Challenge Ladder Guide
by Channing Brown
© 1998 Greencourt Software, Inc.
A challenge ladder is a mechanism for ranking tennis players according
to their skill levels. As members of the ladder play each other, their
relative positions are adjusted to reflect the results of their play.
The purpose of a tennis challenge ladder is to allow all tennis players,
from the beginning novice to the serious, experienced player, to meet and
play other tennis enthusiasts at their own skill levels. Whether you play
only occasionally, "just for fun," or prefer to compete several times a
week, you can meet others at your level. You will also have the opportunity
to improve your play by challenging others who are slightly more advanced.
Operation of the ladder
Approximately every week or two, you will receive an updated list of
the members on your challenge ladder. The list will show the current ranking
of players and the results of recent matches between ladder members.
The following section describes the rules that apply to challenge ladder
play. The primary purpose behind the rules is to allow the ladder to operate
properly, contributing to the enjoyment of all players on the ladder. The
most important rule of the challenge ladder is that common sense and sportsmanlike
courtesy should be applied in every situation.
Challenge Ladder Rules
The initial ranking of players on a ladder is based on their positions
at the end of the previous season. New players are added to the bottom
of the ladder.
In general, a player may challenge any other player above his or her position
who is within the legal challenge range. The legal challenge range will
contain about 25% of the ladder members; the precise number appears on
each copy of the ladder listing that you receive. Invalid challenges are
not accepted for use in the adjustment of relative position on the ladder.
The challenger is responsible for verifying the validity of the challenge.
The top four members of a ladder may challenge members below them within
the legal range, if so desired.
Members are not required to accept more than one challenge per week. Otherwise,
however, members must accept valid challenges from other members, or accept
a loss by default. Players are not required to accept a challenge from
another player they have defeated within the past two weeks.
Players may issue or accept more than one challenge at a time. A ladder
match is only valid, however, if the players are within legal challenge
range at the time of the match. Of course, members are free to play matches
that are not valid; the results will simply be ignored.
The challenged player may select the time and location of the match; however,
the time and location should be mutually agreeable to both players. Court
fees, if any, are to be shared, and must be agreeable to both players.
A match should be completed within ten days of the challenge, unless extenuating
circumstances prevent it. A withdrawn or canceled challenge is a default
loss for the challenger.
The challenger is responsible for providing tennis balls, in good condition,
for the match. It is generally best to have a new can available in case
it is needed.
The standard rules of the United States Tennis Association (USTA) apply
to ladder matches. The usual method of scoring is based on winning two
of three sets, with a tie-break at the end of any set that reaches a score
of six games each. In the tie-break, the first to win seven points wins
the set, but must win by at least two points. Alternatively, players may
use any mutually agreeable method of scoring.
The winner of the match is responsible for reporting the results within
24 hours, by contacting the ladder coordinator, and providing the following
The ladder listing is reissued approximately once every week or two, with
updated results and rankings. A player who is inactive for four periods
is moved down in the ranking at that time, with additional penalties each
succeeding period of inactivity.
The rules will be interpreted and disputes between members will be settled
at the sole discretion of the ladder coordinator.
As is prudent in any recreational activity, and especially when involved
with others, members should exercise due care in their involvement in a
challenge ladder. The operators of the ladder cannot be responsible for
injury to members or others, damage to property, or other liability arising
out of membership in and use of the challenge ladder. By participating
in a challenge ladder, each member accepts and agrees to abide by its rules.
date of the match,
and the match score.
Tips for Greater Enjoyment
A new member on a challenge ladder may find that the first one or two
matches played on the ladder appear to be mismatches (in terms of skill
levels). Don't be discouraged -- as the season progresses, the ladder sorts
itself into order. You will soon discover other members with whom you can
play comfortably. In addition to the relative rankings, you may find it
useful to look at the results of specific matches. This can give you a
further clue to the levels of other players, and gives some indication
of players that you may want to challenge.
So don't just sit there -- make a phone call! Like you, the other members
of your challenge ladder are eager to play. And, regardless of your frequency
or level of play, there are tennis matches waiting for you!
This guide is available on the Web at
Software for running a challenge ladder as described here is available at
Permission to modify and/or reprint this challenge ladder guide is granted;
credit to Greencourt Software, Inc., is appreciated.
(Edition 1.0 -- January 1998)