**Modified Racketlon Rules Introduced in
Racketlon Cup
**Date: 2001-12-04

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*Peter Landberg* announced last week that a modified
counting system will be preliminarily introduced in the Racketlon
Cup tournament held in the beginning of January 2002 (see the
invitation: English, Svenska).
The new counting implies the following:

- each set will be decided by a margin of two points; meaning that it will no longer be possible to win a set with 21-20 as before.
- At 20-20 the serve changes hand and from then on continues to do so after every subsequent point.

This change has been discussed for some time in the racketlon
community and if this Racketlon Cup * test*
turns out well it will be introduced into the official racketlon
rules and applied in the Swedish Championships and World Open
later next year.

Here is a summary of the analysis that preceeded this change:

**Arguments FOR**

The main argument for the change is that it will *increase
the number of points of extra importance* and therefore make
the matches more interesting to watch. At the end of a tight set
at 20-20 the players will now compete for 4 points (which is the
effective difference between 22-20 and 20-22) instead of only 2.
This means that the winner of a tight set will be offered an
extra, potentially decisive premium.

In addition the combat for these 4 points has a good chance of being prolonged over many more points and end at something like 27-25. As the rules are today a set is more or less over at 20-20 and there is not much more to fight about. Contrasting this the new counting takes advantage of a tight situation to offer several more points - of extra importance.

In particular, at the end of the tennis set at the end of the match chances increase that the match is undecided until the final point is over - simply since there is a bigger chance that 4 points (e.g. -3 instead of +1) will decide a tight match rather than 2.

A final argument pointing for the introduction of the change
is that it has been done before and is well tested. Several other
sports are using this margin-of-2 counting; e.g. table tennis,
tennis, volley ball etc. And they have good reasons to...

**Arguments AGAINST**

There are a few arguments that have been brought forward against the new margin-of-two counting but none of them is arguably strong enough to off-set the postive side. Here goes:

"Not as simple". True, but no one can honestly accuse the new counting of being really complicated either. People have learnt to cope with the margin-of-2 counting in other sports. One could, in fact, argue that it is the margin-of-1 counting that has been the confusing exception. We are actually moving back to the original model (it was the old table tennis counting that once formed the model for the racketlon counting).

"Unfair since a larger percentage of the points will be played in the prolonged set". This argument does not hold. First, the number of points are not equally distributed between the sets today either. Second, the implicit logic behind why it would be unfair to play more points in one individual sport is that this would be an advantage for the player that is better in that sport. But since the margin-of-2 counting will only take effect in tight sets the players will obviously be fairly equal in the sport. So, none of them is advantaged.

"Longer matches." True, some sets will contain more points. But it will not be enough to have any major practical consequences for someone that manages a tournament. The new counting will only make a difference in sets that today end 21-20. They are not that many. The other aspect concerning longer matches is that this will increase the advantage for the player who is physically stronger in terms of stamina. The view has been brought forward that this calls for a limitation of the length of the set to e.g. 25 or 28 points. But is that really necessary? Is that argument really strong enough to introduce an artificial interruption of a thrilling end game? (Neither tennis nor table tennis has introduced this kind of rule.)

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