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Subject: Racquetball "Marketing" Suggestion for 2001
Date: 19 Jan 2001 18:23:27 GMT
From: (Jordan Kahn)

My first racquetball suggestion for 2001.

How To Create More Players at Clubs and Create a Larger USRA Member Base.

Non-USRA members do not play tournaments for the following reasons:

1) Cost.
2) Time involved, family or work.
3) Don't want to look bad when getting beat.
4) Not playing enough to feel confident to play.

Something is wrong if 6 million people play racquetball, but less than half of
1 percent are USRA members.

If it is a "insurance issue", then the USRA should purchase additional coverage
to allow non-members to participate in a "one-time" first tournament for a few
bucks extra, and start running USRA clinics to non-USRA members and beginner
racquetball players.

Granted, the USRA does a fantastic job running national, international
tournaments and clinics for "elite players", but this has no effect or help for
the average racquetball facility.

I think the USRA believes putting resources at the "elite" end of racquetball
will somehow create "new" players who are interested in these "elite" events.

Unfortunately the average recreational player and racquetball facility manager
could care less, since the USRA has nothing to offer of value.

Sure, the magazine is nice, but only for those "really interested" in
racquetball. It still is a luxury that players can live without since most of
the names and articles have no interest to "recreational" players.

OK, enough USRA bashing… my suggestions to help solve these problems.

1) Get a new insurance policy that covers additional new players at a small
additional premium paid by new players.

2) Develop a fund to pay insurance cost to non-USRA members who participate in
free clinics.

3) Charge a $7 (example) fee to first-time tournament players, which includes
insurance and one free "special issue" of Racquetball Magazine that was
published solely to "sell" new members.

The special issue of the Free Racquetball Magazine could be designed to be
"dateless" and full of instructional help, advertising of companies websites,
with articles of "recreational" players from all levels, ages and backgrounds
with stories how they started playing.

In other words, the special issue would be at the "recreational" level, similar
to how MTV advertises to kids.

Who would pay for the "cost" to publish this?

Racquetball companies, funding from the $500,000.00 annual USOC Racquetball
Promotional Funding and possibly IHRSA.

Two mailings could be arranged, one for "first-time" players and a second with
a special "club manager" insert to be sent to all racquetball facilities,
offering new programs and detailed information (cover letter).

The advertisers and IHRSA would have a free "piggyback" advertisement included
in the "club" mailing.

This would be a "win-win" situation for all involved.

An ideal date for "club" mailing would be for August, including information how
to contact local instructors and associations to host and schedule "free"
clinics during the clubs "fall" membership drives.

Have the local instructors and state associations then do follow-up calls, with
an extra copy and printed information, just in case the club "trashed" the
mailing.

The USRA has the resources; contacts, credibility and funding while the local
states do all the "legwork" and provide staffing.

Imagine what things "could" be like if this was done a few years ago?

Jordan


Subject: Re: Racquetball "Marketing" Suggestion for 2001
Date: Sat, 20 Jan 2001 23:46:01 GMT
From: Lynn Stephen


Jordan said:
> <snip>
> Non-USRA members do not play tournaments for the following reasons:
>
> 1) Cost.
> 2) Time involved, family or work.
> 3) Don't want to look bad when getting beat.
> 4) Not playing enough to feel confident to play.

Texas and some other states are running one day shootouts which are
very popular and address all of these issues.

<snip>
>
> Have the local instructors and state associations then do follow-up
calls, with
> an extra copy and printed information, just in case the
club "trashed" the
> mailing.
>
> The USRA has the resources; contacts, credibility and funding while
the local
> states do all the "legwork" and provide staffing.
>
> Imagine what things "could" be like if this was done a few years ago?

This would be great but in the real world State Board members are
volunteers and most are not willing to take on a lot of extra work. All
this "legwork" would probably fall on the State President and I don't
think I could handle much more and still make a living.

The things we do in North Carolina that seem to work (10% increase in
membership last year)are:
We give every new member (not renewals) a membership pack when they
join up. This is instant gratification and answers the age old
question,"Just what am I getting for this $20 membership fee anyway?"
The pack consists of a canvas gym bag with our State logo on it, a t-
shirt with our logo, a can of Penn balls, a rulebook, the last 2 issues
of Racquetball Mag., the last 2 issues of our State newsletter, and any
other assorted goodies we can come up with. The USRA provides the
balls, mags, rulebooks, and some goodies for us. We do have to pay a
small amount for the rulebooks to help cover the cost of printing.

We also feel that to increase membership we have to let non-tournament
people know that our State organization exists. We have had 12" by 18"
signs(not posters) made with our State logo and our web site address on
them. We distributed these to all the clubs in the State. We support
all racquetball clubs here. Not just the ones that have tournaments.

I think you come up with some great ideas Jordan, but I would like to
hear about some things that are already in use by the States and how
they seem to be working. I think the one day shootouts would be a great
way to incorporate your idea on having a lower fee for first time
players since these tournaments don't give away shirts.

--
Lynn Stephens - President
North Carolina Racquetball Association


Subject: USTA
Date: Sat, 20 Jan 2001 04:52:28 GMT
From: "JHard

I have never belonged to the USTA(United States Tennis Association) I did
play some tennis in high school and briefly for a local college. My
daughter plays tennis for her school team. I think it is safe to say that
that is the extent of my tennis connections SO why am I receiveing a very
impressive flyer in the mail from the USTA encoraging me to join...

For 20 bucks I can become a card carrying USTA member and receive a years
subscription to Tennis Magazine and a t-shirt. Hmmmm

I figure the USTA got my name from a mailing list(I did order my kid a new
racquet) but WOW what effort on the part of the USTA to reach out to me and
probably thousands of others.

I used to belong to the USRA, havent been a member for some time now. I
should be on thier mailing list somewhere. Aint ever heard from em.

JHard


(Jordan Kahn)

But Kathy, like others, feel a new direction is needed.

For as long as I remember, and have read about (early 70's), the leadership of
racquetball awaits the coming of Olympics, TV or Pro Tours as the messiah of
racquetball.

This is like a member of a large family not getting a job because they think a
rich uncle will leave them a fortune.

By the time the USRA gets their act together, there will be few clubs left, and
those will have few courts or expensive memberships.

I said this 20 years ago. Was I wrong?

What upsets us the most, it is the "head-in-the-sand" attitude that everything
is OK, or getting better.

The only reason things look better at one club is because 2 clubs down the
street closed, or converted courts.

The USRA needs to diversify NOW by sponsoring, promoting and being active in
non-tournament racquetball events.

Yea, I know, it's the INSURANCE issue, that all players must be current USRA
members to participate in any USRA sponsored event, even a free clinic to new
players.

I wonder if during an Olympic Tournament, the USRA will check to see if all the
players, of other countries, have paid their current USRA membership?

If there are 60 pro racquetball players, or 60 players competing in the USA
racquetball Olympics, it is still only .001 percent of the 6 million
recreational players.

Or, in the TV ratings game, if 50 percent of all USRA members tuned in to watch
racquetball, it would be less than 13,000 people, or smaller than most sports
stadiums hold!

The "Olympic" dream IS BASED ON TV RATINGS.

If I were the person to decide on which sport gets into the Olympics, it surely
would be based on the number of viewers and growth of that sport.

A decline in numbers, like racquetball, is a very bad sign.

My suggestions to fix racquetball?

Get a "sister" organization formed by the USRA to promote, promote and promote,
to NON-USRA members through recreational FUN programs.

Do not use existing USRA staff, but split (yes split) the $500,000.00 annual
"Growth Fund" from the USOC directly into this new organization.

Have a 3-5 year goal, and target "groups" of cities at a time through national
promotional campaigns.

You can build up the campaign to work into the National Championships or US
Open, by giving "all expense paid vacations" through promotional "raffles" at
participating facilities that offer non-tournament promotions.

I could go on, but that's the basic belief many of us have. Some are just more
passionate in their views.

We are all stuck in the same "boat" adrift. The problem is which way do we
steer?

Jordan


Subject: More youth racquetball ideas
Date: 09 Jan 2001 18:57:10 GMT
From: (Jordan Kahn)


I just talked to two moms regarding scheduling some racquetball clinics for
their Brownie Troops.

These are two different groups that happened to ask during the same week.

I have already done a Brownie Troop clinic last year at the same Park District.

We had all 12 girls meet together while I went over the safety rules and use of
equipment, eyeguards, wristthong, and keeping racquet by leg when waiting
turns.

We split the girls into two groups; one with me, and the other waited and had
snacks in our snack room restaurant. Then both groups switched after 20
minutes.

Last year I did not charge a fee to the Brownie Troop, because the troop leader
had 2 daughters in my current weekly classes.

This year we may start charging fees, though it will be up to my boss, who this
year offered to pay me even though he was not going to charge the Brownie
Troops (nice boss).

These types of programs work great at our Park District, since we already have
seasonal youth racquetball clinics, classes and teams "scheduled" in our
seasonal brochures.

The best time to schedule any free clinic is just prior to classes starting.
And I ALWAYS offer free clinics, on the same day and time ONE WEEK prior to
dates classes begin.

Facilities that do not have existing programs have a tougher time, since there
must be lots of phone calls to arrange days and times that fit every ones
schedule (parents, kids and instructors).

For me personally, I "scheduled" weekly classes, 5-15 weeks, since parents
(moms) prefer advanced planning for their family's busy schedules.

This works great, as an instructor, since there is better "job security" and
bigger paychecks. Beats the heck out of scheduling one private lesson here and
there.

Jordan
PS. Yesterday (Monday) I did a bunch of free clinics at the Park District. I
got home about 9PM and had a phone message from a private club in the area that
needed an instructor that evening for a Park District clinic (12 kids) hosted
at their club.

As I said in the past, instructors, clubs and the USRA should put a major
marketing push into 3-8 year old activities. This has become a "major" trend in
the fitness industry, which by chance I was doing a decade ago.


 

Subject: Re: usra leadership conference
Date: 02 Jan 2001 07:46:45 GMT
(Jordan Kahn)

Regarding Junior Programs

"What can we do as a community to help club owners see that a good juniors
program is their racquetball future?"

Depending on the facility, and their policies towards "non-members", there must
be a few programs available for each type of facility to select from.

There are no "one-size" fits all programs, and that is the problem.

I teach racquetball to kids for a living, and have been doing "pre-school"
racquetball programs for 10 years.

The first thing I do when I visit to a club is look at their other pre-school
programs and youth programs.

Why?

A facility without existing programs for kids (or kids present) will always be
harder to promote youth programs.

On the other hand, you must be careful not to "steal" kids participating in
existing club programs, like tennis or basketball, since these are two major
resources of income at private clubs, Park Districts, YMCA's and JCC's.

There are, like any business, lots of "Red-Tape" and personality clashes at
health clubs.

What may be allowed for a "one-time" clinic may not be allowed as a weekly
class or future program.

"Club Policies" regarding non-members are not usually flexible, because if you
allow non-members to one department, like aerobics, basketball or tennis, the
other departments want to do the same, which is too much trouble for most
facilities to work on.

What club managers want?

1) Make money.

2) Keep members happy

3) Not spend any money.

4) Not cause them any work or trouble.

Offering free racquetball clinics have a few problems, as club managers see it:

1) Should not be free or lose money.

2) Losing "court time", members inconvenienced.

3) Losing guest fees for non-members participating.

But there are ways to work around these problems.

1) Talk to owners and ask when they run "membership promotions", this is a good
time for non-members to participate since you are also selling the club. Work
on the clubs schedule, not yours.

2) Work on a 6-9 month advanced timetable, which is what clubs normally use.

3) Donate instructor's time while allowing club to charge members, this puts
value on a program, even if it's only a few dollars a person. If the clubs
members are happy, or the club makes money, the club may want to offer more
programs.

4) Become the "Middle-Man" between the local Park District and the Local
Private Club. The club gets plenty of free advertisement while the park
district offers more programs. The club controls all registration and may
include guest fees in programs. This works great to add "outside" non-members
into programs with limited membership participation.

