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  •  some questions people ask Dave about Connecticut Table Tennis

    How are the clubs operated ?.

    They were founded and are operated as a public service business by the CT. TT Association's founder David Strang, under operating agreements  with various host facilities.

    So the players don't run the clubs as a democratic organization? Why not ?.

    Some USATT affiliated table tennis clubs are operated by committees or non-profit organizations, but many others are operated by an individual, partnership, or a small group of founders. See the Dayton Ohio TTC website, or most NYC clubs for examples of clubs operated by a small group of owner/directors.

    What advantages could there be in not having committees, 'elections' and voting to operate a club or decide it's policies ?

    1. Our host facilities know the club will be conducted in a consistent, predictable and professional way. This helps account for our  longevity in relationships with Hosts including Fairfield Senior Center (14+ years)  and Riverview Hospital (16+ years.)

    2. Being operated as a 'business' means that decisions are made to maximize the number of satisfied participants rather than due to 'political' considerations such as favoring the most prominent, politically persuasive or outspoken players.  My decisions are made based on decades of experience learning what works (and what doesn't) , and on talking individually to players of all ages and skill levels about what they like (and don't), and sometimes, as with our occasional Sunday night tournaments, trying things and then getting feedback.

    It's not uncommon for a small group of players to have a strong interest in a certain idea - maybe handicap leagues for example - but for a quiet majority not to be interested.  In any but the few largest clubs in the country, an idea that isn't popular with most players will result in a reduction in total active players because it divides players into those participating enthusiastically and those either not participating or doing so reluctantly. 

     3. Most players are busy with family career etc and may not want to spend the time that would be required to operate the club. 

    4. Much of the expense, time and effort beyond supervising club sessions which is needed to operate a club isn't obvious to most players, including answering e-mail and phone enquiries from new players, establishing and maintaining phone numbers and messages, and websites and links, communicating with host facilities as needed, following weather info to determine possible cancellations, conducting promotional events like youth clinics, exhibitions, and record keeping and tax preparation's to name some. 

    5. Non-profit organizations have many additional IRS requirements and limitations on how they can function.  Only a handful of USATT clubs have been able to achieve IRS recognized non-profit status.

    5. Having 'ownership' - and a financial stake in making good decisions and producing RESULTS in attracting and retaining as many weekly year-round active participants as possible creates the incentive and reward for the consistent and long-term commitment that has resulted in taking one club with 6 tables, with averages of less than 8 players per night in one location, and gradually growing it into 4 nights a week in two locations with frequent participation of 15, 25, or 30+ players each playing night. 

    Why is there only a nightly fee ? Why not have a yearly or monthly option ?

    Our players vary from those who participate a couple times a year to those who play 2 or 3 times a week at both locations. By having a nightly fee, those who enjoy the clubs more (or less) often pay accordingly.

    I have experimented with offering a fixed monthly fee such as $45 but only a few players, who usually play every time, took advantage of this and after a few months, even they decided to got back to paying nightly. 


    Why don't you hold tournaments like some other club's do ?

    The short answer is that our current  host gyms do not encourage us to do so, and it is difficult and expensive to rent an outside gym ands move tables there for a tournament.

    A typical USATT tournament requires a large gym be available for most of a full weekend. 

    Fairfield requires us to pay both an hourly rental fee PLUS time and a half hourly pay for a custodian if we conduct a tournament. This could amount to over a thousand dollars for a typical USATT tournament.

    The Riverview Gym in Middletown is heavily used on weekends because the hospital is a residential facility and the kids need activities particularly on non-school days.  

     Why don't you sell 'XYZ'  (or all) the brands of TT equipment ?

    There are dozens of brands and only the largest mail-order companies can carry more than a few different brands.

    I chose Donic Yasaka Newgy and Friendship because these are internationally respected brands and they are all also known for fair pricing and good value.

    US Distributers of the various brands also have minimum initial order and ongoing sales requirements to continue as their local representative.


       Why not promote the sport by:

    .... Advertising 

    After trying various types of paid advertising, including cable TV, Yellow Pages and newpaper ads in the past, I've learned these and similar methods are simply way too expensive for the limited results they bring, in part because our playing fees are low, and mainly because they attract relative few new players who wouldn't otherwise seek us out via the USATT and internet searches.

    ***doing exhibitions ?

    I have also done this, including College and High school basketball games, TV news features, and shopping mall appearances.  These likewise, while exciting, have brought very limited results in attracting new players to the clubs. 

    I do, however, continue to do some exhibitions and youth clinics each year working with select organizations which value and support these events.

    *** holding tournaments

    In the first few years of the CT TT Association in 1993-1999 (then called NETTA) I organized about a dozen USATT tournaments.  These had very limited impact in attracting new players, or increasing regular club participation. Since 2000, the situation with our host facilities has largely limited us to holding the yearly Senior Games event (ages 50+) during a Sunday night session in Middletown, and assisting state youth organizations with occasional events in their facilities.

    Given the availability of MANY USATT events within a close driving distance from Middletown and Fairfield, in New England New Jersey and New York City and state, Connecticut players interested in tournament play have an abundance of tournament playing opportunities without the need for events at Middletown or Fairfield.


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