scoring system:
The original scoring system of Badminton can be traced back to the early 1873s. Back then the match or rubber was decided by the best of three games. Each game of men’s singles or any doubles was played to 15 points, and the ladies’ singles were played to 11 points.
During this time, there was a way to decide a match through a single game. Such games were played to 21 points; an odd number to make the game more competitive.
Image Credits: Wikipedia
The first service of the game was usually determined by something similar to a coin toss. The shuttlecock is dropped on top of the net and when it falls on the floor, the direction it points to will be the serving side. From there on, the player had to win a rally or score a point to win the service.
The server had to start the game from the service box and If the server loses a rally, in a single’s game, the opponent will get a chance to serve, and if the server wins the rally, he or she gets a point.
In doubles, if the server loses the rally, the service is given to their partner, who has to land his service towards the player standing diagonally to him/her. However, there is an exception for the first game. The transfer of service to the partner is an opportunity for the serving team to maintain the score. If the serving team loses the rally, the service is transferred to the opposition team. If the serving team wins the rally their badminton score is increased by one point.
To see the top 10 most phenomenal rallies in badminton, you can watch this video.
If the score reaches 13-all, in a game of 15 points, the player reaching 13 points first would have the choice of ‘setting’ or play straight through to 15. If the player chooses to ‘set’, the score reverts to 0-0 and the player scoring five points first wins the game.
In case, the score reaches 14-all, the player scoring 14 points first would have the choice of ‘setting’ or play straight through to 15 points. This time the winner will be the player who scores 3 points first.
In a game where the score reaches 11 points, the setting would occur at nine and 10 while the winning scores would be at three and two points. A 21-point game would have the setting take place at 19 and 20 points, while the winner will be the player scoring five and three points respectively.
The rules for setting at 3-13, 9–9, and 19–19 were dropped in 2002 from the official rules and regulations for badminton.
The 5×7 scoring system experiment:
Concerned about the unpredictable and lengthy match time, the International Badminton Federation (IBF) decided to try a different scoring system. This experiment was an attempt to improve the commercial and especially the broadcasting of sport.
This new scoring system reduced the games to seven points and the match by the best of five games. When the score reached 6-6, the player who reached six points first could choose to set to eight points.
Image Credits: Wikipedia
However, the issue of elaborate match time remained unsolved as the two scoring systems were not very different. It was then replaced by a modified version of the traditional scoring system. The 5×7 was used for the last time at the 2002 Commonwealth Games.
3 × 21 rally point:
The BWF tried a new scoring system in December 2005 with the intent of regulating the playing time and simplifying the scoring system for the television viewers. This new system adopted the rally point scoring, in which the winner of the rally scores a point irrespective of the serving side.
As the game’s score was increased to 21 points, the ladies’ singles matches now had the same rules as the men’s singles. To win, the players must have at least a two-point difference between the scores.
In professional badminton, serving is more difficult than defending. If the old scoring system was to be considered where the score is capped at 30 points including the golden point rule at 29-all; players would have got tired easily and might not be able to score after many exchanges.
Whereas, smashing would be out of the question as it requires badminton rackets that withstand such pressure for such a long time.
The International Badminton Federation (now known as the Badminton World Federation (BWF)) adopted this system, in August 2006.
Image Credits: Wikipedia
The 5×11 rally point system experiment, 2014:
In the year 2014, a review of the scoring system was performed at the BWF Annual Grand Meeting. The change of the scoring system in 2006 had lead to an increase in match lengths. There were systems considered in advance, but in the end, the decision ruled out for 5 games and 11 points match with no settings.
image Credits: Wikipedia
Current Scoring system:
After the numerous reforms and changes, the scoring system used for badminton currently is made of the following rules.
- A match has 21 points, and the winner is decided on the best of 3 games
- Every time a side serves, a point is scored
- The side that wins the rally gets a point
- When the score is 20 all, the side with a 2-point lead wins the game
- At 29-all, the player/s scoring the 30th point wins the game
- The side winning a game gets the first serve in the next game
Changes in sports are necessary and inevitable. As we refer to the information it can be understood that what we know today as core rules, might be changed tomorrow with the introduction of new techniques or technology.
I hope that this blog has helped you learn more about the development of Badminton’s scoring system over the years. If you have any queries or suggestions, you can write them in the comments.