As a racquet sports fan, you’ve stumbled upon Racketlon, and are thinking of taking on the challenge. And although Racketlon uses many of the rules of each of the four racquet sports, various rules are unique to the game and differ from each individual sport.
Here, we’ll help you get a good understanding of the Racketlon rules, and how a game would look like.
The Federation of International Racketlon (FIR) has developed a comprehensive set of guiding rules and regulations for the game. The latest set of rules were ratified and amended in 2019.
Before then, there has been a process of continuous amending and testing to see whether the rules are logical and fair. This process is still going on, however, because the sport is becoming increasingly mature and international, rules and regulations are also becoming more standardized, across countries, for tournaments.
We’ve put together a comprehensive list of the 25 most critical rules and standards for Racketlon. These will give you, both, an overview of how a match generally progresses, as well as, an in-depth understanding of the dos and don’ts during play.
These are 25 must-know rules about Racketlon.
1. Racketlon is, exclusively, a racquet sport that includes table tennis, badminton, squash, and tennis.
For the game to be called Racketlon, it must include only these four sports, and be played in a format where all points count. A game that involves a different combination of racquet sports is not considered Racketlon.
2. The game progresses from the smallest racket sport to the largest.
In Racketlon, players face each other sport by sport, beginning with table tennis (which uses the smallest racquet size), then badminton, followed by squash, and finish off with tennis. This is the foremost rule in Racketlon that defines the sport itself.
3. In singles and doubles, the same individuals/teams play each other in all four sports.
Rules stipulate that the same players/team face each other throughout all four sports/sets. At no point should players/teams switch to other opponents prior to completing a full match against each other.
4. The gameplay is guided by the rules of each individual sport.
In gameplay, as well as, in determining faults, Racketlon follows most of the guidelines set by each individual sport. Therefore, all court dimensions, net positions, balls, among other things, must be compliant with that particular sport’s rules. Also, some scoring rules follow suit; however, there’re several notable exceptions.
5. A Racketlon match consists of fours sets played up to 21-points (with a margin of at least two points).
The scoring system in Racketlon deviates from all four individual racket sports.
For instance, in Racketlon, tennis is not counted by the love, 15, 30, 40 increments, as it does in regular tennis. Rather, the scoring system, in Racketlon (whether is table tennis, badminton, squash, or tennis) is counted by ones.
Each of the four sports is played for one set; where individuals (teams) play up to the 21 (11) points, and the one to reach 21(11) points first, in addition to having a two-point winning margin, wins the set.
6. Every point counts.
The winner of the entire match is the player/team that has the most points in total (not sets). Therefore, it’s possible to win the match by only winning one set.
7. Early Ending.
In singles, if a player has sufficient points to be declared the winner, the match is over, and there is no need to continue playing. This happens when a player has more points than the opposing player could get. Nevertheless, this rule doesn’t apply to group play.
8. Gummiarm Tie-Break.
In cases where players are tied in points at the end of all four sets, one extra tennis point is played to decide the match – golden point style. The winner of that point is the winner of the match.
The server is decided by a toss. To even the playing field, the server doesn’t get a second serve.
So, to come out victorious on a Gummiarm point, players need to have nerves of steel.
9. Serves are determined by a coin toss.
To begin a Racketlon match, players toss a coin to determine the player/team who will serve first.
As the game continues across the different sets and sports, players alternate the privilege of serving first. This means that the player/team who gets to serve first in table tennis (the first set), will also serve first in squash (the third set). Likewise, their opponents get to serve first in the second set (badminton) and in the final set.
10. Each player gets two serve for two points in a row.
In singles and doubles, each player gets to serve for two consecutive points. Whether they score on a point or not, they retain the right to serve for the next point. Upon completing two points where they serve, the serve migrates to the opposing side. This works the same in doubles.
11. In the case, the score is tied at 20-20, from then on, players alternate serves after every point.
After 20-20, players alternate serves after each point until the set is over. Due to the high stakes at the tie-breaking points, alternating serves provides a level playing field where no player will have an advantage of serving for two points in a row.
BREAKS AND SWITCHING SIDES
12. Players switch ends when one side gets to 11 points.
At the beginning of the game, the player who wins the coin toss has a choice to begin serving or receiving, as well as, the right to choose which side they would like to start on. Once one side reaches 11 points, players switch ends and continue the set.
13. One minute break during each set.
During each set, a one-minute break is given when either side gets to 11 points.
14. 6-minutes interval between sets.
After every set, there is an interlude of 6 minutes before the next set starts – known as the “3+3”. Three minutes of break, plus three minutes of warm-up for the next sport.
15. Continuous play.
Racketlon games require participants to be playing continuously during sets, aside from the given breaks in the middle and at the end of the set. Keep in mind that the time between points should be similar to the ones taken on each individual sport.
COACHING AND LINE CALLS
16. There is no coaching allowed during play.
Although coaches are free to cheer and support their players, they are not allowed to interact with players as they compete. However, they are permitted to coach during the break between sets, as well as, the break in the middle of the set. If this rule is broken, the player being coached during a game will be penalized.
17. Line calls.
When a referee is not present, players, who challenge their opponents’ call, must accept that the call stands. However, if available, they can request a referee to preside over the remainder of the set to avoid further disputes.
MISCONDUCTS AND PENALTIES
18. Misconducts are penalized in four different ways.
- The first incident of misconduct is met with a warning.
- A second incident will cause the player to lose a point.
- On the third misconduct, a player will lose the set being played.
- On the fourth and last incident, the player, automatically, loses the entire match and is disqualified from the event.
In the event of severe misbehavior, players might be disqualified from the event without the need of having four misconducts.
19. Penalties are carried through all four sets.
A penalty given in the first set carries over to all other sets. This means that if the player is warned a second time at any other point in the game, their penalties accrue.
20. 5-minutes injury time out.
Each player is allocated a total of 5-minutes injury time-out throughout the Racketlon match. However, the time-out may vary depending on the seriousness of the injury.
22. Injury due to a collision.
If an injury is a result of a collision in squash, the umpire reserves the right to penalize the other player if they are at fault and the injured player is given as much time as they need (under the umpire’s discretion) to recover.
23. For squash doubles, participants play singles and switch in the middle of the set.
In squash doubles, a player from each team plays until one side gets to 11, and then they switch with their doubles partners, who continue the set until the end.
24. In squash doubles, each doubles team chooses which player will start the set.
Each team can choose the player that’ll start and the player that’ll end the set. The doubles team, which is not serving first, has the advantage to know their opponents’ order of play before they choose theirs.
25. In mixed doubles (squash), players of different genders can face each other.
For mixed doubles, no rule states the same genders must play against one another. Instead, each side can choose who to start, and this is regardless of whether the other team will choose a starter of the opposite gender.
Overall, it may be said…
The rules of Racketlon are an integral part of the game. These rules make the sport what it is, and give it its own unique identity as a competition that combines four individual racquet sports.
Racketlon rules are significantly guided by each particular racket sports rules but, also, delineates from them to make a game of its own. By doing this, the game becomes a sport that is familiar enough and at the same time unfamiliar, giving it a challenge most Racketlon players enjoy.