When organizing a badminton tournament, one of the most important aspects is to pick a format that works with the size of the event and is pleasurable for your participant. In this post, we will go through the pros and cons of the different formats you can choose from. The proposed options are:
Many factors must be considered when choosing an option but, from experience, the biggest dilemma an organizer have is to balance time and number of match per players or teams. So we will focus on these 2 aspects as the main criteria when comparing the different options.
To estimate the duration, one must know the number of matches to be played, the numbers of court available and the duration of each match. The latter will vary and it’s not possible to make a perfect estimation of this parameter. But a rule of thumb we use with good success is to calculate 10 minutes per set to be played. So for example, if fifty 3 sets matches have to be played on 6 courts. We would estimate (50 matches 3 sets 10 minutes) / 6 = 4:10 h
The number of matches per player or teams depend on the format of the tournament. This is just a rule of thumbs that works for bigger events with lots of matches, cause the matches duration average out and the courts are full most of the time. It doesn’t take into account that at the end of a tournament, event il you have lots of court, quarterfinal semis and finals must be played one after the others.
Let’s check the different options we have!
Also called knockout or sudden death, the singleelimination bracket is the format seen at most international stage event. It’s the most straightforward as the loser of a match is eliminated and the winner goes on to play another winner. It’s the format that requires fewer matches but not necessarily the shortest if all rounds are best of 3 sets. The big disadvantage for lowerlevel tournaments is that it guarantees players only one match. Coming to a tournament to play only one match is not fun!
✔️Pros of this format  ❌ Cons of this format 


In order to guarantee each participant a certain amount of matches, One can plan a preliminary roundrobin phase. Where players are put in different groups named pools and each player play on match against every other of the pool. The best performer of each pool is then sent to the elimination bracket. This format gives a lot of flexibility because you can play with many parameters to fit your needs:
You usually want to make pools of 3, 4 or 5 players. More than 5 gets really long and is not recommended. See diagram below:
Number of players per pool  Matches to be played in each pool  Guarantee x matches per players 
3  3  2 
4  6  3 
5  10  4 
6  15  5 
Since it’s a preliminary round you have more flexibility with the format. You can adjust depending on the amount of time you have in hand. Here is the format we typically use from the shortest to the longest.
You still have to take into consideration the number of players in each pool. Setting a 1 set of 21 for a pool of 3 wouldn’t guarantee a player more than 2 sets, than no better than a singleelimination bracket.
You can choose to let only the best player of the pool reach the finals bracket of let 2 or 3 reach the finals rounds. Again, it depends on the time you have in hand and the player's experience you are looking for. If you don’t have too many pools, letting 2 players of each go to the final bracket is a fair choice.
You can also pick some of the remaining players to fill the empty bracket spot when there are. For example, if we have 12 players divided into 3 pools of 4 players, we would usually send the best 2 players of each pool (6) into the quarterfinals and fill the 2 empty spots with the best 3rd place overall.
✔️ Pros of this format  ❌ Cons of this format 


As the name implies, in a doubleelimination bracket you must lose twice to be eliminated. This guarantees 2 games for each player. This also gives a second chance to win even if you lose a match. The loser of a match will go play in the same round in the lower half of the draw and he still can aspire to the big honors.
✔️Pros of this format  ❌ Cons of this format 


Winner’s / looser’s bracket is similar to double elimination but you can only lose your first match. Winner of each match goes to the left of the draw or to the right in alternate so both sides of the bracket are of balanced force. This format guarantees 2 matches per player and doesn’t take as long as a doubleelimination bracket.
✔️ Pros of this format  ❌ Cons of this format 


To recapitulate, let’s use a concrete example and see how long would a tournament run with each type of . Our tournament will have 32 players and the event will be held on 6 courts.
Nbs of matches to be played  Sets Guaranteed  Sets to win the tournament.  Duration (estimation for 6 courts)  
Single Elimination (best of 3)  31 matches (3 sets)  2  10  2:35 hrs 
Round robin Pool of 3 (2 sets of 21) 1 players of each pool reach the final bracket  36 (2 sets)
9 (3 sets) Total =45 matches 
4  12  2:45hrs 
Round robin Pool of 4 (2 sets of 21) 2 players of each pool reach the final bracket  48 (2 sets)
15 (3 sets) total=63 
6  16  3:55hrs 
Winner’s / Looser’s bracket  47 (3 sets)  4  12  3:55hrs 
Round robin Pool of 5 (2 sets of 21) 2 players of each pool reach the final bracket  58 ( 1sets )
13 (3 sets) 
8 for most except 3 pools  16  4:20hrs 
Double Elimination  62 (3 sets)  4  12  5:10hrs 
The previous table presented 3 types of roundrobin bracket and 3 types of elimination bracket sorted by duration. Generally, a longer duration also means more playtime for everyone. It’s up to you to decide the amount of time you have available and how much you would like your participants to play.