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I've created the Playtime Scheduler sessions for the weekend of Jan 28 and Jan 29. Sat 28th is open to all players, Sun 29th is open to 4.0-5.0 players.


As mentioned in my previous post about club play details, we are requesting that all players signup if they plan to attend. This helps everyone know how busy it will be and if their friends will be there. Also, it helps me know if I need to tape additional courts. MPC has 6 striped courts, however, there is room to tape an additional 4 courts. But, court tape is quite expensive (about $15 per court), so, I don't want to do it if we don't need the additional courts. 😁


If you have any questions, add it in the comment section at the bottom of this page.


Please come out and join us and let's get the club going again!


See you on the courts.


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Michael Lang - January 2023

 

As mentioned in my previous post, we would like MBPC play to augment play that is already available. Play on our municipal courts is somewhat of a free-for-all with little organization beyond paddles hanging on fences. Using the survey feedback, our past club experiences, and ideas obtained from other pickleball communities, we hope to develop a more structured play environment that addresses some of our current issues. This is just a first attempt and we are interested in your feedback. We'll see how it goes and adjust accordingly. 😉


We will resume play on Saturday Jan 28, 2023!

I'm delaying the start of play to the end of the month due to rain.


Play Signups

The first change is a big one: we would like to have everyone signup to play. Our survey found that players around the peninsula are currently using WhatsApp, Email, and Text Messages to arrange their own group play. For MBPC, we would like to use Playtime Scheduler to manage our group play. It's a communication tool specifically designed to coordinate pickleball play. Many players in our community are already using it to organize play at Chamisal. It is also used extensively in the Portland, OR and Sacramento areas. In our survey, it received positive reviews from 80% of respondents that have used it.


When all attendees signup in advance, we can reap several benefits:

  • You know if people you enjoy playing with will be there. This may help you decide if you want to join in.

  • You can see the level of attendees. If there are not many players at your level of ability, you might want to skip.

  • We know how many people will be there. If 50 people sign up, you might want to skip.

  • You can message individuals that have signed up. For example, to find out what time they will be there.

  • The signup form allows us to post notes. This is basically a chat/forum feature. For example, you can use this to post what time you are arriving. Or, if we need towels to dry the courts, we can post that here too.

Just to be clear, this is just a communication tool. It's not a reservation system and people that don't sign up can still play. But, we'd really like to get everyone in the habit of signing up so we can all benefit. So, in the beginning I might be reminding people to sign up. 😎


Playtime Scheduler is very easy to use once you get used to it. I created a brief presentation on how it works. You can view that here.


In your PT Scheduler profile, you will need to assign yourself a skill level between 2.0 and 5.0 in 0.25 point increments. There is a link there to help you identify your skill level, or you can check with your friends to align your play skill accordingly. You can change your skill level at any time.


If you are not already registered, please go to Playtime Scheduler now to register. It only takes a couple minutes.


Play Dates and Location

  • We will play at the MPC tennis courts. See this campus map for parking options.

  • We will play on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month beginning on Sat Jan 28.

  • We will play from 9am to Noon.

  • I will post the signup on Playtime Scheduler 10 days or more in advance. Please go there to signup at least one day before we play. You can signup early and, if you change your mind, you can always remove your name. I will post a reminder for the first few weeks.

  • This is an open session available to everyone.

Open Play Saturday

This is where things may get confusing, so, please bare with me. 😊

  • The nets are in the blue storage box at the west end of the courts. The lock box combination is here. Feel free to setup the nets when you arrive.

  • As in the past, we will have designated courts for beginner/intermediate/advanced play. Generally speaking, beginner courts would be for PT Scheduler ratings of 3.0 and below. Intermediate courts would be for 3.0 to 4.0. Advanced courts would be 4.0 and above. Some overlap is expected, but for the benefit of everyone, please use some discretion and play within your abilities.

  • Since there are 6 courts at MPC, there will be 2 courts for each skill range. Players can change this based on the number of players waiting for each type of court. Example: 1 advanced, 4 intermediate, 1 beginner if there are lots of intermediate players waiting.

  • If there are not enough players to fill all courts, then players can opt to redefine courts as a challenge court or a drill court. These would have their own queue. While there is nothing that prohibits it, we request that you don't take your own foursome to an open court and monopolize it (ie playing multiple games) since that is not the spirit of club play.

