Pyramid Competitions

The Pyramid competition format has been presented by KNLTB, The Netherlands.

What is a Pyramid competition?

Pyramid competitions are similar to ladders. They enable players to challenge each other to a match, the winners move up and the losers move down. The aim is to get to the top of the Pyramid.

1 season or 1 day 10+ players per pyramid Singles
9/10 years-and-above Individual Competitive

Structure of a Pyramid competition

The following are some key tips for organisers:


Have as many people or rows on your pyramid but with larger numbers to create Division 1 and Division 2 pyramids, based on player ability.


Choose a scoring format. Best of 3 tiebreak sets works well but for younger players shorter matches should be considered. Players score their own matches. Consider using a shorter scoring format and run the Pyramid in 1 day.


Display the Pyramid on a notice board with name cards that can be moved or a purpose made wooden pyramid with names hung on nails.


The organiser should set a start and finish date for the Pyramid, giving at least 3-4 months in time. Eg start on 1 May 2007 and finish on 1 September 2007.

  • Players must organise with other players to play matches in their own time.
  • Players challenge each other in order to move up the pyramid, they can only challenge 1 row above their position.
  • Players should not refuse a challenge from a player below, if players continue to refuse challenges or are unable to play matches – remove them from the pyramid.


The player at the top of the Pyramid at the end date is the winner.


Although the purpose is the same as a ladder system, in this system it is possible to place more participants clearly. Because the system offers more possibilities to challenge one another it is less likely for the system to stagnate.


It is possible that a fairly good player is regularly challenged by a much lesser player

  • Timescale – From 2 hours to a whole season. A longer period of time is preferable.
  • Participants – A maximum of 60 players.

With a pyramid system the players are placed within a pyramid shape. On every lower line one or more players are placed than on the line above.


There are three ways to challenge:

  1. You can challenge a person from a line above
  2. Before challenging someone from the line above, you have to win from a player in the line you are in
  3. You can challenge every player who is placed on the left side of you and the players above. When the challenger wins he can take the place of the other person. When placed on the very left of the line, only the persons above can be challenged. This reveals both a horizontal and a vertical shift.


Adapting the Format

Many formats can easily be adapted to suit players e.g. aged 10-and-under, mixed ages, teams and to be a more or less competitive event. To understand more about how to adapt competition to suit to the needs and lifestyles of the player, click here.

Applying Themes

Many competitions are more fun and easier to promote if they have a theme such as Davis Cup, Olympics or Family Day attached. To understand more about how to apply themes to competitions, click here.

EXAMPLE Pyramid Competition

Click below under 'Related Links' for an example Pyramid Competition format, including a sample to use.

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