Doubles Play Sessions

The Vancouver Tennis Association (VTA) runs Doubles Play Sessions on a weekly basis throughout the year. The play is always in doubles format and the focus is to have fun and gain match experience. This is our most popular tennis program.

Member signup for sessions

Member link to pay for sessions


 

Play times, sessions and locations change depending on the time of year.

  Summer
Play Sessions
Winter
Play Sessions
Dates May to August September to April

Day & Time
Friday, 6-8pm
Intermediate
 

All Levels:

Sunday, 7:30pm – 9:30pm

Saturday, 5-7pm
Novice & Beginner
Sunday, 5-7pm:
All levels
Monday, 6-8pm:
Advanced
Location/s Stanley Park North Vancouver
Play format Doubles: Moving Court Doubles: Fixed Court
Cost $12 per session $12 per session
Registration Opens: Tuesday 7am
Closes: Wednesday 7am

If there are spots available, players outside of the assigned level may play. In these cases players stay in the same court throughout the rotations.


 

Play Levels

To play in the doubles Play Sessions you are expected to understand the rules of doubles tennis play and play at a NTRP level of 1.5 or higher.

The following are a guide for play levels (See NTPR Ratings):

Session NTPR Level
Easy 1.5 to 2.5
Intermediate 3.0 to 4.0
Advanced 4.0 or higher

 


 

How to Register and Play

Registration happens the week before sessions. All members are required to prepay for these sessions.

  1. Each week members register online. You can register to play as many weeks as you like and choose which session (time/location) you would like to play.
  2. On Thursday the members playing will be notified. If you have not pre-paid for the session you will be removed from the play roster.
  3. If you are on the play roster, turn up 10-15 minutes before play time at the allocated meeting point. The play coordinator will distribute score cards and balls and answer any questions you have.
  4. Shortly before start time the group will assemble at the meeting point for announcements and introductions.
  5. Go to your court and start play. Have fun!

 

On registering for Play Sessions
  • The highest ranked players will be assigned to court 1, the next highest rankings on court 2, and so on.
  • New members will be assigned a court based on their self-ranking using NTRP (our Play Director can help you if you are unsure).
  • You can also check the play roster (and waitlist) via the register button above. It is the members responsibility to check the play roster each week.
  • Withdrawals will not be accepted – except in rare circumstances (such as injury or emergency).

 

The waitlist

As this is one of our most popular programs and sessions will fill up, some players may be placed on a waitlist.

If you have not paid you will be removed from the play roster and the first person on the waitlist will get your spot. If there is no one on the waitlist you will be removed from the play list and the spot will remain open for the next player who signs up and pays.

On Thursday you will receive an email if you are “IN” (playing) or have been added to the waitlist (“WL”).

 

Withdrawals

The withdrawal system is for injuries and emergencies only. If you are unsure if you can play in the session: don’t sign up until you are certain.

Penalties apply to those who withdraw late – including being banned from sessions. It takes countless volunteer hours to organize these sessions – and late withdrawals require a lot of followup to ensure the space is filled. Please do not abuse the system.

If you need to withdraw late for a legitimate reason – make sure you contact the Play Director directly.

 


 

Play Format

Play is intended to be social, non-competitive and fun. You will be allocated a court based on your VTA ranking (with the intention that you will be with players of a similar skill level).

Each session starts with a quick warm-up followed by three segments of timed play (all players will be on the court and playing doubles for the entire two-hour session). For each doubles segment, you will play one set of doubles for 35 minutes. The play coordinator will keep time and call out “start play” or “last point” between each segment.

Time Segment
15 minutes Warm-up
35 minutes Doubles Segment 1
35 minutes Doubles Segment 2
35 minutes Doubles Segment 3

 

The warm-up segment is open to our members on what they want to focus on. Players generally start closer to the net with easy soft hitting, focusing on footwork. When players are ready they move back to the baseline and continue to rally. Each player usually also spends a few minutes each at the net practicing volleys and overhead shots.