  • To manage the paddle queues, we will try a new system that has worked well in other communities

  • Unlike past MBPC play, we will not have one queue for each court. Instead, there will be three paddle queues, one for each level of court (beginner, intermediate, advanced). Players at the top of the queue go into whichever court opens up first.

  • We will use a new system to determine who goes in and who comes out at the end of a game. In this system, you are guaranteed two games on the court regardless of win or lose.

  • Here's how it goes. After your first game, anyone on your court that has played two games may need to come off if there are paddles in the queue. For example, say you and your partner just completed your first game since coming in, and, it was the second game for your opponents. If there is one paddle in the queue, one of your opponents comes out because they've completed two games on the court. They can decided which one. If there are two paddles in the queue, both opponents come out. If there are three paddles in the queue, only the first two come in to replace your opponents because you and your partner have not played a 2nd game yet. However, say your partner had played 2 games, like your opponents, then all 3 players in the queue would come in and you would play with them. After that game, you come out.

  • For now, there is no specific guideline on who gets to stay on the court, only how many players need to come out so others can play. This has not been a source of tension at other places I've played. Players generally work it out. However, if this becomes a problem, we can add more rules, but, let's try to keep it simple for now.

  • So, there can be 1 to 4 players coming in after each game. When the players have completed their game, they need to call out to the players at the top of their queue and provide the number of players they need to replace those departing (ie "Need 1").

  • When the new foursome is assembled, players should mix up the teams, so, players remaining from the previous game play with a different partner in the next game. You should pair up so the teams are "fair". If remaining with the same partner is the only way to have fair teams, then that's okay.

  • This system eliminates a few issues. The "one and done" problem is eliminated because you are guaranteed two games when you come off the bench. It prevents the same four players from sticking together. One goal of MBPC play is to mix it up. It also eliminates the need to keep winning if you want to stay on the court because wins/loses are not a primary factor determining who comes out.

Advanced Play Only Sunday

In addition to the open play Saturday sessions, MBPC will organize a subsequent session on the following day. This Sunday session will be for advanced players only. The ability to have a dedicated session where advanced players can gather and engage exclusively in aggressive/competitive play is not something currently available on the peninsula. This is something we would like to try in the spirit of augmenting current play options. These sessions are intended for 4.0+ players. That being said, we don't check rating cards at the door. Each person needs to decide for themselves if this session is appropriate for them. The IPTPA 4.0 Skill Assessment may provide some guidance.


The "2 games guaranteed" system, Playtime Scheduler signups, and other protocols mentioned above will also be used for the advanced Sunday session session except there will be only one paddle queue covering all courts (since all courts are advanced).


Advanced play will begin on Sunday Jan 29, 2023!



What do you think? Too complicated or restrictive? What's good, what's perhaps not-so-good? Feel free to leave you comments at the bottom of this page.


See you on the courts!


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Michael Lang - January 2023

 

Happy New Year!

As we begin the new year, I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season and you are pondering your 2023 "Pickleball Resolutions". There is much on the horizon for the Monterey Bay Pickleball club in 2023 including the resumption of club play! I think this will prove to be an exciting year for us. There is much to discuss, so let's dive right in.


Survey Results

Thank you to everyone who participated in the MBPC Pickleball Survey this fall. We had about 100 responses which is terrific. Let's look at how the club will use the survey results going forward.


Many of the questions focused on current play routines. The purpose of these questions was to understand how MBPC play can augment play on the peninsula. The #1 complaint was the lack of organized skill-based play (example: beginner, intermediated, and advanced courts). While the vast majority of players (74%) identify as non-competitive players, they still enjoy playing with players of similar abilities.


Other top complaints centered around the lack of pickleball courts and quality of pickleball courts. For example, restricted days/times and long wait times were two of the top vote getters.


Two items stood out in terms of enhancing player experiences: drills and socials. It was surprising to see that 80% of players were interested in doing drills to improve their game. In fact, 64% said that they would like to see dedicated courts for drilling during MBPC club play. 75% were interested in club socials with food (pot luck, etc).


Going forward, the club will strive to address the issues above.


