Format and Rules Spring 2023

Below are the official format and rules for the Williamsburg Pickleball Spring League, 2023. Note that the details may be updated from time to time but those published here now supersede any you may have seen previously.

These details will not change after the start of league play.

League Format

League Dates. Spring league play will start the weekend after the Easter holiday. and continue for six to eight weeks, depending on the division. The final week will be reserved for any makeup or tie-break matches.

Advanced division matches are on Sundays, 2-4pm, from April 23-May 21.

Intermediate division matches are on Saturdays, noon-2pm, from April 15-May 27.

Emerging division matches are on Saturdays, 2-4pm, from April 15-May 13.

Competitions. There are three divisions: Advanced, Intermediate and Emerging. Competitors will determine for themselves in which category they should be playing; however, team captains will evaluate the skill levels of players on their teams and reserve the right to recategorize players as necessary.

Skill Levels. The appropriate skill levels for players in each of the three divisions are listed below. Any player unsure of their skill level should consult the USA Pickleball guidelines here: USA Pickleball Player Skill Ratings.

  • Advanced: approximately 3.6 and above.
  • Intermediate: approximately 2.5 to 3.5.
  • Emerging: Players who know how to play the game including knowing how to score, but who are a.) relatively new to the game, b.) had some level of play already, c.) already have had some basic instruction, d.) players unsure of their skill level.

This league is not for players who have never played pickleball.

Fees. Our Autumn league was free to all participants and the Spring league is FREE as well. There is no charge to register for the league and no charge to play during scheduled league hours at Veteran’s Park.

Teams. Each team in the advanced and intermediate divisions will compete in all three competition categories: women’s doubles, mixed doubles and men’s doubles. Each advanced and intermediate team must have a minimum of two women and two men. All teams must start week one with a minimum of four and a maximum of six players.

Teams will commit to playing three matches per week. Not all players on a team will necessarily be required to play in a match every week, depending on the number of players on the team.

Emerging Teams. Because of the imbalance of women and men registered in the emerging division, teams in the emerging division may have only one man, or no men on the team. All emerging teams will compete in women’s doubles and mixed doubles each week and the third match will be considered an “open doubles” match with each team captain deciding for themselves how to staff that match. For example, the open doubles match can be two women, two men or one man and one woman. If no man is available for an emerging division team, the team may use two women in the mixed doubles match.

Team Captains. Each team will have a designated team captain who is responsible for selecting members of the team, and for selecting and arranging for the team’s players to play each match. Team captains will also arrange for registered substitutes to play in place of team members as necessary. Note that there are a limited number of substitutes available in the emerging division.

Detailed instructions on how to book substitutes is available here.

Team captains will ensure that each member of their team is enrolled in the appropriate skill division before the start of league play.

Once league play has begun, the league communicates regularly with team captains and the team captains pass on relevant information to team members.

Complete details of captain responsibilities are available here.

League Play. Teams will play in a round robin format, with each team playing every other team in their division once. All matches will be scheduled at the start of the league, with the exception of the final week in the schedule remaining open for any necessary make-up or tie-breaker matches. The schedules for all division rounds are available here.

Teams will be expected to compete in three competition categories against one opposing team each week. For advanced and intermediate teams, these competition categories are women’s doubles, mixed doubles and men’s doubles. For emerging teams, these categories are women’s doubles, mixed doubles and open doubles.

Scheduled match days, time and venue will be the same for each division every week.

Pickleballs. Teams need to supply their own paddles and pickleballs. Matches may be played with whatever brand of pickleballs the two team captains agree to. In the event the team captains cannot agree on the brand of ball to be used, Franklin 40 pickleballs will be used, if one of the teams has them available.

If the team captains cannot agree on the brand of ball, and Franklin 40 pickleballs are not available, a coin toss (or other random method) will determine the brand of ball used for each of the three matches (i.e. three separate coin tosses, one for each women’s, mixed and men’s (or open for emerging division) doubles.

Forfeits. If one of the teams fails to show up for the scheduled match within 20 minutes, or doesn’t arrive with enough players to compete, that team will forfeit the matches in any or all of the categories in which it cannot play. For example, if a team shows up and only can compete in women’s doubles, that team would forfeit the mixed doubles and men’s doubles (or open doubles for emerging division) matches.

Venue Location. League play will take place on reserved courts numbered 2, 4, 6, 8 at Veterans Park at designated times and days. Open play and court availability for non-league players on un-reserved courts must be respected.

Veterans Park, Courts
Location: 3793 Ironbound Road, Williamsburg

In the event an alternate court venue has been designated that requires access control, players must arrange for gate access and the completion of any required waivers for that venue.

