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Play Types

The SAPC indoor and outdoor calendars show different types of organized play. Our rules and conventions for this play are laid out below to help ensure play is well organized, enjoyable, equitable, and consistent with SAPC's mission, vision, bylaws and policies.

General Rules

  1. Adult visitors are allowed to play at club-organized events, in accordance with the SAPC Visitors Policy, except for events marked on the calendar as “Members Only” or "Reserved Play." 
  2. Play times marked “Public” are not official club-organized events, and so are not subject to these rules, but may subject to certain rules specified by facility owners or their representatives, who may or may not be SAPC members. Public play times may be placed on the calendar for information and convenience of our members. 
  3. Schools have priority use of public and school courts during school time, and will pre-empt SAPC organized play, even if little or no notice is provided. 
  4. In the event of a tie (for example, at the end of timed play), the first team to reach the tied score is the winner.
  5. Visitors must sign a waiver, or must have a previously signed waiver still accessible in the captain's venue binder.

Indoor Play

  1. Monday to Friday play at Red Willow Community Church is by reservation only. Reserve by clicking on a Red Willow event in the Red Willow calendar or the Reserved Play Calendar.  Reservations are open at 12:00:01 am on the Friday before the event. Pay 2 stickers upon arrival.
  2. Sunday mornings at Red Willow are used for beginner lessons.
  3. All schools: Drop in (no reservation needed). Pay 1 sticker upon arrival.
  4. Some play at Level 1 Sports play may be "drop in" and other play may be by reservation (aka registration). In addition, some reserved-type play may be "series play" which means you buy a package of say 4 weekly plays. Reserve and pay online. Watch for emails and other announcements regarding the opening of registrations for each series. Substitutions are allowed. If you have unsubscribed from club emails, you won't see these announcements, so STAY subscribed!
  5. For all our play paid by stickers, our motto is "Pay before you Play" - put your full name and sticker(s) on the sign-in sheet.
  6. No outdoor shoes are allowed for indoor play. Bring indoor-only runners.
  7. See the main Play menu page for addresses and google maps.

Outdoor Play

  1. Unless otherwise indicated, no additional payment is required.  
  2. All players must sign-in for insurance and future schedule planning purposes.

Levels of Play

Skill levels of play corresponding to ratings will be indicated on the calendar for organized play: 
  • “All” or “All Play” means a player of any rating may attend.
  • “3.0”, “3.5”, "4.0" or any similar designation means that only players of that rating may attend.
  • “3.0+”, “3.5+”, "4.0+" or any similar designation means that players with that rating or higher may attend.
  • “2.0 – 2.5” means 2.5-level players and beginners who have at least taken a lesson or are familiar with play rules.

To play in a non-tournament event at level 3.0 or higher, players must be at least club-rated or tournament-rated at that level.  For play at the 2.0 or 2.5 level, players may be self-rated.

See our skill levels and ratings page for info on getting a rating.

Social Play

  1. Social Play is a less competitive style of play. Advanced players play to extend the rally and do not attempt to win points with shots not returnable by the less skilled players on the court. 
  2. Social Play may be combined with one or more other forms of play such as Family Play and Paddle Box Play, or Family Play and Open Play. 

Paddle Box Play (aka Paddle Play)

Most indoor and outdoor play is Paddle Box Play. This form of play is so prevalent it is not usually specified in the calendar event.

  1. Upon a player’s arrival, the Captain or the Captain’s designate will place the player’s paddle in gold or silver boxes, on top of paddles previously placed, keeping a balance between the gold and silver boxes. 
  2. No paddle may be placed in the box for a player not yet present. 
  3. The Captain or the Captain’s designate alternately pulls four paddles from the bottom of the gold or silver pile, and hands them to members playing on the next available court. 
  4. Play may be timed or scored (e.g. “first to nine”) as specified by the Captain. 
  5. At the end of each play, the two winning players must place their paddle ON TOP of those in the gold box and losing players must place their paddles ON TOP of those in the silver box. No exceptions unless the Captain chooses (rarely) to equitably rebalance paddles in the gold and silver boxes, by moving paddles from the TOP of one side to the TOP of the other. 
  6. Absolutely no vertical (up and down) paddle shuffling in boxes, and no re-arranging of paddles in the boxes by the players.
  7. Breaks and Withholding Paddles: a. Paddles should only be withheld (not placed in the box) if a member needs an extended break or is done playing. Paddles must never be withheld to play with a particular player. b. When returning from an extended break, your paddle must go on top of the others in the silver or gold box, as determined by your most recent loss or win. c. If a player is not present when their paddle is pulled, the Captain will place their paddle on the top of stack in the same box it was drawn from.
  8. If there are three or seven paddles in a particular box when players come off the court, the two players required to place their paddles on top of these shall determine which paddle is placed first using a random technique such as playing rock, paper, scissors or flipping a coin. 
  9. When players go on to the court to play, previous partners should split and play with a person from the other pair. a. If a two-some is practicing for a tournament, they may ask the other pair if they may play together. The other pair’s wishes will be respected. b. This “two-some for tournament” exception does NOT extend to four-somes. c. Rule 8 takes precedence over Rule 9a, and requires pairs practicing for tournaments to be split for at least the next round. 
  10. Players who are uncomfortable playing with certain players should not attend a Paddle Box Play event.

