In addition to unstructured play at the regular meetings, the club should have some activities that promote regular attendance. Consideration should also be given to developing an activity that allows the less-skilled players to compete against the better players. If you don't, the less-skilled player is likely to get bored and drop out.
For this activity, some special materials are needed. They are:
- Metal-rimmed round key tags big enough to put a player's name on.
- Small screw-in type cup hooks - one for each member and a few extra.
- A piece of plywood large enough to position the key tags on it in a triangle.
On the board, lay out a large triangle with enough room for the tags to hang freely from the cup hooks. Screw the hooks into the board. Write each club member's name on a tag and place them on the hooks in the order of playing strength, with the best player at the top. It helps if the hooks are numbered.
0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0 0 0
While the rules may vary to suit specific club situations, here is a set that has worked for other clubs.
- You may challenge only on _________ night
- You may issue only two challenges per night
- You may not refuse a challenge
- You may challenge only the two players in attendance that occupy the two posts above and closest to your own
- Movement of rankings is as follows: If the challenged player wins, ranking is not affected. If the challenger wins, he moves to the post of the losing player. The losing player is moved one post below his pre-match position. Players in between these two positions are necessarily moved one post down.
Grand Prix Round Robin
This is an activity that lets the developing players play against the better players in tournament competition.
The procedure is to set up three or four monthly one-day tournaments. Each tournament will be two flights of round-robins. For the first flight, players are divided into groups of four or five with each group having one top player, one advance intermediate, one intermediate, and one beginner. Each of the first groups compete.
The second flight will be groups made up of the top two or three finishers and groups of the bottom two or three finishers. This allows the players to compete against opponents of their own strength.
Inexpensive awards should be given to the top eight players of each monthly tourney.
"Grand prix" points can be awarded each player according to his finish in the monthly tournament - the first-place finisher receiving one point, the second place finisher getting two points, etc. At the end of the tournament series, the player with the fewest points is the grand champion.
The club can be divided into three-man teams, with each team composed of three levels of players. In each team tie, you can play three singles and two doubles matches.
You may want to set a time limit on how long this activity is to run so that if one team is dominating, you can change teams around and run the event again.
One of the benefits of this activity is that the better player on the team often takes an interest in helping his teammates acquire better skills.
If you're lucky enough to have an experienced player join the club, he/she should be encouraged to conduct a couple of junior coaching clinics. USATT maintains a list of certified coaches and will help you find one in your area.
Non-playing activities should also be a part of the club's program. Socializing in a non-competitive atmosphere with the members and their families goes a long way to building a strong organization.
Club Picnic - Frequently, a club's activity declines in the summer months. A summertime picnic is a great way to get members together. Each family can be responsible for a certain kind of food. The club might provide the hot dogs and drinks. Some recreational equipment (such as horseshoe, Frisbees, etc.) should be available.
Awards Banquet - Towards the end of the playing season, your club may want to have a dinner and at that time recognize those who have made contributions of time and money to the club - both club members and outside sponsors. An easy way to do this is to have a carry-in affair with the club providing the drinks.
Community Involvement - Your club might get involved with an anti-litter campaign, plant trees in the park, provide entertainment at a nursing home or day care center, collect funds for a charitable organization, or participate in some other activity that benefits the community. This kind o effort will help cement the club's relationship with the community.
More - Swim parties, "softball Sunday", and other non-table tennis activities are especially attractive to the junior players and will help build the club's membership if properly promoted.