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James Bjerring (assistant Volleyball coach with the Canadian National Team and mathematician) created mini-tournament pairings that, in the simplest version, bring players together as partners once and versus opponents twice. The outcome of each game is recorded; wins and losses are listed including the point differences of each game. Once the circuit is complete, the win/loss records are tallied (if a tie occurs, the point differential is calculated) and each player is RANK ORDERED BY PLAYING ABILITY from best to poorest.

The power of this process as it applies to ATHLETICS is clear and amazing. Linear Ranking Tournaments puts an OBJECTIVE process in your hands by supplying you with an unbiased process of athletes playing with and against each other to establish their ranking. This is a remarkable asset for making cuts and/or team assignments: as well as to share with those who might question why or how a specific judgment was made.

The entire process is simple and elegant. The blank tournament sheets provided in this manual are fool-proof and can be utilized with just about any age group. As the coach or teacher, all you do is fill in the names, hand out the sheets and whistle when it's time to switch pairings. Your athletes calculate the rankings (they're always anxious to know!) and you collect the tourney sheets, check them and re-shuffle the rankings for the group: be it four players or fifty (or even more).

The principles of Linear Ranking Tournaments are evident to anyone that has used simple "round robin" competition involving four (4) people.

For example:
1 and 2 versus 3 and 4
1 and 3 versus 2 and 4
1 and 4 versus 2 and 3

Linear Ranking applies these principles to additional competitors and combinations for accurate ranking by skill, and combining win/loss with points differential; this is the genius Linear Ranking Tournaments ready-made forms.

An example / sample the four - player model might look as follows:

Players:
1. Drew
2. Ryan
3. Eric
4. Joanne

In the first pairing Eric and Ryan are together and lets say they loose 11 to 21. That's a loss and a negative point difference of 10 for Eric and Ryan (-10) and a win and positive point difference of 10 for Drew and Jo (+10).

The second pairing has Eric with Drew and Ryan with Jo and they win 19 to 18. Eric and Drew earn plus one's and Ryan and Jo get negative one's.

The final match-up has Jo with Eric and Ryan with Drew and we'll say they win 24 to 19. Jo and Eric earn minus fives and Ryan and Drew get plus fives.

So... tallying up the outcomes: Eric earns one win, two losses and a point total of minus 14. Ryan is also one and two and has a point total of minus 6. Drew is undefeated - three and oh! - with a plus sixteen total. And Joanne goes one and two with a point total of plus four. And thus in our hypothetical game the players rank order themselves BY PLAYING THE GAME! as follows:

Number One: Drew (3 - 0 and +16)
Number Two: Joanne (1 - 2 and +4)
Number Three: Ryan (1 - 2 and -6)
Number Four: Eric (1 - 2 and - 14)

How sweet is that?!? Players COMPETE against each other in an actual game situation and are ultimately RANKED BY ABILITY.  My colleagues and I have used this method, in doubles or triples, thousands of times in our physical education classes for volleyball or basketball or badminton or roller hockey or tennis or (yes!) football or mini - games of softball (how creative can you be?). We have repeatedly witnessed average kids being driven to COMPETE LIKE CRAZY! Why? Because it creates genuine, meaningful, impartial outcomes that are intrinsically significant to each individual. As a group - be it a class of students or a group within a team - athletes are matched up in pairings with and against folks of similar ability: thus they are able to compete with SUCCESS. Additionally, the process breaks up all the "cliques" in your classes / team because players are assigned to their pairings based on their playing ability/rank and not with their "buddies". Therefore, the old negative situation of all the "best" players / friends getting together to crush a bunch of novices is eliminated!