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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. Most indoor play is unreserved, drop-in play, and  is paid by purchased stickers - 1 for members and 2 for visitors.
  2. "Pay before you Play" - put your full name and sticker(s) on the sign-in sheet.

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 Levels” means a player of any rating may attend.
  • “2.5”, “3.0”, “3.5” or any similar designation means, typically, that only players of that rating would attend; however, the last bullet in this list takes precedence over this bullet.
  • “2.5+”, “3.0+”, “3.5+” 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 (2.0 level) who have at least taken a lesson or are familiar with play rules.
  • Players may play down a level in non-tournament organized play, provided they use the Social Play conventions. This enables couples or friends at different levels to occasionally play together, at an event suited to the person at the lower rating.  This rule also allows players to occasionally invite a more skilled member to play with them for growth and development or FUN!

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 or higher.  For play at the 2.0 or 2.5 level, players may be self-rated.

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.


Ladder and Shootout Play

  1. These two 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. Both forms of play are good preparation for tournament play.
  3. Ladders and shootouts use different manual methods or computer programs, as selected by the captains, to track and assess performance.
  4. There is a sign-up process undertaken at the beginning of the season and a limited number of players are accommodated, based on court capacity of the venue being used and an estimate of weekly absences.
Ladder Play
  1. Your group may vary from 4 to 9 players, your group may be assigned 1 or 2 courts, and you play with and against each of your other group members in a pre-determined round-robin type of format. 
  2. Play is drop-in, unreserved, but only available to those who have pre-registered for the season of play.  In addition, if the number of players who show up exceed the court capacity by a certain percentage, playing spots will be assigned on a first come-first served basis.
  3. Participants must be present at least 15 minutes before the start of play, to ensure they can be considered in the design of player groups for that particular session.
  4. Each group will be assigned a leader who is responsible for ensuring game scores are accurately documented on the sheets provided by the captain. The assigned leader will return the completed sheet to the captain after all games have been played.
Shootout Play
  1. In addition to the seasonal pre-registration, there is a sign-up process using our website for each session of play and, for example, only the first 32 who sign up for a specific event will be registered and allowed to play.
  2. Groups of eight will be established in advance of the play, based on that week's sign ups.  Each group of eight will be further divided into two sub-groups of four.
  3. The two sub-groups within each group will use their assigned court on an alternating basis.
  4. Each player will play six games in a pre-determined round-robin type of format.
  5. After the first three of these six games, the two sub-groups are re-arranged within the group of eight, giving players a chance to play with different partners and opponents.

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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