The key to make this work is learning what type of "policies" the local
racquetball facility has.

Then you can "sell" the best program that fits that facility.

I have 20 years experience with all types of facilities, as a racquetball
director at a large YMCA, pro at "elite" expensive private clubs, working and
teaching at big and small Park Districts.

All share the same handicap (listed above) of offering new programs.

The bottom-line for promoting juniors?

Go where the juniors are and start as young as possible!

By the age of 11-13, most kids stray away from recreational activities because
of friends or school interests.

Good Luck at the Leadership Meeting!

Jordan
PS. On December 11, 2000, a Park District I teach at, had over 40 kids
registered for the next session of free clinics, classes and teams that start
January 8, 2001.
While 40 kids may not be much, all 40 parents registered a month in advance on
the first day of registration!


Subject: Re: usra leadership conference
Date: Sun, 31 Dec 2000 19:43:09 -0500
From: "Kevin Young"


A while ago I reported reading on Jeff Anthony's site of one of
the provinces in Canada allowing first time tournament players to play
without joining the national organization to keep the cost down for
the first-timer.
I know everyone cites USRA insurance as the major roadblock, but
you could have them sign an injury waiver to waive liability.
Kind of like the one I have to sign anyway when I fill out an
application...."I hereby for myself and my executors, waive and
release any and all rights and claims I have against the USRA, (insert
club here), (insert state organization here) etc. , and their agents
for injuries in connection with said event."
Some tell me that is a foolish statement, that it wouldn't hold
up in court anyway. So it really doesn't matter if they would have to
pay anyway as a secondary insurance, the real question is would they
forgoe the loss of revenue in order to chance hooking a competitor?
If hooked, he (or she) would have to ante up for the next tournament
anyway.
If they laugh too loud at that, how about suggesting that each
state have ONE tournament a year that they would accept this practice?
If they are still laughing, ask them what plans they have to
increase tournament participation in the states where turnout is going
down.
I try all the time to get friends to try a tournament. The added
cost of USRA membership when they don't know if they will like it is
the major reason they give for not trying one. That's too bad. If
half got hooked.....

-Kevin-



Subject:              Re: Show Me The Money

        Date:              27 Sep 2000 21:07:50 GMT

       From:              (CHADJOYCE)







"sponge" mwkendal@flash.net  wrote:   ".... I love the game but am disappointed

by its lack of respect in the sporting world and its continued decline in the

health club market  ...."



Chad writes:   Dear Mr/Ms Sponge:   I started playing racquetball after a

friend invited me to play a game at his club.  That was more than 20 years ago.

 After the first game,  I knew immediately that I was hooked.  One of many ways

to help create demand for our sport is for each of us to take personal

responsibility and introduce the game to friends, associates and relatives. 

You can start today.



