Organized Play Guidelines
Details about various activities, rotations, and rules
Organized Play is an inclusive play activity where everyone is invited to join into the activity of that day. No reservations or signups are required; simply show up and play. The type of activity (rotation) varies from day to day to provide different types of recreation and competition. Organized Play hours are established by P&R and are posted on our website calendar and at the courts.
During Organized Play hours the group will use all courts available as needed to accommodate the players present. Players wishing to play with an exclusive set of players, not part of Organized Play, may do so if courts are available but the popularity of Organized Play usually requires more courts than available.
Guidelines for common Organized Play rotations
Open Play rotation
Open Play is a universal system played at all court complexes and is popular due to its inclusivity and opportunity to mix with many different players. For Open Play at the Founders' Courts there will be a designated paddle rack where your paddle is your place in the queue. After each game completes some or all of the players will exit and players from the front of the paddle queue will play in that available court. Players exiting the court will add their paddles to the end of the queue.
The preferred rotation we use is “2-in/stay-2” as it provides the best mixing of players. If the courts are very busy we will switch to a “4-in/1-game” rotation to minimize waiting between games. The rules we use are explained below.
In this rotation, after each game two players will leave court and two will join. The two that leave the court are the two that have played two successive games. For the first game of the day, the two that lose will exit. Afterwards the two players that have played two games will exit regardless of which team won or lost. In other words, once you enter a court you will get to stay and play two games before rotating out. You are welcome to mix partners for each game and should not feel that you need to stay with the person with whom you entered the court. The benefits of this rotation system are the good mixing of players, each game pairing can be arranged for an even match, and you play two games in a row.
This rotation system requires all 4 players to leave after a game is completed and the next 4 players take the court. The benefits of this system is a rapid turnover of players and allows for a group that wishes to play together exclusively to do so. The downside is that you play only one game and the mixing of players is weak as the same 3 or 4 players may play each other in following games.
Rules for switching between 2-in and 4-in rotations
The transition when changing from 2-in to 4-in, or back, is disruptive and therefore the rules
established attempt to minimize the number of transitions.
• When the number of people waiting is greater than 1 plus 2 times the number of courts the
rotation will transition from 2-in to 4-in. (> Courts * 2 + 1)
• Once established, 4-in will continue until the number of players is less than 2 times number of
courts minus 1. (< Courts * 2 – 1)
These rules are triggered by number of paddles in the rack at the moment a game ends and applies to the set of courts associated with that paddle rack. (eg. a group of 3 courts in Rated Play)
Rated Play rotation
This rotation is similar to Open Play rotation except the courts are segmented into skill levels. For instance, there could be 3 courts for 3.0 players and 3 courts for 3.5 players. (Link to skill level description) Each skill group will use a separate paddle rack for the queue to that set of skill level courts. The number of courts in each skill level depends on the turnout on that particular day. There should be at least six people for a particular skill level for that skill level to exist. Typically the number of courts allocated to each level will be adjusted during the session depending on players present.
Rated Play provides more competitive play as the individual skills in each game will usually be closer than in Open Play. Players self select the skill level they wish to join and are encouraged to stay within their skill rating for most of their games.
Rated Play days are also good for beginners as courts can be allocated for players with similar skills and this provides an opportunity to learn how Open Play rotations work. We will attempt to provide a Novice Court when needed on these days.
A Challenge Court is a competitive court where the winners get to stay and challengers queue up to dethrone them. One Challenge Court can be established during Open Play sessions if there are at least 6 people wishing to start one. The rotation for a Challenge Court is 2-in and the rule for the day can be either that the winners must split for next match or can stay together as a team. In either case, any individual must leave the court after winning 3 games.
Transition to a challenge court must be well communicated to all players and especially to the players currently on the court. The players on the court are welcome to treat their current game as a challenge
match with the winners staying for the next match, alternatively if in a 2-in/stay-2 rotation they may chose to let the most recent two players stay for their two games. The preferred court is court 4 as it has its own paddle rack.
