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  1. #1
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    Default Lessons learned from running an adult feeder group

    My club plays to a decent level, but we could do with a few more members. As with most clubs, we get a steady trickle of enquiries from new players. Unfortunately, most aren't good enough and we have to turn them away.

    This has caused me to consider whether a feeder group would be viable. Those who weren't quite good enough would be able to get some practise in and hopefully improve enough to join the regular club.

    Therefore, I'd like feedback from anyone who has tried to set-up and run a feeder group for (relative) beginners. What were the major pitfalls? Did it upset the regular members? How much time was required by the regular members? What advice would you give my club?
    Last edited by Line & Length; 04-19-2011 at 08:12 AM. Reason: can't spell for toffee

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    I do not know anything about those, but if you actually look into a player into your club, then I think you should look and see if those people have potential in badminton, or at least have that urge to improve. Most and sadly most people who play badminton will just play to exercise and kill time. They do not want to get improve. So IMO, people with attitude to improve is the best selection. They'll improve faster. Obviously, at some point they'll stop improving because they have already reach their top peak.
    Because I did kind of teach my partner, a best friend of my with a great desire to be improve, I did see that she improve really fast.

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    Certainly enthusiasm to improve is an important factor.

    I don't think it's fair to say that most players just want to kill time. In my experience, most players play as competitively as their work and other commitments allow.

  4. #4
    Regular Member Sketchy's Avatar
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    I think some form of structured coaching is a must. Beginners playing with other beginners will not improve without it.

    Ultimately, the best (only?) way to run a sustainable club, is to attract youngsters and develop them (by structured coaching) to a level where they can play with the seniors.
    Do you currently run a junior club? Perhaps you could have a combined beginners/juniors club?

    For example, you could have the first hour of a club night open to beginners, with more advanced players also allowed to attend provided they make an effort to help teach the beginners.

    Alternatively, you might consider ways to allow the relative beginners to join the main club.
    For example, back in my Uni days, we used a standard pegboard system, except players were rated as beginner / intermediate / advanced, and there was a rule stating that beginners couldn't pick a game with advanced players.
    That way, the advanced players still get quality games, and the beginners have a better chance of improving, as they get to play with people better than themselves (the intermediates). The downside is that you're inevitably going to get people who like to think they're better than they really are...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sketchy View Post
    I think some form of structured coaching is a must. Beginners playing with other beginners will not improve without it.

    Ultimately, the best (only?) way to run a sustainable club, is to attract youngsters and develop them (by structured coaching) to a level where they can play with the seniors.
    Do you currently run a junior club? Perhaps you could have a combined beginners/juniors club?

    For example, you could have the first hour of a club night open to beginners, with more advanced players also allowed to attend provided they make an effort to help teach the beginners.

    Alternatively, you might consider ways to allow the relative beginners to join the main club.
    For example, back in my Uni days, we used a standard pegboard system, except players were rated as beginner / intermediate / advanced, and there was a rule stating that beginners couldn't pick a game with advanced players.
    That way, the advanced players still get quality games, and the beginners have a better chance of improving, as they get to play with people better than themselves (the intermediates). The downside is that you're inevitably going to get people who like to think they're better than they really are...
    I like this idea. With regards to the downside, the only viable option is to get a senior member of the club, some1 who runs it, who has authority to put people into their groups. This is where a coach to the club is handy as players are less likely to object to his decision

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    Some good points there, thanks.

    Apart from elite development, I would contest whether focusing solely on junior development is the only way to sustain clubs though. There are plenty of able adults who are motivated and good at other sports and just haven't tried badminton. They could be very handy in a few years' time. Also, just as they're getting useful, juniors tend to leave for university.

    Given that my club has limited coaching resources, I would ecco that the beginners would need to mix with the regulars in order to improve. Politically, dividing existing members into grades would be hazardous & may put more people off than it attracts. As I wrote the post, I was thinking along the lines of 'beginner's hour' followed by an 'overlap' hour, then just regulars as normal.

    Good food for thought though. May test the water at the next AGM.

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    Regular Member Sketchy's Avatar
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    I never said to focus solely on junior development. Obviously you should be trying to attract all the players you can. Long-term though, you do need to attract juniors - yes, they'll go off to Uni, but they'll come back during the holidays, and some will return after finishing Uni (likely after having received some coaching to become much better players).
    If you don't have youngsters coming in, the club will just stagnate, and gradually start to lose members. The local league matches will just be the same bunch of players competing among themselves, year after year. In a big city, sure you will have a steady influx of good new players, but not somewhere like Worcestershire.

    The graded pegboard system actually works quite well. The beginners don't object, because they understand that they have nothing to gain by being thrashed by much better players. The only time there's a problem, is when you get intermediates who think they're above playing with beginners - and that's going to be an issue whatever.

    The idea of beginners and advanced sessions, with an overlap period is also a good one, that I know some clubs use. The biggest problem there is with how you price it - you may find that advanced players who don't want to play during the overlap, resent having to pay for that hour.

    But yeah, the best thing to do is discuss it at the next AGM.

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    Post #4 stated (I must learn how to use quotes):

    "...the best (only?) way to run a sustainable club, is to attract youngsters and develop them..."

    I felt that this was too focused on juniors, so was advocating a more even balance between adult and junior beginners. I agree with the importance of developing juniors. If no-one did it, there'd be fewer and fewer people to play.

    Pricing the overlap is a good point. Trouble with the various forms of grading is that each one has its own pitfalls. Guess the 'best' one is whichever suits the club best. The graded pegboard is a valid method, though I think the 'elite intermediates' would be a problem for my particular club.

    My club has no problem attracting a steady stream of players. It's finding the best way of bridging the ability gap that is key.

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    A peg system can work.

    Another one I have seen is a club coach organising the games. The club organiser arranges the games so that mixed abilities play together in the first hour and then separates out the pairs into their own levels in the second half.

    It takes a certain amount of authority from the one person to run this system.

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