Chad Joyce


Subject: Re: Racquetball on TV Date: Sun, 24 Sep 2000 18:01:38 -0700 From: Rich Monroe Ron wrote: > Does anyone know if there are any racquetball tournaments that are ever > televised? It's been quite some time since I viewed racquetball on television, but what I can tell you is that coverage of any sport requires adequate camera angles to achieve optimum enjoyment for the viewing audience. Consider the difference between a basic regional NFL football game (12 cameras on the field) and a typical NFL Monday Night Football Game (18-24 cameras). That's a huge difference for the audience and if you're a football fan you can relate to what I'm saying. Part of racquetballs challenge on television may not be so much the speed at which the ball travels but adequate coverage of the playing area and a game at which the serving pace (Rule 3.5 DELAYS) creates difficulty for a television crew to show instant replay or slo-motion during a live broadcast. Soooooo, what broadcasters and sponsors are left with is the option to shoot an event ("live on tape" as best they can) and then take the material to Editing and package it into a program that will fit into a half hour slot somewhere in their packed programming schedule, and, according to some of the posts I've been reading here, Racquetball has gotten some pretty lousy time slots, like Sunday mornings from 3:30 am to 4:00 am. How unfortunate. How can this be improved? Pro-event promoters - If you're going to put on an event for television make sure it has a court with adequate viewing for television cameras. Two should be placed in the front wall (high shot and low angle), one camera in each side wall covering the service box to cover both left and right handed players (think of golfs coverage of a typical tee shot for these two), Overhead camera (excellent for telestrator - color commentary on court awareness, position and strategy), two back corner side wall cameras (for covering corner back wall shots), One back wall camera covering the entire game and rally, a high back wall camera (reverse of the one high in the front wall) a camera on the referee, a camera on the gallery and finally a camera on the hosts of the broadcast. That's twelve cameras (4 manned and 8 remote) to adequately cover the sport of racquetball. Anything less and you'll begin to sacrifice the entertainment value for the audience and sell ability of the broadcast (or tape delay) to sponsors and advertisers. Sponsors - It takes a lot of time and costs a lot of money to put on a broadcast such as I've outlined. Work with promoters and broadcasters to enhance or remodel facilities to hold such events. If an venue doesn't have adequate capabilities then don't go there expecting outstanding televised results. If you want an audience to buy your products you've got to give them something of value to watch beyond basic coverage. USRA, Event Promoters, and Sponsors - Lobby the networks to cover your events ADEQUATELY, thus giving them something of value to sell to their advertisers at times people will be watching. Promote - Promote - Promote Rich Monroe producer, director, racquetball enthusiast
Subject: Re: AmPRO - A New Direction Date: 21 Aug 2000 20:22:32 GMT From: (Jordan Kahn) Yep, A few years back I called over 100 clubs in Illinois. About half the people who answered the phone didn't even know how many courts they had at the multi-facility places like Park Districts and YMCA's. And when I did talk to a manager or director interested in racquetball it was long conversations, and they did not even know who I was! (Yea, I can have a long conversation with myself, but not when I have a huge list of clubs to call). I still say, the person who MAKES THE CALLS should be able to immediately schedule a free clinic for that facility from a "open" list of available "sponsored" players, first amongst the preferred by the facility, then by the instructor who lives/works near the facility. This can be achieved by getting all the sponsored players to make at least 4 days available each fall/winter for someone (Like Lynn) to schedule. When you call a facility, you offer a free clinic or event hosted by the list of names available. NO, they don't have to be just clinics, they could be racquet demos, beat the pros (local top guns), challenge mixers etc. A website and auto email could be used to show facilities, instructors and interested persons what is going on and where. But the key is ORGANIZATION, PLANNING, and ADVANCED PROMOTION. OK, what do you think? Jordan -- Subject: AmPRO - A New Direction From: Racquetball Central Date: 8/21/00 1:02 AM Central Daylight Time (snip) Lynn said it was going slow...on top of it, Lynn knows so many clubs/owners/management across the country that each phone call isn't just "wham-bam-thank you mame"...it often turns into a long call about everything under the sun. Still she hinted she does maybe up to 10 clubs a day...among the many other things she does. Now with approximately 2500+ fitness clubs across the US with rb courts...it would take about 250 days by the time she's done...considering no problems/illness/etc are encountered.
Subject: Re: Recreational Racquetball Association Date: 02 Jul 2000 09:43:58 GMT From: (Jordan Kahn) Organization: AOL http://www.aol.com Newsgroups: alt.sport.racquetball References: 1 I have suggested in the past to the USRA that they begin an organization that has a goal of ONLY dealing with non-tournament recreational players using the existing USRA organization. This new group could be comprised of company reps, club staff, current and past "recreational" players and others who have the time, energy and experience to help. The goal is simple, provide direct help FREE OF CHARGE to any facility or state association. Ironically the USRA has a database of all the clubs and racquet companies, but only uses this to promote to only a few players per club who are already USRA members. You would think it would be more beneficial to promote "programs" toward the 97% of the players at a club rather than a tournament to only 3%. As far as clubs, out of the 3000 or so clubs, how many actually run tournaments or have enough courts or players to do so? The key is programming. The USRA is quick to point the lack of programming in clubs, but what USRA programs are offered to the non-tournament club player? By programs, I am not talking about LESSONS, but carefully designed programs that attract new players; keep new players busy with games against other new players. People want to play, not take lessons. Not all facilities are the same or share the same demographics. Sample programs should be referenced and available to all clubs FREE. All a club has to do is ask for a local USRA representative to help program and run the programs. All representatives will donate their time until the programs show a profit. How to do this? 1) Contact all racquetball clubs and club program staff to find out what programs work or don't work for them. 2) Enter this into a database with club demographics. 3) Create a program BIG program book and updated web site FREE. 4) Create a volunteer base to help facilities with programs. 5) Divide club locations into "regional", "state" and "area" zones. 6) Have designated "zone" volunteers- LOTS, not just a few "selected" people. 7) Go after past players who have retired or are injured but still want to be involved. 8) Co-Op newspaper ads with "zoned" facilities to promote area programs. 9) Form alliances with Park Districts, YMCAs, JCCs and other primary facilities. 10) Don't fiddle around with finding "sponsors", just do it. Many clubs and people will be happy to donate their time. Jordan PS. Forget AmPRO, you don't need to know anything about racquetball to get this running. And after you get this running, more people will want to play than take lessons. --
Subject: July racquetball promotion idea (suggestion for USRA) Date: 02 Jul 2000 19:44:22 GMT From: (Jordan Kahn) Organization: AOL http://www.aol.com Newsgroups: alt.sport.racquetball July promotion suggestion for USRA. My "July" positive suggestion for racquetball and the USRA. One way to increase the number of new racquetball players is to provide a FREE learn and play promotion to non-players through a FREE CERTIFIC good at participating clubs. Yes, tennis has done this for years in the national magazine. The catch? All participants of the "Learn and Play" promotion must be non-USRA members. Free certificates would also be readily available at participating clubs. The goal is simple, create new players and memberships for clubs. All participants will be added to the USRA mailing list for a later promotion from racquet companies. Full participant waivers would include the mail list waiver, along with waiver for use of photographs for promotional use. USRA has stated they have no promotional photos due to the "expense" and ownership issue. The USRA would be providing the leadership and credibility with national 6-month sponsorship promotion and an additional 6-month post promotion that could develop into an annual event. The clubs would provide free court time and display and promote this effort, in exchange clubs would receive FREE exposure in the USRA Racquetball Magazine and state newsletters. An advanced 6-month promotion would be needed, starting in one of the fall months like September or October. Any of the house pros or experienced players can be used for this, because the goal is to get people playing, not providing instruction. FREE use of equipment would be mandatory for participating facilities. I will post a step-by-step organizational outline in a later post how this can be done. Please feel free to comment about this suggestion or add any new ideas BEFORE I post the outline. Jordan PS.I do LOTS of free clinics, which account for about half of my paying program participants. I ONLY run free clinics at the same time and day a week or two before available programs begin. But the FREE clinics are promoted weeks in advanced.
Subject: A Basic Premise Date: Tue, 20 Jun 2000 23:54:29 -0500 From: Racquetball Central I think that it may have been DanO who first mentioned it here...certainly the first place I heard it was from Chuck Leve...but...for those who care...if you want racquetball, as a sport, to get to a higher level...it must be promoted as a ... FITNESS SPORT. That's the basic premise. Did an little experiment tonight...league night. I'm 44 next week...and played the club pro/owner, who is 30. I think all he does is workout...ok, and run the club ;-) My wife gives me grief every time she sees him lifting...my only response is, "But I've got skills"...unfortunately, my skills were only good up to 10-12 tonight...guess I'll have to start lifting/training again....shoulder feels good though. Anyway...did an experiment. recently bought a Polar HR Monitor...one of the "nice ones"...has memory and records HR in 5 sec intervals for up to 5+ hrs. Maybe I'm a bit outta shape...but playing Howie, I practically maintained a HR of over 170 (mostly over 180)...for 45 mins. And...of course, I had a great time doing it ;-) The next step is getting data on women, juniors, trained vs untrained...moving into anaerobic thresholds, lactate levels, fatigue parameters, etc. FITNESS...if you want to see racquetball SKYROCKET...you've got to solve the equation: Racquetball = Fitness -- Racquetball Central http://www.racquetballcentral.com/
Subject: "My" racquetball views for 2000 Date: 23 Jan 2000 02:11:36 GMT From: (Jordan Kahn) "My Changing Views" about Racquetball for the New Year. There seems to be a "vicious circle" of blame for the responsibility of racquetball promotion. Players blame their clubs, state and national organizations. Clubs say the cost of hiring a racquetball programmer (not to be confused with instructor) is the problem. State organizations say it is the "clubs" responsibility to promote racquetball. National organization says it is up to the local state organizations, clubs and players to promote racquetball. Though the national organization does "certify" (AmPRO) instructors and programmers, these are primary existing instructors who have already promoted racquetball in a club, or who teach for "club membership" or extra income. Unfortunately promoting is not as easy to do as teaching racquetball and most "part-time" instructors barely have the time to teach racquetball lessons. I believe the common thread, or complaint is the lack of "promotion". I am not talking about instructors, AmPRO or even televised racquetball, but the day-to-day "club" promotion to existing and future players and members. Before you pass the blame, look at what each group does do. Clubs provide the courts. National and State associations run tournaments. Instructors teach. All three groups above do different things that compliment each other, with the exception that without the clubs you would have no need for instructors and National or State associations. So my "New Changing View" for this year is what can I do to help the clubs? I challenge all the NG readers to meet with their local facility manager/owner and ask how YOU can help them for FREE. Yes, for free. That's the magic word in business, free. I will post ways YOU can help your local facility EVERY WEEK. These are cheap, easy and simple things that slowly promote racquetball. The first step is to change your attitude and work WITH the clubs, not to complain. Thanks for taking the time to read this, Jordan
Subject: Re: Interview letter Date: 19 Oct 1999 01:32:53 GMT From: (JordanISRA) KATHY! Gee, I DIDN"T READ THE WHOLE THING! Imagine what a club manager will do with this! Looks too much like a "form" letter. Keep this and USE this idea (your info only) for AFTER meeting club director! GO TO THE CLUB! DO NOT WRITE! If YOU are really INTERESTED, stop by the club, pick up club info, and ASK who is in charge of racquetball and WHO is the manager. Ask to SPEAK to these people IN PERSON! (will save everyone time). Pick a TIME OF DAY that is slow to keep their attention. DO NOT, DO NOT- I repeat, DON"T send any letters FIRST! (BUT…) You could always save the time and energy, add intrigue and credibility by sending a professionally printed "post card" explaining that a "*Racquetball Programmer" will be contacting the manager soon. *This is WHY I wanted to know the details from the USRA for rights of logos (AmPRO & USRA) when doing brochures! Kathy, don't forget to have REFERENCES, like other club managers to vouch for you! Good luck (think positive) Jordan PS. Most guys will hire you based on your looks alone ;) Kathy wrote (snip)> >With respect to my previous question about programming: Here is a >letter I was thinking of sending out to the 13 or so clubs in the area >to try and get an interview.
Subject: Re: Grow the sport!?! Date: 18 Oct 1999 01:41:44 GMT From: (JordanISRA) No, that's NOT what needs to be done to promote and grow racquetball! Reasons: 1) Racquetball Can't Afford It. 2) Racquetball Can't Afford To Purchase or Get Sponsors for "Expensive" TV Time. 3) Racquetball Can't Grow Enough To Justify Its "Olympic" Status for A Few "TV" Hours Every 4 Years. If you owned a small business, you could always advertise on TV. But it will "break" you because the cost is higher than the return! That's why most TV advertisement is for regional and national businesses. Racquetball is "small potatoes" compared to other televised sports. What will grow the sport is an organized plan that has national sponsorship at lower expenses than TV fees. Look at kids soccer programs! Most are non-competitive practice games to get kids playing and have fun. There is a national office that is associated with local communities. There are millions of kids playing soccer, all without TV time, portable courts or Olympic status. It just takes knowledge of HOW to start from scratch with NON-tournament events! Racquetball will NEVER grow by promoting the TOURNAMENTS or PRO players! (Most PRO Racquetball players understand this) Racquetball will only grow by involving NEW players in local facilities! Racquetball and soccer share one common trait, people rather play than watch on TV. Soccer is too slow and racquetball is too fast- but both are fun to participate in at non-competitive levels for new players! Jordan Dave wrote> Good point. Even though it cost $25,000 to transport the court, isnt's that what we have to do to try and grow the sport? It seems to me that we should use the glass court that is used in Memphis for other purposes other than letting it sit in Memphis all year until the U.S. Open comes again.
Subject: Re: Grow the sport!?! Date: 16 Oct 1999 20:23:31 GMT From: (JordanISRA) Dave, nice idea, except few people know that the cost for "transporting" the portable court is $25,000. So much for that idea. It is NOT how to get people to play as much as it is HOW to retain people that try. Example, I can have 50 kids in a clinic, but not many will suddenly join the facility or start paying a $10 court fee. The funny thing is all the owners and managers say these "kids" can afford the court fees! Hey, when I was a kid, my parents could also afford the fees, but they told me it was too expensive! Kids parents will tell their kids to play other FREE activities such as basketball, or open gym time. Before you promote ANYTHING, have working plans (flexible) that can be implemented to PROGRAM what you are promoting! CATCH- Most clubs ARE NOT racquetball clubs and will force high fees to non-members, or have very high membership fees to someone that is not sure if they will even continue playing! BTW: Forget the teenagers and college kids (for now). Concentrate on the 4 - 10 year old kids, for they have the least activities to select from to play and their parents will be more inclined to pay for programs. Best Part- this younger kid's stay with a program longer, thus creating the teenager and college player market! Very few college players (who play free at school) can afford a club after leaving school. I don't understand why people think PRO PLAYERS are needed to promote the sport? Heck, I teach the opposite way. I could show off, but the kids won't relate to watching me, they rather play. Anyway, to a Novice, a C player is a PRO! Jordan PS. The way to promote racquetball, the way some clubs did in the 70's, is to have weekly social beginner nights with all equipment provided and someone to show and introduce players to other players. Free instruction available to those beginners that need it. Charge $7 per person and provide snacks. Program this during "Dead Times" and KEEP IT GOING all year! There will eventually be an increase of members by "WORD OF MOUTH". - This works at any club, regardless of size, age or level. Dave wrote> In between RB games this evening, the person I was playing mentioned an idea that she had. Shari Coplen, said that what was needed to get more people involved with RB, the powers that be needed to have the top ten RB players go around major cities in the U.S. with the portable court, and set this up in malls. Most major malls have at least one place in them that we could setup the glass court, have seats and show what the sport is all about. Malls have a lot of kids hanging around in them, along with parents and older adults. This could be done on a 5-6 week schedule. If this is too often then do it on a 8 week schedule. Think of all the people that would see this sport demonstrated. I can think of three malls here in St. Louis that could pull this off. Have the top players from each region attend. Do this from Thursday through Sunday or Saturday. You could have a mini-tournament in quite a few major cities. You could have demonstrations, lessons, play with the pro, show off all of the different type racquets. The next question is how do you pay for this? You could get all of the major RB companies that sell equipment put into a fund to pull this off. Seeing Ed's resonse about going after all the major colleges around the country, was a very good idea. Ed, I am trying to get something going with the folks out at KCU out in Kansas City. Racquetball is picking up here in the St. Louis area. I was at a tournament out in Georgetown, Kansas a couple of weeks ago. I was listening in on a conversation between 3-4 older men in their 45-55 age group. They were saying that they did not have any program like the one that Jim Murphy runs in the St. Louis area for high school kids. There weren't any young kids taking up the sport in the KC area. Something needed to be done to get some new/fresh blood into the sport. They are running out of good/different players to play RB with. Dave St. Louis
Subject: Re: to sanction or not to sanction Date: Sat, 16 Oct 1999 00:03:18 -0700 From: mdavern I see two very good discussion points in this thread. The first is by Jeff Anthony. He says: > ...The other thing is the magazine/merchandising aspect. Is it unreasonable > to ask $20 ($15?) for a yearly magazine subscription? What if it came with > a few other goodies and a USRA membership#? This goes along with my thinking. How do we increase racquetball membership? By making the membership value increase for non-tournament players. I would like to see ideas how we might do that. What types of things could Linda cover in the magazine different than what she is covering now, that would make a difference (if any)? What could state organizations do that would mean anything to club players? The other poster than hit it on the head was Bruce. He writes: "... most of the people at our club who want to play in tournaments ante up the $20 USRA membership. Most of the rest aren't going to play, even if it is free (I know, because we once ended up trying to give entries away to one of our non-sanctioned events to make a decent draw)...." I think we have two different membership groups. Can we serve them both? Should we even try. Perhaps we should work with our current tournament player membership, try to do a better job there and just work to grow our junior programs as Ed suggests. Thoughts? As to Kathy's excellent attempt to work through a 1/2 sanctioned tournament, I think that Bruce has it nailed. It doesn't come down to the cost. It is weather they can give up a weekend with the kids playing soccer, football, basketball, the honey-do list, work, etc. Jordan's idea is also a non-starter. Why bother? What good is a $3.00 membership to us anyway? Taking it down to its lowest level, the Illinois State Racquetball Association needs more members so that we can run better tournaments, promote our activities better, have better junior programs. All of this takes money!!!! We need the $7.00 per head. Simple. I am not looking to increase head count just to say we have more "heads" as a member. (Unless they are playing for HEAD :) We should try to improve recreational membership to grow the sport. If we grow the sport we can get more tournament players. The more tournament players the more fun we have at tournaments. Mike Davern
Subject: Re: to sanction or not to sanction Date: 16 Oct 1999 06:24:57 GMT From: (Peter Mcmillin) wow kathy. i just went thru all the shit you list... i offered discount memberships to usra. i paid half. i got 6 extra people to sign up....out of a dismal 48 total. i lost my ass....well, at least a part of it. and those of you who know me (read that steve edwards) no comments on the fact that i may be able to lose some of it and most not notice. i made mistakes. i wanted a big draw. i paid big bucks for open. i even offered equal pay for women if i had a full draw....(only 8) i had a poor draw, only 9 in mens and 5 in womens. *I* see the light too about usra. there has to be a galactic headquarters someplace to do this stuff. i know it is a ton of work and not much credit goes to the people trying to do their best.....(yes linda, that is the sound of me kissing your ass). >Another Problem: Racquetball has a marketing problem. Sponsors are >underwhelmed, dropping like flies because the Market (not the tournament > player, but "people that care about racqetball stuff") is small. The >market is also divided. One part needs more commercial revenue. i asked pk to help me with the tourney. they wanted to see the damn entry form...it did not have pk on it. duh????? they were not a sponsor. if i had put them on it, they would have considered helping me out. bfd. i asked them to give me prizes for juniors. i asked them to give me banners. i asked them to give me t shirts. i asked them to give me a racquet or two. "sorry, hq marketing said no as we are not on the entry form." perhaps my fault because i did not get it to pk two months before the tourney...hey. i have a life too, and this took up a ton of time. and i was not able to do as good a job as i should have. i sent out 1300 flyers. the first tourney of the season. to oregon, wash and idaho.....i got 48. and even worse, only 8 from this area....and i was one of them... good luck in your endeavors...i tried really hard.... but, you know the sad part about it? i am going to have another, first weekend of april....and this time, i may even get it to be an irt satellite..... well, as they say...no brain, no pain... peter
Subject: Re: How to increase racquetball& USRA memberships Date: Fri, 15 Oct 1999 22:17:52 -0700 From: mdavern Of all our NG topics, I have to say this is my favorite one. This is the topic that keeps bringing me back here. The answer to the lack of growth in racquetball is so obvious that even the "hated" Dropshot has it EXACTLY correct. (I can't believe that I am saying this!!!). I also have to once again thank Mr. Ross for bringing up the subject. (And by the way Kathy..I have always agreed with 100% of everything you have ever said...especially when you agree with me :) First of all Mr. Ross: Even if you think that a rule change will help the sport grow, I have to say that you need someone at the club to teach the new rules. It's programming again!!! Drop finally has it right, as he said: "YMCA's and JCCA's are were racquetball began, because they know how to program. When racquetball left these institutions for the more ambiguous AARA, guess what. Racquetball participation starts to drop. Why? no programming, just "National Events". I am not going to blame the AARA. Racquetball left the Y's to go to racquetball-only clubs. The existence of the AARA has nothing to do with programming or the lack thereof. Court owners put up courts left and right and, as a result, supply went through the roof. Still, demand at that time was stronger. People would come to play, even when they had to pay for court time. For a very short while, it must have been a license to print money. There was no need to program for racquetball and the clubs could charge for court time. You had to play to join the club and pay monthly as well. If I remember correctly, their were no aerobics. Their were no weight machines (free weights only). Unfortunately, that business model fell apart very quickly. Too many clubs were built and other activities were added that could draw the interest of potential racquetball players. As I recall, even Drop has said it takes two individuals of about the same level to really have a good time playing a full hour of court time. Drop, if you want to point to an organization that killed racquetball, it might be the local Bally's. Bally's, which would do no programming, killed racquetball with a different business model and eliminated the profitability of any nearby racquetball club. Fancy neon lights, dancing girls, exercise machines, sexy commercials. High traffic. Sign 'em up and let them disappear. Keep paying on that contract, though. If you can only afford to join one or the other club, you join the Bally's. Hey they even got a racquetball court or two. We can play there (you think). Membership spread out, players disappeared. No programming. No racquetball. End of story. Except for the 1.5 million of us committed core players (if that is the right number...I forget the most recent numbers I saw.) Now supply of courts has to shrink to meet that core demand. We also might have a chance to grow the sport a bit by teaching remaining clubs that it takes work, and lots of it, to run a successful club. It is a shame that the customers have to teach the owners what it takes to run a club, but that appears to be the case. If the owner doesn't play racquetball, all they see is empty space and the need to put up a climbing wall so that they could charge that court time by the hour. It the meantime, leagues are not organized, there are no challenge court nights, there is no racquetball co-ordinator position, their are no clinics, etc. I like Kathy's idea of using the NG to point out clubs around the country that are doing it right. The AmPRO programming manual has a step-by-step system showing how to program. I think it would be a great idea to point out these clubs anyway. Maybe the state organizations can put together a program to recognize individual clubs doing it right in their newsletter or with annual recognition awards. This would be a great idea for Illinois. Drop had another comment I totally agree with: "That is why I keep telling people to forget about the USRA and concentrate on there own local racquetball associations." That is what I have been saying. The USRA is there to run the sport at the top level. Their job to to publish the rules, promote tournaments, work the Olympics. Help some in the effort of teaching programming through AmPRO manual. (There job is not go into clubs to tell them what to do.) When you think of it, not that different from the job of the NBA. The NBA has nothing to do with my local basketball league or pick up games. The sport is so big, no one even thinks of the NBA in those terms. Our state organizations need to pick up the ball. Push programming at the state level and point out to clubs the benefits of programming for racquetball. We need to run programs to make our $20 fee worthwhile to club/rec players. This is too much agreement for me in one post...I have to go lay down and recover. Kathy with good and simple ideas, Drop making sense. What is this world coming to? Mike Davern Dropshot25 wrote: > .Dear Kathy you are completely correct. > But Mr. Ross has something going that needs to be examined. I think that it > would make the game much more competitive for more styles of play. More > inclusive is the word that comes to mind. > Now back to programming. If you can program you can start your own racquetball > program. YMCA's and JCCA's are were racquetball began, because they how to > program. When racquetball left these institutions for the more ambiguous AARA > guess what. Racquetball participation starts to drop. Why? no programming, just > "National Events". > The little guy has to come to realize that the USRA does no programming on the > local level and they do not reward anybody who does, unless they give the USRA > all the credit. That is why I keep telling people to forget about the USRA and > concentrate on there own local racquetball associations. If you do, you will > know what it takes to maintain your own associations and maybe collect your own > dues. Don't , I repeat, don't depend on the USRA for programming, do it > yourself the results and rewards will be much better. > Dropshot25
Subject: How to increase racquetball& USRA memberships Date: 03 Oct 1999 01:16:12 GMT From: (JordanISRA) Organization: AOL http://www.aol.com Newsgroups: alt.sport.racquetball Linda wrote in her "Sept. - Oct. 1999 Racquetball Magazine FROM THE EDITOR: Where are They?" >You know, players who don't even know that there is any organized structure for the sport they enjoy? Don't know their "Gee-neology?" [Gee, there's a national office? Gee, and a state association? I can buy an official rulebook? A magazine? Attend major tournaments? Gee!] If we accept the most-conservative data, which sets the number of regular racquetball enthusiasts at roughly nine million, we're left with about 8,975,000 long-lost relatives wandering around looking for the picnic. How do we invite them? The Jordan reply (The answer is in the first sentence- "players who don't even know that there is any organized structure for the sport they enjoy") The question should really be; If players already "enjoy" the non-tournament USRA events they are active in, why should they pay a $20 USRA membership? Maybe the USRA should offer non-tournament events "at a affordable price" that 8 million players will be interested in. Here is a quick, simple and inexpensive "Jordan Suggestion" to tap into the existing 8 million racquetball players. Charge a $3 one year "RECREATIONAL" USRA membership that will create thousands of new members by offering non-tournament recreational programs, such as "Challenge Courts", "Mixers" and "Clinics" . The USRA official "Athlete Insurance premium" is $1.92 per person. The USRA membership card is $1 per person. This equals a total of $2.92, which certainly can be covered by a $3 fee. The new membership cards can be coded or printed so there is no confusion between full and recreational memberships. This $3 membership would not include the Racquetball Magazine, Competitive License for tournaments or State Newsletters. What this fee will include is the opportunity to participate in State and National Sanctioned "Recreational Events". Example… USRA Challenge Mixer Saturdays 9am - 11am at "the Racquet Club" Racquet Club members Free, USRA Members $5, Non-members $8 ($8 fee includes USRA "Recreational" USRA 1 year membership that allows for "membership" in USRA Recreational programs) The example above shows exactly how easy it is to increase full USRA memberships from creating "Recreational" memberships that are easily upgraded to full USRA $20 memberships once a players interests is "sparked". Question 1) the host club (the Racquet Club) just dished out $3 per non-member that they could have kept. How does a club benefit by giving away $3 to the USRA? Answer 1) the host club benefits by having the local State Association help promote the CLUB through the state newsletters and members "word of mouth". Since most players get involved from a friend who already plays or is a USRA member. Plus the state can send instructors and staff to help run these events, saving the club expensive pro fees. The club also creates a quick "cash flow" while keeping their club members happy with new players to meet and play. The club will benefit most by offering programs to "new" players who purchase "club memberships". The state association can add these new "USRA Recreational members" and provide local clubs with mailing names when hosting USRA Recreational events. Of course the postage would be paid by the host club at no additional cost to the local state association. Question 2) What does the state association get? Answer 2) The local state association gets new names for mailings they can offer to host clubs. New state memberships from upgraded "full" USRA memberships after "Recessional" members have met existing members and want to start playing tournaments or receive other full USRA membership benefits. The example of a "Challenge Mixer" can be used as a weekly event or special one time event for many different types of racquetball programs. But the idea is the same. If the 8 million recreational players are not interested in tournaments, the USRA should offer the 8 million players what they already are interested in- recreational programs. Jordan


