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Why the 21 scoring system sucks (badminton): [edit, I play it now, still think it sucks but nobody plays 15 anymore]


So what is the 15 vs the 21 point system? Ok, well badminton used to be played for the most part 

to a total of 15 points. It isn't really the 15 vs 21 points that matters as much, although it does, but 

rather that you can only score on your serve. That means one team can get up by quite a few 

points, say 11-3, and you could still stand a decent chance of coming back to make a challenge of 

it or even winning the game. It allowed comebacks and shifts of momentum. The most important 

thing when making a comeback is to prevent the opponent from getting easy points and quickly 

finishing the game based off their earlier lead. You are bound to eventually make errors and the 

opponents will hit outright winners. But if you rack up a few points each time on your serve(s) in 

single or doubles, and quickly shut down their serves, you can get a run long of points going. 

 

In the 21 point system, if someone gets to an early lead, it's much more likely that they will win 

the game. You are bound to make those occasional errors, and face outright winners, and all they 

need is a few points to push it over the top. They can score at any time, even on your serve. That is 

why the 21 point system was adopted by the international badminton system. The 15 point system 

was too unpredictable in length and often had marathon games going that were deemed to cause 

low TV ratings. They changed the system to make the game more appealing to a TV audience, not 

to improve the game! I'd rather play a marathon game than to play a TV based system, especially 

when no one is watching me. Ask any badminton player, it's definitely more fun (for them at least, 

perhaps not newcomers to the sport) to watch a comeback or marathon 15 point game, than to 

watch the 21 point system. Not only that, but there is more strategy involved in the 15 point 

system. If you are serving, you can take more risks and attack more since you won't lose a point, 

but only the serve, if you lose the rally. Whereas if the opponents are serving you are more 

cautious and defensive. It is a constant switch between strategies, and different tactics.  If we had 

used the 21 point system in the past, I would have never had the classic J/Amin doubles game 

comebacks, and the epic Amin/Kris singles games. 

 

The new system is a "point a rally scoring" system, or a PARS system. I believe it has been 

adopted by volleyball (which used to a similar score on rally system) and may have or will be 

adopted by squash. For the same reasons I believe, to try and gain a larger TV audience. I don't 

know about volleyball but a PARS system would ruin squash for me, and I'd never play it. The current 9 points per game, best of 5 games (sets) system is the best scoring system I've ever 

experienced for any sport. You don't know how many marathon matches I've played, where people 

can come back from 7-0 in particular games, and down 0-2 in sets, and you can force or are forced 

to a 5th and deciding set. Squash games that are point a rally are halved in time, if not more, and I 

don't think would be as fun. 

 

Squash is easier to stick with the traditional system since I usually play singles with my friends, 

but badminton is generally a much more social sport, and people seem to have adopted the 21 

point system at the places I play at. As far 

as I'm concerned, I will always push to play the 15 point system, especially when I'm playing with 

people I know. I don't know what the professionals may prefer and I don't care, I'm not playing an a professional level, I'm playing for my own enjoyment and 

exercise and challenge, and I refuse to switch over to a system that is inferior in design, and 

pandering to a TV audience.