Court Usage: Regulations and Expectations

Treat others with respect

Treat others with respect. This is part of the Seattle Metro Pickleball Association’s Code of Conduct that all members must agree to before joining the association.

Respect the local rules

Most locations have posted rules. Respect them.

For instance, if a rule says that players can continuously occupy a court for an hour, do not attempt to force them to leave their court in the name of open play.

Respect local open play protocols

Be flexible. If you join open play at a particular location, find out the local play protocols and abide by them. If people are playing games to 9 when the courts are overflowing with players, then play to 9. If people are using rally scoring, then use rally scoring. If people want winners to stay on the court, let the winners stay on the court. If people want all players to rotate out after every game, do so.

If the local customs don’t suit you, try to change them by consensus, or find another play time or location with protocols that more closely match what you are looking for.

Walk a mile in their shoes

Don’t assume that someone who sees the world differently than you is wrong, boneheaded, stupid and doesn’t like you. Your way is not the only way.

Open play is not the only way

A lot of people get introduced to pickleball via open play: they show up at a location where people rotate in and out of the courts at the end of each game. Naturally, they tend to assume at first that all pickleball play is open play. That is not the case.

Even if I and a hundred of my closest friends converge on a specific location at a specific time with the intention of sharing those courts by rotating in and out of them after each game, we might not have any more rights to access those courts than people who want to have closed (private) play and occupy a court for an hour. It all depends on the local rules, and these rules are not always clear.

There are very few courts in the greater Seattle area that have a rule that requires open play at all times. There are a few courts that require open play at specific times as part of pickleball programs sanctioned by local parks departments.

Just in case you wonder, there are a lot of reasons why people might want to take part in closed play instead of open play. A group of close friends might want to play together for an hour. A family with young children might want to play together as a family. Players might want to practice for a tournament with and against specific partners. Coaches might want to teach lessons. You might want to work on specific drills with a partner. Don’t assume that you can freely join any and all pickleball games. Ask nicely. Don’t take rejection personally.

Closed play is often the rule of the land

A lot of the dual tennis/pickleball courts in the Seattle area have rules that favor closed play over open play.

Traditionally, tennis has been played on public courts by having two or four people agree to meet on a court to play a game for 60 to 90 minutes. The tennis court usage rules have been written to make this easy: They often allow games to last for 60 to 90 minutes before players need to cede the court to the next group.

These rules designed for tennis do not easily accommodate pickleball open play, where dozens of players share the same few courts and come and go at different times. Parks Departments are slowly adapting to the demand for more pickleball open play. If you want more sanctioned open play opportunities, make sure that you let your local government know about it regularly.

Respect court reservations

People sometimes assume that public pickleball courts are open to everyone at all times.

Be aware that some Parks Departments allow for court reservations.

If some players have a reservation, let them be. If you think your Parks Department should not allow reservations, that is an issue you should raise with your Parks Department.

In summary

You might disagree with some of the points above, and that is perfectly ok. Having many different perspectives will help make the pickleball world a better place for everyone as long as we treat each other with respect.


Pickleball License Plate Design Phase

License Plate Designs

SMPA has narrowed down to a short list of graphic designers. We requested draft designs of the pickleball license plate by October 8, 2022. Pickleball players throughout Washington have been asked to view and vote for the best design by the end of November.

What’s the Goal?

To build a dedicated pickleball facility capable of hosting regional and national tournaments and establish dedicated pickleball courts throughout Washington. A dedicated regional facility capable of supporting large tournaments will attract players from across the state and the country, contributing to the state’s economic growth. Each purchase of a State Sport special license plate supports the construction of dedicated courts in cities and towns throughout Washington.

The approximate cost of the pickleball license plate is $157.25 initial fee and $30 annual renewal fee. Special plate fees increased as a result of the $17 billion transportation bill. The funds collected will go into a Trust account and used solely for the construction and maintenance of dedicated pickleball courts throughout Washington.

We Still Need Your Help!

Thank you to everyone who has already signed the petition. With your help, we reached 25% of our goal in just two weeks and are currently 65% of the way there. However, we must collect 3,500 signatures by the end of November to meet the deadlines necessary for the next legislative session in January 2023.

We are asking each of you to reach out to your family, friends, and fellow pickleball players. Encourage them to join you in supporting the pickleball license plate petition. If everyone can get just four signatures, we will reach our goal.

Together we will build and maintain dedicated pickleball courts throughout Washington.