Subject: Re: How to increase racquetball& USRA memberships Date: Sun, 03 Oct 1999 16:51:29 -0600 From: Linda Mojer A "recreational membership" was offered several years ago and *included* a magazine subscription for a $3.00 fee. State associations/volunteers (who were charged with collecting fees/accounting, rosters and other paperwork *on top of* their other volunteer duties) were quickly overwhelmed and it was soon found that the administrative responsibilites/costs could not be justified, so the program was phased out. Without local support, such a program cannot be handled directly by the national office. The current direction of AmPRO is expected to fill the "club void" more and more in the coming months, as the USRA proceeds with an ambitious plan to place an AmPRO certified professional in every racquetball facility nationwide. It would then become those AmPRO professionals who would serve as official "conduits" of USRA program information and provide the type of "alternative" racquetball opportunities you have described. AmPRO holds great promise for reaching the recreational playing population, and you'll read more about the USRA's plans in this area, in the magazine, as they develop. -- Linda L. Mojer USRA Associate Executive Director/Communications Managing Editor, RACQUETBALL Magazine http://www.usra.org & http://www.racqmag.com


Subject: Re: How to increase racquetball& USRA memberships Date: 04 Oct 1999 01:47:13 GMT From: (JordanISRA) Linda, I officially propose that it is time for the USRA to start a new "Recreational Branch" of the USRA with the single mission to promote Recreational Racquetball through facilities. This should not be confused with AmPRO, which after several years has not shown much success promoting new players (since the instructors already did that without AmPRO certification). The USRA is too busy running tournaments and trying to get racquetball into the "Olympics" and AmPRO has its own problems just trying to get instructors certified. Linda, your post to my suggestion on "Recreational Memberships" sounded like an excuse, or poor decision making of "phasing out" the "Recreational membership" program. Why didn't USRA management look for help with the "paperwork" from outside TEMP business sources? If you are in the business to promote, being "overwhelmed" is a GOOD! Sure it would cost extra, but wouldn't it be worth it? Strange that the USRA promotes the "Portable Glass Court", "Olympic (dream) Racquetball" and the US Open in hopes to create new members in the future- but discontinued a "known" proven successful plan that DID increase new memberships! Maybe the USRA could contract an outside business to handle memberships during this promotion. The membership card is just paper, worth pennies, first class mailing is under $.35, so estimate $.50 per card left over to pay a person to enter data. USRA figures list membership card costing $1 each. At 30 cards an hour (data entry), that's $15 per hour to pay someone to do the work during peak times. The USRA can always hire "TEMP" workers to do the work when needed. Jordan PS. Recently the USRA had a plan to double its (25,000) membership by existing members getting one new friend to join. Even incentives as expensive as a whole can of balls were offered. WHAT was the USRA going to do when all these NEW membership applications started rolling in? The existing staff could now handle this promotion, but not the "Recreational Membership" promotion? Linda wrote> A "recreational membership" was offered several years ago and *included* a magazine subscription for a $3.00 fee. State associations/volunteers (who were charged with collecting fees/accounting, rosters and other paperwork *on top of* their other volunteer duties) were quickly overwhelmed and it was soon found that the administrative responsibilites/costs could not be justified, so the program was phased out. Without local support, such a program cannot be handled directly by the national office.


Subject: Re: How to increase racquetball& USRA memberships Date: Sun, 03 Oct 1999 22:09:44 -0700 From: mdavern Once again, I would like to go the opposite direction than my fellow respectful ASR'ers. Repeating my comment from a post several weeks ago, I feel that the USRA membership fee of $20 per year is worth it, just for the Racquetball Magazine and our state newsletter alone. In my opinion, the competitive player is receiving far, far above his/her $20 annual fee. We have dozens of people putting in hundreds of hours in Illinois to try to make the competitive player enjoy their racquetball tournament and travel league experience. I will continue invite anyone who feels differently to join us at the next board meeting, which is a week from this Wednesday. Just send me an email. All great ideas welcomed within our limited budget of $7.00 per player. As far as growth of our sport in Illinois, we have decided to tackle this bull by the horns. We do not have enough time at our once a month board meetings to do anything other than just barely stay ahead of next month's events. So we are forming a separate group of interested local players to meet outside of the ISRA board to discuss membership issues. As I see it, the problem is (1) not enough recreational players know that the ISRA exists and (2) we have to investigate if the ISRA is providing enough services to the recreational player. I am going to meet tomorrow (Monday) with several local players and board members of the ISRA to discuss ways to get the word out and discuss what additional programs we can offer in Illinois to improve the value of the ISRA membership. One idea is to host an ISRA membership night at local clubs. We would bring in sponsored players with copies of the USRA magazine, the ISRA newsletters and USRA/ISRA membership forms. We will have "play the pro" type challenge court activities. It is my hope that we can get a number of club players at each of these stops to sign up. I will give you details of this idea and others that we may develop at tomorrow's meeting. Mike Davern Team HEAD AmPRO Instructor Illinois Webmaster self wrote:




> Linda Mojer wrote in article



> > A "recreational membership" was offered several years ago and *included* a

> magazine

> > subscription for a $3.00 fee. State associations/volunteers (who were charged

> with

> > collecting fees/accounting, rosters and other paperwork *on top of* their

> other

> > volunteer duties) were quickly overwhelmed and it was soon found that the

> > administrative responsibilites/costs could not be justified, so the program

> was

> > phased out.

