Round Robins should be primarily viewed as social play with competitive overtones, where both Shootouts and Ladder Play are exactly the opposite. Hopefully we still get along no matter what form of organized play we involve ourselves in, but in Shootouts and Ladder Play the objective going in is to win. Here are the general characteristics of each:
Basically a form of Round-Robin where people play different folks in a given set of games, shootouts are distinguished from Round-Robins in that there are typically (forms vary) two sets of three games. In the first set of three games each person plays with each of the other three against the remaining two players, one game each time. Scores are kept and totaled. Depending on the form of the shootout, either the top or the top two point-scorers go “Up” a court, where they play their next three games (again, one game with each person) against the next-highest rated players, while they other two go “Down” a court where they – you guessed it – play the next three games against the next-lowest-rated group of players, one game with each person.
End of the day, all points across six games are totaled. Games won are sometimes recorded and used as a data point as well. The scores are kept for all Shootout participants for some period of time – often fifteen or twenty “rolling” shootouts are factored together (the fifteen or twenty most current shootouts).
This is a rather complex system to administer for someone initially, but after awhile we’re told it gets to be second-nature and is not particularly time-consuming although someone does have to be on hand to administer it as last-minute changes are difficult to deal with.
(And, finally….an Easy Way to Organize and Run a Shootout!
A brand-new shootout spreadsheet has just been created for public consumption by the master of the spreadsheet himself, Steve Mueller. Steve has obviously put 100s of hours into making a weighted easy-to-use system available to us all, and for free! We have previewed it, love it, and recommend it highly. There are three documents which need to be downloaded. They are below. The first is the instruction booklet, 5 pages that will answer almost all of your questions. The second is the spreadsheet itself, which can be filled in and changed “right out of the box”. A couple of highlights about the system….it is weighted both for points and for wins on higher courts, but you can choose to “ignore” the weighting and rank based on total points if you wish. (We recommend you use the weighting…it’s explained fully in the instruction sheets.) The third document is a recording sheet provided so after the shootout is over, the captain of the shootout simply records scores (or they are recorded by participants as it goes, which is easier) and then enters the data on the spreadsheet at home. The calculations are then done for you to rank all the players and next week when you run the next session the work of ranking folks is done for you and you simply print off the sheets showing the rankings and go and play. You can have 150 players in the system and it tracks based on a rolling 20-weeks of games.
The system itself was developed using LibreOffice, which is an open platform and can run on Windows, Mac or Linus computers. Detailed instructions for use are part of the spreadsheet instructions, but we found it totally plug-and-play. We didn’t even read the instructions until after we had used it for awhile.
This is a free offering, the only caveats being that (a) it’s a Beta trial…we are the first site to be talking about it, so you’re hearing about it pretty early and there may be a bug or two, (case in point – note as of this update it’s already been revised three times), and (b) Steve asks for feedback about bugs and other issues…his email address is on all the documentation. This is absolutely a spectacular thing for any club wanting to run a shootout but not wanting to go through the rather tedious task of doing the work necessary to organize it every session. Check it out. You’ll be pleasantly surprised. Thanks a million, Steve!
- Pickleball Shootout Spreadsheet Instructions
- The Pickleball Shootout Spreadsheet itself v. 4 (revised 11.26.2015)
- The Pickleball Shootout Recording Sheet (for Recording Scores)
Note that a video tutorial on this software system is also available.
NOTE: Address any problems to Steve Mueller directly, please.
There is also an interesting different software setup that runs shootouts. It’s called TrackItHub. We’ve previewed it and like it, although to be frank there are downsides…the software you want for the shootout is only available if you and your group members sign up to be members of the site, which brings with it other advantages such as your ability to communicate with other like-minded picklers. But this means that the pricing model is per-person ($5 per month per person) and while it’s quite elegant it also requires a laptop on court or similar tablet with internet (or cellular data) access for real-time updating. We think over time the developers of this will see that club license fees or some more aggregate pricing scheme will make this more attractive and perhaps the shootout software itself can be separated from the rest of the “social networking” components of the site. We hope so, anyway. All in all we much prefer Steve Mueller’s no-charge and easy to use version, but your mileage may vary.
2. Ladder Play
Although Ladder Play is sometimes identical to a shootout, there can be differences. The ladder essentially ranks the top players in a given skill group (or club) and allows them to set up matches in an organized way with all (or a good selection of) the other good players. Matches are set up and completed at the schedule of the participants and scores are reported back to a central source who tracks results and re-posts rankings regularly. To us, there is a difference between a shootouts and ladder play; a shootout is a group event, with people moving up and down within two sets of games on the same courts on the same day, and in comparison the ladder can sometimes be held when the competitors can arrange court time. Other people say they’re the same. You say potato, we say tomato…..
In the differing version, ladders are often set up as a “partner-play” kind of thing, thus ranking the partners in the club as opposed to the individuals. When we get some more good information to share on this we will, but we enjoy Ladder Play when we are in one place long enough. We intend to implement a form of Ladder Play in our Bend, Oregon club (The Bend Pickleball Club) this coming summer, in fact.
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