Hello APPL Enthusiasts,
With the season in full swing and approaching mid-February, I’d like to take a moment to point out a few highlights and provide a couple of reminders about some key dates.
Some quick stats:
We started off the season with 371 teams and close to 4000 players. Although we expected growth over last year’s numbers, this exceeded our expectations. We are thrilled there are so many Arizona pickleball players that enjoy our format of team-based league pickleball and we will continue to focus on making the league a great player experience. Approximately 50% of our matches are now played on public or private for profit venues. Every year our venue partnerships have become more and more important in facilitating the league’s expansion to support player interest. We now have 13 venue partners supporting APPL matches.
Process improvements made a big difference:
Much of the effort during the off season was focused on improving processes so we could manage the growth and make it easier for new and returning captains and players to better execute tasks during the season. A couple of the main areas focused on were:
- Rescheduling Matches: The enormous number of hours spent on improving, defining and executing how matches are rescheduled in the East Valley, West Valley and Southern regions has proven to be well worth it. The captains did a great job during the pre-season period identifying what matches they would need to reschedule and, with the support of the Court Availability Documents available to them, were able to find dates agreeable to both captains much more easily. Feedback has been very positive in this area both from our captains and internally from our League Coordinators.
- Training and information: To speed up access to information on how to do some tasks and to have that information be more consistent, we developed short online training videos covering some general areas as well as tasks specific to the captain’s responsibilities. We have 9 online videos currently and are continuing to develop more. In addition to the videos, our APPL website’s Player Resources page (under the Get Started tab) not only houses the training videos, but it provides captains and players quick access to several guides, policies, procedures, forms and of course the Rules. Feedback has been great on these informational supports, and it has clearly reduced the number of emails we receive and speeded up getting questions answered.
Some reminders: We have pushed out slightly the deadline to add players to rosters. Monday February 20th is the last day Player Registration will be open, and therefore the last day captains can add players to their team. This is especially important for the captains of the few teams that have players competing in two or more regions on teams in the same flight skill level. Players may only compete on one team in the same skill level flight at the State Championships. We urge the players to advise their captains which team they will play on in the event both teams they are playing on advance to the State Championships. We suggest captains ask this question of their players now so that they have time to add players to their roster if needed.
Remember the Player Playoff Qualification Rule:
This rule was new this year:
“In order to participate in a sub-flight playoff, players must have played in at least one complete APPL regular season match. In order to participate in a State Championship match, players must have played in at least two regular season matches or one regular season match and a sub-flight playoff.”
This rule will be strictly enforced. Any playoff or state championship games played by a player that does not meet the qualification rule will be defaulted.
Sub-flight playoffs schedules will be posted in advance of Feb 20th: Teams that may be involved in a sub-flight playoff due to the number of teams in their flight are urged to check the Sub-flight playoff schedule in their region. This year APPL is paying for court rental for playoff matches which will be held at one or more of our venue partners in the various regions. We have set the schedules and they are firm. The schedules will be posted by February 14th. Captains that may be involved in a playoff match should check their player availability now and may want to add players if needed.
State Championship dates have changed: In order to reduce conflicts with the Golden Ticket Qualifier tournament at Bell Bank Park that overlaps our original championship schedule we have modified our schedule. Open Age (18+) matches will be held Saturday and Sunday March 25th and 26th. All other matches will be held Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday April 3rd, 4th and 5th. A detailed schedule will be posted by February 14th. All State Championship matches will be played at the Dave White Regional Park courts in Casa Grande.
In closing: I want to acknowledge all the APPL volunteers who have committed an enormous amount of their time to making APPL’s team-based league play available to all of you. The work involved is not just during the season, it is really all year as we continuously try to improve your experience. I will not say it’s a thankless job. We do receive positive feedback from many of you and that motivates us considerably. On a personal note, I can’t effectively convey how grateful I am to be a part of such an outstanding group of people. If you happen to bump into a Team APPL volunteer on or off the court, give ‘em a fist bump.
Good luck, have fun and be safe the remainder of the season,
Arizona Pickleball Players League Inc. – President
A nonprofit organization run entirely by volunteers
TEAM UP! PLAY APPL!