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.
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 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!