>

> Son of a gun, I never knew that. Interesting. I suppose it must have gained in

> popularity SO MUCH that it was canceled before I had a chance to hear about it

> down here in FL. Too popular. What a concept. Maybe rather than offloading

> those admin costs to the locals, USRA could just provide mag to people at a

> reasonable cost *directly*, and we could then read about USRA's Olympic efforts

> in it. Perhaps the regular players could then look to RacquetBall Player

> Monthly (tm)  to find out all other non-Olympic RB info of interest to them?

> Wandering even further afield, I wonder if all those local orgs might be

> interested in just quitting the USRA altogether, and serving their local

> constituencies, if they decide the Olympic-game game isn't their cup of tea? No

> one know the locals like the locals, you know. Shoot, they already have the

> facilities for the newsletters, the experience, the local club connections....

> heck, maybe time would pass, and they would someday decide to band together, to

> share things of universal interest of PLAYERS. They might come up with a

> National Ranking System....they might decide that an AMATEUR is defined as: "A

> player who has not accepted prize money." (Pretty simple concept, one that is

> far too unsophisticated for the Olympic-driven USRA, naturally. But we yokels

> in the sticks DO have odd ideas....) Oops, sorry, I seem to have wandered off

> in a reverie. Must be time for bed.


>

> Greg "Visions of Empowerment Dance in their Heads" Stoner

>

> P.S. I wonder how the EQUIPMENT MAKERS feel about the unquenchable quest for

> Olympic glory at the cost of the game in middle-America? Maybe *they* would

> rather serve a large, upwardly mobile group of several million, instead of a

> cloistered few "Let them eat cake" types...

> GS






Subject: Re: How to increase racquetball& USRA memberships Date: Mon, 04 Oct 1999 10:37:35 -0600 From: Linda Mojer FYI: please remember that the ASR newsgroup is *not* recognized as the avenue via which to "officially propose" anything to the USRA -- send it direct if you are serious about making these suggestions. There cannot be any guarantee that posts to the newsgroup are even seen - much less taken as legitimate input - in the national office. I respond here out of courtesy. JordanISRA wrote: > Linda, I officially propose that it is time for the USRA to start a new > "Recreational Branch" of the USRA with the single mission to promote > Recreational Racquetball through facilities. > > This should not be confused with AmPRO, which after several years has not shown > much success promoting new players (since the instructors already did that > without AmPRO certification). That is *exactly* the direction that AmPRO is headed -- as I stated -- and the momentum that has begun (built on small successes over time) is what will make this program valuable. Utilizing these existing resources seems far better than re-inventing the wheel by starting *another* new "recreational branch." > The USRA is too busy running tournaments and trying to get racquetball into the > "Olympics" and AmPRO has its own problems just trying to get instructors > certified. > > Linda, your post to my suggestion on "Recreational Memberships" sounded like an > excuse, or poor decision making of "phasing out" the "Recreational membership" > program. > > Why didn't USRA management look for help with the "paperwork" from outside TEMP > business sources? > If you are in the business to promote, being "overwhelmed" is a GOOD! > > Sure it would cost extra, but wouldn't it be worth it? > Strange that the USRA promotes the "Portable Glass Court", "Olympic (dream) > Racquetball" and the US Open in hopes to create new members in the future- but > discontinued a "known" proven successful plan that DID increase new > memberships! This program was in place for several years, and it was phased out because it *wasn't* worth it -- it did not have the support of the clubs themselves or the recreational players who were not organized in any way (without someone in house to manage programs, i.e. an AmPRO certified pro). Those who were signed-up by their club did not renew, or upgrade their memberships to "full service" -- so it did not increase new membership. The program simply was not successful, so it was discontinued. > Maybe the USRA could contract an outside business to handle memberships during > this promotion. Perhaps with the income from a doubled membership base, we could afford to do just that ... > The membership card is just paper, worth pennies, first class mailing is under > $.35, so estimate $.50 per card left over to pay a person to enter data. USRA > figures list membership card costing $1 each. You are well aware that these figures are several years old. > At 30 cards an hour (data entry), that's $15 per hour to pay someone to do the > work during peak times. > > The USRA can always hire "TEMP" workers to do the work when needed. > > Jordan > PS. Recently the USRA had a plan to double its (25,000) membership by existing > members getting one new friend to join. Even incentives as expensive as a whole > can of balls were offered. WHAT was the USRA going to do when all these NEW > membership applications started rolling in? The existing staff could now handle > this promotion, but not the "Recreational Membership" promotion? Data processing is not the problem. Follow-up, renewal and management of local programs (ideal projects for AmPRO certified pros nationwide) present a much more involved responsibility which cannot be served by temporary clerical help. I appreciate the fact that you may want to re-visit previous projects by adding your own spin to them, but we do have the advantage of insights and collective experience over time to know what works and what doesn't. And we *do* spend a great deal of time in the discussion and development of projects which are meant to address just these issues. -- Linda L. Mojer USRA Associate Executive Director/Communications Managing Editor, RACQUETBALL Magazine http://www.usra.org & http://www.racqmag.com
Subject: Re: What do YOU do? Date: Tue, 05 Oct 1999 08:18:37 -0500 From: Ed Arias Hi Peter...let me first say that I think I misspoke a bit in my post. I didn't mean to imply that the AmPRO Instructors Clinic was not worth it...I think it sounded like it wasn't when I said, "I wasn't impressed with my AmPRO Certified Instructor" ranking or something. When I got back in the sport in '97 and started the UW-Madison Rb club, my main focus was how to LEAD a large group of young enthusiastic players. Therefore, the AmPRO Instructors Clinic didn't really apply as it teaches one to teach on an individual or small group level and focuses on how an Instructor can work in a court club and run racquetball programs. That's fine but my club already has a dedicated rb director so there's no place for me there...but I had to take the Instructor's Clinic before I could take the Coaching Clinic...so I did and passed it and waited...and waited...and waited...for 2 years I waited. Coaching Clinics would be scheduled and then canceled due to low participation or not enough Level I Coaches, etc. Finally, the Coaching Clinic happened and FOR ME...it was the best next thing to mom's chicken soup. SO...if anyone out there wants to get a rb program going on in a court club (that's deficient in this area)...the AmPRO Instructor's Clinic is more suited toward that end. But if you're interested in starting a Rb Club at a university or also a junior program at a club (or even at a high school...god forbid :)...the AmPRO Coaching Clinic is for you. However, you must pass the Instructor's Certification (somewhat difficult) AND the Level I Coaching Clinic (easy, take home stuff) first. At first I felt that you should be able to just take the Coaching Clinic without the Instructor's but after thinking about it...you do need to have a solid base of Instructor's skills for the Coaching information. Both clinics have there purpose...both are very good grassroots programs which target areas which need a rb leader...the court clubs and the universities/colleges. You may also notice that many successful rb clubs have the AmPRO Programming Manual lying around somewhere...another AmPRO program...more directed toward a club rb director. AmPRO is the USRAs answer to grassroots programs to begin making a positive change in the rb numbers and regain its popularity and accessibility in your area. Also...IMHO, AmPRO can't do it alone. For a long time, I have strongly felt that to increase "racquetball awareness" to the level it once was (and beyond), it takes a diversified "attack". AmPRO is the base and for me the "most rewarding" but we have to also support the "glitz and glamour" of the sport...the tournaments (esp. the US Open), the Olympic effort, our state associations and the USRA. If you can support one and not the others...that's great. But just sitting at home on your duff won't help. There are a lot of rb fans out there like myself who WANT to get involved...so GET INVOLVED. Pgmcmillin wrote: > > ed. get some sleep..then tell us about it. and cannot agree with you more > about how it is worthwhile. talked and played with dave azuma for a while. > and he says hi to you too former lt colonel. he also says you do have to much > time on your hands. > > dave is a great player. kicked my butt. except when we played doubs. then we > got one game outta 3. but he played backhand.... I met and played Dave at Nationals and I can tell you that I had a much harder time against Dave in the 40's than I did in the Open division. Dave is a very smart player as well as very quick and good execution. And he is also a great person as he is one of the leaders of the Oregonian junior rb wave...someone we could all learn a lot from. Tell him that I WISH I had "too much time on my hands" and next time we play I'll do better ;-) > i cannot wait till i take ampro again. and i will do much better. > > peter Good luck buddy but use your AmPRO skills (which many of us ALREADY have) now. BTW: Got an e-mail from Coach Winterton yesterday...he's already planning the next AmPRO Level II Coaching Clinic as well as beginning to plan for a Level III Coaching Clinic. I'll keep you all posted toward these future dates as best I can. Ed "you gotta have goals" Arias -- Ed Arias RaquetballCentral.Com


Subject: $3 Recreational USRA Membership Proposal Date: 06 Oct 1999 18:17:00 GMT From: (JordanISRA) One of the Illinois State Board Members read this idea and requested a complete detailed one page summary- here it is. $3 Recreational USRA Membership Proposal Jordan Kahn October 6, 1999 GOAL: To offer new and existing non-tournament recreational players convenient inexpensive exciting programs that will increase club membership and participation while increasing future state association members. PLAN: Allowing a $3 (annual) fee for ISRA/USRA non tournament events, such Youth & Adult Clinics, Challenge Courts, Social Mixers, Beat the Pros would allow a "door" to open up to smaller racquetball facilities that have few courts or have not offered ISRA/USRA tournaments because of the cost or lack of players at their facility. BENEFITS: Facility Benefits: 1) FREE ADVERTISING: by the State Association via newsletter to ISRA members and friends (guests). 2) NEW CLUB MEMBERSHIPS: program memberships or additional names for club mailing list. 3) FREE HELP: Experienced staff to organize, promote and run each event with or without help from the facility. 4) USES LESS COURT TIME: These non-tournament activities use very little court time. 5) NO ADVERSE EFFECT ON DAILY CLUB OPERATION: Staff and club members are not inconvenienced, unlike a tournament, which can effect the parking, towel use and overall "crowding" of the club by many non members for days at a time. Sate Association Benefits: 1) RETAINS EXISTING MEMBERSHIPS: More available programming to existing members. 2) RETAINS LOST PAST MEMBERSHIPS: Retains past and current membership that may be "out-of-shape" or have less time to practice for tournaments. 3) CONVIENCE TO PLAYERS: Caters to the individual that wants to play tournaments but doesn't have the time to dedicate a whole weekend or day. 4) MORE VARIETY OF EVENTS AVAILABLE: Instead of just tournaments, the state can now offer many types of programs, times, and fees to a larger market of non-tournament players. 5) LESS STRESS FOR EVENT DIRECTORS: These new recreational events can be a one-day event that takes only 1 or two hours. No difficult work planning advanced tournaments to large number of players, staff, sponsors, draw sheets, score cards or long work hours during a weekend tournament. 6) MORE WORD OF MOUTH BY PLAYERS: Many recreational players feel they are not ready for a tournament but will participate in non-tournament events. Word gets passed around of such events within a few weeks. 7) CREATES NEW STATE MEMBERSHIPS: New state memberships from "recreational" non-tournament activities. 8) FREE ADVERTISING OF STATE EVENTS: Advertising state association tournaments and events from more facilities. 9) BUILDS STRONGER BONDS BEWTEEN CLUBS AND SATE: Better communication between state association and facilities from proven effective non-tournament programs. 10) NEW RECREATIONAL MARKET: Opens up new women and youth market that may not be ready for tournament play. HOW IT WORKS: The $3 fee represents a "guest fee" to participate in non-tournament events. This is like a guest fee at a facility that allows a prospective member to try it out before they join. These "guests" will originate from four groups: 1) Club members 2) Club members guests 3) ISRA/USRA members guests 4) Non-club members WHY $3 (BUDGET)? The $3 fee represents the cost for liability coverage for one year from the national USRA organization, which also provides additional coverage for the host facility, participants and program staff. The $3 fee also includes an official USRA membership card that can be presented later for discounts on future participation in additional recreational events or an upgrade to full USRA membership. Actual costs are: Liability Insurance For One Year $ 1.92 Membership Card Plus Mailing $ 1.00 Total Cost $ 2.92 WHAT DOES A $3 FEE INCLUDE? The $3 fee includes only the liability insurance and membership card. Future discounts for various programs are determined by each host facility. The fee does allow for participation in all state non-tournament events. Includes: 1) INSURANCE FOR ONE YEAR during non-tournament state events. 2) MEMBERSHIP CARD, which can be used for, discounts and participation in non-tournament state events. 3) MAILINGS AND NEWSLETTERS of upcoming events at local facilities (paid by the local host clubs). WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED IN THE $3 FEE? Not Included: (But can be upgraded to the full $20 fee at any time) 1) COMPETITIVE TOURNAMENT LICENSE 2) RACQUETBALL MAGAZINE SUBSRIPTION 3) STATE NEWSLETTER 4) RULEBOOK ADDITIONAL INFORMATION MAILINGS: The state newsletter will promote the $3 membership and upcoming events. Clubs may also request a mail list to for their own mailings of state recreational events. PAYMENTS: All fees will be paid to the state association and then sent to the national association. Receipts will be issued until a membership card is received from the national association. Data entry into the state and national computers as a $3 member. Event staff will have an updated list with all current state members. Event participants must show a current membership card, receipt or pay the $3 fee. EVENTS: Host clubs will decide on the type of events, event fees, dates and times offered. Host clubs must honor all state members at fees predetermined by state officials. --- I will be glad to share more information about this idea on request, Jordan PS> NG Readers, feel free to copy this (or print this) and send to your state or national association.


