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What is a Compass Draw?

  • A Compass Draw is a tournament draw that is divided up into 8 brackets, each bracket representing a point on a compass (i.e., North, South, North-East, etc.). When a player loses a match, he or she simply moves into a new bracket. This is explained in the figures below.
Compass Draw Tennis diagram for round 1
Here is an example of a compass draw tournament format for 16 players or doubles teams.

In the first round, all players start in the middle. Winning players move to the right (East) while losing players move to the left (West).
In the second round, winning players in the East keep moving to the right and winning players in the West keep moving left.

Losing players in the East move up to the North bracket and losing players in the West move down to the South bracket.
Compass Draw Tennis diagram for round 2
Compass Draw Tennis diagram for round 3
In the third round, winning players in the East move right, winning players in the West move left, winning players in the North stay in the North, and winning players in the South stay in the South.

Losing players in the East move to the NorthEast bracket, losing players in the West move to the SouthWest bracket, losing players in the North move to the NorthWest bracket, and losing players in the South move to the SouthEast bracket.
After the initial rounds are complete, players are ranked from best to worst based on their match performance and this information is used to make a final draw.

As the figure shows, in the first round of the final draw, the best player player plays the worst player (1-16), the second-best player plays the second-worst player (2-15), etc.

If a player loses in the first round, he or she goes left into the consolation bracket. When a player loses again, they are done.

Prizes are awarded for the winners of the main bracket and of the consolation bracket.
Compass Draw Tennis diagram for final draw
  • Players log-in to the website and click on their division to see the drawsheet and find out who they are going to play. Opponents contact each other to find a mutually agreeable date and time to play.
  • In each round, there is a home player (shown in bold text on the drawsheet) and an away player. The home player gets to select the court location, but it must be within the local area for the tournament.
  • Although you don't need to use a new ball for each match, both players should bring a regulation pickleball that is in good shape.
  • All matches are best 3 out of 5 games to 11, win by 2. This means if the score gets tied at 10-10, the players keep playing until one player has a two-point advantage.
  • After a match is complete, either player can enter the match scores on the website using an easy score entry system.
  • Once scores are entered, the draw is updated automatically.
  • The first 4 rounds are the "seeding" rounds and use the compass draw format described above. After each round is over, all players are seeded (i.e., ranked) based on their match performance.  NOTE: smaller divisions with only 8 teams or players will only have 3 "seeding" rounds.
  • At the end of the "seeding" rounds, the final seeds are determined and then a new draw (the final draw) is posted.
  • The final draw is a traditional elimination draw with a first-round-loss consolation bracket. Better seeded players have easier matches in the early rounds and also get home court advantage.
  • Prizes are awarded to the winner and runner-up of the main bracket and the consolation bracket. NOTE:  smaller divisions with only 8 teams or players will only have prizes awarded to the winner of the main bracket and the consolation bracket.
  • The tournament provides a structured way for players to get competitive, pre-arranged matches in their local area.
  • The Junior Compass Draw is a great way for intermediate to advanced junior players to get real tournament experience without the expense and travel commitments of traditional weekend tournaments.
  • The intuitive website makes it easy for players to find out who their opponent is, contact them to setup the match, and then enter the scores.
  • It’s fun and easy for players to see who else is playing and how everyone is doing.
  • When players lose a match, they are not out of the tournament; they just move to another bracket.
  • Matches tend to get more competitive after each round, since players of similar skill levels tend to gravitate towards the same brackets. So, when you lose, your matches get easier and when you win they get harder.
  • Because the tournament is played over time (i.e., typically either one week or two weeks per round), players have enough flexibility to accommodate their schedules. An automated notification system automatically reminds players when they still have an un-played match and provides opponent contact information.
  • Winning players receive prizes and local sports merchants often provide special discounts for Compass Draw participants.
  • Junior Compass Draw tournaments are a perfect way for your junior players to practice the skills they are learning from you.
  • Tournaments take place over a several month period, giving your students opportunity to work with you on specific areas that need improvement.
  • The Compass Draw format keeps matches competitive, allowing better players to play tougher matches and less-skilled players to play easier matches. This keeps kids from getting discouraged and helps in retention.
  • Coaches and teaching pros can log-in to the website using a guest ID and follow the progress of their students.
  • The Compass Draw helps the CA in its mission to promote the growth of pickleball in their area.
  • The Compass Draw can be a complementary addition to existing programs, such as ladders. Players often sign up for both.
  • The Compass Draw provides an opportunity for CAs to cross-promote their other activities, such as sanctioned tournaments, carnivals, leagues, ladders, and other CA-related activities.
  • No additional CA personnel needed to run the Compass Draw. Everything from player registration to tournament administration and prize distribution is handled. All that is needed is assistance in marketing and promotion. Of course, we are also happy to use help from any personnel who want to be more involved!