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Doubles Formulas
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Best Of The Court Doubles

Narrow court formula doubles is a spectacular way to find out who is prepared to fight for every point. The system clearly defines the linear ranking of players. A test of the all round ability of the players

The narrow court game gives you practice at all the skills:

bulletservice reception
bulletserving
bulletblocking
bulletwipe off shots
bulletcontrol line shots

It is important to use this system as an attitude evaluation as well as a skill evaluation. You have a chance to observe how players react when they have lost a few matches. You also have a chance to observe how players encourage other players as they change partners.

 

This system was created over 20 years ago, by Jim Bjerring and Vic Lindal. This system was used extensively in the selection of Canada's National Women's team in 1971 and 1972. For the National selection in 1971 we started or selection process by using the 25 person formula and later we used combinations of all the other formulas to make the final selections.

Bill Neville who assisted with the US Gold Medal men's team at the 84 Olympics says that they used the system as well. Bills said that Karch Kiraly got the concept for the King of the beach from the time he spent playing these formulas in early 1983/84. The king of the beach formulas are only used for groups of 4 and may work best for TV. We have found in the four formulas that you often get ties. If you really want to determine the best player out of 12 or 8 or 16 then play the whole system.

The British Columbia teams that won medals in the Canada Games in 1975 and 1979 (boys gold & gold & the girls gold & silver) used this system as the base at all provincial team camps and as a major factor in the selection of teams. Coaches can be very creative with all the formulas that exist. For example at a camp with 15 select players we put the players into groups of 3 with a setter, a middle blocker and a power hitter. The teams of three then played as units of one in the 5 person doubles formulas. This allowed the coaches to observe the players that won on a regular basis. The players played the 5 person formula and then rotated the setters. This system also had the side benefit of teaching all the players the systems of service reception and defense. The 12 person system on two courts works very well if you have the 4 players that are out act as ball people and have balls ready in the service area at all times.

Coaches can decide on various scoring systems depending on the time available. The best system is to use a no limit 15 point game, win by 2, but this does take time. Playing to 11 points or 10 minutes can be a good system or 15 points and 15 minutes can also be used. When using a timed system it is important to break ties by one point With 16 on 4 courts we have used 7 point or 7 minutes.

The court can be exactly half the width of a regular court (best test is with the narrow court instead of the full court), but you must make sure that players do not chase the ball into the adjoining court. This is only for safety. If no one is playing beside you, then it makes no difference. Often if one game finishes early you will see smart players take advantage of the ability to go into the next court, particularly on a set, as we do not have a rule about where the ball crosses the net. Coaches may want to make their own rule on the ball crossing the net. We have found it easier not to worry, although you usually have an antenna.

The key on scoring, is that you first count wins, and then point difference. Point difference is only used to break ties.

For some selections you may want to put the power hitters in one pool and the setters in another etc. Even though this doubles system has been used with the selection of players, many PE teachers use the formulas in class and in intermurals. Playing 4 on 4 using the five person doubles formula is interesting, as each number is really two people. This can be done as a mixed 4's as well as one sex. See the Buddy 4's article. Jim Bjerring has many other systems using his variety of formulas. He has one system especially for selecting setters.

What follows are the formulas:

 
5 Person Formula  
 Time 1  1,2 - 3,4
 Time 2  1,3 - 2,5
 Time 3  1,4 - 3,5
 Time 4  1,5 - 2,4
 Time 5  2,3 - 4,5
4 Person Formula  
 Time 1  1,2 - 3,4
 Time 2  1,3 - 2,4
 Time 3  1,4 - 2,3

 
8 Person Formula  Court 1  Court 2
 Time 1  1,2 - 3,4  5,6 - 7,8
 Time 2  1,5 - 2,6  3,7 - 4,8
 Time 3  1,7 - 2,8  3,5 - 4,6
 Time 4  1,3 - 5,7  2,4 - 6,8
 Time 5  1,8 - 3,6  2,7 - 4,5
 Time 6  1,4 - 5,8  2,3 - 6,7
 Time 7  1,6 - 4,7  2,5 - 3,8

12 Person System With 2 courts or Three courts

 
 12 Person Formula Court 1 Court 2 Time Court 1 Court 2 Court 3
 Time 1  1,2 - 6,7  3,12 - 4,10  Time 1  1,2-6,7  3,12-4,10  5,9-8,11
 Time 2  5,9 - 8,11  4,6 - 2,7  Time 2  1,3-7,8  2,4-5,11  6,10-9,12
 Time 3  3 1,3 - 7,8  2,4 - 5,11  Time 3  1,4-8,9  3,5-6,12  7,11-2,10
 Time 4  6,10 - 9,12  5,7 - 3,8  Time 4  1,5-9,10  4,6-2,7  8,12-3,11
 Time 5  1,4 - 8,9  3,5 - 6,12  Time 5  1,6-10,11  5,7-3,8  2,9-4,12
 Time 6  7,11 - 2,10  6,8 - 4,9  Time 6  1,7-11,12  6,8-4,9  3,10-2,5
 Time 7  1,5 - 9,10  8,12 - 3,11  Time 7  1,8-2,12  7,9-5,10  4,11-3,6
 Time 8  1,6 -10,11  2,9 - 4,12  Time 8  1,9-2,3  8,10-6,11  5,12-4,7
 Time 9  1,7 - 11,12  3,10 - 2,5  Time 9  1,10-3,4  9,11-7,12  2,6-5,8
 Time 10  1,8 - 2,12  7,9 - 5,10  Time 10  1,11-4,5  10,12-2,8  3,7-6,9
 Time 11 4,11 - 3,6  10,12 - 2,8  Time 11  1,12-5,6  2,11-3,9  4,8-7,10
 Time 12  1,9 - 2,3  8,10 - 6,11        
 Time 13  5,12 - 4,7  2,11 - 3,9        
 Time 14  1,10 - 3,4  9,11 - 7,12        
 Time 15  1,11 - 4,5  3,7 - 6,9        
 Time 16  1,12 - 5,6  4,8 - 7,10        
 Time 17  2,6 - 5,8          

Sixteen Person formula on 4 courts

 
   Court 1  Court 2 Court 3 Court 4
   A:B:C:D  A:B:C:D  A:B:C:D  A:B:C:D
Time 1  1:2:7:12  3:4:6:10  5:13:14:16  8:9:11:15
Time 2  1:3:8:13  4:5:7:11  2:6:14:15  9:10:12:16
Time 3  1:4:9:14  5:6:8:12  3:7:15:16  2:10:11:13
Time 4  1:5:10:15  6:7:9:13  2:4:8:16  3:11:12:14
Time 5  1:6:11:16  7:8:10:14  2:3:5:9  4:12:13:15

Each time period constitutes a full 4 person round robin as follows. (record after each round)

A&B vs C&D

A&C vs B&D

A&D vs B&C

Scoring

1. Mark a "+" for a win or a "- "for a lose

2. Mark the point difference

Example: in round one in the 12 person formula if 5,7 win against 1,2 and the score was 15 - 10, then you write the score as follows:

Under 5 and 7 you put +5 , Under 1 and 2 you put -5

When calculating the final ranking, you first count the number of wins. If players are tied on wins then you break the tie by going to the point column. Next you give the final rankings.

Sample Score Sheet For 16 Players

Names go down the left hand side.

 
-Names-  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Wins Pts. Pl.
 1                                    
 2                                    
 3                                    
 4                                    
 5                                    
 6                                    
 7                                    
 8                                    
 9                                    
 10                                    
 11                                    
 12                                    
 13                                    
 14                                    
 15                                    
 16                                    
 

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