Subject: Re: $3 Recreational USRA Membership Proposal Date: Wed, 06 Oct 1999 23:21:43 -0700 From: mdavern Jordan has presented a $3.00 membership idea in an earlier post. Jordan, while I think that this is a nice idea, I would rather go the route of trying to give people their money's worth at the full $20 fee. If we can show value, I don't think we lose a single person for $17 per year extra. In my opinion, we don't have the time. people or resources on the $7.00 per person we get now from a membership to market racquetball effectively at the state level. Charging $3.00 for a lower level of services only gives us more people to deal with and even less money to reach them. I wish we could charge more and be more effective with that money. The one thing that you and I do agree on, is we have to find more creative ways to reach the recreational player. I think that our state organization does a decent job in reaching tournament players. Anything could be done better, but we do a good job putting on our tournaments. We need to reach the non-tournament player. Jordan, how many magazine subscriptions do you have that are less than $20 for a 1/2 year subscription? Money is not the issue. For non-tournament players, the issue is value. Can we provide a package that they would want with the resources that we have. Right now, everyone thinks in terms of tournament play. If you don't play tournaments, why join the ISRA/USRA? I hope that we can work together to develop a program that can meet the needs of the rec player without having to rely on anything else but what we have right here in Illinois. We do not need anything additional from the USRA to grow this sport and we are not going to get anything additional from the national office. So let's stop looking for solutions in Colorado Springs and find solutions that work in Champaign, Springfield and Peoria as well as the Chicago suburbs. (Geez...I'm listening to too many political speaches...) Mike Davern.


