Grand Bend Pickleball Club

Program Info

Grand Bend Pickleball Club

2024 Pilot Program Schedule

At the end of February a survey was sent out to all members to assist with the development of programming for the 2024 season. The survey was completed by 119 club members. These survey results combined with a review of programming offered at other pickleball clubs in North America were used to develop the Pilot Program Schedule for the 2024 season.

Summary of Survey Results

  • Most members have been playing pickleball for 1-5 years (85%).
  • 85% of members intend to play on a regular basis.
  • The top reasons for playing pickleball were fun (99%), fitness (85%) and for social interaction (85%); while 44% of members are interested in playing competitively.
  • Members were asked which play format was most preferred. The results are ranked as follows:
  • Open Social Play at 79%
  • Round Robin Play at 74%
  • Ladder Play at 46%
  • Tournament Play at 34%
  • 100% of members want to continue playing Mixed/Co-ed pickleball.
  • 51% of the women who responded said they would like to also play women only and 42% of the men who responded said they would also like to play men only.
  • The most preferred times to play are early morning 66% and late morning 52% followed by evening at 30%.
  • 55% of our membership intends to play 2-3 times per week, 42% 4-5+ times per week.
  • 75% of our members indicated an interest in lessons and/or being coached.

GBPC Play Formats and Schedule Items

The following is a guide to the many types of play that you will see in our schedule and info about the Scheduling Apps that we will be using to for many of our programs.

Open Social Play

Open Social Play is a play format that is open for players of all skill levels to mix together and to have fun playing pickleball. In this play format, competition takes a back seat to the social aspects of meeting people, making everyone feel welcome, and enjoying the game of pickleball. All members of the GBPC will work together to create an atmosphere in which players of varied skill levels, ages and physical fitness levels can enjoy playing together. Stronger players should avoid overly competitive strategies and, instead, focus on shot development e.g., 3rd shot drop, resets and dinking. The Winners, Losers, Next System will continue to be used to determine groups of 4 for each game.

Open Play (by level)

Open Play by level is very similar to Open Social Play with the key difference being that players will only be playing with other players at a similar level. This is still intended to be less competitive and more focused on fun with some waiting time between games. The Winners, Losers, Next System is used to determine groups of 4 for each game.

Round Robin Play

Round Robin play is organized by skill levels and restricted to a fixed number of players. In the time allocated to each Round Robin session, players will play a fixed number of games, each with a different partner and against a different pair of opponents. Round Robin Play will be offered in Mixed, Women’s & Men’s formats. Players will be assigned partners, opponents and courts for each game based on the number of players and the time allotted.

Ladder Play

Ladder play is designed so that players compete with others at a similar skill level. Players will move up or down the ladder based upon their wins and losses and who they won/lost against. Ladder Play generates a player rating. These ratings will be constantly changing as you play more games. Typically, a group of 5 people will play a total of 5 games with each player playing 4 games (one game with each other player as a partner). All games are scheduled by the Ladder Software and play is finished after the 5th game. Initially, ladder play will be offered to help members determine their level of play.

Reserving a Court

We have set aside some time from 1pm – 3 pm and 5pm – 7pm for reserving of courts. During this time, an individual or group of Club members will be able to reserve 1 or more courts for private play. This time can also be used for scheduling lessons, skills and drills or other pickleball activities.

Intro to Pickleball, Skills and Drills, Coaching Clinics, Individual Training

The GBPC board will work with certified coaches in our club membership to offer additional training to our members. This will include Skills and Drills for all levels, Introduction to Pickleball and Beginner classes and Individual Training. Stay tuned as the season progresses.

The GBPC board has also met with Taylored Pickleball Academy (TPA) and we are in conversations about offering our members programming or training through this company. GBPC Members would be able to hire TPA and use unscheduled time on our courts in the afternoon and evening depending on availability in TPA schedules. Please let a board member know if you are interested in arranging for TPA training.

Tournament Play

Throughout our outdoor season, we may elect to pause our schedule to host in-house tournaments at TRIDON Pickleball Courts. All competitors and spectators will need to be members of Pickleball Canada, Pickleball Ontario and GBPC. Watch for notifications. No tournaments have been scheduled at this time.

Pop-up Play

This is Open Social Play being offered in the pre- and post-season entirely dependent on weather and volunteer availability. Daily notifications are posted on our WhatsApp chat.

If the weather is in the double digits, Pop-up Play may be offered.

Scheduling Apps

Scheduling apps will be required to set court capacity limits for many of our programs and events. The Grand Bend Pickleball Club board has decided to adopt 2 scheduling apps. Sign Up Genius will be used for Round Robin, Reserving Courts and reserving spots for Lessons (when available), and for Open Play and Open Social Play if needed in high season. The Global Pickleball Network will be used for Ladder Play. The Global Pickleball Network has teamed up with DUPR which is a well-recognized rating scale in pickleball. There is no cost for members to use these apps, but both apps offer paid subscriptions with additional features.

The 2024 Schedule and our Website

Please visit the GBPC website to see our Pilot Program Schedule for the 2024 Season. This schedule was developed by the Programming Committee based on the Survey Results and research into what types of programming are being offered at other clubs in North America.

Please note that the full schedule of programs will not be launched all at once. Starting May 1st, we will begin with Open Social Play in the mornings and will begin to introduce Round Robin Play in the afternoons. All details will be posted on the Club Website.

This is a very ambitious program for a new club and there will be a learning curve for everyone involved. Numerous volunteers will be required to launch all aspects of this schedule. If you are interested in pairing up with another member to host a program or timeslot, please contact Chris Holder via WhatsApp or send an email to We are hoping to find people able to cover 2-4 hour timeslots.

Level Based Play

Level based play has emerged as the most difficult aspect of program development and implementation. Most of our membership has/had little or no experience with level-based play as our pre-club standard was entirely Open Social Play meaning everyone just got together and played together. Sometimes you would play with very strong players and sometimes you would feel like a very strong player. Over time, we began to notice that the games we enjoyed the most were the ones that challenged us just enough and that either team could have won.

As the club grows, we want to maintain the essential social interaction between members, but at the same time, we recognize the need to allow players at similar levels to play together. Regardless of whether we use DUPR ratings (e.g., 2.5, 4.0) or terms like beginner, intermediate, advanced, the concept is the same. People who are playing at similar levels will have better games. No one player will feel singled out as not belonging because they are too strong or not strong enough.

When we first start level play, there will only be 2 levels. Over time, we anticipate this could become more refined. At this time, the club will be asking everyone to play at the level you believe you belong at and keep track of your games. If you lose most or all of your games, please move down a level. If you win most or all of your games, please move up a level.

Whereas competitive players are keen to know their ratings to enter tournaments and for competitive play, most of us will only use our ratings to ensure we have more fun through playing better games. We are looking into many options to help people to more accurately determine their level or rating and the simplest way appears to be to use the standards that have already been established. Most, if not all, ratings are based on actual game results which are recorded and entered into a program which over time gives each player a ranking E.g., Global Pickleball Network and DUPR. Some of us have experienced this with the Ladder Play that was done last summer. Some of us have played at other clubs where ratings are calculated. We are hoping to launch a new Ladder this year expressly to help people get personal ratings. This will be a voluntary program and will hopefully be fun for everyone involved.

Grand Bend Pickleball Club Levels

Players are asked to self-assess using the chart below from Pickleball Guru: