A group of 17 notable seniors has responded to the ACC's rejection of its petition with an in-depth analysis of the average number of tournaments played by the top 100 players in the 55-75 divisions (2014: 6.2, 6.9, 6.7, 7.0, 6.9; 2015: 6.3, 6.4, 6.4, 6.5, 6.3). 83% of 180 players polled by Tonidandel favored that five or more tournaments be counted. Stay posted.
The Adult Competition Committee notified Ron Tonidandel (Feb. 17, 2016) that it has rejected his multi-player petition to increase (from four) the number of tournaments that count towards a national ranking.
While that's unfortunate, the more damaging (and ill-considered) change was increasing the number of seeds ─ thus discouraging badly needed new players by eliminating their chance of an occasional favorable draw. See our prior editorial.
The Adult Competition Committee (ACC) plans to offer tournament organizers "additional tournament format options...round-robins, compass draws, block-seeding..." in an attempt to woo league players to our faltering senior tournaments.
While a survey of the more than 50,000 league players rated 4.0 and higher indicated players want "shorter, more economical options" it's unlikely that publicizing already-permitted (and seldom understood) formats would generate increased participation.
A more productive alternative would be to recruit (and compensate) recognizable senior players to make presentations at sectional league playoffs. Emphasizing the camaraderie and game-improving benefits offered by competing at a higher level would appeal to the competitive natures of at least some of those players. Distributing a schedule of upcoming tournaments would also make a difference.
Marketing is what's needed.
Committees being committees and doing what they do (meeting and pronouncing), here's the key point of the most recent statement by the chair of the Adult Competition Committee:
"Providing effective communication to current and prospective players and tournament organizers through multiple channels;"
As though marketing consists merely of stating a principle or two. Ugh!
How about actual steps to ensure that the appeal of our senior tournaments is really sold to potential candidates — such as league players who've reached sectional or regional playoffs.
The Adult Competition Committee appears to be locked into fiddling with tournament formats (unsuccessfully, I'd say) rather than building participation in the proven structure of traditional age-division events. Young seniors, with limited time to travel, surely can be encouraged to try an occasional one of "our" tournaments. Why not try marketing to them at sectional or regional NTRP playoffs using appearances by notable seniors armed with talking points and focused schedules? Encourage the committee at [email protected].
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