 

Scoring

Even though this is a social event, scores for each match are recorded. This is simply so we can update your ranking to ensure you are with players of a similar skill level. Someone from the court will return the scorecard to the play coordinator at the end of the session.

 

 


 

Play Locations

We want all tennis-lovers to participate and welcome everyone. Not having a car or transport to a venue should not be a barrier to participating in doubles Play Sessions. 

Many of our members share or offer rides to the venues. If you need a ride, or can offer another member a ride, please post to the VTA Facebook group (or email our Play Director who can pair you with other members to give/get a ride).

Details on Play Locations & Meeting Points

 


 

Play Sessions FAQ

What age ranges and skill levels play in the Play Sessions?

The VTA is a LGBTQ+ association who welcome everyone that enjoys the game of tennis to participate. We have members from 18 to 80+ join us (minors will need permission from a guardian). To play in these sessions you are expected to understand the rules of doubles tennis.

We do no accept discrimination or harassment of any kind, including based on age, gender, sexual orientation, physical appearance, body size, race, or religion. Read our code of conduct.

Do I need a doubles partner to sign up?

No. You register as an individual. You will be assigned a court as an individual with three other players; doubles pairings will be assigned at each court.

How are doubles pairs assigned?

In the first set the doubles pairings are players #1 & #4 together and #2 & #3 together. Within those pairs players decide who plays deuce (right-side facing the net) and advantage side (left). The teams spin a coin or racket to decide randomly which team starts serving.

At the end of doubles segment 1 & 2, there is some rearranging of players/partners before the next segment of play. The outdoor and indoor sessions have slightly different systems:

Outdoor Play Sessions – Moving Court

During outdoor sessions players move courts, when that happens:

• Winning pair moves ‘up’ one court
• Losing pair moves ‘down’ one court (where court 1 is the highest court)

Winners on the highest court and losing team on the lowest court stay on the same courts.

Doubles pairs must then split for the next doubles segment (the person you played with will now be one of your opponents). To decide pairs for the next segment:

Deuce-side (right) players stay on the same end of the court
Advantage side (left) players from the previous round play together

The new pairs then decide between themselves who plays deuce side and advantage side.

Indoor Play Sessions – Fixed Court

At the end of each segment players will remain on the same court but rotate partners for the next segment. Meaning, in the three sets you will play doubles paired with each individual on your court. You will be with the same group of four the whole session on the same court.

If you are not sure of your new court assignment, any of our members can help you out.

What time during the year do Play Sessions run?

Doubles Play Sessions runs year-long. We move the location from indoors to outdoor locations to match the season. Play Sessions will not run when tournaments and other group bookings interfere with our schedule. This includes:

Are there any special rules?

Doubles Play Sessions follow standard doubles rules. We do not play short-deuce or any other adaptations.

Some groups will play “first-of-five” (or “first in”) for service (this is usually when very little or no serves are practiced in the warm-up segment). For the first service of each player, they are given five attempts to get their serve in. Playing “first-of-five” must be announced and agreed upon by all players before any play begins. First-of-five will only be played for the first 4 games in segment 1 (so every player gets one “first-of-five” serve).

You are expected to be your own ball-persons. This includes returning balls to other courts that may find their way to your court. Each court will be given one can of balls (three balls). In order to have a quick game you should be able to hold a second ball when you are serving (in a pocket or otherwise). If your partner is serving you are expected to hold the third ball.

How do we find out if a session is cancelled due to weather?

The Play Director will update players when weather is iffy. Two hours before the session they will post to the VTA Facebook Group if the session is cancelled or not. In the case there is no post or message, it is assumed session is going ahead. Indoor sessions are not affected by weather.

If you have paid for a session that was cancelled you will be credited the fees to your VTA account for your next play session. 

How do I pay for the session?

