Handicap Scoring Guide

MLTC Members Guide to Handicap Scoring

Download the guide here handicap calculator

Remember

Make sure that you bring paper, pen and agree the handicap ratings and starting scores on 6 boxes with opponents before you start – the easiest thing to do is to print out the handicap from the handicap calculator above and bring that along.

You should start each game relative to the starting score, e.g. if it’s 15-30 then the server should start on the left.

Remember at the start of a new set, it is of course back to game 1 again for handicapping purposes.

And lastly there are no tie-breaks in handicap matches. Each set is a long set, to be won by 2 clear games.

You’ve entered an MLTC handicap tournament. So now you’ve looked at the tournament handicap draw that you entered. And you’ve found your name. You’ve also noticed that the tournament organiser has put some cryptic letters and numbers by all the competitors names. Holy smoke what is that all about? Welcome to Handicap scoring. Don’t despair! Its simpler than it looks at first glance.  Here is a guide for MLTC members that explains how what handicap scoring is, how it works, and how to convert your handicap rating into starting points for your games.

Introduction to Handicap scoring

Handicap scoring is a way for players and doubles teams with different ratings to adjust the starting score, so that both opponents have a fair chance of winning, making the match competitive and fun for all. Tournament organisers will assign a handicap rating for participants. The competitor could be a singles player or a doubles team depending on the draw. So the handicap rating could be for a singles competitor or a doubles team.

We’ll explain how it all works here then give a couple of examples at the end so you can see how to do your own correctly.

Principles of Handicap Scoring
  • Handicap scoring is always based on a series of 6 games no matter how many games are played in the set,
  • and each consecutive series of 6 games is always treated the same.
  • Each new set starts the series of  6 game handicap scoring all over again.
  • There are no tie-breaks in handicap matches. Each set is a long set, to be won by 2 clear games.
  • Each competitor has a handicap rating.( explained fully below)
  • The combined handicap starting scores of both comptetitors give the actual starting scores for each series of 6 games in each set played.

Understanding the Handicap Ratings

Handicap Scoring uses ratings “shorthand” that can be a little cryptic to start with, but its simpler than it looks.

Firstly, there are the letters that can be three types of handicap that might be assigned for each competitor for the tournament:

  •  Receive (R), which means that the player starts with some extra points already on the scoreboard.

They will start on 15 or 30, on all or some of each series of 6 games;

  • Owe (O), which means that the player will give away some points to their opponents.

They will start on minus 15, 30 or 40 on all or some of each series of 6 games.

  • Scratch (SCR or no letter)  which means that the player will treat their score as if there was no handicap

Secondly there are some numbers beside the letters. The numbers separated by a dot  give  two important bits of information:

  • numbers in front of the dot say the starting point for the beginning score on each game ( if no number then starting point is love)
  • numbers following the dot adjust the starting score by an extra point.  The number refers to how many games in the series of 6 will be adjusted.

Lets have a quick look at some handy tables to demonstrate –

Competitors with O, whose handicaps are owing will use the following table.

.1

an extra point is deducted in game 5

.2

an extra point is deducted in games 3 and 5

.3

an extra point is deducted in games 1, 3 and 5

.4

an extra point is deducted in games 1,3,5 and 6

.5

an extra point is deducted in games 1,3,4,5 and 6

Lets try a couple of examples quickly. Lets say that your handicap rating is  O.2  what does that mean?

There isn’t a number in front of the dot on your handicap rating, so your starting point is “love ” score.

Now look at the table, and you see that would start on minus 15 in games 3 and 5, and on ‘love’ in the rest.

So your handicap rating gives the following starting point for scoring your games:

1 2 3 4 5 6
-15 -15 -15

Lets say that your handicap rating is  O30.4. Looking at the table you can see that you will start on minus 30 in games 2 and 4, with an extra point deducted in games 1,3,5 and 6, so would start on minus 40 in games 1,3,5,6

So the starting point for scoring the handicap games for O30.4 would be:

1 2 3 4 5 6
 -40 -30  -40 -30  -40 -40

Competitors with an R rating  receive points using the following table.

.1

an extra point is received in game 2

.2

an extra point is received in games 2 and 4

.3

an extra point is received in games 2,4 and 6

.4

an extra point is received in game 1,2 4 and 6

.5

an extra point is received in games 1,2,3,4 and 6

What if your handicap rating is R.3 ? Your starting point is “love” because there isn’t a number in front of the dot. Looking at the table you’ll see that .3 means that you start on on ‘love’ on games 1,3, and 5, and on 15 in games 2,4 and 6.

So your handicap starting score for each 6 games is:

 1  2  3  4  5  6
 15  15  15

What if your handicap rating is R15.2?  You know that your starting score will be 15 in games 1,2,5,6 with an extra point added in games 2 and 4, meaning that you would start on 30 in games 2 and 4

So your handicap starting score for each 6 games is:

 1  2  3  4  5  6
 15  30  15 30  15  15

Does it make sense now?

If yes, Congratulations!  You now know how to create your handicap scoring from your handicap rating!

There’s one last important thing… What do you do now?

Each of your opponents will have their own handicap ratings too. So before  you play your matches, you will need agree with them what the starting point for scoring the series of  6 games will be after you combine your handicap rating together with theirs.

There are a couple of unusual situations that can pop up when handicaps are combined, here are two common ones:

  • one of the competitors might have a starting point above Receive 30. No games can start at R40. So if there is for instance R.40, a extra point must be deducted from their opponent, and reduce the starting point to R 30.

For instance, a player on R30.2 will start all their games at 30. The additional .2 will go onto their opponent’s handicap. If that opponent was on SCR they would then become O.2; if they were on R15.1, they would become R.5.

  • It is also possible  and perfectly fine for a player on O -owing to owe more than 40 points.

For instance, a player on O40.3 will start one further point behind in games 1,3 and 5 of each series of 6 games. This is called O50 and that player will need to win 1 point to get back to O40.

 


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