7 Tips for Organizing a Ladder Tournament

In the world of sports, a ladder tournament, also known as a pyramid tournament, is an exciting game of fun for all involved. Ladder competitions do not go by the element of displacement but instead can go on endlessly. There are several tips for organizing a ladder tournament that will be beneficial. 

ladder tournament

The game goes by a series of challenges. Any contestant can challenge another player that is above them on the ladder. These challenges should always be accepted!

If the person in the lower place wins the match, then the object is for the two players to switch places. However, if the person in the lower place loses, they need to challenge another player before challenging that same person.

The general idea is to place players who are advanced in skills at the bottom, giving them the incentive to work their way up.

These competitions are not perfect and have two disadvantages. The first is that at the end of the game, or a lengthy amount of play, the ranking may not always reflect the patrons’ actual spot. 

It is not guaranteed that there will be enough matches to sort the ladder properly.  But if the players’ evenness is laid out properly, the result is usually a representative ranking.

The second flaw is that sometimes patrons will make challenges more often than their counterparts. This results in not all players rising to a challenge.

After putting together 7 tips for organizing a ladder tournament, we are hopeful that you will succeed and have fun at the same time. 

1. Don’t be overly competitive

A little friendly competition ultimately makes this game a success and a fun time on top of that. But if your players begin to let the competitiveness go to their heads, others will soon lose interest.

This is not a football game. The people are there to exercise and socialize. If you have enough players, it’s a good idea to break the ladders up into two categories: one being social and the other competitors.

Social ladders will be a great way to bring in new players to your club without them feeling intimidated. 

ladder tournament

2. Don’t be a Control Freak

This falls in line with number one. If you are the team admin, take the control factor out of it. You don’t want to be hesitant about handing control over to other players that are entering match results.

You will get burnt out, and your teammates may get irritated with you. There is plenty of ladder software that you can use to set up your ladders.

Other people will enjoy the challenge and embrace it. No one wants to be waiting on you to get in the results in order for them to move forward with another challenge. 

3. Don’t Assume Everyone Has the Same Skills

If you lump everyone together when it comes to skillset, you will probably end up crushing your participation rate. If your competitors feel there is no way to advance, they can lose interest quickly.

Don’t place a person who just started playing with those that have been playing for years. People want to fit in naturally and have fun, not be embarrassed or made to feel awkward.

4. Remember to Remove Your Stale Players

For any coach or someone running a game, you sometimes have to be the bad guy. A majority of the reason that ladder tournaments don’t work out is that stale players are allowed to hang around and take up the spots that others want.

A stale player could be someone who doesn’t respond to challenges or doesn’t issue them either. As much as it may stink, you do need to have strict rules regarding this.

Ensure all your patrons know that after a certain amount of time with idle activity, they will be removed.

ladder tournament

5. Be Sure You Have Enough Rules

As a player in a ladder tournament, it can be very frustrating if there aren’t enough rules set in stone. While you want the game to be fun, it’s not fun to win a match, but before you can issue a challenge, other players are challenging you again!

Your patrons will be much happier if you are upfront with your rules right away.

6. Don’t Over Complicate Things

You want to have enough rules, but you also don’t want to be too fanatical either. This will only create confusion and frustration among your group. If people feel they can’t keep up with your rules, they will leave the game.

Just keep it simple yet fun. 

7. Stay Away From Neverending Ladders

The good thing about a professional sporting event is that we know there is an end in sight. Even baseball games can seem to go on forever if they go into extra innings! The fun can dwindle fast.

An ongoing ladder may look easier to the admin or captain since there are no end-of-season playoff games or a big tournament to worry about. However, this can be complete boredom for your players.

The game needs to end at some point. Even if you have a playoff with the top three or four players at the end of the season, it still gives players something to strive for. It also gives players who may have had a rough start a chance to almost reset with the guarantee of a new season.


These 7 tips for organizing a ladder tournament are to help you have a successful team and be sure to add fun to your event. 

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