You must be a member to play.  No drop-ins.

The Basics

From 1:30 to 3:30 Saturday afternoons, from April 6 to August 24, 2019, we are playing a pickleball ladder at NSSRC (the Rec. Centre)

in Midland.

This play is for members only.  All members, regardless of skill level, are welcome to join the ladder.   You do not have to commit to play every Saturday, but it is not a drop-in style of play, so it works better if you can commit to play for a number of times.  Eg 4 times.  Players will be asked to commit to playing in any individual week, by notifying the coordinator by Thursday evening.  Of course, we understand that emergencies may arise. Players will be notified by Friday afternoon if they have been selected to play on Saturday.  Players will be expected to show up 15 minutes early to allow for the organization of the courts, so that we can use our court time for actual play.

The point of the ladder is to have an organized way to have players matched mostly with others of similar skill levels, while still mixing things up so you don’t always play with the same people. Your ranking on a ladder is based mainly upon your winning percentage (essentially, the ratio of points won to total points possible). This format of play is suitable for all skill levels, but the spirit of play may be a bit more “competitive” as players vie to move up the ladder. Play is still intended to be fun and conducted with good-sportsmanship and appropriate pickleball etiquette.

For those interested in the nitty-gritty, we set out more detail below.  The system may sound complicated, but the bottom line is that

you just have to sign up, show up, play on your assigned court and write down your scores.  We take care of the rest. 

More Details

For 6 courts, the ideal number of players on each day is between 24 and 30.  If more than 30 players want to play on a given Saturday, we will have to limit the numbers by selecting rotating players to sit out each week. 

Each week, players will be placed on pre-assigned courts in groups of 4 or 5 in the order of their ranking on the ladder, with Court 1 being the top of the ladder and Court 6 the bottom.  All players will play doubles games in a round robin fashion with the other three or four players on their court, keeping track of their scores on a score sheet.  Then, on each court, the top player will switch “up a court” and the bottom player “down a court”.  This means that in the second round robin, each court will lose two players and gain two new players. But because Court 1 can only move down, and Court 6 can only move up, those courts will only lose and gain one player.

Then a second round robin will be held.  If there are 5 players assigned to a court, a bye will be built in to the round robin play.  We think it will work to have games go to 11 points (with no two-point difference) for 4-player courts and to 9 points (with no two-point difference) for the 5-player courts.  Players on 4-player courts play 3 games each, while players on 5-player courts play 4 games each – so hopefully the actual playing time evens out. But we may have to switch to rally scoring if games are taking too long to play in our allotted time.

At the end of the day, the score sheets from both round robins are submitted to the coordinator, who will recalculate the ladder standings, based on the days results. Over the weeks, your scores from each week are averaged to give you a cumulative ladder score.  The actual formula to create the ladder is built into a spreadsheet, which essentially assigns scores to people based on how many points they won out of the available number of points available, so a player who loses every game by 9 to 11 will be scored higher than a player who consistently loses 2 to 11.   There are also small bonuses built in for winning games and for playing on higher ranked courts.  We are borrowing the formula and spreadsheet from one that has been used with success by other pickleball clubs. 

The next Saturday, players will be assigned to each court based on the new ladder standings and the available players. 

Once a few weeks have been played and the ladder sorts itself out, regardless of which court you are playing on, you should end up playing with players at roughly the same level as yourself.

Our research has revealed that the ladder play starts to work more quickly and efficiently if you begin the ladder by roughly sorting the more advanced players at the top of the ladder.  We do not want to get into the business of subjectively ranking players, but heeding the advice of others with ladder experience, we propose that the players who regularly play in the Advanced court (when we have one) be randomly sorted at the top to start the ladder.  Similarly, the Intermediate players will then be sorted randomly, next in line on the ladder.   We are using a computer random number generator to randomly sort the players to start – so please do not be mad at us if you do not like your starting spot when we begin ladder play!   It is the random number generator, not us.   And after that, your play will govern which court you play on.

