Join Bridge Winners
All comments by Jonathan Friedel
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While I agree the math works, the club perspective is one of those away games may result in a player of your club deciding he or she likes the other club better and or that playing at multiple clubs is nice and they decrease the number of times they play at the former main club…. too much of a threat out there.
April 12
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From my limited experience of only playing for 5 years and running a club for 4 years, clubs my area are too greedy to think about letting 1 player play somewhere else other then their club. They have zero long term thinking for how to increase profits or the will to to think about what they can do to insure bridge is around in another 40 years.
April 12
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1. Unit 171, we have a new president. Things still are not great, but a vast improvement. Prior, the previous two presidents, their mantra was to destroy our club. The unit acted as a protectorate of the two largest clubs in the unit. It would appear their goal was to prevent new clubs from forming or success. Additionally the Unit allowed one of the larger clubs to run a sectional and keep half the profits and refused to allow us to participate in the profit sharing. By the end of 3 years I had pretty much lost my drive to grow our club.

2. We have tried several different price points for LBIAD, from $75 including free ACBL membership for a year to free with a book charge. We find with LBIAD it is hard to keep students after a few months. We are working on our own version of a beginner quick start program.

3. Word of mouth

4. We try to make every game a special game (most of the time that works out to be about 3 weeks a month or every game in months where the entire month can be an ACBL special game.) The Unit does not understand scheduling and often times they run Unit Championships or Unit Special games on the same days we could be offering an ACBL special game. Come November and December we often have times finding special games (thanks to Units poor planning). Also, we do not charge more for most special games. We do charge more for STaC games and GNTQs.

5. For profit, yes, we try to make a little $$$. The theory is we need to break even and if we do it right, we would make $$$. However, the Unit's attempt to destroy us in the past few years, I have lost my drive to recruit new members to the ACBL as well as growing the club.

In summary, the ACBL should be directly running or overseeing Districts. Unit complaints should go to the ACBL not the District.
July 18, 2018
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What is not known is why you are teaching bridge. The answer to that may impact the method you use.

If you make a living teaching bridge and you want to put your student through as many classes as possible, a good plan may be to start with LBIAD, then jump into Easy Bridge, then SAYC, then 2/1 and then continual lessons. You will be able to teach to your bank accounts pleasure. The question is, how many students will you drop along the way. My guess, after a few months you will have 20% left and that may be just perfect for you.

The reason my club teaches bridge… we don't care about the money, we don't care about the club making money… we want to get more people playing bridge and to provide our students with the opportunity to become good bridge players. Yes, some, if not many, may never make it ot the advanced level… but what we don't want to do is have students have to unlearn things and make them take any more lessons than necessary.

For us, learning Precision from the start seems to be the way to go. We have come up with (still a work in progress) an absolute beginner Precision class. While the students may find they do not have a lot of others to play against, for the first few months they will spend their time playing with each other. By the time they have the basics down, they won't mind player against others playing different systems… we build this into their class and demand our better players be cooperative with new players.

Our goal is increase the number of students that remain from each class… and staying with LBIAD, SAYC and 2/1 does not seem to get us above 20% retention after 9 months.
July 1, 2018
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Well thought out! My thinking at the moment is more leaning with teaching absolute beginners Precision. I am frustrated by the retention rate of our beginner classes. While there may be a lack of others paying the system, if you are going to make the change, you have to make it at some point. Why not now and see if we wind up with a bunch of new players that don't disappear over the next 3 months.
June 30, 2018
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Chris, I think you hit the nail on the head, the problem with ACBL is they don't know what they are all about. Clearly they are not focusing on fixing the issues relating to Duplicate Bridge related things. Perhaps they are focusing on other Contract bridge things….
June 30, 2018
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I did, and now I ponder if I want to be playing duplicate bridge in 20 years if I should start a new bridge organization as I don't see any big changes coming to ACBL with the mindset of your original comment.
June 30, 2018
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Ray, from your comment above, my guess would be you are the typical player that results in new players never returning to the table.

I think I have a pretty good handle on how to improve the FX C$ function at ACBL, but no way to tell for sure without either meeting with ACBL or having them provide information for me to build a benchmark.

Additionally, with posts like yours it is self evident if any of us are going to seriously help the ACBL, it will have to be in a forum without public access so we are not hijacked and wasting our time replying to posts like yours above.

I am out of here, if anyone wants to continue the discussion and figure out how we move forward, PM me and I will provide my phone number.
June 29, 2018
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Yes, BBO combined with Skype is a great way to offer online lessons, and you can have up to 4 students at a time. I take lessons this way.
June 29, 2018
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I don't see how we can actually provide a well planned solution to the ACBL without direct insight to current banking C$ vehicles, methods, levels and fees. We could offer to put a 3 person group together and go to ACBL HQ for a sit down, or I guess tell them we are offering help and a list of the info we need in order to present a solution.

Further, I do not think the current environment at HQ is receptive to ideas from the outside. At least that is my take from what Canadian clubs have said.
June 29, 2018
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What is the topic of this thread?
June 28, 2018
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@Steve Moese.. that's all great, but will you be teaching Easy Bridge, SAYC, 2/1 or something else?
June 28, 2018
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Silvana Zangri, YES, YES & YES! Zero tolerance is a joke and the ACBL does not help much or if they do, with very short sighted ideas. That said, this discussions is about what should we be teaching, not how we fix the ACBL.