Department of Licensing (DOL) design guide and specialty color palette restrictions must be followed.  The only requirement SMPA has is the words “State Sport” must be on the plate.

DOL Plate Design Requirements

  • Design the proposed plate. See the Specialty Plate Design Guide for more information.
  • Plate colors:
    • The specialty color palette shows colors that currently pass the DOT infrared camera tests.
    • Passing colors have a green check mark.
    • Failing colors have a red ‘X.’
    • Many shades of blue aren’t recognized by infrared. It’s recommended if you use a blue background that you use a darker shade with white lettering.
    • DOL and DOT can’t guarantee which colors will pass.
    • DOT camera testing will determine the readability of the plate design. If a plate fails the readability test, you’ll need to make changes and retest until it passes.

Any questions regarding specific design requirements can be addressed to DOL by email.


2022 Women of Inspiration Award Finalist

Our very own SMPA Founder, Theresa Haynie, is one of the 4 finalists of the WISE (Women in Sports and Events) award! Voting closes on Thursday, September 22nd at 8:00PM PST.

Theresa Haynie
helped found the Seattle Metro Pickleball Association to improve access and advocate for pickleball in the greater metro area. following a gold medal win at the USA Pickleball National Championships in 2019, Theresa decided to focus on promoting play for women.

The cash prize donation would go towards advancing her work of encouraging and empowering women in pickleball to help offset court rentals for early evening access to women still in the workplace.


Mariners Pickleball Night 2022

Mariners Pickleball Night 2022 was a huge success and a triumphant way to cap a great year for pickleball in Washington State. Over 900 pickleball fans joined an almost sold-out T-Mobile Park crowd of 44,965 people, who cheered on the Mariners in a thrilling 3-1 victory over last year’s reigning World Series Champions on September 10th.

We didn’t just show up for a baseball game. Pickleball fans from Canada, eastern Washington and the Puget Sound area united for pre-game festivities on the rooftop deck, socializing with others they regularly see on the courts at a major sporting event. It certainly speaks to the elevation of pickleball in Washington.

Professional pickleball athletes Riley and Lindsey Newman signed Pickleball Night t-shirts and snapped photos with excited and smiling fans. People dinked on the rooftop pickleball court (a few even tried for full games), demo-d Riley and Lindsey Newman’s signature Gamma paddles, entered the free two paddle raffle, got free coozies from our partner Pickleball Central, and signed Seattle Metro Pickleball Association’s state sport license plate petition. After all that excitement, fans took their seats and watched pickleball capture center field at T-Mobile Park when Riley Newman threw out the first pitch.

Riley Newman represented SMPA and threw the Group First Pitch.
Correction to the intro: Frank Chiappone is still the SMPA President!

Pickleball became the official state sport in March 2022. We think our state sport deserves a state license plate. The Seattle Metro Pickleball Association officially launched the Pickleball License Plate initiative on Mariners Pickleball Night, and is excited to be joining Senator John Lovick in this effort.

Please join our effort and sign the petition.

See you at the Mariners Pickleball Night 2023!


Mariners Pickleball Night Update

9/9/2022 5:15 pm Update

Mariners just sent the Gameday Guide by email. They will open the gate 2 HOURS before game at 4:10 p.m. We will have more time on the rooftop!

Traffic advisory: All southbound traffic on Interstate 5 will be reduced to the left lanes and the West Seattle Bridge will be closed. Expecting lots of traffic so leave early and see you at the T-Mobile Park tomorrow!

Update on Mariners Pickleball Night on September 10th, Mariners vs. Atlanta Braves. The Seattle Metro Pickleball Association’s Pickleball Night pre-game event is being held from 4:10 pm to 5:45 pm. Gates open at 4:10 pm. Raffle must be entered by 5:30 pm and the drawing will take place at 5:40 pm. The Rooftop Deck event ends at 5:45 so everyone has time to get to their seats before Riley’s first pitch!

Seventy-five main level Pickleball Night seats in section 115 were added the morning of September 7th after selling out over Labor Day weekend. Per Alexa Olague, Account Executive with the Seattle Mariners, this is the last batch of main level seats being released for Pickleball Night. Main level seats are $30.

View level tickets are still available. These $20 seats are just to the right of home plate and are a short walk directly from the Rooftop Deck where the pre-game pickleball event is being held. These seats have a view overlooking home plate and are located in sections 327 and 328.