Contact us if you want to play in the ladder!

Please note, that once the ladder gets started, only players who have expressed an interest in the ladder will get regular communications about the ladder, so if you are interested in playing in the Saturday ladder pilot, or if you have any feedback, questions, concerns or suggestions, please contact the coordinator, Janet Gallin, at



  • Remember, the ladder is NOT drop in.  If you want to sign up for the ladder and have not yet done so, please contact Helen or Janet at - please use this email for ladder communications rather than our personal emails.

  • You have to opt-in by email each week.  A reminder email will go out Wednesday, with your “opt-in” response due by midnight Thursday.  You will be notified on Friday if you have been selected to play that week.

  • Unless otherwise specified, the ladder play is at the Rec Centre every Saturday from 1:30 - 3:30  with players asked to show up 15 minutes early so we can organize the ladder without using valuable court time.

  • The Rec. Centre has reserved the right to cancel our sessions if a children’s group requires the gym for the day.  They have already cancelled April 13 and April 27 dates. But they have extended our Saturdays throughout the summer; so we will be extending our play.

  • Please be aware that the ladder standings will be shown to whoever asks for them.

  • Details on how the ladder works are contained in the section below. You don’t need to know all the details: just sign up, show up, play on your assigned court and record your scores.

  • From now on we will send communications that deal specifically with the ladder only to people who sign up for the ladder. If you change your mind later, let us know.

An Explanation of how the ladder scores are calculated

To calculate the ladder scores, we use a spreadsheet that has been used with success by other pickleball clubs.

The majority of the score you get each week is based on the percentage of points you won vs the points that were available to be won.  If you want to move up the ladder, the most important factor is to win as many points as you can in each game.

The second, much smaller part of the score is a bonus based on games won, with a small factor to reward people who win games on higher ranked courts.

Part one – the percentage of points won out of points available to be won

Your total score is calculated on a percentage basis for the week. 

For example:

Round one, if you played 3 games and got 29 points out of a possible 33 and
Round two, if you played 3 games and got 24 points out of a possible 33

Then you would have 53/66 which equals 80.30 percent

Part two – the bonus

The additional bonus points are calculated as follows:

For every win on court #1, 3.00 points are awarded; 2.75 points for wins on court #2,......down to 1.75 points for wins on court #6. 

This has the effect of giving greater value to players on the higher ranked courts, and over time accentuates the difference in the levels of play, meaning that over time people will end up having a better chance of playing with similarly skilled players. 

So, for example, if a player won a total of 5 games on court 1, his bonus for that week would be 5 x 3 = 15.

If a player won 5 games on court 6, his bonus for the week would be 5 x 1.75 = 8.75.

There is a maximum 3 game bonus per round. If you win 4 games in a 5 player court, you will be given a bonus based on 3 games.  This is so that players in a 5 player court do not get an extra advantage of being able to earn more bonus points.  

Adding it all together

Our player in part one above (with a base percentage of 80.30) would get a different overall weekly score depending on which courts they played on, and how many games they won.


Played all games on Court One and won 3 in the first round and 1 in the second round  80.30 + (3 x 3) + (1 x 3) = 92.30

Won 3 games on Court Two and 1 game on Court One  80.30 + (3 x 2.75) + (1 x 3) = 91.55

Won 4 games on Court Five and 2 games on Court Four  80.30 + (3 x 2.00) + (2 x 2.25) = 90.80

(remember you only get credit for a maximum of 3 wins per round)

The maximum possible score in a given week is 118 (if you won all of your games on Court One)
Averaging scores over the weeks.

Every week you play, your score will be averaged with all of your previous week's scores to give you an overall cumulative ladder score. We anticipate that there will be a lot of volatility at the beginning of our ladder season, and that people will zip up and down the ladder, until things start to average out and we should end up with people playing in games where they are matched with players of a similar skill level.  


Designed and updated by Helen Proctor.

Comments and questions are appreciated.

Last updated:  June 23, 2019