Scheduled Play Types Today

Scheduled Play is the term we use to describe venues that are open to pickleball only at designated days and times each week. The Des Moines Metro today has several unique types of scheduled play, most of which are versions of the pickleball term Open Play.  This means that all players are welcome without qualification by age, gender or skill level.

Note: We have at least 10 “Places to Play” in area parks that are not scheduled.  Generally, these courts are available on a first come, first serve basis. Visit our menu for Outdoor Places to Play for more information.

Type of Open Play – INDOOR VENUES

VCC (Valley Community Center), WDM -  Open Play

Six courts are set up for play. All play is scheduled on a "white board" with a blank matrix of rows and columns. Starting top row L to R, players enter their names  individually or along with 1 to 3 other players to "fill a box", then the next box and so forth across the top, then the middle row is filled L to R, and finally the bottom row is filled L to R. All games are played to 11 (2 point margin), court opens after one side wins and everyone leaves the court announcing "court open".

Players who move to the open court have their "box" crossed out. When the board is 100% filled, the top row is erased and the process begins again. Sometimes a box will have less than 4 players and the next full box may move ahead of them to the floor. This is allowed but most players are generally willing to break their group up and join an individual or twosome to fill the box. New players are encouraged to sign up for club sponsored training.

PC (Pioneer Columbus Community Center), Des Moines – Open Play

Four courts are set up for play (with availability of a 4th court on select morning). At Pioneer we use a somewhat typical "paddle up" format of rotation for play. Players are welcome to play with most anyone (and against most anyone) that they wish. Depending on numbers available/waiting for play: upon finishing a game (typically to 11, win by 2) players on the bench will rotate in. If there are no players waiting the 4 players may choose to repeat and often do so by either re-matching with same partners/opponents or otherwise split/rotate/alternate. If there are players waiting those will rotate in accordingly. If 4, then "4-in", if 3, then "3-in, 1 stay", if 2, then "2-in, 2 stay", and with only one awaiting play, "1-in, 3 stay."

Players, when numbers dictate, will place their paddles along a wall or on the bleachers respective of their next place in line. A player may choose to "pass" on a next game/match in lieu of selecting others to play with & against however a player may not move ahead of anyone (waiting in line) in those regards.  Pioneer Columbus Open

-Source: Steve Stone

We also have Open Play at the following Metro venues:

Ankeny, Parkview Middle School
Clive, Aspen Athletic Club, Urbandale (fall and winter)
Des Moines, 4 Mile Community Center
Johnston, Crown Point Community Center
Johnston, Johnston Middle School
Panora, Panora Community Center
Waukee, Waukee Family Y

Open Play at these venues may use a variety of scheduling methods, white boards, paddle stack racks and others that strive for a First In First Out goal to allocate limited court availability evenly. Most methods allow players to self-schedule (no assigned leader) and allow players to schedule in groups of 2, 3 or even 4. Players are encouraged to sign up with newcomers and to not allow one or two players to be skipped over.

Type of Open Play – OUTDOOR VENUES

Ankeny, Greentree Park

Open Play at this venue is similar to the above indoor venues.


Ankeny, Greentree Park

Ankeny Parks & Recreation provides a Mixed and Gender Doubles Pickleball League. The league is skill based dividing players between recreational (<3.0) and competitive (3.0 +). By signing up, you and your partner will play against all other teams (round robin style) then at the end of the 6-week league, your team will be invited to an "End of Season" tournament based on your standings. Both doubles and mixed doubles will be available. League brackets will be best of 3 games. You must sign up for the league to partake in the tournament. All teams will be invited to the tournament.