League and Shootout Play

  1. These forms of play offer a higher level of competition than most other forms of play, as each week you are assigned to a group of players very closely matched to your skill level.  Your performance is tracked each week, compared to others, and ranked. As a result your standing can climb or fall in relation to others, week-by-week, and you can be assigned to a higher or lower-skilled group in subsequent weeks. 
  2. These forms of play are good preparation for tournament play.
  3. Leagues and shootouts may use different manual methods or computer programs, as selected by the captains, to track and assess performance. For example, in 2023, the 4.0 league used Pickleball Brackets for registration and game scoring/performance tracking, and the 3.5 shootouts used our Wild Apricot system for registration and DUPR for game scoring/performance tracking. (Our use of technologies is continually evolving as new and better solutions become available.)
  4. Typically, each player is assigned to a particular court with 3 or 4 other players and a round robin of 3 to 5 games is played amongst these players. After the round, the total scores of each player are added up. Then the highest-scoring player on each court moves up a court, and the lowest-scoring player moves down a court, and another round robin of 3 to 5 games is played.
  5. These forms of play require registration for play each week. A "pre-registration" process may also be undertaken at the beginning of the season. Watch newsletters and club emails for opportunities to register and reserve your spot.
  6. A "check-in" process is also typically used, as court assignments can change if there are "no shows."
  7. See the description of each event in our calendars for more details on registration and check-in.


  1. Partner play means you play with the same partner for the entire session. You find a partner in advance.  (Don't hesitate to use our member directory or club social media for this.)
  2. Typically, partner play is also "all play" in that players of any skill level can participate. 
  3. This play enables couples of different skill levels to play together, but registration and play is not limited to couples-only.
  4. Partner play is typically by registration only - and only one of the two partners registers for both players.
  5. Partner play is usually run with timed games in round robin format.

Round Robin

  1. Play is generally limited to the number of players the courts can accommodate. A limited number of spares may be registered, and may be asked to step into play for one game at a time, if and when another player needs a break. 
  2. Play is either by pre-registration or by first come-first registered (FCFR). For FCFR, no player may register for another player not yet present. 
  3. Players are assigned a number at the beginning. 
  4. Players play each game, on the court and with the partner designated by the captain, in accordance with a round-robin schedule and their assigned number. 
  5. Each play session is timed. 
  6. If time allows, play to 11, win-by-two, then start another game. (In a tournament, only the first partial game or game to 11 is counted.) 
  7. When time is called, consult the captain or the round robin schedule to determine the court and partner or court-end you play in for the next timed interval.

Open Play

  1. Generally, there is no captain present, but this is still considered club-organized play. 
  2. First come, first on. No pre-registration. 
  3. Generally, players may play with whomever they wish if there is more court space than players. 
  4. If there are more players than court space: 
      • A system should be used for equitable rotation of players and assignment of courts. 
      • Players should come off the courts and go into the rotation system after each game to 11, win-by-two. 
      • Players may withhold paddles to play as a two-some or four-some, but may not jump the queue.

King/Queen of Court

  1. Play is generally limited to the number of players the courts can accommodate.
  2. Play is either by pre-registration or by first come-first registered (FCFR). For FCFR, no player may register for another player not yet present. 
  3. Captains assign initial play courts and partners to players. This may be random, based on known or perceived skill levels, or any other means selected by the Captain. 
  4. Each play session is timed. 
  5. If time allows, play to 11, win-by-two, then start another game. 
  6. At the end of each timed session, based on the score from the partial game or first game to 11: 
      • winners in the highest numbered court stay where they are, and winners from other courts move up to the next highest court number, 
      • losers in the lowest numbered court stay where they are and losers from other courts move to the next lowest court number, 
      • partners split (play with a member from the other pair joining them on the court). 

Interclub Play

  1. Interclub play is open, by pre-registration to members of SAPC and members of other invited clubs.
  2. The play format is usually round robin.

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