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Club Rules and Civility on the Courts.

Posted: Sat Nov 10, 2018 10:34 am
by Forum Member
This email was sent to all members on November 10, 2018. I have duplicated it here in the event members want to provide public comment.

This email is being sent to all members of the Huntsville Pickleball Club. This is a long email. It will be appreciated if you read the entire email, as I feel this is important information.

Huntsville Pickleball Club Rules

It has been brought to my attention that a few Huntsville Pickleball Club members are not aware of the rules for play, are ignoring the rules for play or are making up their own rules while playing at various locations. I have observed this myself and I have also had several members bring this to my attention. Some members have asked me to address this issue at the next Executive Committee meeting. An Executive Committee meeting was held on November 8, 2018. This issue was addressed at the meeting. Here are a few of the issues that are reported more often than others.

When using the Winners Stay (two-up/two-down) method of player rotation, the winners of the game will stay on the court (unless they have been on the court for 2 consecutive games) and must separate. There are no exceptions to this rule. If a pair are preparing for a tournament, they may bundle their paddles in the waiting to play line and play together when their turn comes up. If the pair wins their game, they must still separate. I personally have seen instances of winners refusing to separate. At times I believe that is because a less experienced player is coming onto the court and the previous winner did not want to play with a less experienced player. Click Here to view player rotation rules.

We do not have a special "Competition Night" at any of our locations. One evening I was playing and noticed that some players were staying up together for 4 or 5 matches without leaving the court. When I inquired about this, I was told that Friday nights were "Competition Night" and the regular rules did not apply. Not sure where this got started, but it is not true. It is certainly not fair to people waiting to play.

I have had many members state that some players refuse to play with them. The refusing player will move their paddle back one or two slots to avoid playing with a perceived weaker player. The rules state that a paddle should be moved to the back of the pile if a person decides not to play when their turn comes up. Hopefully we can all remember when we were beginning players and not quite as skilled as some of our more experienced players. When your turn comes up, just play with whomever is next in line or move your paddle to the back of the line. You may have to play what may be considered a less than exciting game, but the less experienced player will benefit from playing with a more experienced player.

None of the Executive Committee members enjoy being enforcement officers, but it is our duty to represent all members of the club, especially members who do not want to "rock the boat" or are not confident enough to speak up. When I need to get involved in these discussions on the court, the rest of my play that day is adversely affected because it is such an unpleasant task.

In summary - Without a formal meeting and approval, no person can modify our established rules of play. Site Representatives can't modify the rules, Executive Committee Members can't modify the rules and Recreation Center Employees can't modify the rules.

Click Here to view our Policies and Rules (PDF).

Click Here to view our By-Laws (PDF).

Site Representatives

I have been asked who makes decisions that a site representative would normally make when a site representative is not present at a location.

If a site representative is present, then the site representative will make decisions about type of play and other matters as defined in our Policies and Rules document. The only site representatives are those listed on our web page at ... _Committee If not listed on that page, then they are not a site representative.
If a site representative is not present, then a member of the Executive Committee will be responsible.
If a member of the Executive Committee is not present, then individual members should follow procedures as best as they can. The Executive Committee is working on a plan to ensure a site representative is present at all locations.
Recreation Center Employees are not authorized to make decisions that would normally be made by a site representative. Recreation Center Employees are responsible for the facility, including security and safety.

Civility and showing respect for others on the court

I have received almost as many comments about civility on the court as I have about rules of play. As best as I can determine, more than 99 percent of our members are courteous and encouraging when playing with less experienced players. It's that one percent who are causing some of our newer players grief to the extend they avoid coming back to play. I'll give an example of what I have recently observed. A reasonably good player was partnered with a relatively weak player. The weaker player would sometimes miss an easy shot. Instead of encouraging the weaker player, the stronger player would comment, complain and demean the player about the missed shots. On occasion, the complaining player will be so upset that they will slam the ball after the play has ended. There is nothing we can do about this behavior other than encourage people to be civil and polite.

