The scoring system
After a short knock up, you spin for serve, and then play commences. You get two serves and then serve switches to your opponent for two serves. This switching continues throughout the match. You follow the ITTF rules for table tennis with the exception of deciding who serves and play your match. Once a player reaches 11 points, you stop for a brief break and a change of ends. The first player to reach 21 points wins the set and it stops there. In the event of the score being 20-20 then you play on till someone is 2 points clear, but now with only one serve each. The score for the set is written down and you move onto badminton.
An example match
Having collected your opponent and score sheet from the control desk, you head to the table tennis tables and begin your match.
In our example, Player A has won the table tennis 21-12 and takes a 9 point lead into badminton. After another short knock up, the player who served first in table tennis now receives first at badminton. Once again you play to 21 points following the BWF rules with the exception of the two serves each and a change of ends once one player reaches 11 points. At the conclusion of the badminton set, you write down the both the set score and the cumulative score on the score sheet.
In our example, Player B won the badminton to 15 and so has reduced Player A’s lead 3 points up going to squash. For squash the player who served first at table tennis, now serves first again and you once again play a game of squash to 21 points following WSF rules, again with each player having two serves at a time. Although there is no change of ends, you can still take a brief break once a player reaches 11 points. At the conclusion of the set, you note down the score and the running totals and work out the difference.
A squash win for Player B means they have an 8 point lead going to tennis. It is now time to start the maths of Racketlon in earnest. Player B has a lead going to tennis, so they don’t need the 21 points to win the match. In fact to win, Player B needs 14 points, calculated as the number of points that would be an unassailable lead (22 points) and subtracting their lead (8 points) from that. So Player A needs a 21-12 victory on tennis to win, Player B needs 14 points before Player A gets 21 points to win and if it finished 21-13 to Player A it is a draw and a tie break point.
With the maths now completed, you move onto tennis. The player who served first at squash now receives first and the set is played to 21 points with the serve swapping after every 2 points. Apart from the scoring and alternating serve, the match is played by ITF rules, including first and second serves. Once a player reaches 11 points you change ends.
In a nervy set of tennis, Player A wins, but with Player B on 13 points. The scores are level and so there is only one way to settle it, the “Gumi-Arm”. Staying on the tennis court, once again the players spin for serve and the winner of the spin can choose to serve or return. The server elects which side to serve from and then gets one serve (with no second serve) to start the point. Whoever wins this sudden death point wins the whole match, a test of nerve and skill at the end of a gruelling match.