Score (sport)

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A tennis scoreboard. Cyril Saulnier has lost the first two sets.

In sport, score is a quantitative measure of the relative performance of opponents in a sporting discipline. Score is usually measured in the abstract unit of points, and events in the competition can raise or lower the score of the involved parties. Most games with score use it as a quantitative indicator of success in the game, and in competition, a goal is often made of attaining a better score than one's opponents in order to win.

In team sport, the most common point metric is the "goal" or "score". Goals are accrued by the respective teams, and the match score represents the total score accrued by each team. For example, in association football and hockey goals are achieved by putting the ball in the opposing team's net. Other team sports like rugby, baseball and cricket have more complicated scoring procedures. The winning team is that which has recorded the best score, usually the team with the higher total score; a draw or tie is a result in which the competing teams record an equal score, sometimes requiring a tiebreaker.

Individual-based sports, such as golf and tennis, have points-based scoring as well. These may be abstract quantities defined for the sport, or more natural measures such as a distance or duration. Each competing athlete accrues points based on the sport's scoring system, and the athlete with the best score is deemed the winner. In some sports, the best score is that of the competitor with the highest score, such as in tennis or high jump. In other sports, the best score is that of the competitor with the lowest score, such as in golf or the 100 metres sprint.

Most sports have time limits, which means point-based victories are usually the result of obtaining more points than one's opponent. In others, the winner must achieve a fixed number of points sooner than the rival. In some sports there is a perfect score that is the highest attainable, such as a 6.0 or 10.0. In boxing and mixed martial arts, a match runs an agreed number of timed rounds, each scored at its conclusion with a mandatory 10 points for winning and 9 or fewer for losing, depending on relative inefficiency. If either player scores a knockout or submission, they immediately win the match regardless of points or time.

Auto racing

Each motor racing series has a points system, and a set of rules and regulations that define how points are accrued. Nearly all series award points according to the finishing position of the competitors in each race. Some series only award points for a certain number of finishing positions. In Formula One, for example, only the top ten finishers get points. Drivers may be forced to finish the race or complete a certain amount of the laps in order to score points.

In some series, points are also awarded based on lap leading, lap times, overtaking and qualifying positions (in particular by achieving pole positions and fastest laps). In NASCAR, for example, besides receiving points depending on the final standings, one point is awarded for leading a lap and one point for leading the most laps in the race. In other series, such as for the National Hot Rod Association, points are awarded for attempting the race along with a podium finish in any of the four qualifying rounds, as an incentive to have drivers participate week after week to compete.

Scoring by sport

Each sport has a system by which scoring is determined and tracked. Sports that use duration include many disciplines in athletics (track events of track and field, road running, cross country running and racewalking), and skiing (alpine skiing and cross-country skiing).

Other disciplines are scored based on a distance or height, including the athletics disciplines of shot put, discus throw, hammer throw, javelin throw, long jump, triple jump, high jump, and pole vault.

Some sports have scoring based on a duration to which is added a penalty time based on the events of the competition. For example, in biathlon an athlete is made to ski a penalty loop for each target missed in the target-shooting portion of the event, causing an increase in the athlete's elapsed time in the competition.

In the equestrian discipline of show jumping, the duration of the performance is complemented with faults which are assessed for exceeding a maximum allowable time for the event (time fault), or if the horse refuses to jump over an obstacle or knocks down a rail of an obstacle.

Sport Type Score system
Athletics
Cross country running Individual or team Duration
Decathlon, heptathlon, and pentathlon Individual Points (based on event distance or duration)
High jump Individual Distance (height)
Long jump
Running and standing long jump; running and standing triple jump
Individual Distance (length)
Pole vault Individual Distance (height)
Running
Track (sprint, middle and long distance); obstacle (hurdles, steeplechase); road (long distance, marathon, race walking)
Individual Duration
Running relay
Track relay (4 × 100 m, 4 × 200 m, 4 × 400 m, 4 × 800 m); medley (sprint, distance); Swedish relay; Ekiden
Team Duration
Throwing
Discus, hammer, javelin, shot put
Individual Distance (length)
Ball sports
Association football Team Goals
Australian rules football Team Points (goals, behinds)
Basketball Team Points
Bocce Team Points
Bowling (five-, nine- and ten-pin, candlepin, duckpin) Individual Points
Field hockey Team Goals
Fistball Team Points and sets
Gaelic football Team Points and goals (3 points per goal)
Golf Individual Par (score)
Gridiron football (American, Canadian) Team Points
Hurling Team Points (goals)
Lacrosse (field and box) Team Goals
Netball Team Goals
Rugby league Team Points
Rugby union Team Points
Team handball Team Goals
Volleyball Team Points and sets
Water polo Team Goals
Bat and ball sports
Baseball Team Runs
Cricket Team Runs
Rounders Team Rounders
Softball Team Runs
Racquet sports
Badminton Individual Points and games
Racquetball Individual Points and games
Squash Individual Points and games
Table tennis Individual Points and games
Tennis Individual Points, games, and sets
Other sports
Auto racing Individual or team Points (some based on duration)
Boxing Individual Points (if time expires)
Curling Team Points
Fencing Individual or team Touches
Ice hockey Team Goals
Polo Team Goals
Roller derby Team Points
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