Thanks for your cooperation. I am proud to be a member of the Huntsville Pickleball Club. We want everyone to feel welcome at all of our facilities. I encourage your feedback on this subject. If you want to provide feedback just to me, reply to this email. If you want to provide feedback for all to see, this email has been duplicated on our discussion forum. Reply to this post to provide feedback for all to see. You may also contact any individual Executive Committee member via our website.

Steve Schuckman
Vice Chairperson

Re: Club Rules and Civility on the Courts.

Posted: Sat Nov 10, 2018 1:39 pm
by Forum Member
Thank you for the post, Steve. I have a question regarding civility: I recently witnessed a more experienced player asking a newer player if they “had gone through beginner courses” and “were they a member of the club.” Their tone came across in a negative manner (proven out by their refusal to call score), and I’m fairly positive the experienced player had never even seen the newer player play. This better player seemed to assume that because they hadn’t seen the newer player before, they “must be too inexperienced to play at Berachah.”

Am I correct in thinking that beginner courses are NOT mandatory and that there is no official way to even prove that someone is a member as it is? I felt as thought the questioning was inappropriate, but wanted to be sure there wasn’t some sort of screening process a member should go through that the experienced player was referencing?

Re: Club Rules and Civility on the Courts.

Posted: Sat Nov 10, 2018 2:55 pm
by Forum Member
@Kelly Morris
New players are required to take a beginner course before participating in open play. See the information below from our website.

If you are a true beginner and want to learn to play the game, please attend one of our true beginner clinics. The Club supplies all of the required equipment. All you need to bring is yourself and shoes that do not mar the gym floor. After learning to play the game, you are welcome to play at any of our locations.

It is appropriate to ask someone if they are a member or to ask if they are a beginning player as long as it is done in a polite manner. We also ask that question to ensure they have signed a liability waiver. Visitors are also required to sign a waiver. Per the guidelines on the website, you must be a member of the club to play, although we permit infrequent visitors to play without being a member. Currently, the only method available to prove a person is a member is to get their name and look it up in the membership database. All members have access to this database.

Re: Club Rules and Civility on the Courts.

Posted: Sat Nov 10, 2018 6:36 pm
by Forum Member
Thank you for the clarification. However, many people learn to play elsewhere, or outside of open play. There are people who learn on an outdoor court, only to transition to indoor play once the weather cools off. My father comes to play when he visits me, although he lives in another part of the country. I don’t think club members should automatically assume someone can’t play just because they haven’t met them before. In the spirit of civility :)

Re: Club Rules and Civility on the Courts.

Posted: Mon Dec 03, 2018 10:34 am
by Forum Member
I am meeting with Mr. Green at Huntsville Recreation Department today at 3 PM to get clarification about our rules for club play vs Huntsville rules for gym use. I will send an email blast tonight with guidelines.

Re: Club Rules and Civility on the Courts.

Posted: Tue Dec 04, 2018 3:42 pm
by Forum Member
Here is my experience of evening play governance at Berachah. KK and Randolph, as both HSV City Recreation Center Supervisors and HSV Pickleball Club Site Representatives appointed approximately two years ago, have bridged club play and city mandates smoothly, thoughtfully, and professionally. They have invested time into nurturing and coaching new players and integrating play across all skill levels and ages, thus contributing to growth in the Pickleball Club. In my experience, new players come to Berachah and join or advance in the club because of the encouragement and inclusive treatment by KK and Randolph. In my experience, levels of play at Berachah range from beginner to the highest skill sets in the club because of the order and manner of play set out in the evening. My experience on the court playing simultaneously with those younger than 18 and those older than 18 has always been safe; I believe that it encourages younger players to move up through our ranks. HSV Pickleball Club members play for free in the HSV city gyms. At Berachah, KK and Randolph have skillfully accommodated and facilitated this arrangement for both entities. I’m sad and disheartened to learn that they have been removed from the role of site representative so abruptly and without communication with more of the evening players at Berachah. Eugenie Candon