.....Ladder Play is a method used by some Arizona Pickleball groups to provide competition among its members and to provide one method of meeting other members of similar ability. The method described below is used by Sun City Grand and Sun City West with some variations.
.....A ladder match consists of 4 players on a court playing 1 game to 15 points with each of the other 3 players. The team first reaching 15 is the winner. You do not have to win by two points. Teams will switch sides when one team reaches 8 points. If you forget, then simply switch sides as soon as you remember.
.....Players start the match by flipping a coin or other means to decide who gets the choice of serve or side. If Team A wins the toss and chooses to serve or to receive, then Team B may decide which side of the court they wish to start the match on.
.....At the end of each game, each player should record on the official score sheet the number of points they made in that game. After the third game, each player will total their scores for the three games and then initial their final score. If for example, Player 1 made 8 points, 11 points, and 15 points for the three games, his final score will be 34 points.
.....The ladder captain will later determine a players new position on the ladder by finding his winning percentage. He will do this by dividing the players total points scored by the total points possible. For example, taking Player 1's score for the day of 34 divided by 45 would be 75.55%. The ladder is arranged by listing the players from the highest percentage to the lowest. This allows players to play with players close to their own ability and at the same time allows for quite a bit of movement back and forth on the ladder. An unknown player will usually start at the bottom of a ladder, but the ladder captain has the option of placing them higher if they are of known ability. A new player might be restricted in how far they can move up the ladder regardless of their score.
.....An alternate method of moving players up or down the ladder that is used in Sun City West during the summer is to only move the lowest scoring player in a group of 4 down to the next lowest group, and to only move the top scoring player up to the next group. When using this method, the ladder captain does not keep track of the players percentages, but only their position on the ladder. This has worked fairly well in SCW.
.....Happy Trails Pickleball Club uses a unique ladder system that is similar, but more complicated than that used by Sun City West during the summer months. If you visit their web site, you can find an explanation of their current ladder system, their previous system, and why they switched methods. It is fairly interesting, and I think from my experience on the other ladder systems, that they make some good points for using there system.
.....Depending on how many players and courts a club has, it may have either one ladder or several divided by ability levels such as "A", "B", "C", or "Advanced", "Intermediate", "Novice", etc.