Weather. Matches may be re-scheduled at the indoor facilities WISC or Quarterpath in the event of inclement weather, if both teams agree. Every player will be responsible for paying their own entry fee for those facilities. Matches may also be scheduled between team captains at any convenient day and time to reschedule matches impacted by weather.

Points. Each team will be awarded one league point for winning a match (including winning a match forfeited by their opponents) in each of the three doubles matches played each week, For example, if a team wins mixed doubles and wins women’s doubles but loses men’s doubles (or open doubles for emerging division), that team earns two league points and their opponent earns one league point.

Matches. Each individual match in women’s doubles, mixed doubles and men’s doubles (open doubles for emerging division) will be played in a best-of-three-games format, with each game winner scoring a minimum of eleven points. Winners must win by two points.


If the same team wins the first and second games, there is no need to play the third game. If different teams win the first and second games, the winner of the third game is the winner of the match.

If two teams are tied in a game with ten points each, and one of the teams wins the next point, making the score 11-10, play continues until either team has two more points than their opponent (i.e. 12-10, 14-12, 88-86.)

Matches (i.e. women’s doubles, mixed doubles and mens’/open doubles) may be played in any order the two opposing team captains agree to.

Sides and Servers. Teams will switch sides of the court after each game. If teams cannot agree which team starts the first game on which side of the court, the starting sides will be determined by a coin toss or similar random method.

If there is a third game to decide the winner of the match, teams will switch sides of the court immediately after the first team to score six points.

If teams cannot agree on which team will be the first server, the team on the south or east side of the court, depending on how the courts are situated, will be the first server in game one. The team that was not the first server in game one will be the first server in game two. If there is a third game, the team that served first in game one is the first server of game three.

League Winners. Winners will be declared in each of the three divisions based on total accumulated league points for each team. In the event that teams are tied with the same number of league points, they will face off against each other in the final week to determine the winner. For example, if two teams are tied with the same number of league points, they will play each other in mixed, women’s and men’s doubles matches, with the team that wins two or more of the three matches being declared the winner. One-half of a league point is awarded to the winner of the three tie-break matches for the purpose of breaking the tie (i.e., the winner of the tie-break matches does not receive additional league points by winning each of the three matches involved in the tie breaker.)

Prizes. The teams with the highest number of league points in each of the three divisions will win prizes, to be announced.

There is absolutely no truth to the widely circulating rumor that we will be awarding a brand new Porsche to the winners.


Official Rulebook. The league will follow the current version of the USA Pickleball rulebook, 2023 edition, found here: USA Pickleball Official Rulebook and Rules Summary

These rules include:

● 4.A.2. The serve may clear or touch the net (i.e. a let serve that lands ‘in’ is played.)

● 4.F. A team scores points only when serving (i.e. no rally scoring.)

● 6.D.1. Players are responsible for calling the lines on their end of the court, including short serves, service foot faults and all non-volley-zone faults (i.e.

strive for accuracy and operate under the principle that all questionable calls must be resolved in favor of the opponent.)

● 6.D.3. A player cannot claim a replay because the ball was not seen or there is uncertainty (i.e. replays are now allowed – make a call and play on.)

Substitutes. The following rules apply to the use of substitutes during league play.

Substitutions: Players must play on the team they signed up on, or were assigned to, as of the Spring league cutoff date. Teams will not be allowed to add any permanent players after that date.

The league organizers may assign players to a team after the cutoff date in order to fill teams that do not have the required number of players.

In the event that a team does not have the required number of players to play any of its matches in a given week, team captains will be allowed to use substitute players pulled from the Player Substitution Pool.

Player Substitution Pool: Registered players that are not on a team will be able to play in the league from pools of available players as needed by team captains. There will be three substitute pools, one for each division: advanced, intermediate and emerging players. Detailed information on how substitutes are utilized is available here.

No Substitutions Within a Match: Whichever two players start game one of a best-of-three game match must be the same two players who finish the match (see the Exception to the No-Substitutions Rule below.)

If any player is unable to continue a match after it has started, it will result in a forfeit of that match by the team that is unable to continue. For example, if Player A and Player B on Team One start the women’s doubles match, but Player B withdraws, the women’s doubles match is concluded, Team One forfeits the women’s doubles match and their opponent scores a win. This forfeit has no bearing on the mixed doubles or men’s doubles matches that will proceed, provided Team One has players to participate in those matches.

Exception to the No-Substitutions Rule: If a player becomes injured or incapacitated, and only if both team captains agree, an in-match substitution will be allowed by substituting a player from the same team as the injured or incapacitated player.