Social Doubles

The Vancouver Tennis Association (VTA) runs Social Doubles sessions on a weekly basis throughout the year. The focus is to have fun and gain match experience. This is one of our most popular tennis programs.

Member signup for sessions

View Play Roster


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

Social Doubles
Social Doubles
Dates May to August September to April
Day & Time Easy:
• Saturday, 5-7pm
All Levels:

• Sunday, 5-7pm

(Easy, Intermediate and Advanced)

• Friday, 6-8pm
• Sunday, 5-7pm
• Monday, 6-8pm
Location/s Stanley Park North Vancouver
Delta (TBC 2018/2019)
Play format Doubles: Moving Court Doubles: Fixed Court
Cost $12 per session $12 per session
Registration Opens: Tues 7am
Closes: Thurs 7am
Opens: Mon 7am
Closes: Wed 7am



Play Levels

To play Social Doubles 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 VTA Ranking Points
Easy 1.5 to 2.5 Any
Intermediate 3.0 to 4.0 Any
Advanced 4.0 or higher 12+ points

Members with VTA Ranking points of 12 or higher will have priority on the play roster for Advanced sessions. Players who do not meet this criteria will be added to the play roster when there are additional spaces available.



How to Register to Play

  1. Each week members register online for Social Doubles (button above). You can register to play as many weeks as you like and choose which session (time/location) you would like to play.
  2. Turn up 10-15 minutes before play time at the allocated meeting point. The play coordinator will be around to take payment (please bring credit card), they will let you know which court you have been assigned to start.
  3. Shortly before beginning the group will assemble at the meeting point for announcements and to run through introductions.
  4. Go to your court and start play. Have fun!


On registering for Social Doubles
  • 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 register as an individual (ie. not a doubles pair). You will be assigned a court as an individual; the four players on that court will assign doubles partners.
  • Email notifications are sent:
    • When Social Doubles signup is available
    • If you have been allocated a spot on the play roster
    • If you have been moved from the waitlist to the play roster
  • You can also check the play roster (and waitlist) via the registration form. It is the members responsibility to check the play roster each week.
  • Withdraws on the day of the play session are not permitted. Any withdraws must be done before midnight. In case of injury or emergency please contact the VTA Play Director.


The waitlist

As this is one of our most popular programs and sessions will fill up, some players may be placed on a waitlist. The waitlist was intended to create a more fair roster of players for the sessions. It doesn’t matter what time during the registration window you sign up – the play roster and waitlist are not first come, first served. There are three factors that affect your priority on the list:

  • If you were on the waitlist one week, you will have priority for the next week
  • When you played your last Social Doubles (ie. if you played last week, your priority is lower)
  • How many play sessions you have attended

If you sign up outside of the registration window, you will be placed on the waitlist (unless there is space).



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 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 on the court. 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.


Assigning Doubles Pairs

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 Social Doubles – 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 Social Doubles – 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.

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



Social Doubles Play Locations

Play Locations & Meeting Points

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 joining Social Doubles. 

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).



Social Doubles FAQ

What age ranges and skill levels play Social Doubles?

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

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

Do I need a doubles partner to sign up?

No. You register as an individual. You will be assigned a court as an individual; the four players on that court will assign doubles partners.


What time during the year does Social Doubles run?

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

Are there any special rules?

Social doubles plays with standard doubles rules. We do not play short-deuce or any other adaptations.

Some groups will play “first-of-five” (this is usually when very little or no serves are practiced in the warm-up segment). For the first service for each player, they have up to five attempts to get their serve in. Playing “first-of-five” must be announced and agreed upon by all players before 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).

As this is casual social games, 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 (in a pocket or otherwise) a second ball on your service. 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, it is assumed session is going ahead. We will also try and send email notifications for cancelled sessions. Indoor sessions are not affected by weather.

How do I pay for the session?

To pay for each Social Doubles session you are attending, please bring payment to the venue (arrive 10 minutes before the session starts). The session coordinator will process payments with a mobile payment processor. While credit card is preferred, cash will also be accepted (exact change only).

You will only pay for the Social Doubles sessions you have registered to play. Once you have paid your VTA membership fees (processed online) you will be able to register online each week for the Social Doubles sessions you would like to play.

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 padlock).

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 – only a time limit 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 Social Doubles sessions?

For Outdoor Social Doubles 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 Social Doubles, 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 Social Doubles it was decided to eliminated the court changing between play segments.

Can I attend more than one play session per week?

Yes. You will have to complete the signup form again to register for the second session.

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

The VTA has developed a ranking system to help assign players to courts with other members of a similar level. It is completely automated by an algorithm using the score tallies from play sessions. Members can view their current ranking via the members-only section of the website.

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 – Social Doubles 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 Social Doubles play sessions?

No, there is no instruction or coaching at Social Doubles. Players are required to understand the rules of doubles tennis to play in this program.

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)
  • Sun protection (for outdoor sessions)
  • Water bottle (refill stations are available at all locations)

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

Can we warm up on the courts early?

Check with the play 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.

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 (

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 ( or any of our Board Members.