A Message from the Commissioner

Team registration has opened for the 2024 Winter Season and we are already seeing a fantastic response.  Our APPL family of volunteers has grown to 34 people, spread over five regions, who work year-round to make every season better than the last.  There is no doubt that the passion they have and the impact they make will, once again, achieve that objective.  Speaking of volunteers, we are still searching for a volunteer with marketing and public relations experience.  If you have expertise in this area and would like to have some fun, please email Alexa Erjavic at aerjavic@gmail.com for more information. 

As we grow, one of the areas of strategic importance is to secure additional court capacity to support the increase in APPL matches.  Without our public and private for-profit venue partners, we would have to turn teams away.  We’ll touch on a couple of our new venue partners in this edition of our newsletter. 

Also in this month’s edition, with Player Registration opening on October 16th, we’ll provide some details to help that process go smoothly. Please read ahead for that and other timely information. We look forward to seeing you in the season ahead! 

Greg Mather

Newsletter Highlights

APPL Managed Venues

Find out about the new APPL Managed Venues court assignment process…

Winter 2024 Season Player Registration

Player Registration for Winter 2024 is coming up. Registration starts October 16th…get ready!

APPL Managed Venues

Find out about the new APPL Managed Venues court assignment process…

APPL Managed Venues 

~ Court Assignment Process ~

Our two venue categories for home-court matches are Private HOAs and APPL Managed sites.  Private HOA venues are courts located within neighborhoods with a Homeowners Association that makes courts on their property available to their pickleball club, or other community members, for APPL matches. APPL Managed venues are either public parks, typically managed by a city Parks and Rec organization, or private establishments whose business is to rent court time or provide memberships for a fee to use their courts, with whom APPL has secured court/time slots for APPL matches. We call them APPL Managed because, with few exceptions, APPL is the direct contact with the venue, not the team captain. APPL will coordinate payment and ensure other administrative requirements imposed by the venue are met, such as match rescheduling and APPL signage.

All Casa Grande Region matches are played at Dave White Regional Park, and courts and times are APPL scheduled. 

If your team is in the East Valley, West Valley or Southern Region and intends to use an APPL Managed venue for your home matches, your team Captain will be emailed instructions on how to obtain a court slot for your matches.  It is important to note that the slots are only for actual APPL matches, not for team practices.  Returning team captains can register for APPL Managed court slots starting October 16th at 7 am MST. New team captains can register beginning October 23rd.  Venue slots are reserved on a first-come, first-served basis so, players, please remind your Captain to reserve these court slots early!­­­

New APPL Managed Venues

We are excited to announce that we have reached agreements with several new venues to make available “court slots” (our terminology for a “3 courts for 2 hours” block) for APPL matches.  Those venues include:

  • Southern Region
    • Himmell Park (Tucson)
  • East Valley Region
    • Picklemall (Tempe)
    • Mesa Tennis & Pickleball Center (Mesa)
    • Kleinman Park (Mesa)Monterey Park (Mesa)
    • Pickleball Backyard (Gilbert)
  • West Valley Region
    • Chicken N Pickle (Glendale)
    • Arizona Biltmore (Phoenix)  

We sincerely appreciate our new venue partners and certainly those that have supported APPL over the years.  Just in the last four years, close to 50,000 games of APPL pickleball have been played on our venue partners’ pickleball courts.  Contact your League Coordinator if you would like detailed information on slot availability for any APPL-managed court venue. 

  ­­I don’t always play pickleball…Oh, wait, yes I do!

Player Registration

Attention all league players! Mark your calendars! Beginning October 16th, you can register for your APPL team. Get your team password from your Captain, go to arizonapickleballplayersleague.org, hover over GET STARTED in the upper right-hand corner and click on Team & Player Registration.  

On the next page, click the PLAYER REGISTRATION RED button for the region in which you are playing. (Note: If you are playing on more than one team, you will need to complete a separate form for each team and select the correct Region for each.) 

From there you will follow the directions for completing the registration form and for submitting the registration fee. Please work with your Captain to make sure you are using the correct rating. If you have questions while filling out the form, a guide is available under PLAYER RESOURCES on the home page. Scroll down to the APPL Guides on the right-hand side, and click on the blue button for the APPL PLAYER REGISTRATION GUIDE. This guide was designed to help answer questions about the player registration process. We look forward to receiving your registration materials and to adding you to our player rosters for the upcoming season!   ­­

How to Captain a Team

Are you a new Captain or considering forming a team, but you don’t know what’s involved? It’s pretty easy and we’ll help you all along the way. Here are the six major milestones to being a Captain:

Need More Players for Your Team?

There are a lot of pickleball enthusiasts who would like to play on a league team but who don’t know a Captain or a team they can join. Players in need of a team can go to the APPL home page, hover  on GET STARTED and click on Player Seeking a Team. Then select the yellow PLAYER SEEKING A TEAM button and fill in that form. Team Captains, if you are in need of more players for your team, you can gain access to the names of players seeking a team by contacting Bob Ham at bobham.ham@gmail.com.

Choices in Pickleball

The game of pickleball is littered with choices:  Do I drive the ball? Do I dink the ball? Do I lob the ball? Do I hit the ball to the sideline? Or, just hit it down the middle?

But did you ever think about removing the choice from your opponents?  Think about it… When you return a serve, you get to choose which of your opponents will hit the third shot. Why is this important? Well, if one opponent has a forehand drive that neither you nor your partner can handle, then don’t give her that third shot. Conversely, if one opponent ALWAYS hits a drop shot down the line that your partner handles easily, then make that opponent hit the third shot.

It always comes down to how mindful you are of your opponents’ shots, i.e., which of their shots are giving your team problems, and which of their shots your team can handle. It also comes down to communication with your partner. Don’t be afraid to tell your partner that you cannot handle the Lefty’s drive today, and ask your partner to make the Righty hit the third shot.

Now that you and your partner are on the same page and are receiving the third shot that you both can handle, the next choice is which opponent do you want to handle your fourth shot? Have you made any observations as to the tendencies of your opponents as they try to get to the kitchen line? Is there a weak backhand or other area that you could exploit?

Choices, choices, choices … remember to base yours on mindfulness of what your opponents’ strengths and weaknesses are today and devising a game plan with your partner based on that information. And, after all of that, comes the most important pickleball choice we make on the court – One more game???

Ruffled Feathers

During the middle of a point, a bird flew over our pickleball court and dropped a big doo-doo smack dab on my partner’s head. She was obviously distracted and we lost the point. Could we have called a time-out during the rally in this situation?

-Robin, Pigeon Forge, TN

No. You can only call a time-out (TO) after a rally has been completed. If a TO is called during a rally, it is a fault on the person calling the TO. A better resolution could have been for you to call a hinder as soon as the play was adversely impacted (USA Pickleball 2023 Official Rulebook, 3.A.15). That way the point could be replayed, and you wouldn’t lose one of your time-outs. If this were an officiated match, following the hinder call, you also could have asked for a referee time-out to allow your partner time to clean up so play could continue. To recap, a valid hinder can be called at any time to stop play and, once cleared, the point is replayed. For a time-out, the rally must be completed before a TO can be called.

In Closing

“Individual commitment to a group effort — that is what makes a team
work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”

Vince Lombardi, Football Coach