Post-pandemic Ladder League success in North Lanarkshire

We recently spoke to David Wilson, a Level 2 Badminton Coach who works for North Lanarkshire Leisure (NLL) and East Dunbartonshire Leisure & Culture (EDLC) and over a year ago setup a Ladder League in North Lanarkshire.  We had the opportunity to ask him a few questions about the league:

Why did you start the league?

I started with just a singles league as we were in between lock downs and the rules at the time only permitted singles or doubles partners from the same household if I remember right. Basically there hadn’t been a lot of play and clubs weren’t running. I saw on Facebook that there was a ladder running in Aberdeen so I thought it would be a good idea to try and get something similar in North Lanarkshire. It would mean we could keep playing with different opponents and still keep a bit of competition going.

What does the league involve?

The singles league and new doubles league are both aimed at social players of all abilities and is focused on creating fun games against a variety of opponents. I am trying to keep it as flexible as possible so players can enter, leave or have a break at anytime. After ten rounds of matches the league finishes and restarts with points reset.

I send out fixtures every two weeks and players are then left to arrange the date, time and venue with their opponents. There is no entry fee for the league therefore the only costs are courts and shuttles. I only ask that players play within North Lanarkshire so that potential travel isn’t too far but if they both agree otherwise then matches can be played anywhere.

I also organise fixtures starting from the top of the league to the bottom i.e 1v2 3v4 5v6 or say 1 and 2 already played then 1v3 2v4 5v6 etc. This means there is no limit on entries and it tries to match players with others of a similar standard. The majority of players have joined the Facebook Messenger group chat I use and send me their results through messenger as well.

How long has the league been running?

The league started about a year ago pausing only when lock downs closed centres.

How many players attend?

Numbers have stayed roughly around 10 playing at a time. Mainly male players, a few female. Mix of ages younger and older. Would love to increase numbers and create more variety for all ages and genders.

How do you feel the league has been going?

I have been pleasantly surprised at how committed a lot of the players have been. I was half expecting interest to waiver after a few rounds or especially once clubs opened up again and covid rules relaxed. However matches are still being played which is why I have tried introducing a doubles league as well which has also had a good start.

Have you faced any challenges since starting the League?

I anticipated potentially having match disputes every now and then and always say if there are any problems to let me know but am happy to say players have taken to the social aspect of the league really well and have never had any problems. We have locked down again a few times which I thought might have caused some issues but we restarted with no bother. A credit to the players in the league and their commitment. We also lost a lot of court availability with the most popular venue amongst players taking on a basketball block booking for a few hours every night for four nights a week. Again a credit to league players commitment as they have just worked around it and kept going.

How does the league tie in with your coaching role at North Lanarkshire Leisure (NLL) and East Dunbartonshire Leisure & Culture (EDLC)?

I have found that one helps promote the other. I have had contact from players and parents on both sides asking general questions about clubs, coaching and competition. I can therefore direct them in the right direction even if they have picked up information for the wrong contact. It also helps with promoting the sport as a whole as I have made a lot of contacts from a variety of clubs and locations. Therefore even if I can’t help I will usually be able to find someone who can.

What are your plans going forward for the league?

To be honest I haven’t really planned ahead at all. I have vague ideas for offering occasional group coaching sessions for league players or running some charity events but it’s still early days. I had initially thought the league would just be a solution to lock down Badminton which would maybe end once clubs started back but am glad interest has remained as I have also enjoyed playing in the leagues myself. I would love for the numbers to increase in both leagues so that it becomes a stable option to play social Badminton in North Lanarkshire. Also if there are any clubs or organisations that come across the leagues and would like to help it grow then I’d love to hear from them too.

Callum Stuart is a player involved in the Ladder League:  “I  thought setting up the league was a great idea as we came out of lockdown since clubs were not able to run. It gave an opportunity to arrange and play matches with other people who wanted to get playing again after the limitations we were all living with prevented us doing so which was warmly welcomed.’’

If you are interested in joining the league please email

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