Open Play rules adopted for pickleball courts

Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:30-11:30 a.m. are set aside for this style of play.
New pickleball sign with “Open Play” rules was installed at the Laketown Township Hall courts, 4338 Beeline Road, on Friday, April 12, 2024.

A new time set aside twice a week on the Laketown Township pickleball courts will help players expand their skills and meet new people.

“Open Play” rules went into effect earlier this month.

“Pickleball is a great sport that can be played by many age groups. Open Play is a great time to get outside and work on your pickleball skills,” said Pauline Rypma, one of the several Laketown residents who approached the Laketown Township Parks and Recreation Commission several months ago to adopt the new rules.

The Laketown pickleball courts are at the township hall, 4338 Beeline Road. They were built in 2021.

Getting started with Open Play

In March, the parks commission unanimously approved Open Play on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. The township installed a sign at the courts in April explaining the Open Play rules.

Laketown resident Jody Lamar proposed the Open Play schedule to the parks commission in February after watching it in Florida and on several local courts.

“I like not having to call multiple people to set up play time,” she wrote to the parks commission. “I don’t end up going to a court to find people are already there, now I have to wait for an hour or go look somewhere else to find an open court.”

Commission Chairperson Brad Laninga spoke with pickleball players on the courts on April 15.

“They were excited,” he said. “They said it was great.”

Because Open Play is new, the parks commission will review it after the season ends.

What is Open Play

Open Play, also known as Drop-In Play, is a doubles game. After the two teams finish their game, the two partners from the winning team stay on the court but split, one on each new team. Two new players come on, one with each of the previous winners, and a new game begins.

The defeated players exit the court and “rack their paddles,” placing their paddles in line for the new game.

After two consecutive games, a player must rack their paddle.

A new paddle rack has been donated to the township and it will be installed as soon as possible, according to Laninga.

“There could perhaps be six players waiting to enter into an open game on one of the two courts, so their paddles would be placed at the end of the rack and then moved up as either two or three players enter the courts,” said Rypma.

“This will most likely allow three players from the sidelines to enter into a new game. While waiting for the next game, take the time for a drink of water and talk pickleball with the players.”

The three-hour blocks on Tuesdays and Thursdays are for Open Play, and people who show up can be rotated in.

The play will be self-regulated.

Players can use the TeamReach app to check play times, names of players, chat and see who signed up. The password is “Laketown” to join.