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Last updated: March 1, 2019
MIDLAND AREA PICKLEBALL CLUB
SATURDAY AFTERNOON PILOT LADDER PLAY STARTS IN APRIL 2019
You must sign up to play if you have not already done so. No drop-ins.
SOME IMPORTANT REMINDERS:
From 1:30 to 3:30 Saturday afternoons, from April 6 to August 31, 2019, we are piloting a pickleball ladder at 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 – and we ask that you let us know by March 20, 2019 at the latest if you are interested in joining the ladder. 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 evening 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.
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 8 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 adjust that thinking 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 MAPladder411@gmail.com – preferably by March 20, if you wish to participate in the ladder.