The Seattle Mariners have 99% playoff odds and the stadium is expected to sell out. The last day to purchase tickets is September 9th. Call Mariners Account Executive Alexa Olague at (206) 346-4506 if you have any ticket questions. If you plan on driving, don’t forget to reserve a parking spot on mobile device apps like Spot Hero.

View seats overlooking home plate in section 329. Pickleball Night sections 328 and 327 are located just to the right.
Pickleball Night view seats still available. View seats are located in Sections 327 and 328, shown circled in red. These seats are a short walk directly off the Rooftop Deck where the Pickleball Night meet and greet, dinking court and raffle are being held. 75 main level seats in section 115 were the last batch of Pickleball Night main level seats released and are expected to sell out quickly. T-shirts are available for pick-up in section 339 until the third inning.

Don’t miss out on the magic of the special evening the Seattle Metro Pickleball Association has planned. In addition to a pre-game meet and greet with pickleball pro athletes Riley and Lindsey Newman, the Seattle Metro Pickleball Association is hosting a two paddle raffle, a four-person dinking court and is partnering with Pickleball Central, who has a few special give-a-ways of their own. Did we mention the Rooftop Deck has breathtaking Puget Sound and Seattle skyline views? After the pre-game festivities, walk down to your seats to watch top professional pickleball athlete Riley Newman throw out the group first pitch.

Pickleball License Plate!

The Seattle Metro Association has one more special event planned that evening. We are launching the pickleball license plate bill initiative! We need 3,500 signatures to help make this happen. Come sign our petition at the SMPA booth.

The Seattle Metro Pickleball Association would like to give a special shout out to Senator John Lovick for being the legislator supporting this effort!


Seattle Outdoor Pickleball Construction Briefing and Update

We were hoping to learn more about SPR’s current plan for outdoor pickleball during this briefing, but the presentation remained at a very high-level. If you have attended Seattle Parks’ two open houses on the subject or read our post titled New Seattle Outdoor Pickleball Courts: Draft Plan, you probably know a lot more about the subject than the Commissioners do.

A few interesting points nonetheless:

  • SPR describes pickleball’s growth as a pickleball explosion.
  • SPR gets the social nature of pickleball, as well as its drop-in culture.
  • SPR was surprised to get over 3,000 responses to their online survey.
  • SPR thinks that a few single tennis courts that are not very much used are the best candidates to be converted into dedicated pickleball courts. Unfortunately, most such courts in Seattle are smaller than regular size tennis courts. This means that once converted into pickleball courts, these pickleball courts would have less room than you might expect behind the base lines. Watch the beginning of this video to see why having space behind the baselines is important to be able to retrieve deep shots.
  • Preliminary cost estimates for two brand new dedicated pickleball facilities of 8 to 12 courts are more than originally anticipated when planning for the upcoming Seattle Parks District budget cycle.
  • SPR reports that Seattle schools might start lining some of the tennis courts at their facilities.

You can watch the entire presentation below. We apologize for the blue box covering some of the slides.

The entire meeting, including the presentation above is available here. This video does not have the blue box problem of the video above, but the image is not as sharp.


Miller Players Advocate For 6 Pickleball Courts

As you already know, Seattle’s Miller pickleball community has petitioned the Seattle Parks Department, asking it to paint lines for six pickleball courts instead of four on the existing two tennis courts at Miller Playfield on Capitol Hill.

The Parks Department replied that they will keep limiting the number of pickleball courts to four.

Tonight, five pickleball players addressed the Board of Parks and Recreation Commissioners to plead their case. You can watch them in action in the video below.

Thank you Lee-Lee, Yash, Phil, Michelle, Joni and everyone else who worked tirelessly to make this happen!

Below is a copy of some of the handouts Joni gave to the commissioners.

A pickleball court layout for Miller designed to keep two distinct area. Each area can be used for tennis or pickleball, without any conflict between the areas.
A drawing presented by Seattle Parks to explain why they will not draw 4 pickleball courts on a single tennis court. It turns out that the tennis courts are much closer together in this drawing than in reality.


Seattle Outdoor Pickleball Construction Briefing and Update


Oliver Bazinet, Seattle Parks’ Senior Planning and Development Specialist, is scheduled to brief the Seattle Board of Parks and Recreation Commissioners about the results of his department’s latest outdoor pickleball study.


On Thursday August 11.

Tune in at 6:35pm to listen to the public comments., some of which might be about pickleball.

Tune in at 7:05pm to listen to the “Outdoor Pickleball Construction Briefing and Update.”


In person: at 100 Dexter Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109
Or online.
If all else fails, go here.

Will I have a chance to speak?