Tennis Across America http://www.uspta.org/taa.htm
Subject: Re: to sanction or not to sanction Date: 15 Oct 1999 01:26:41 GMT From: (JordanISRA) OK, I think we all agree that active USRA players think the USRA is a good value. The problem is, less then 1 half of 1 percent of all the recreational players care about tournaments- so there IS NO VALUE to non-USRA tournament members. The USRA is "trying to lead a horse (non USRA members) to water AND make it drink (pay $20 membership)." I am just "trying to lead the horse where its ALREADY headed!" I do think I would have a greater success. Hey, I already HAVE! I have created more racquetball players than the USRA has. I have created more USRA members then the USRA has. But that's only because the USRA is a organization that ONLY sanctions tournaments for USRA members. I highly doubt any person will go out and purchase a $20 USRA membership just to get a magazine or rule book without first having another player get that person interested in recreational play. Just think of what the USRA could do if they sanctioned and offered non-tournament events! Hey, just the current USRA member base alone will participate; any extra non-USRA members would be "gravy". Jordan Jeff wrote> >$20.00 is definitely worth it *if* you compete seriously (ie, if you >travel to play). It's worth it to know what's going on elsewhere, >especially if you might play there sometime; and for the organization and >consistancy a sanctioned tournament provides.
Subject: Re: membership up! Date: 15 Oct 1999 01:41:15 GMT From: " self " > I just got hold of our Racquetball Club membership roster for this > month. We are now back over the 250 mark for the first time in almost a > decade - up from just over 200 at the beginning of last year! Let's > see... carry the five... divide by 0... that's almost 20%! And this is > over a period of falling employment at our company (the Racquetball Club > is part of an employee recreation association - in the defense industry, > of all places). > > Maybe the rumors of racquetball's demise have been slightly > exaggerated. I am convinced that solid grass-roots (read club level) > programming is the key to our future success. Great news! But I don't know if I completely agree - that is, if 'programming' has to mean 'an official-type program'. I have noticed our local city-run courts filling up to capacity these days, and there is absolutely no support from the city other than providing the facilities; there is no club pro, no tourneys, no ladders, no instruction, no juniors, etc. In our case, just having a fairly upscale populace living near pleasant and reasonably priced facilities seems to be increasing the number of players through word of mouth... I guess 'programming' could only make it better, though! Greg Stoner
Subject: Re: kgeels alive and well! Date: Fri, 15 Oct 1999 21:20:05 -0500 From: "David A. Robert" Kathy/NG, In between RB games this evening, the person I was playing mentioned an idea that she had. Shari Coplen, said that what was needed to get more people involved with RB, the powers that be needed to have the top ten RB players go around major cities in the U.S. with the portable court, and set this up in malls. Most major malls have at least one place in them that we could setup the glass court, have seats and show what the sport is all about. Malls have a lot of kids hanging around in them, along with parents and older adults. This could be done on a 5-6 week schedule. If this is too often then do it on a 8 week schedule. Think of all the people that would see this sport demonstrated. I can think of three malls here in St. Louis that could pull this off. Have the top players from each region attend. Do this from Thursday through Sunday or Saturday. You could have a mini-tournament in quite a few major cities all across the country. You could have demonstrations, lessons, RB techniques, play with the pro, show off all of the different type racquets. The next question is how do you pay for this? You could get all of the major RB companies that sell equipment put into a fund to pull this off. Seeing Ed's resonse about going after all the major colleges around the country, was a very good idea. Ed, I am trying to get something going with the folks out at KCU out in Kansas City. We can either do something about our problem or just sit back and watch the sport die!?!?!?! Racquetball is picking up here in the St. Louis area. I have noticed more and more people start or take up the sport again. I was at a tournament out in Georgetown, Kansas a couple of weeks ago. I was listening in on a conversation between 3-4 older men in their 45-55 age group. They were saying that they did not have any program like the one that Jim Murphy runs in the St. Louis area for high school kids. There weren't any young kids taking up the sport in the KC area. Something needed to be done to get some new/fresh blood into the sport. They are running out of good/different players to play RB with. Dave St. Louis (Just my .02 cents.) kgeels wrote: > I, for one, am going to still try to actively espouse my > closely held > > views, but still try to give respect to others while I do it. Even > though they > > must be laughably wrong, since they disagree with me . I know I > haven't > > always done this, and I'm sure I'll 'slip' sooner rather than later, > but that's > > my current plan. > > > > Greg Stoner > > Greg - > I agree with you. I am also glad for Ed's presence, and would much > rather have him be here and be annoying than not be here at all. > Based on some of our non-public discussions, when responding to him, I > have two options: > A) patiently and logically review our differences (this is as > constructive as those Pig Flying instructions I've been given lately > while negotiating alligators in the swamp) > OR > B) sticking my tongue out at him. > > The pigs have got money, they pay well. Ed just gives me gas. > > Thanks for the feedback. If I said at the end of my posts "aw shucks, I > don't mean it, Ed's a great guy!" that would take all the fun out of > it. If he takes it in fun, that's great. If he gets pissed, that's what > I'm talkin' about baby! Then he can stick one more sig line on his card > - taught Geels how to street-fight with the best. But until I see a > seizure, I have failed. > > Kathy "peace, love, and understanding is for sissies" Geels > > Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/ > Before you buy.
Subject: Have both Sanctioned & Non-Sanctioned tournaments! Date: 16 Oct 1999 03:49:36 GMT From: (JordanISRA) Have both Sanctioned & Non-Sanctioned tournaments! Has anyone, besides a Pro-Stop, tried a "USRA Sanctioned Tournament" at the same time as a "House Non-Sanctioned Tournament"? Example: 1) Have a "Sanctioned Tournament" for "Open, A & B" skill levels. 2) At the same time have a "Non-Sanction Tournament" for "A, B, C & D" skill levels. 3) Allow all first round losers of the "Sanctioned Tournament" to move into the "Non-Sanctioned" tournament if they lost the first round- a type of double elimination. Since most players don't care about consolation games or ranking points, but most players LIKE to see consolation offered, why not do BOTH! Instead of a Sanctioned Consolation round, all FIRST ROUND losers are entered into the Non-Sanctioned tournament. This gives more value to the Sanctioned Player while providing non-sanctioned players with quality tournament players without the sanction cost. If this is not allowed by the USRA, does this also mean a club can NOT let anyone else use the courts during a tournament? Jordan (opening a can of worms)
Subject: Re: Racquetball on TV? Why not? Reasons Date: Tue, 4 Jan 2000 01:52:17 -0800 From: "Paul Reynolds" Peter et al., While I commend you for your eternal optimism with respect to rball in the public forum. I believe that the rball populace is missing the point with respect to further development of rball. If the demand existed for televised rball it would currently exist. The fact of the matter is that development of the sport is the key. One can run a pro-stop, have 300 entrants, and still not develop the sport. This may be maintaining the sport, but the degree of development is questionable. So what do we do!!! Assuming that we are ALL motivated by the growth of the sport as opposed to simply increasing the exposure of the sport, it would seem imperative to me that we focus energy on further development. It seems to me that too much energy is expended upon what programming objectives that have been prioritized to be in the best interest of the association (USRA). Are these objectives also considering the best interests of the state associations? This, I believe is a very important question. For state organizations to prosper, developmental activities must be supported on the national level. What this means is that nation policies should support state efforts that seek to provide an environment that is both educational and challenging to the novice and the seasoned competitor. Now that one has created a following of the sport, television exposure is no longer an issue. Enterprising entities will be quick to fill this void. The point is: that if one is interested in rball as a spectators sport, creating a fan base on the grass roots level is the key to developing a demand for rball on television. Tracy Drury Washington Racquetball Association President Team E-Force and all around good guy!
Subject: USRA, Luke & R-Ball Promotion (my view) Date: 04 Jan 2000 21:54:55 GMT From: (Jordan Kahn) Luke suggests the reason for court conversions is because players buy shoes from non-racquetball supportive companies. The REAL reason courts are converted to other activities is MONEY at that particular facility. If a facility thinks they can please more members, attract new members and make more money, they would convert any part of the facility. Forget about the small number (25,000) of USRA members supporting these racquetball companies, target the 8-9 million recreational members to JOIN a club. By USRA numbers, there are 2,800 racquetball players for every facility (3000 facilities, 8.4 million players). Lets be realistic and bring the number of racquetball memberships to 600,000 (based on 200 members per club), and I am "padding" the numbers with 200 racquetball players per facility. Sure its great that the USRA obtained 440 new USRA members this year, but if all those 440 members WERE existing club members, this did not bring in any NEW CLUB MEMBERSHIPS that keep clubs from converting courts. The USRA, racquetball companies and clubs need to target non-club members to start playing racquetball and purchase club memberships. Eventually these new players will consume more "pure" racquetball equipment from racquetball companies. But the USRA only target USRA members for tournaments to promote racquetball. Last time I checked, most tournament players were existing club members. Until the USRA begins to offer non-tournament activities to clubs to help promote new club memberships, the USRA shouldn't dare begin to tell anyone how to promote racquetball. By the way, I believe I can speak for the average racquetball facility, be it a YMCA, Park District or private club, since I have worked for all and understand how they operate. My suggestion to the USRA, purchase more liability coverage for your non-profit organization and start using your players and contacts to host beginner free clinics and events to "non-club" and "non-USRA" members. This way, the USRA will increase more players, increase relations with clubs and eventually receive more USRA memberships (including increasing sales to racquetball companies). If I were a Racquetball company providing the USRA with funds, I would do so only if they USRA adopted a program as mentioned above to promote racquetball to non-USRA members. Jordan Kahn USRA Member & Racquetball Instructor Previously… Racquetball Director of a YMCA Pro and Staff at a Park District AmPRO Certified On State USRA/ISRA Governing Board ---- CHANGING TIMES by Luke St. Onge, USRA Magazine Jan-Feb. 2000 Issue> If you were a business under siege by a competitor trying to undermine you or take your floor space (like spinning or kick-boxing) would you support that industry? Of course not! Yet every time a player selects a non-racquetball-specific product from a company that does not support racquetball directly, that's exactly what happens. Your dollars go toward spinning, kick-boxing, or the next fad that threatens your court floor space. It's like shooting yourself in the foot.
Subject: try again: Plans within USRA Date: Wed, 05 Jan 2000 11:39:25 +0000 From: Heather Fender I thought I would begin the new millennium with a brief description of some of the initiatives brought forth by the manufacturers and the USRA during the past couple of years. I have read with interest many of the comments presented in this forum and feel that this information may clarify some areas of concerns. Four years ago the USRA and the SGMA (Sporting Goods Manufacturer Association) initiated an initiative to stimulate racquetball participation within the USA. A meeting of the ‘minds’ was organized by the SGMA and almost anyone who had a position in racquetball was invited . . . all major organizations, club venues, IHRSA, ‘Killshot’ magazine, all manufacturers, professional and amateur players, instructors, and major people of influence (Marty, Hogan, Doug Ganim, etc.) The reason for the meeting was to develop a plan to stop the decline of racquetball participation and attract new people to the sport. After many hours of meetings, phone calls, and conversations, the group developed a three step plan - 1. stop the removal of courts within court clubs and develop a relationship with the club owner/manager. 2. develop a ‘major’ event to attract outside sponsors, develop credibility within and outside the sport. 3. have a full time or part time educated racquetball programmer in every club in the USA. The implementation and development of the above was left with the USRA and SGMA. The USRA would provide the information, manpower and expertise and the SGMA the funds to develop the programs. In 1995 the first phase was completed and implemented. Over 2,000 videos (illustrating two club owners talking about the benefits of racquetball to their club) and 2,000 workbooks (cookbook on developing racquetball programs) were sent to every IHRSA club that had courts and any other club designated by state directors. The effect was hard to measure, but the decline in participation did level off in 1996 and many of the clubs responded positively to the effort. Phase II was initiated with the U.S. OPEN, although some initial funding (three year commitment) was provided by the SGMA, the entire responsibility now lies with the USRA. The OPEN provided the credibility needed to attract outside sponsors and also injected a new stimulus to the sport. The ESPN production, although not at an ideal time, still provides expanded visibility for the sport. Phase III will begin this year with AmPRO and the manufacturers as major contributors. A plan has been developed by the USRA and manufacturers to infiltrate every club within the US with information and personnel. Thanks to Wilson, the original sponsor of AmPRO, who realized the problem and understood that an entire industry effort was needed to resolve the issues, and accordingly gave up their ‘ownership’ of AmPRO and opened participation to all manufacturers. Now, every manufacturer has committed to the following effort - 1. Every club with racquetball courts will be contacted by phone or personally within the next 12 months and surveyed. They will be placed in one of three categories - a) developed b) developing c) undeveloped programs. 2. Programs will be developed in the above three categories and individually taken to each club and presented to the club owner/manager. AmPRO personnel and manufacturers’ players will be implementing this phase. 3. Follow-up by the AmPRO person will be required within the next six months. 4. The second phase will be a similar program with colleges, high schools, YMCAs, and JCCs contacted. So as you can see, the USRA and manufacturers have actively been involved in attempting to promote and attract new people to the sport. Although many other projects have been introduced over the last five years - expanded involvement in the IHRSA convention, Leadership Conference, Ektelon/USRA club development program - the above combined industry program is, without question, the most comprehensive. I encourage everyone participating in this forum to continue their input, recommendations, and suggestions, and I invite inquiries at any time.- Jim Hiser -- Heather R. Fender USRA Customer Service
Subject: Re: try again: Plans within USRA Date: 06 Jan 2000 08:31:43 GMT From: (Jordan Kahn) I happen to instruct at one of the larger IHRSA member clubs in Illinois. Like 99% of all racquetball facilities, this is a multi-sport club with racquetball being only a small part of the total membership revenue. I had the chance to see the (IHRSA) videotape produced to encourage club managers/owners not to convert racquetball courts. The tape was very informative, if you were "pro" racquetball, but seemed too simple in its message, hire a pro and players will come and bring lots of money to your club. Well this particular IHRSA club had 2 of the top pros in the country, both experienced clinic instructors at the USRA Olympic level and both past Olympic Team players. Did it help the racquetball department grow? Not really. Why? The players that knew who the pros are were already playing, the recreational players had no idea and non-members never found out. Basically racquetball promotions need not be "instructing" players as much as "offering" new players and existing "part-time" players/members programs such as challenge mixers and challenge courts. Most new players want to try a sport out. This does not mean taking lessons or playing in a tournament. This does mean, borrowing equipment, reading basic rules and meeting other players to play. How can the USRA and other organizations help AND still increase memberships, players and sell equipment? 1.) Target test facilities around the country. 2.) Loan them FREE rental racquets, eyeguards and balls. 3.) Provide FREE posters, flyers, artwork and camera ready newspaper ads to promote racquetball. 4.) Club gets to keep all equipment FREE if they set aside FREE play days scheduled by the USRA in advanced. 5.) Clubs may use their own staff or have FREE use of local "sponsored" players and volunteer local USRA players. Now the USRA and other organizations are putting their money (funds & grants) where their mouth is- directly into the clubs to use to get new players on the courts. Funny how many tournaments there are with state volunteers working all weekend for the SAME few players? If half as much effort were to be used to run weekly "beginner mixers" at clubs you would increase the number of new players over 100%. The key is consistency, same club every week at the same time. Does the above work? Yes, I have done this at several clubs. It only fails when the club stops running these programs due to staffing, cost or lack of interest. Why haven't I continued to do this? Work. But my work NOW produces new younger players (and pays better). This year I have the opportunity to run these programs (mixers) at 2 clubs in my area. It will be interesting to see which club takes full advantage of this opportunity by offering these new players reasons to JOIN their facility. Earlier today I produced my first "photo-glossy" color mini poster promoting upcoming classes I teach. I already have a giant foam board display with flyers attached in the club promoting this weeks FREE CLINICS (13 offered) and next weeks start of group lessons. The "flyer" is a two sided letter size brochure with dates, times, and information on pre-school classes (2 levels), youth programs (instruction & teams) and adult classes. This is just the "winter" session flyer, which also includes 20 FREE clinics (13 first half and 7 second half of session). Last month our club challenge the next towns club to a 5 on 5 round robin. Flyers and posters were at each facility and both clubs had filled their teams plus waiting lists in just 3 days of displaying poster with sign-up. Not bad for setting this up for the first time and in only 2 weeks of advanced notice. This is all done on my own time with my own money. If I can do this without any "outside" funding or grants, surely the USRA, with all their "professional" staff can come up with a similar project. Jordan Kahn PS. The USRA sells "clothes" through the Racquetball Magazine, why can't the USRA sell "promotional" posters, clip art and generic brochure masters to clubs? Most YMCAs, JCCs and Park Districts would purchase these "tools" if there were contacted 9 months in advance to place on "next" years budget (that's how they operate and purchase in advance). **Gee, I should get into "promotion" before my brain explodes! --- > Heather R. Fender wrote> > USRA Customer Service > After many hours of meetings, phone calls, and conversations, the group > developed a three step plan - > 1. stop the removal of courts within court clubs and develop a > relationship with the club owner/manager. > 2. develop a 'major' event to attract outside sponsors, develop > credibility within and outside the sport. > 3. have a full time or part time educated racquetball programmer in > every club in the USA. > > > Phase II was initiated with the U.S. OPEN, although some initial > > 1. Every club with racquetball courts will be contacted by phone or > personally within the next 12 months and surveyed. They will be placed > in one of three categories - a) developed b) developing c) undeveloped > programs. > 2. Programs will be developed in the above three categories and > individually taken to each club and presented to the club > owner/manager. AmPRO personnel and manufacturers' players will be > implementing this phase. > 3. Follow-up by the AmPRO person will be required within the next six > months. > 4. The second phase will be a similar program with colleges, high > schools, YMCAs, and JCCs contacted. > > So as you can see, the USRA and manufacturers have actively been > involved in attempting to promote and attract new people to the sport. > Although many other projects have been introduced over the last five > years - expanded involvement in the IHRSA convention, Leadership > Conference, Ektelon/USRA club development program - the above combined > industry program is, without question, the most comprehensive. I > encourage everyone participating in this forum to continue their input, > recommendations, and suggestions, and I invite inquiries at any time.- > Jim Hiser > > -- > Heather R. Fender > USRA Customer Service
