Pickups with more than 12 players

Hi everyone,

In Bordeaux, we have had a few pick ups sessions with more than 12 peoples, and we are not used to it! We have only one court, 3-4 fresh newbies and only a limited amount of time. We normally just run big shuffles after big shuffles, but it seems not optimal.
We want to maximize play time for everyone, making sure everyone has a fair amount of time on the court, and maximal fun, while maintaining it inclusive for the newbies and interesting/intense for the advanced players.

What’s the magical recipe you use in your clubs? What format did you try that worked/didn’t work and why?


I heard about Montreal’s card system. Every time there is 3 pick ups:
Newb (slow you play to give them game time and advice)
Middle (fun for everyone limited physicality, challenging for newbies)
Hard (everyone plays to win, including checks and potentially scary situations)

Anyone chooses which pick ups they want to play their next game, but there’s a waiting list.
You might end up playing more pick ups if you play slower or less if you just want to go hard!

Hope that makes sense, call me if you need precisions!


When I started in Brussels, when there were 12+ players we played ‘a bench’. 2 big teams were made, and the game kept going while every now and then a player was replaced. Mostly when the game was stopped by a goal or other.

It doesn’t take into account the different levels or intensities of play, neither it was very precise in timing, but it was fun. Another thought is that you always played with the same 5 players of your team. But still I have good memories of it. Maybe it’s just nostalgia :slight_smile:

Curious to follow the other answers.

i will separate games with an intent to teach bike polo to new players / lgive them space with just a regular game where everyone play their game

12 players total

first pile

4 new players + 2 other players with enough self control and pedagogy to let the new players make most of the play. teams are 2 newbies 1 regular per team

second pile

6 regular players that can play for themselves

after resolving these two games instead of mega shuffling

1st pile

4 new player + 2 regulars ( different ones)

2nd pile 6 regulars.

this way you cater in the same night for many levels.

then do a round with 1 newbie per team or something. as long as everyone have fun and play the game


You could also try cards with the names on it for shuffle. You could do it during games are still on and it’s adjust the games manually (according to the other suggestions)

Try team nights with specials to train specific skills

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Thanks everyone for the great ideas!
I remember Elodie once told me she used that card system in Strasbourg at some point, when the level was very heterogeneous! We will try! And yes, it has the advantage that you can organize the games while games are still on!
Bench, I always find it difficult when the level is heterogeneous because it is not as easy for everyone to enter the court, and some end up playing a lot while others spent most of their time waiting.
The team nights seems amazing, I’ll definitely will try some of those on our ‘training nights’!


In Rouen there is a discussion about it actually.

The system I believe in is (not every one in Rouen find it the best, I’m just talking about me) :

  • If there are more than 9 players, big shuffle (to make sure people will play against/with different people).
  • If you can’t divide the amount of people by 3, let’s say you have 14 players : you do a big shuffle, that will organize 2 games (2 x 6 players) and the 2 people remaining will play the first game of the next big shuffle.

That way, if you don’t have any chance when shuffling, the maximum games you won’t play is 3* (it adds up as the number of players adds up) if not, you’re gonna play every two games (sometime two games in a row).
We tried others systems and the “no luck shuffle” could make you not play 4 or even 5 games.

I explain here why 3 games is the maximum : If by any lack of chance you are really unlucky (let’s say you are in the two remaining of round #1, then you play the first game of round #2 BUT you are unlucky and be in the two remaining of round #3, it means you won’t play for 3 games (2nd game of round #2 and 2 games of round #3). This is the only case yuou have to wait. We can fix this by adding you in the 2nd game of Round #2 by default if you were in the remaining players the round before.

hope that helps

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