All members must prepay for their session via PayPal. Cash and in-person payments will not be accepted.

Link to pay for sessions

You will only pay for the Play Sessions you have registered to play. You must be a member of the VTA ($50 per year) to be able to register online each week for the Play Sessions.

When you are emailed to confirm if you playing or not in the session, it will include a link to pay the $12 for that day.

Are there lockers and change rooms?

All of our venues have washrooms and change rooms available. Lockers are available at North Vancouver tennis centre (bring your own lock).

The VTA is not responsible for lost/stolen or damaged belongings. As we play in public spaces, do not bring valuables. Bags and other personal belongings can be placed on the benches by your court.

For a doubles segment (or set) – how many games are played?

There is no maximum or minimum number of games played within each play segment of 35 minutes. Play as many games as you can in that time. Some sessions can get up to 12 games, whereas others only have 5 – it all depends on how quickly the games are won.

There is no limit to the number of games that can be played in the 35 minutes. All of the completed games played should be recorded on the scorecard.

Why are there different play formats for Indoor and Outdoor Play Sessions?

For Outdoor Play Sessions we have more sessions throughout the week, with one session being dedicated to advanced players and one to easy level players. With the moving court format, one of the players from court 5 will end up on court 3 for their third segment; and one of the players from court 1 will end up on court 3.

During Indoor Play Sessions, the range of skill levels is much more diverse across the courts. Advanced players are placed on court 1, with court 5-6 being easy level players. It was decided that it was not appropriate for those skill levels to meet on court 3.

While the play is social and intended to be fun, we still want players to be engaged and playing at similar levels as the other players on their court. So for Indoor Play Sessions it was decided to eliminated the court changing between play segments.

Can I attend more than one play session per week?

Yes. In Summer when there are multiple sessions running each week you can play as many as you like. You will have to complete the signup form again to register for each session.

What is the VTA ranking system? How does it work?

This program is an opportunity for social tennis and fun, social interaction among members – not competition. If you are looking for competitive play, or a comprehensive ranking – Play Sessions is not the place for this. For more advanced and competitive tennis you are encouraged you to register for tournaments, leagues and ladders (which the VTA offers a selection of).

Do you get instruction at Play Sessions?

No, there is no instruction or coaching at Play Sessions. Players are required to understand the rules of doubles tennis to play.

The VTA will often run some Novice play sessions and Intermediate Drill sessions during the outdoor tennis season which is run by coaches. Reach out to our Play Director to enquire about these sessions. Gord and Gayle (friends of the VTA) also offer a range of lessons and coaching, contact them on 604-605-8224.

What should I bring to a play session?

Cost of the sessions includes court rental and tennis balls. We suggest you bring:

  • Tennis racket
  • Shoes with non-marking soles
  • Comfortable clothing
  • Pockets or a ball-holder clip are recommended
  • Water bottle (refill stations are available at all locations)
  • Sun protection (for outdoor sessions)

As we play in public locations, do not bring valuables.

Can we warm up on the courts early?

Check with the play session coordinator. Each week and location has different restrictions. If there are players on the court please be courteous and do not enter the courts before the scheduled play time. Make sure you are back at the meeting/assembly point promptly before starting time for announcements.

What happens to the tennis balls at the end? Do they need to be returned?

Tennis balls do not need to be returned at the end of a play session (unless requested). Players are welcome to take the balls after the session and we hope that they go to good use (just check with the other players on your court first, but generally there are plenty of balls to go around).

If you are a school, charity or community group who would like to collect the free tennis balls in Vancouver please contact our Play Director (playdirector@vtatennis.ca).

Anything else I should know?

Make yourself familiar with tennis etiquette and our code of conduct. Apart from that, introduce yourself to people, have fun, ask questions – and we look forward to meeting you!

Any other questions?

If you have any other questions or concerns please contact our Play Director (playdirector@vtatennis.ca) or any of our Board Members.