To get a chance to speak for two minutes during the “public comments” section at the beginning of the meeting, send an email to Paula Hoff ( before 5:30pm on Thursday. In the Subject field of your email, please write: Board meeting public comment. Please provide in the body of the email, your name, email address, and if calling in to the meeting, your phone number.

Note that the “public comments” section of the meeting will happen before the “Outdoor Pickleball Construction Briefing and Update” section.

Will I have a chance to comment on the “Outdoor Pickleball Construction Briefing and Update”?

Not during this meeting.

You can offer your comments after the meeting by reaching out to the Parks Board Commissioners via Benjamin Burtzos or drectly to Oliver Bazinet.


Mariners Pickleball Night

Come celebrate Mariners Pickleball Night with your host Seattle Metro Pickleball Association at a Mariners game! The Mariners play against the Atlanta Braves on Saturday, September 10th at 6:10 pm at T-Mobile Park in Seattle. Fans excited about the Mariners’ 14-game game winning streak sold out T-Mobile Park in July’s first game after the All-Star Break, so don’t delay. The rookie phenom and showman Julio Rodriquez continues to stun and delight fans, who chant his name at games. The Mariners recently acquired Luis Castillo, the best pitcher on the trade market.

The Mariners and pickleball, it seems, are on a roll.

Pickleball pro Riley Newman will be throwing out the first pitch! Riley Newman is the #1 ranked mixed doubles player, #2 men’s doubles player, 3 x major champ and 12 x PPA champ. But best of all, he’s one of our own, a home-grown Washington State, Whidbey Island native. Pickleball fans will enjoy a pre-game meet and greet with the dynamic duo Riley Newman and his sister and mixed doubles partner, Lindsey Newman, who won gold together at the 2021 Nationals.

Riley Newman

Riley and Lindsey were born on Whidbey Island, Washington, and raised in a large family of five sisters and two brothers. They have been thrilling fans since 2017 with their visually stunning and well-coordinated defensive playing and are known for their signature backhand style.

A solid tournament player who consistently medals, Riley had a breakout year in 2022. He went undefeated at the PPA Atlanta Open in May, taking gold in men’s doubles against number one player Ben Johns and his brother Collin Johns, and gold in mixed doubles against Ben Johns and top female player Anna Leigh Waters. Riley won double gold at the PPA North Carolina Open in May in men’s doubles and mixed doubles, and gold in men’s doubles at the Orange County Cup in June.

Riley and Lindsey Newman, Gold medal winners at 2021 Nationals

Riley’s pro circuit tournament schedule is rigorous. He will be playing in 20 tournaments in 2022. When Riley is not touring, he connects with fans and the community by teaching pickleball camps and clinics throughout the U.S., usually with Lindsey. Lindsey recently took some time off from the pro circuit to welcome a daughter to her growing family.

Pickleball Central will be joining SMPA to host a mini pop-up pickleball court for demos with Gamma paddles. A SMPA on-site, no cost raffle will consist of two prizes, a Riley Newman signed signature Gamma 206 paddle and a Lindsey Newman signed signature Gamma paddle. Yes, that’s right, signed! Mariners Pickleball Night t-shirts are included with each ticket purchase, with a special logo created to celebrate this special evening of the Mariners and pickleball! This event is going to be lit!

For one night only, pickleball fans can watch the game and cheer from their own special sections when Riley throws out the first pitch. Specially priced tickets purchased through the link are available in Section 117 on the main level for $30 each. Upper-level view tickets are located in Sections 327 & 328 for $20 each. Section 116 has already sold out! Additional sections for Pickleball Night will added as seats sell. Want to purchase more than seven tickets? No problem, contact Alexa Olague, Account Executive with the Seattle Mariners at or (206) 346-4506. Purchase 20 tickets or more to avoid a ticket surcharge and get your group name displayed on the scoreboard. The purchaser of 20 tickets or more gets two complimentary tickets to a 2022 regular season home game!

$2 of every ticket sold through this special offer will benefit the Seattle Metro Pickleball Association.

Bring your friends and family! Come have some pickleball fun and cheer on the Mariners at T-Mobile Park. Hope to see you there!

Limited-edition Mariners-themed Pickleball T-shirt


Who showed up at the 2022 tournament?

No. of Players600
   Washington State433
No. of Countries3
No. of States in US11
Players’ Age Range11 to 81
No. of players age 16 or under6
No. of Referees26
No. of Volunteers129
No. of Matches Played744
No. of Matches with Referee357