Club Management Focus: Winter 2018

Brighouse on the Fast Track

Many clubs run bridge lessons, with a number starting to use the new Fast Track materials created by EBED. Lots of potential bridge players are created every year, but often this does not translate to an increase in the number of members of the club, playing in their regular club sessions.

Brighouse BC, in Yorkshire, ran a Fast Track course in the autumn, attended by 28 new players. Then, to ensure they converted these students in to bridge players, they have started a weekly evening duplicate aimed at those who had completed the Fast Track course. 21 of those who attended the Fast Track course have joined the club and most take part in these weekly sessions – an excellent start.

Features of the sessions are:

  • All those completing the Fast Track course were given a sheet of notes, summarising what they learnt, and reference can be made to these during the sessions.
  • Play is at a relaxed pace. The boards, rather than a pair, move from table to table, so each table can play at its own pace. Later in the year, when they are comfortable with playing as a four, then East-West will start moving.
  • Aggregate scoring is used at present, so they do not need to worry about match points, or pairs tactics - that will come later in the year. By keeping an aggregate score, however, there is still a mildly competitive element and a chance to compare results.
  • Experienced players from the club attend each week to help and to answer questions. This not only helps the new players to improve, but also introduces them to other club members, ensuring there is a friendly face when they ultimately attend regular club sessions.

These sessions will run each week, and will end in September. By that point it is hoped that all will be confident playing duplicate pairs, and can be encouraged to transition to the club sessions - if they haven’t already done so. With ‘the nest’ then empty the club will then start a new Fast Track course to bring in the next group of future players.

There may be a few more lost along the way, but all being well Brighouse will see an excellent conversion rate from lessons to club sessions – far higher than the 20- or 30-something per cent which is believed to be the norm. The investment of time by those involved will hopefully have been very worthwhile.