How to get people to call the TD?

Does anyone have any suggestions for how to educate club players to call the TD, rather than trying to sort things out for themselves? The scenario here would be a playing TD and a field with an average NGS of below 50 - and it is unlikely that during the session the TD will be called for anything other than wrong number of cards in the board or, possibly, a revoke.
I have three main concerns:
1) incorrect application of the rules
2) potential for less experienced players to be disadvantaged (whether intentionally or otherwise) by people they think are giving them correct information.
3) UI


  • I would try and have a lesson on the importance of the TD in any introductory course - possibly followed by a session where the aim is to call the TD. This can be helped by having 'plants' of experienced pairs who break the laws e.g. 1 pair will revoke, one pair will make an incorrect claim, one pair will deliberately make a misdescription of their hand, 1 pair will lead out of turn, another will make an insufficient bid , 1 pair will create UI etc. Obviously this will need a lot of pre-planning - and quite a few TDs to handle the calls : =) .

    I am all in favour of the Director being called appropriately - when players try and sort it out for themselves before calling the TD there is inevitably additional UI and dispute escalation - which make rulings harder and reduces enjoyment.

  • Agree with both so far. I would like to add that we have added a new card to the bidding box. We use the large upright ones and the additional card is full width and fits between Stop and Alert. If is yellow and shows a smiley face. Lower done it says "Smile, it is only a game". Any player can show this card at any time to any player. 2 yellows in an evening gets a quiet word from Paddington Bear (my wife). It shows a marked change to players attitude.

  • I think the TD should stand up at the start of each game and welcome everyone, saying something like "I'm your TD and I'm here to help you with any irregularities that occur so do please call for me if anything goes wrong, rather than trying to sort it out for yourselves". As long as you always approach the table in a friendly manner, the players won't be reluctant to call you.

    The other thing to do is to stop people from talking about calling the TD "on" someone!

  • You also want to get away from the idea that someone specific has to call the TD. If you are going to say anything please add that all four players should call the TD.

  • Very much like the last two comments; we have been talking in Cheltenham about a campaign under the banner of "the TD is your friend". We might have posters round the walls with this ...

  • I always like the idea of the 'perceived infractor' calling the TD themselves; and for the TD to try and let them have the first 'say'. 'He did ...." can sound so much more accusatory, than "I ........"

  • The attitude of players when the TD is called over has become, certainly, in the clubs where I play, a thing that sets you apart, people treat you as if you are a mean person or, even worse, as if you are a 'snitch'. It's almost as if you are the one who shot Bambi's mother ! I totally agree with the poster who has said that the TD should announce at the beginning of the session that calling for the TD is part of the game and that it does not reflect badly on any player if the TD is called it is simply another aspect of the game.

  • TagTag
    edited November 2017

    I've found that clubs develop their own culture with regards to TD calls. It can even depend on who is directing on any given night, since, as we are aware, directors vary as much in ability as players do. Some TDs come to the table and strive to explain all options and reasons for rulings whilst others turn up and scowl, asking why we are bothering them and why couldn't we just sort it out ourselves.

    Another part of club culture can also be table-top TDs. There's an irregularity at the table and one of the players assumes the role of TD, telling others what their options are or what restrictions they've just incurred, usually incorrectly. Well, always incorrectly but also usually incorrect. Players often find themselves browbeaten into accepted the player's words because "they don't want to get the TD involved".

    At other clubs however, people freely call the director. Even the director will call for another player who is also a capable director to come and rule on infractions at their own table. There is no negativity to a director call at these clubs.

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