Challenge courts are not used on Rated Play days or Game days. Challenge Courts are postponed to start until halfway through Open Play session to follow our club's charter of inclusiveness. We encourage everyone to play together for the first half of our Open Play sessions.
Game Day Activities
On Fridays we play one of several different group games. These days are very popular and we often require all twelve courts. The key point for these games is that they often require you to be present at the start of the game to register. The game day activity usually runs about 90 minutes.
Speed Pickleball: This is a timed game where every N minutes (usually 10) a whistle will be blown and the winners move to the next court. The losers stay and each team splits partners. The rotation is circular so everyone plays everyone. It's the speed dating of pickleball!
Speed Ladder: This is similar to speed pickleball but winners move one direction and losers the other. Teams split and winners try to work towards top court.
Round Robin: Registered players are given a number and a predetermined sheet maps out the partners and opponents for each match. Players are broken into skill groups or gender groups.
Shootout Ladder: A group of 4 or 5 players play all combinations on one court and then record total points scored. Scores used for movement between courts and/or recorded for ranking next weeks' games.
FAQs for Organized Play
Q) We have a group of four, can we stay together?
The six dedicated courts are a limited resource so anytime they are full and there are people waiting to play then you must conform to the current usage. During Organized Play hours we expect everyone to join in and play together. Full inclusiveness. You may move down to one of the lower courts if they are available or play during other hours.
Q) Someone is playing on a court and they are not aware of the play policies or hours. Can we kick them off?
Be gracious and explain the policies. If all courts aren't immediately needed then give them a break and let them play a bit. Invite them to join the Organized Play and also offer to help set up a net on lower shared courts.
Q) I'm a beginner, can I join Organized Play?
Yes, with some caveats. We invite everyone to join us, but it is difficult to teach someone if the courts are in high demand. Our community is very welcoming and will try to accommodate every player. As long as you have a grasp of the basic rules, you will likely be able play in the
Organized Play hours. Best days to join in are on days when we have Rated Play rotations.
Off-season Organized Play
Organized Play is active from May through September. During off-season the Organized Play hours remain in place and the daily activity is Open Play. Participation is generally dictated by the weather and you can expect players on the courts whenever the weather is cooperative.
Organized Play during off season
• Monday - Friday, 9am – noon
• The activity is Open Play using paddle rack (single queue)
• Rotation should be 2-in/stay-2 until 14 people are waiting, then switch to 4-in/1-game
• Organized Play limited to the six dedicated pickleball courts
• The number of courts used for a session is based on participants present for Open Play, allcourts may not be needed and are not reserved for Open Play unless required by the size of the group (eg. 10 players only need 2 courts)
FAQs for Off-season Open Play Sessions
Q) We have a group of four and want to play together. Under what circumstances do we have to give up the court?
The six dedicated courts are a limited resource so anytime they are full and there are people waiting to play then you must conform to the current usage. This could be group play using paddle rack or use of the whiteboard. You are welcome to move your group to the lower shared courts if they are available.
Q) Organized group play is starting and the courts are not full. Can we continue playing with our closed group?
Sure. As long as there is an open court feel free to continue to play. Just stay aware of the situation and communicate your intent so that others don't read a different intent into the situation.
Q) We have six people that want to run Open Play and there are three other courts being used by prearranged groups. If they were to join us we would have a good number of players. Can we make them join us since this is supposed to be time for Open Play?
No. You can ask but it's entirely up to them. During off-season many players prearrange games and since the Open Play players do not need the court space then these other games are welcome to continue.
Q) We have enough players to require more courts. What do we do when a group is playing on the court and won't leave?
Often the folks playing just aren't aware of the situation. They are either too wrapped up in their game or simply not informed about the scheduled activities. Try to give them a heads up prior to really needing the court, make sure you understand their situation, explain the options, and be sure to invite them into the activity.