Badminton scoring has undergone many changes over the years. In the traditional badminton scoring system games went up to a total of 15 points for men and 11 for women. A match consisted of three games with the winner taking the best two out of three. Only the person serving could score.
Some changes were made to badminton scoring in 1992 by the Badminton World Federation, the sport’s governing body. These had to do with new ways of deciding tie scores. The new rules allowed for a player to set a higher number of points in a game where the score was tied. In men’s singles this was done if the players were at 14-all. The player who reached that score first could choose to “set” play to continue until one player reached 17 points. In women’s badminton if a tie occurred at 10-all, the player first reaching that score had the choice of setting the game to continue until 12 points was reached by one player.
Also in 1992, a separate tie rule allowed for men to “set” the score to 18 if tied at 13-all or women could choose to continue to 12 if tied at 9-all. This rule only was in effect for a couple of years.
In 2002, badminton scoring changed again but the changes were experimental and short-lived, lasting only to the 2002 Commonwealth Games. The experimental badminton scoring system ended games at 7 points, but to win the match you had to persevere to win the best of five games instead of three. These changes did nothing to help reach the intended goal of shorter matches so a return was made to the traditional system.
Badminton scoring had its most recent developments in 2006 after a short experimental period. This marked the beginning of rally point scoring, meaning that the winner of a rally won the point whether they were serving or not. All games were extended to a total of 21 points. These changes have helped to shorten badminton matches, making them more appealing to spectators and more popular for television coverage.