MPC Update

As mentioned in our previous club update, the tennis courts at MPC have reopened and are available for public play. Our plan is to use the courts at Monterey Peninsula College (MPC) for club play. There are 6 pickleball courts striped on the existing tennis courts. We have stocked a storage box with 6 nets for use by the community and the combination is available to all club members. The MPC courts can be used on a first-come/first-served basis whenever the courts are not in use by the school. On the downside, there is a minimal fee for parking at MPC.


The survey contained several questions about playing at MPC. We found that 67% of respondents are willing to try playing at MPC. As expected, some (20%) are not interested due to the parking fee. Our plan is to play on the weekend. Once this ramps up, we may add play on weekdays as well (63% would like to see club play 3 or more times per week). However, we need to consider that parking is tight during the week and the courts may be in use by classes.


It's important to reemphasize that we don't have exclusive access to the courts or even priority to use the courts. The courts are not available to us, or anyone else, when they are being used for classes (typically, weekday mornings). Like community play at public parks such as Forest Hill in Carmel, we need to share the facilities with others. If there are tennis players or other pickleballs players engaged in their own private matches during our scheduled play time, we will need to work around them. As has always been the case, all pickleball players are welcome to join us even if they are not club members.


There is also an exciting new development at MPC. The college has seen the growth of pickleball in our community as well as sustained interest in their pickleball classes. In fact, many of our club members have taken those classes. MPC is currently planning to renovate their tennis courts using funding from Measure V. Your tax dollars at work! This ballot measure, which passed in 2020, provides funds for facility improvements at MPC, which includes the tennis courts. While planning is still in progress, the last update I heard indicated that they are planning to add 8 dedicated pickleball courts as part of the tennis court renovation. Work on this could start as early as this summer. Of course, keep your fingers crossed as plans have a way of changing. We will keep you posted on progress.


Additional Facility Development

The remainder of the questions focused on our attempts to build a dedicated pickleball facility at Ryan Ranch, or elsewhere in our community. We found that 91% of the respondents said they would be willing to make donations to support this effort. Total contributions reflected in the survey add up to $15,000! In addition, 85% said they would be willing to pay at least $50 per year to play there.

While this is not a commitment, these are fantastic indicators of player support for a dedicated public facility. Obviously, the actual cost of a 6 to 8 court facility is much higher. Probably in the neighborhood of $250K. If we could raise $100K in private donations, I think it would significantly bolster our project with the City of Monterey.


In the next few weeks, I plan to organize a group to drive this fundraising effort as well as seek out other possible locations if Ryan Ranch doesn't work out. Several people have indicated an interest in helping with these efforts. I will be reaching out to them soon. If you would like to help, please email me at: MichaelALang@comcast.net. Additionally, if you know someone with deep pockets or have contacts in industry that might be willing to support this effort, please reach out to us. A few large donors make efforts like this much easier. We are a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, so donations may be tax deductible. :)


For additional survey highlights and conclusions, see the presentation here.


Club Play

As mentioned above, we would like MBPC play to augment play that is already available. Play on our municipal courts is somewhat of a free-for-all with little organization beyond paddles hanging on fences. Using the survey feedback, our past club experiences, and ideas obtained from other pickleball communities, we hope to develop a more structured play environment that addresses some of the current issues. This is just a first attempt and we are interested in your feedback. We'll see how it goes and adjust accordingly. ;)


We are planning to resume play in a couple weeks. I'll create another post with the club play details.

Drills Day

Because the survey indicated a large number of players wanted to do drills, I would personally like to setup a drills day. My pickleball New Year's resolution is to do 4 hours of drills each week. That will be a challenge! Here's one idea of how a drills day would work. Each week I would post 1 or 2 drill videos from You Tube. You would watch the videos and understand the topics. If you want to join, you would signup to attend. Then, we would get together and do those drills for 1-2 hours. To add some fun, we might end each session with skinny singles because I think that's the best overall drill.


I think we should build momentum on the regular club play dates first, then, work in an additional drills day schedule later. So, stay tuned. Let me know your thoughts about a drills day in the comment section at the bottom of this page.


Club Business

We did not have anyone interested in joining the MBPC Board of Directors, so the board remains the same going forward. We have one open position. Please email me if you are interested in joining.


Lastly, we have a Club Discount code for Pickleball Central. Please use this if you order anything from them. You will receive 5% off your order and the club will also receive 5% credit which we can use for new nets, etc. Details of this program are here.


The discount code is: CRMonterey


See you on the courts!





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