* * * Perhaps you should start another thread * * *
on marketing, the club & growing membership vis a vis the ACBL

I would be glad to contribute to that thread, I have lots of ideas…. and lack of small clubs is key. But back to the topic on hand…

The next newbee class we offer will be a 5 hour introduction to bridge, using the most basic principles of Precision. The problem for me, after offering such a class, the next 9 months require one lesson a week and one practice game per week. I treble my current workload.

My hope is that with this class, students will find bridge less complicated and more fun than teaching SAYC, resulting in at least 50% of the students making it past the 12 week point.
June 28, 2018
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Silvana Zangri, yes, you have identified some of the key reasons bridge is dying. But, according to those reasons, we should give up and assume bridge is dead. I for one would like to keep playing bridge for the rest of my life and that won't happen if there are not enough people to have games and regionals.

How do we solve that? We have few players taking on the game, and of those players, we lose 80%+ in the first two months of lessons. We need to fix this problem and keep at least 60% of them. To do that there are a few things we can do. The first and biggest change is how we teach bridge.

How about adding to the discussion for helpful insight instead of telling us what is self evident! (not trying to be mean, but the discussion is about teaching methods, not why bridge is dying other than teaching methods scaring off players.)
June 28, 2018
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Much of the root of discussion in this thread mirrors many other threads, which mirrors how the ACBL has operated for years… We (the ACBL) knows what works, this is how we do it, this is how we have done it for years, there is no better system or need for change.

Yet, clubs continue to have fewer tables over time and tournaments are shrinking or disappearing. There are many reasons duplicate bridge in dwindling in players including other activities that did not exist in the past that never competed for seats before as well a a far different mindset of younger generations. Irregardless, we need to start thinking outside the box and stop trying to teach the same system we have been teaching in the past or we won't be teaching any systems. If you don't agree, how are your club numbers for new players and retaining them?

The excuse of not enough people play this or that type of system so I won't teach it, or if the players go to another club they won't know what is going on…. so what! As long as the teacher explains to them in the beginning of the course exactly what would happen if they go to another course and that often times people will have no idea how this system works, they will understand for the next 6 months they need to play right here with this group. Eventually when they do go to other clubs, their enhanced bidding system will have them winning over others that have been playing for longer periods of times. Hopefully, this alone will help ensure they remain an ACBL member for years to come.

The ACBL needs major changes yet refuses to do so… when push comes to shove, they make the smallest of changes as to not upset the boat. The boat needs spun around at rapid speeds to eject the dead weight. We need more clubs to force old clubs to change their current ways which result in students giving up the game in the first two months of classes… we need new teaching methods. If it were up to me I would ban teaching SAYC and 2/1 and lets see what creative methods and systems clubs and teachers could invent.

Stick with teaching the way you have been teaching for the past 10 years and sectionals will be taking place and McDonalds.

I learned Easy Bridge (a terrible way to start if you really want to learn to be a good duplicate bridge player), to much unlearning down the road, then SAYC, then 2/1. I started a Precision class but I decided I really am not good enough at SAYC & 2/1 that I really will only make a mess of things. So now working hard to master what I have learned and am going to skip Precision and try Polish next year.

What we must all agree on is we need change. Those words are cheap, are you willing to actually change the system(s) you teach or just keep moaning about Duplicate Bridge shrinking in membership?
June 28, 2018
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IMHO the current system that is being taught is not achieving the goal of growing membership with new players.

Who are new players? The new players that we need the most are younger players yet not Youth Bridge age. This group, perhaps the age of 18 to 28/32 have a total different view on games… Video games, computer games, things are very binary and not overly complicated. Standard Yellow Card from the start is not going to keep them coming back to the table.

I think Jef is spot on. A simple modern precision system (the only thing that scares me is the 2D opener is enough to scare away Univac) and new students should find it much easer to figure out what their opening bid should be as well as responder.

The alternative seems to be keeping SAYC and well… might as well keep a big board of directors as ACBL and just keeping talking about ways to fix the ACBL and increase membership until there are not enough bridge players left that it matters not.

What needs to happen on top of this (although this is the wrong forum) is we need more bridge clubs… small clubs that can attract younger players without the nasty older people who scare away most of the newer players. (Yes, not all older people are nasty, but it is the reason I dread directing some games.)
June 27, 2018
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This is why I often find spending times trying to help in public forums is a waste of time. Of course it matters, at least the exercise in general usually leads to cost cutting and discovering new delivery and collections methods that did not exist previously.

Every few years this exercise should be done. PLAN DO CHECK ACT

Additionally, how does ACBL pay vendors and employees in Canada. If they do not use C$ ACH (EFT) there could still be big savings.

There is so much more to discuss on the issue, yet you are sure none of this is relevant…

Do you have any direct association with ACBL other than a player?
June 26, 2018
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You must declare prior to leaving the US if you are carrying more than $10k in cash or combined instruments You can take as much as you want just have to declare it. I would much rather bank it.
June 25, 2018
Jonathan Friedel edited this comment June 25, 2018
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I get the feeling ACBL is not looking for free advice. Part of the overall problem and a symptom of poor management. Until we have a functioning board we can dream all we want.
June 25, 2018
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But the bigger question is why does the ACBL not employ people that can figure this out? Maybe they should hire me?
June 25, 2018
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