Pickleball Club Programs: Dealing with Issues

Any pickleball club worth its salt will eventually encounter about the same issues and will have to address them through implementation of programs and processes. The specific means of dealing with them can vary, not only very widely but wildly. That said, here are a few things you’ll be thinking about or already are doing:

1.  How do you arrange play so that the highest number of people get to use the courts in pickleball club?

Organized Play

2.  We’ve found lately that many people are developing alternatives to the standard organized play structures of Round Robins, Ladders or Shootouts, and Challenge Court Play. Sometimes they are just doing this to solve a particular problem (e.g. Speed Pickleball addresses time constraints really well), sometimes, we think, just because it’s fun to do something new. In any event, check these out for alternatives to your organized play.

      Organized Play Alternatives

3.  How about insuring that people are getting to play competitively against people roughly their own skill levels?Do you really have to get into being the pickleball police? If  you are going to rate people, how do you go about doing that fairly? (Editors’ note: OMG, is this a can of worms or what?) Hopefully the next link will give you at least one overall process that we know from experience DOES work.

Ratings Processes (and much more)

4.  And now for one of our personal favorites, Training. We have been very involved in training departments within our two current pickleball clubs and believe that cooperatively these clubs have built perhaps one of the most-organized pickleball training programs anywhere. More to the point, training is always in high demand at every club we know of, is often something that can be used to fill in non-prime time, gives people stuff to work on on their own when done properly, and is very easy to administer by most anybody who has some ability to read (our stuff), learn, and communicate. There is no one way to train people to play pickleball or to get better at it….it’s a moving target…but here are some things that will more than get you started.

Training Programs

5. A section on club programs wouldn’t be complete without recognizing the importance of tournaments to pickleball clubs. Bob Vanderlinden and his tournament team at Palm Creek wrote a manual how to run a major, Tier Two, USAPA-sanctioned double-elimination tournament. (Palm Creek’s Duel in the Desert is the largest tournament run by a single club!) This will be of great interest to anybody looking to run the first tournament or improve what they already have. It also is a primer in running a tournament by committee, which many people do not do (and maybe should, LOL!) Anyway, check it out.

How to Organize and Run a tournament

6.  Here’s a section that, while still small, may be of interest to you, and that’s the section on Fun Tournaments.

Fun Tournaments



  • Brenda Jmaeff
    May 4, 2015

    Hi Irene and AJ,

    Are you home in Bend yet? We got home on April 11th. We are just up to the usual, yard work mainly!!
    We were wondering if you could send us the draw sheets for 12-36 players. We are having some growing pains here and we hope having a designated draw will help.
    How is Desi? Piper is good, I thought about putting her in agility here but they are very serious about it. The first 10 weeks are bonding with your pet and never trying any equipment until they think you both are ready. Piper and I are both too old for that!!(LOL)

    Thanks and take care. Brenda

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