Hello Team Pickleball Enthusiasts,
I hope you are enjoying your summer season wherever this note may find you. I suspect many of you are still finding time to get some pickleball in, whether you left Arizona and headed north for a cooler summer climate, remained here and headed to Arizona’s mountains or stayed in the lower elevations. Our APPL volunteers are also spread across the state, country and beyond but are still very involved preparing for our next winter season. I would like to give you a glimpse of what we have been up to since our 2022 season ended 3 months ago.
White Mountain Region in full swing
We put the structure in place and now approximately 200 players who spend their summers in the Arizona White Mountains are enjoying the APPL summer league. Special thanks to the volunteers in the White Mountain area for pulling together the teams involved in the inaugural APPL season that will no doubt continue to grow in future years. The season will come to a close in August with 3 of the 5 flights championships still in close contention.
Age Defined Leagues
One of our biggest changes we’re looking forward to next season is the transition to age defined leagues in all regions. This partitioning has always been on our roadmap. With the rapid growth of the league (now over 3800 players statewide) and with the growing feedback from the players, we decided to take the first step in season 2023. All divisions (Men’s, Women’s and Mixed) will have two leagues. The first is the open age league. This is the same 18+ league with no upper age limit we have had in place from APPL’s beginning. The new league is the 55+ league. In this league players must be 55 years or older during the calendar year of the league start. Note: For season 2023 see the grandfathering exception published in the rules. In short, players who turn 50 years or older in 2023 and participated on an APPL or EVIL team in season 2022 are grandfathered into the 55+ league.
There is no doubt that some flights will have fewer teams as a result of the partitioning. In some cases we may combine the flights during the regular season but there will be two champions in each combined flight that will move on to the state championships in their respective leagues. An updated version of the rules will be published shortly and will include more details. Due to the exceptional growth in the West Valley we have also added a 65+ age defined league in all divisions. As the other regions grow we will add this league as well.
APPL Organization Restructured and Staff Added
At the close of our fiscal year we felt that in order to improve communication internally, externally, and to generally improve our operational effectiveness, we needed to strengthen our regional structure. We now have a Regional Director heading up each region. We will also announce our new volunteers in an upcoming letter. We remain an all volunteer organization staffed by outstanding people who are committed to bringing APPL’s team-based league pickleball to players across the state.
APPL’s Website and Regional Web Pages Improvements Underway
We have been delighted to hear the positive feedback we received about our new league software platform. Since the close of last season we have been working closely with the Pickleballscores software developers to streamline our registration process both internally and externally. We are also focused on making our new look APPL website a more useful source of information. You can expect to see some videos on how to do some things such as registering a team or registering as a player and you’ll soon see a more streamlined way to ask questions or get specific information.
As mentioned earlier, with the new age leagues the rules are undergoing a revision. In addition to the changes associated with the new age leagues there will be some changes in our processes associated with rescheduling matches. With roughly 50% of our matches held at 10 public venues it is important that we meet the requirements at these venues. In addition we felt it necessary to provide a little more guidance on what constitutes a “valid” rescheduling event and how to proceed with minimal confusion. The new rules will provide a reference to our rescheduling processes that will be available to the captains. Lastly for now, an important change to take note of as you contemplate playing on or captaining a team, deals with player ratings where the player may have 2 different UTPR ratings (one for gender doubles and one for mixed doubles). In Season 2023 the rules will state that the higher of the 2 ratings will be used for all leagues and divisions a player plays in. We expect this will minimize the confusion that occurred last year trying to deal with dual ratings.
In closing, we are encouraged by the growth of APPL over the past few years. It certainly has brought plenty of challenges but we sincerely believe the league has improved every year. We remain committed to providing you a great pickleball experience with the league and eagerly look forward to our 2023 season.
Greg Mather, APPL President
Arizona Pickleball Players League Inc.
A nonprofit organization run entirely by volunteers
TEAM UP! PLAY APPL!