Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Attracting New Members

What is the answer? I have been reading some of the many articles on the subject by Ken Latty. You can see one of these by clicking on the link below.

  • Ken Latty's article

  • One of his very strong points is that only a very small percentage of those who have Bridge lessons and learn the basics of the game go on to play duplicate and become members of a club. He feels that clubs often seem unwelcoming and intimidating and even refuse to admit beginners. His answer is to allow only 'simple systems' and to operate a zero tolerance policy for rude or impolite behaviour (see previous post) .

    He seems to have received a great deal of criticism for this approach as many feel it is too draconian and limiting. I have to say that I agree with a lot of his ideas but wonder if there are alternative approaches to attracting and keeping players while still allowing scope for more conventions than allowed in 'simple systems'.

    What is your opinion -let us know if you have found ways of overcoming the 'fear' factor in attracting new members.

    Ken Latty replied:

    I was interested to read that there are those who feel my approach to bridge is too draconian, and yes, I am aware of that, but make no apology for it.

    I know, you know, everyone knows, this game of duplicate bridge is spoilt for many by the appalling attitude and behaviour of a few. We all know that there are countless numbers who have been put off duplicate bridge by that egotistical and inconsiderate few, so why tolerate them?

    It is not quite true to say the East Sussex Bridge Club plays only Simple System. We do allow a fair number of conventions - see our Policy Page at East Sussex Bridge Club. In truth it was pretty arbitrary as to what conventions we would allow but experience and player reaction would suggest we have it about right.

    Interestingly, I reckon some thirty per cent of our membership would not be playing duplicate if they were not able to come to the East Sussex Bridge Club. Multiply that by the number of clubs in the country, add on the number who have been so frightened away they will not even come to the East Sussex and you have hugh number of those who should be playing duplicate but do not.


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