What's the secret to a successful tennis ladder?

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by tennistim, Nov 14, 2012.

  1. tennistim

    tennistim New User

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    In our club team of 10 players, we are thinking of setting up a singles league ladder.

    Any advice, or recommended systems to help make it a success?

    The last time the club tried something like this it never took off.
     
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  2. floridatennisdude

    floridatennisdude Hall of Fame

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    Don't do a leap frog system. Do a points system where you get a point for every set won and a point for a win. It encourages volume of matches instead of just rewarding the winners.

    I've found that the leap frog, while simple, tends to result in a lot of folks not taking challenges. Be it ego, lack o time, whatever. Some guys will just duck the challenge all the time.
     
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  3. dizzlmcwizzl

    dizzlmcwizzl Hall of Fame

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    Our club has a successful ladder, if you define lots of play as successful. Basically the club is just trying to fill open court time so they reward frequent play.

    The jist:

    Play a match ... 1 point
    Win the match .... 2 points

    Top four in each division (3.5, 4.0, 4.5+) make the season ending tourney.

    Usually the top two guys (or girls) have simply played (and often lost) a lot of matches. The 3rd and 4th seeds are guys that play many fewer matches but won most of them. Usually the 4th seed wins the whole thing.
     
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  4. will3689

    will3689 New User

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    My club has just started a box league. A notice was put up in the club to get as many people as possible involved. People were split into 5 groups of 5. We were given 2 months to play these 5 matches and at the end 2 players get promoted and 2 relegated. So far this has worked out well with the majority of matches getting played
     
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  5. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    I played a ladder years ago with 10-12 people (can't remember). The way it worked was you could only challenge up to 4 people ahead of you. So number 10 could not challenge number 1, he had to work his way up.

    At the end of the season, the ladder was used to seed the top 8 guys for a quarterfinal type tournament. It worked out pretty well for 2 seasons until the guy running it skipped town.
     
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  6. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    You asked about ladders, but I played a successful singles round robin so I will describe that.

    The organizer set up a schedule giving each pair one week to schedule their match. It was up to them to find a mutually convenient time during that week. Players were warned to work hard to stay on schedule to get in all of their matches. There was a flat fee to participate, with no refunds for unplayed matches.

    Once the round robin phase was completed, the players were divided into top half and bottom half. Players did a mini- round robin to determine the winner of the top half. The bottom half players also played a mini-round robin as a consolation bracket.

    Most of the bottom half players blew off their matches. The reason was that the whole ordeal was just too long. The round robin had 15 players, IIRC, which meant you did 14 singles matches plus mini-round robin. It conflicted with the start of the USTA spring season, so that explains the dwindling interest.
     
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  7. Angle Queen

    Angle Queen Professional

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    Our club doesn't have one, but I wish we did.

    Another club here in town runs not a ladder...but a tree. Let me see if I can describe it.

    Top Level: 1 spot
    Next Level: 2 spots
    Next Level: 3 spots and so on.

    A
    B-C
    D-E-F
    G-H-I-J-K
    (but in the shape of a Christmas tree)

    You may challenge one level up...or over, and must accept a challenge from one level down...or over. For example, Player D could challenge B and E. Player E can challenge B, C, D and F. Player F can challenge C and E. If D can't beat B....but thinks they can best player C....then they must challenge E first to see if they can move over so they'd then be connected to C.

    If you play a lot, you'll end up near the middle of whatever level your skill set tends to put you at. That's because there are six possible matches for you to participate in (regardless of who's doing the challenging). In the above example, Player E could get into matches with B, C, D, F, H or I.

    New people just get added to the bottom level...and if it's full, you just make another, lower level. Makes for some mismatches early on...but it sorts out quickly. People who don't or won't play move down because the rules say...if you don't play within 7 days of the challenge, it's a walkover.

    It's not high-tech or online. They just put up a bunch of nails/cupholder hooks on the wall and use little tags to move folks around. There's no start or end dates and the top dog is truly the club's Star. It seems very successful.

    I'd love to see an online system for this with contact info.
     
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  8. shazbot

    shazbot Semi-Pro

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    My club does a men's morning ladder and men's evening ladder, each ladder has over 20 guys on it.

    Just a regular old ladder, where you can challenge one spot up. It works well, plus they offer discounted court time for ladder matches, which is nice. We can play on indoor hard or clay.
     
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  9. backttennis

    backttennis New User

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    Our club ladders get almost no action, neither the men's nor the women's. The problem is that it is up to people to challenge and schedule their own matches. Some people won't accept challenges, others are too busy.

    The most successful ladder I was in years ago was held on a Sunday afternoon, and those who could not make it then could schedule matches with each other at another time. Everyone was supposed to play everyone else. It was really more of a singles league than a ladder.
     
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  10. Dags

    Dags Professional

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    When I played in a box league, that worked fairly well. Having to play a set number of matches in a set period meant most people got involved... even if most of the matches were in the last two weeks. The ones that didn't - well, they just got relegated or kicked out. The head coach switched it to a ladder as it meant less (i.e. nil) administration for him, and it's just stagnant.

