APPs New Amateur Format

APP’s New Amateur Format: Innovative or Unnecessary?

As the pickleball community prepares for the 2024 season, the APP (Association of Pickleball Players) has unveiled a revamped tournament format for its amateur players. The changes aim to enhance the player experience with both positive and negative aspects to consider.

The Pros:

1. Increased Play: With a shift to round-robin format, players are guaranteed at least four games total. This change provides participants with more play and more bang for their buck.

2. Streamlined Scheduling: The new format emphasizes minimal downtime between games, where each match during round robin play is only one game to 15, which also makes match length more reliable.

3. Enhanced Spectator Experience: By keeping players on designated blocks of courts, friends and family will find it easier to watch and follow their athletes during competition.

4. Adaptation to Player Feedback: The APP says it has implemented format changes based on player input, demonstrating its commitment to the pickleball community.

The Cons:

1. Scoring Changes: The game format during round-robin play could affect match outcomes as one game to 15 often goes very quick and the better players do not always win. This also means warmups become more important (and are often impossible to get at a tournament where court utilization is generally maxed out).

2. Backdraw Elimination: the round robin format essentially flips traditional scoring on its head, putting “backdraw-esque” matches first during the game to 15, then switching over to best 2/3 games to 11 once top teams progress to the playoffs.

3. Increased Court Utilization: More matches means more court time needed and playoffs may still run behind if matches go long. 

4. Less Traditional: The shift from a double-elimination format to a round-robin format may not sit well with players who are familiar with the original system. It can also be confusing to follow whether you’re winning or losing overall during round-robin play. 

Interesting times. Overall, we like seeing the APP experiment with new formats to see what shakes out as being most effective and fun for amateur players. Play on, picklers!

See the full article on the APP’s new amateur format here.