Maintaining Control and Encouraging Good Behaviour

edited January 2020 in EBU TDs

I think the EBU should consider adding some training to help directors maintain good behaviour when they are running an event. I see a number of directors who really don't do much to encourage good behaviour, with a result that there is a lot of arguing and noise that puts off a number of players, and creates an unpleasant environment. When I did my EBU TD courses, I don't think this was really mentioned.

I always try to start my own sessions, with a brief recap of about 3 things, I would like players to try to follow, such as:
Welcoming or introducing yourselves to your opponents when they arrive.
Avoiding long discussions about any of the hands
Don't criticise your partner
Keep your voices down at all times

These things definitely help promote a friendly and welcoming environment.

I think directors should be trained in this, as much as in the laws of bridge.



  • It's tricky; it's more about managing the room than reminding people about Best Behaviour. But it's also about the culture of the club - silence is ideal for play but not at all friendly, quiet chatter is normally fine, but I'd not want to play at a club where I can't hear myself think. (And I've played in packed pubs that are quieter than some clubs.)

    Could the more experienced (playing) club directors give their tactics? Do you intervene when you hear raised voices at a table? Or when you think a TD should have been called but hasn't? Do you have BBaB laminated on the tables? Do you have a "thought for the day" at the beginning of a session?

    My useful tip is just to set the session off confidently - clearly announce the movement (and what to do between tables) and wish them a good game - do this even if everyone knows. If players feel you're in control at the start then it runs much more smoothly.

  • @Mark_Brown said:
    My useful tip is just to set the session off confidently - clearly announce the movement (and what to do between tables) and wish them a good game - do this even if everyone knows. If players feel you're in control at the start then it runs much more smoothly.

    Following on from this, I would also say that the first round is the most important one with regard to time-keeping.That's when you establish the pace you expect everyone to play at. If you allow them to play slowly on the first round it'll be very hard to get them to speed up.

  • As a playing director, if I hear the start of any ructions (usually a dispute rather than (yet) any bad behaviour) I usually call out "table N, if there's a problem call the director, if there isn't please, please settle down and continue playing".

    I do remind them at the beginning - not specifically about BB@B, but "if you're not sure, or if someone says or does something you're not happy with, call the director".

    I'm also quite hot on people not quoting the laws at the table (because they usually get it wrong), and will tell them not to if I hear it (I have big ears). I appreciate this sounds a bit harsh, but they've all been well trained to respect the director, and no-one objects.

  • I think we all have the same problem. Any more tips?

  • In terms of keeping noise down, have a three tier approach.

    Initially it's just a "Shhhh", which works most of the time (they been trained). Next, which usually occurs towards the end of a round, it's "Ladies and Gentlemen please keep the noise down as people are still playing".

    On the rare occasion that these fail to work it's (with a hint of humour) "Oh for God's sake keep the noise down you're worse than my children!"

  • I don't know what the situation is at other clubs, but our BB@B is a long way from what it should be. It is part of the director's role to manage this on the day, but it's not easy, and can't be done without the club doing its part.

    I also think there's a general reluctance in directors to upset the apple cart - I've seen many situations where a word needs to be had, but it's easier to sweep it under the carpet. This is, IMHO, counter productive, and encourages poor behaviour.

    When I do see hostilities starting, I drop whatever I'm doing and get straight in there. If it's already erupted I use "strict school master" style, starting with "What's going on", and choosing someone to tell me. I'm very strict about them telling their sides one at a time, and am not beyond telling people to be quiet quite forcefully. After I've got an idea what's going on, I make it clear to all of them that it should not have got this far and someone should have called me earlier. I then deal with the issue (disputed claim or whatever), and only then do I go back to address the behaviour. I think this helps because they see it could have been resolved peacefully, and whoever was "wrong" usually feels some contrition.

    It helps if you're not afraid to upset people, are consistent, and only criticise specific behaviour/actions.

    It saddens me the number of times I have to deal with incidents that should never have arisen.

  • Yes, I agree with those comments. I think some directors do not do enough to stop arguing, bad behaviour and noise: it is a constant battle (which gets easier over time).

    Just to remind you, the main purpose of this post from me was to suggest that the EBU Director Training is updated to include a section on maintaining control and stopping bad behaviour. I think that better director skills in this area are really important to keep clubs going.

    I think I am right in saying that the EBU training does not really deal with this at all at the moment.

  • It is not particularly mentioned in the booklet "How to run a club duplicate" but I certainly discuss behaviour and BB at B and I believe all other EBU TDs that run the Club TD courses cover the subject on the first day of the four days. (which EBED calls Day 0).

    Barrie Partridge - CTD for Bridge Club Live

  • Although talking about BB@B is part of this, I am really talking about specific training for directors in dealing with typical situations such as dealing with noise and arguments, and encouraging good behaviour. This should not be an afterthought to director training, but an integral part of it. Many playing directors just do not deal properly with this. They ignore situations unless they really get out of hand. One director at our club just used to periodically shout at the top of her voice: "SHUT UP!!!" It would be funny if it weren't so sad...

  • In defence of the TD course, on mine we had a fairly long discussion on slow play; and several other gems on how to word questions to get clear answers with accusations.

    What it didn't cover was the inter-personal skills. Talk to your club leadership on those - different clubs have different appetites on noise, hesitations, slow play and they might want it left as is. For my main club, I only intervene on noise if people are grumbling about it, but that's what they want.

  • The TD courses can teach the importance of good behaviour from the players and the need for some level of control from the TD. It is much harder to teach the skills necessary to achieve that - often the type of person who is interested in the logic of the laws and the technicalities of scoring does not have those skills and will take time to learn them. Established (respected) club members who do have these skills can work work with the TD to maintain the required level of order.

  • If I'm running a Club Duplicate and there are newcomers in the room I will generally say something like 'let's make sure we make our newcomers feel welcome and want to come back'.
    At the start of our Club Blue-Pointed Weekend I just say 'We have a club code of conduct which can be summarised as 'be nice or be somewhere else'. The flyers for the weekend say 'Level 4 conventions are allowed - bad behaviour is not!'
    I do say 'please call me sooner rather than later - it's a lot easier for me to deal with a problem in it's early stages''.
    As for silence at one club we empower our members to just say 'Shhhhh...' which has a great effect. We found that called out 'Quiet!' just got people's hackles up. Other Clubs might find the reverse.
    I like Robin's point about some TDs needing time to learn the soft skills ... what I think is important is that they realise the soft skills are important and if absent need developing.
    I remember talking to Richard Banbury at the London Y/E and he was already aware of the benefit of improving soft skill training for TDs.
    I've been playing with a set of 'competencies' that may differentiate TDs from one another (in addition to what experience they have of different event types, different technical aspects of directing and what courses they have done and have planned. I shared them with Richard and have appended them to this note. All feedback welcome .. but bear in mind they are only a first or second iteration and I'm well aware of how much they could be improved.

    Peter Bushby Suffolk

Sign In or Register to comment.