    I'm tempted to attempt an unofficial mini league, possibly with an entry fee just to keep people interested. Any monies collected would be re-distributed as prize money. Maybe after Christmas.
     
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  11. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    I did this for a few seasons after getting frustrated that everything was done on paper and not on the web. The nice thing was it forced the local clubs to do things the way I wanted so I no longer had to do it after a short time since they saw how much money they were losing.
     
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  12. anantak2k

    anantak2k Semi-Pro

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    http://miamiladder.com/

    The thing with this ladder format is that you have the organizer setting up the matches on a weekly basis. So it's a lot of work for that one person.
     
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  13. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    I run a big round robin in Atlanta and I have played around with the idea of starting some sort of ladder. I have a huge group of people that would likely sign up but If I was going to do it I'd want to do it right. As far as I can tell one of the biggest issues is that not many women like the idea of having their spot challenged- it just sounds too confrontational.
     
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  14. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Oh, women freak completely out at the idea of challenging and being challenged. If you challenge and lose, it's "Who do you think you are?" If you are challenged and you lose, people treat it like you just suffered a death in the family: "Did you hear about what happened to Karen?"

    In contrast, a round robin is easier to deal with mentally. You're being forced to play against so-and-so. You go out and play your best. There's no losing face or saving face beyond the score of that one match.

    I suspect men feel the same way, judging by how hard it seems to be to set up a men's ladder match or flex match. Men just won't admit it. :)
     
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  15. Fuji

    Fuji Legend

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    I don't know haha!

    I play box league. We have 11 boxes. Box 1, Box 2, and Box 3 are Open to 5.5 respectively. We have over 600 members at our club so we have a lot of high level guys. Box's 4-5 are 4.0-5.0. Then Box's 6-11 are below 4.0. We don't have a lot of midrange players so they are the smallest number of boxes, and each box has around 10 people in it give or take.

    It's a sort of weird experience. You enter via self rate, and then the boxes work out from there. After each box league season of 2 months, you are evaluated on your W/L record and moved accordingly if you sign up again. It's a good way to evaluate your play however.

    This year I've had 3 matches out of my box of 7 people so far. I play in box 5. I've gone 1 and 2. Scoring is done best out of 11. I won 9-2 against a guy who played Box number 6 last year. The next match I lost 11-0 to a guy who should be in box 1 or 2. My last match was yesterday where I lost to a 5.0 woman 7-4. That's also the nice thing about our box, it's done by box skill level, not gender. It's interesting getting to play tournament level people of the opposite sex. :razz:

    -Fuji
     
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  16. Angle Queen

    Angle Queen Professional

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    Now, now. Don't speak for all us women-folk. On the tennis court, I love a challenge...whether I'm issuing it or receiving it. And don't get me wrong, I've got a tad of an ego too but if I've established myself on a ladder (or at a level....regardless of my USTA-given NTRP)...I'm neither worried nor nervous at defending it to anyone who'd try.

    That's why I'll be seriously pushing for our club to have some sort of ladder/tree/challenge system next year. :p

    Doubt it. A man's man...will pick up that white glove.

    C'mon guys, back me up here.
     
    #16
  17. AR15

    AR15 Professional

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    Cindy is exactly right. The women at my club will not participate in the club challenge ladders. For years, we have set up men's and women's ladders, but only the men participate.
     
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  18. AR15

    AR15 Professional

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    Do any of you participate in ladders that give prizes? If so:

    1. Do the prize opportunities increase participation?

    2. What kind of prizes are typical?

    3. What kind of fee are you paying to enter the ladder?

    4. How long does the ladder run (3months, 6 months etc.)?
     
    #18
  19. Tennisguy3000

    Tennisguy3000 Semi-Pro

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    #19
  20. sportlerin

    sportlerin New User

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  21. shazbot

    shazbot Semi-Pro

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    What kind of ladder lets you challenge from the 30th position to the 2nd position? lol. That doesn't even sound like a ladder.

    Plus, if it was like most club ladders, the 30th guy would NEVER have a chance at beating the 2nd rung guy.
     
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  22. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Agreed. You need to limit how many spots up that you can challenge.
     
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  23. Spin Doctor

    Spin Doctor Professional

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    IMO the best ladders work on a box system where you play 5-6 guys within a set period. This gives the ladder some structure and people tend to do things when there is a deadline involved. I've rarely seen an active ladder where its just a free -for-all where you can challenge anyone. That type of ladder is great for lazy club pros but sucks for everyone else usually.

    Ladders should also be online, automated with some kind of ranking system but that's just a pipe dream considering how a lot of club pros either can't be bothered or just don't have the interest or ability to investigate computerized options.
     
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  24. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

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    One that I win.
     
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  25. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    We have something similar, except that the points for playing / winning are more like 1 point for a loss, 4 points for a win. So encourages lots of playing but the top players tend to be winning players rather than purely 'volume' players. We have about 30 in each division and the season ending tourney has 16 players.
     
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  26. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    Ladders work when people play in them - it's pretty simple.

    I've been on some that were great - where that was most peoples' primary way of setting up matches - and some that never got any participation.

    I guess whatever incentives you can find to get people to play would be good. (Money, fame?)
     
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