The South Central Florida Pickleball League provides competitive play for avid pickleballers in communities up and down US Highway 27 from Del Webb Orlando in the north to Buttonwood Bay in the south.
The league was started in 2011 by David Majick of Highlands Ridge. The founding principles of the league are to promote the game of pickleball and enhance a lifestyle that is both physically and mentally challenging for those persons who reside in active, adult living 55+ communities in central Florida.
The league provides an opportunity for the players to test their pickleball skills against the best players possible, built upon fair play, honesty and a true sense of enjoyment.
The league has two divisions. The “Best 8” division in which communities can field a team of their best 8 players, be they men or women, has been in operation since 2011. A Ladies division was added in 2016.
Previous “Best 8” league champions are: 2011 Solivita, 2012 Solivita, 2013 Highlands Ridge, 2014 Tanglewood, 2015 Highlands Ridge, 2016 Highlands Ridge, 2017 Lake Ashton, 2018 Highlands Ridge.
Ladies champions: 2016 Tanglewood, 2017 Tanglewood, 2018 Highlands Ridge.
For 2019 the “Best 8” division welcomes teams from Buttonwood Bay in Sebring and River Ranch RV in River Ranch.
As well, the Frostproof team has been split in two with the Frostproof Gators being centered at Lily Lake and the Frostproof Snowbirds having a home base at Camp Inn. These teams join Del Webb Orlando, Lake Ashton, Sun n Lake and Tanglewood. Highlands Ridge will not have a Best 8 team in 2019.
The Ladies welcome teams from Sun n Lake in Sebring, River Ranch and Lake Ashton in Lake Wales while saying farewell to the Frostproof team. Returning teams come from Del Webb Orlando, Highlands Ridge, Tanglewood and Buttonwood Bay.
Recently, representatives of all 17 teams competing in 2019 met to make changes to the scoring system and to finalize the league and playoff schedules.
In Best 8 play, the scoring system has been tweaked slightly to award a single point if the losing team takes one of the three games in a match.
On the ladies side, a major change was made in an effort to make the competition less intimidating for the weaker members of each team. In the past, each team would field four pairings ranked A, B, C and D.
Each pair would compete against each of the opponents pairings. For 2019, there will be round robin play among the top 4 players on each team and a separate round robin among the four lower ranked players.
League play will run from January 12 through March 12 with the championship “shootouts” being held at Del Webb, Orlando. The ladies will compete on March 16 with the Best 8 teams taking to the courts on March 17.