The first words on this page come via the Birmingham and Solihull and District Table Tennis League and are food for thought for local leagues.

Discussions within this league are no different to any others but around the city there is a huge number of social table tennis players, in the hundreds, playing every week who never enter the league. Social playing for instance is playing at a Bat and Chat Session on a Monday morning 10am-12pm in a leisure centre.

Having researched the reasons these players don’t connect to the league the following common themes came out which includes: –

  • I don’t want to drive at night across the city in rush hour to a match
  • I like playing with the same group of players
  • I don’t want compete
  • I want a regular time and place to play which doesn’t change every week

So how to address this is a large problem with the usual league playing format that is historically used!

To address this the league chairman is currently working to establish three parallel bottom divisions of the league. These are likely to be named Division 4a, 4b and 4c.  Neither have promotion or relegation with any other division and all are played at a central venue at the same time and place as the social session takes place. So, Division 4a will play Monday at 10am and 4b on a Tuesday afternoon. Teams will play each other once and the number of teams dictates the length of the league season, so if there are eight teams the league runs for 7 weeks. The first week of the division is the date that suits the players not the traditional Sept/Oct start. The venues are a Social Club, a tennis club pavilion and a leisure centre all starting early 2024.

This is about ‘taking the product to the people’ rather than expecting the people, who many are relatively new player to the product e.g. to the league and its existing clubs. Oh, and the league gains three more clubs that it wouldn’t in traditional circumstances.