Subject: Re: Let me present a scenario Date: Fri, 7 Jan 2000 07:28:24 -0600 From: "C. Marvin" Ds.... the USRA is not selling consumer goods! This is that target group to which the 2% response to marketing refers. Racquetball is an "activity". As such, people may try the game and then decide if they like it or not. This ultimately influences their decision to continue. The goal of the USRA should be to get people to try it. Then it is up to the local state association and local club pro/players to ensure the newbie receives an enthusiastic welcome. Make sure they leanr and have a good time to ensure they return to play again. They do not need someone to wax their butts the first time out as this will totally discourage further participation in the game. Fundamentally, the problem runs deeper than just the USRA. Craig
Subject: Re: try again: Plans within USRA Date: Fri, 07 Jan 2000 08:55:55 -0600 From: Ed Arias Excellent post Jordan!!! 1. Like 99% of all racquetball facilities, this is a multi-sport club with racquetball being only a small part of the total membership revenue. 2. Basically racquetball promotions need not be "instructing" players as much as "offering" new players and existing "part-time" players/members programs such as challenge mixers and challenge courts. Most new players want to try a sport out. This does not mean taking lessons or playing in a tournament. 3. 1.) Target test facilities around the country. 2.) Loan them FREE rental racquets, eyeguards and balls. 3.) Provide FREE posters, flyers, artwork and camera ready newspaper ads to promote racquetball. 4.) Club gets to keep all equipment FREE if they set aside FREE play days scheduled by the USRA in advanced. 5.) Clubs may use their own staff or have FREE use of local "sponsored" players and volunteer local USRA players. I've heard of this being tried before...it was somewhat of a success in racquetball (clubs) across america. It's called bringing the industry together for the fundamental common good...I'm glad to hear from Professor Hiser that the industry is headed in this direction. Jordan, I think they are on their way...withall the problems you and I have faced in our own little "privately funded" promotions though, I can imagine how hard it can be for the industry to really make such an effort. But it looks like it's happening...but they need your help with great stuff like this. What I am eluding to above...the similar promotion I've heard of before (for those who are new) was a little effort called Racquetball Across America...of which Jordan was one of the principal instigators. Long story...and you've had enough of them for a while ;-) But this is what we need at the Leadership Conference...to pass to other states who don't have a clue. Jordan, I don't know what the situation is in Illinois...but you should continue to press them on trying more of this type of promotion out. Go to those board meetings and get heard...BUT PLEASE, try to work with people...don't tell them what to do and that there are no options to the plan. Give them a little at a time...you know how you can be sometimes...just ease back on the gas a bit ;-) Ed. Jordan Kahn wrote: > I happen to instruct at one of the larger IHRSA member clubs in Illinois. > > Like 99% of all racquetball facilities, this is a multi-sport club with > racquetball being only a small part of the total membership revenue. > > I had the chance to see the (IHRSA) videotape produced to encourage club > managers/owners not to convert racquetball courts. > > The tape was very informative, if you were "pro" racquetball, but seemed too > simple in its message, hire a pro and players will come and bring lots of money > to your club. > > Well this particular IHRSA club had 2 of the top pros in the country, both > experienced clinic instructors at the USRA Olympic level and both past Olympic > Team players. > > Did it help the racquetball department grow? Not really. > > Why? The players that knew who the pros are were already playing, the > recreational players had no idea and non-members never found out. > > Basically racquetball promotions need not be "instructing" players as much as > "offering" new players and existing "part-time" players/members programs such > as challenge mixers and challenge courts. > > Most new players want to try a sport out. This does not mean taking lessons or > playing in a tournament. > > This does mean, borrowing equipment, reading basic rules and meeting other > players to play. > > How can the USRA and other organizations help AND still increase memberships, > players and sell equipment? > > 1.) Target test facilities around the country. > 2.) Loan them FREE rental racquets, eyeguards and balls. > 3.) Provide FREE posters, flyers, artwork and camera ready newspaper ads to > promote racquetball. > 4.) Club gets to keep all equipment FREE if they set aside FREE play days > scheduled by the USRA in advanced. > 5.) Clubs may use their own staff or have FREE use of local "sponsored" players > and volunteer local USRA players. > > Now the USRA and other organizations are putting their money (funds & grants) > where their mouth is- directly into the clubs to use to get new players on the > courts. > > Funny how many tournaments there are with state volunteers working all weekend > for the SAME few players? > > If half as much effort were to be used to run weekly "beginner mixers" at clubs > you would increase the number of new players over 100%. The key is consistency, > same club every week at the same time. > > Does the above work? Yes, I have done this at several clubs. It only fails when > the club stops running these programs due to staffing, cost or lack of > interest. > > Why haven't I continued to do this? Work. But my work NOW produces new younger > players (and pays better). > > This year I have the opportunity to run these programs (mixers) at 2 clubs in > my area. It will be interesting to see which club takes full advantage of this > opportunity by offering these new players reasons to JOIN their facility. > > Earlier today I produced my first "photo-glossy" color mini poster promoting > upcoming classes I teach. I already have a giant foam board display with flyers > attached in the club promoting this weeks FREE CLINICS (13 offered) and next > weeks start of group lessons. > > The "flyer" is a two sided letter size brochure with dates, times, and > information on pre-school classes (2 levels), youth programs (instruction & > teams) and adult classes. This is just the "winter" session flyer, which also > includes 20 FREE clinics (13 first half and 7 second half of session). > > Last month our club challenge the next towns club to a 5 on 5 round robin. > Flyers and posters were at each facility and both clubs had filled their teams > plus waiting lists in just 3 days of displaying poster with sign-up. Not bad > for setting this up for the first time and in only 2 weeks of advanced notice. > > This is all done on my own time with my own money. > > If I can do this without any "outside" funding or grants, surely the USRA, with > all their "professional" staff can come up with a similar project. > > Jordan Kahn > PS. The USRA sells "clothes" through the Racquetball Magazine, why can't the > USRA sell "promotional" posters, clip art and generic brochure masters to > clubs? Most YMCAs, JCCs and Park Districts would purchase these "tools" if > there were contacted 9 months in advance to place on "next" years budget > (that's how they operate and purchase in advance). > > **Gee, I should get into "promotion" before my brain explodes! > --- > > > Heather R. Fender wrote> > > USRA Customer Service > 719-635-5396 ext.12090 > > After many hours of meetings, phone calls, and conversations, the > group > > developed a three step plan - > > 1. stop the removal of courts within court clubs and develop a > > relationship with the club owner/manager. > > 2. develop a 'major' event to attract outside sponsors, develop > > credibility within and outside the sport. > > 3. have a full time or part time educated racquetball programmer in > > every club in the USA. > > > > > > Phase II was initiated with the U.S. OPEN, although some initial > > > > 1. Every club with racquetball courts will be contacted by phone or > > personally within the next 12 months and surveyed. They will be > placed > > in one of three categories - a) developed b) developing c) undeveloped > > programs. > > 2. Programs will be developed in the above three categories and > > individually taken to each club and presented to the club > > owner/manager. AmPRO personnel and manufacturers' players will be > > implementing this phase. > > 3. Follow-up by the AmPRO person will be required within the next six > > months. > > 4. The second phase will be a similar program with colleges, high > > schools, YMCAs, and JCCs contacted. > > > > So as you can see, the USRA and manufacturers have actively been > > involved in attempting to promote and attract new people to the sport. > > Although many other projects have been introduced over the last five > > years - expanded involvement in the IHRSA convention, Leadership > > Conference, Ektelon/USRA club development program - the above combined > > industry program is, without question, the most comprehensive. I > > encourage everyone participating in this forum to continue their > input, > > recommendations, and suggestions, and I invite inquiries at any time.- > > Jim Hiser > > > > -- > > Heather R. Fender > > USRA Customer Service > > 719-635-5396 ext.12090 >
Subject: Re: HELP! We may be losing courts Date: 09 Jan 2000 20:26:25 GMT From: (Jordan Kahn) Organization: I worked for a YMCA for years, as a Director, then years later as a "part time" Racquetball Coordinator/Pro. The Y originally had 3 courts, added 4 including two complete lower level glass side walls, then eventually converted those four (panel courts) to fitness. Its not "how many members" play racquetball, but how many NEW members can be attracted with new programs. Stu, you mentioned 40 - 60 family memberships would be lost if racquetball courts were taken out. Sorry to say that is "small" compared to the number of new memberships that be generated by "fitness" conversions or even "organized" health care if operating with a existing clinic/hospital. Yes, I do know numbers, especially at the YMCA. I have spent many hours tracking court usage, members, classes, permanent court time, and challenge court and regular open play. It took me years to convince the Y bosses to make it mandatory for all players to "check-in" before playing. Not just the person who paid for the court, but "all" players, be it singles, cutthroat or doubles and I would enforce these new check-in policies since my office was next to the courts. We found many players not checking in because they were "non-members". Our guest fees increased about 25% for just racquetball players. I tried to explain to the players that "checking in" may be redundant, but this would help the Y understand how many members use the courts. I left after about a year and the Y immediately began converting those 4 courts. The main reason for conversion of the courts was to increase "fitness" space that was needed do to over crowding. Racquetball players seem to forget how many "fitness" people can utilize a racquetball court within the same time. Here are the "real" numbers. One racquetball court equals two racquetball players for one hour. One racquetball court equals 36 fitness users for one hour. This is based on three 20-minute cycles of 12 people working at one time. Now add afternoon (lunch), afterwork and yes, weekend times. Racquetball just can't compete. So forget about comparing "numbers", you will always lose. Instead, go after the "wide variety" of activities the YMCA offers to the community. Unfortunately, when "any" facility gets the idea to convert courts, it is usually too late. Good luck, Jordan PS. Don't waste time bickering with the Y. Start getting as many players organized to get a "group" discount at another racquetball facility. Money talks. Pull your memberships out as quickly as possible. This may not effect your Y, but another Y may hear how much membership revenue was lost and think twice about converting courts this way. --- From: "Stu Young" Date: Sun, 09 January 2000 09:44 AM EST I have heard/read all the horror stories mentioned hear about losing courts. I never dreamed it could happen to me. But now the club where I play, Courtside Athletic Club in Lynchburg, Virginia, is planning on closing its doors in about 2 years. It is not because the courts are under utilized. It is because the club is owned by an organization that is more focused on elderly rehabilitation. Now here is the kicker. Courtside is planning on leasing space at a brandspanking new YMCA being planned on the outskirts of Lynchburg. This ought to be great, racquetball began at a Y, of course the Y will include courts in its plans. Not so. The Y had a survey done in the area, excluding any club members, to determine the facilities people wanted most. Racquetball did not fare well. I must also mention this survey was complete prior to the announcement that Courtside would close. We have petitioned the Y, provided utilization figures, written to the board and the local paper, and we have also begged to get courts in the new Y. We have shown how the lack of courts will reduce membership anywhere from 40 to 60 single and family memberships. All to no avail, it does not look good so far. The Y's position is we need to raise the money to cover the cost of courts if we want them. What I am after here is suggestions, can/will the USRA help, can the Virginia State organization help, can equipment manufacturers help (many people buy ektelon shoes). Has anyone persuaded a facility to add courts and if so how? Is this a prime candidate for some USRA "Three Step Plan" Phase III support? We are just a small club, maybe forty active rball players. Not all are USRA members. The area though is big enough, with the right kind of assistance, to grow that membership. We just need some assistance getting it going, Kathy you up for relocation, Ed, Jordan, anyone. thanks in advance Stu "hoping to keep racquetball alive and well in Lynchburg, VA" Young
Subject: Re: HELP! We may be losing courts Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2000 00:02:02 -0600 From: Ed Arias MIKE D5172 wrote: > Just goes to show you that the Y, as a major corporation, does not care about a > small faction of it's members. We have three Y's where I live and two of them > keep their courts up fairly well while the third rarely does any maintenance, > ie. replace lights, court refinishing. And they even closed three of their > courts down. One is being used as a kiddy sitting room and the other two for > storage. I couldn't belive it when I saw it a few weeks ago. I'll never go > back to that Y again. This is one place where racquetball fails. Went out with a buddy of mine tonight and, of course, over a few beers and burgers...the stories start to flow. One story was that he was originally from another club here in the MadCity...but when the racquetball director went on maternity leave, part of the rb program went south...so he left for greener pastures (my club). Well, there club also took out a couple courts and the rb program has never quite recovered even with her back. This tells me just how important a programmer can be...here's a gal who went on a 6 month maternity leave and the rb program fell apart. If my buddy...who's sponsored by Wilson had stepped in and filled her shoes, this may not have happened. Course...my friend already HAS a life and it certainly isn't his fault. But perhaps one of the other sponsored players could have been in the right situation to do so. Next weekend...the Leadership Conference convenes and the USRA sets forth the third initiative for repopulating the sport...a lil'program called AmPRO. Incentives are going to be put in place for sponsored players to become AmPRO certified as instructors and programmers...so hopefully, the right person will be on hand to fill a rb director's shoes when they get relocated or go on maternity leave or something. I just got an e-mail a couple days ago from a club in the subs of BeerTown. They are in desparate need of a racquetball programmer. They will even train the person to do the job...where are the rballers with the right circumstance to step up? I know if I lived near Milwaukee, I'd give it a shot..if only in the evenings...at least I'd put my certification to good use! Anyway...it'll be interesting to see what comes of the Leadership Conference this year. Ed.
Subject: Re: Has anybody thought.. Date: Thu, 20 Jan 2000 03:28:18 GMT From: "Paul Reynolds" Yea "you" could go to them. Let me ask YOU...do you? > Has anybody thought to go to your local YMCA or JCCA and strike a deal to > develop their racquetball programs? You might find that both these entities are > more concerned with keeping members than having to recruit more. The programs > are what keep people paying their membership dues. I would go to the court > house and get a DBA calling yourself the County Racquetball Association and > approach them that way. As Otto can tell you, "Titles" go a long way. Tell them > that your association would like to work with the YMCA to develop their > racquetball program. The members pay their membership to the YMCA and you get > an "association fee" for your own memberships. Big things start from humble > beginings. If the USRA can collect membership dues without owning a facility so > can you. > Dropshot25
Subject: Re: When I was asked...... Date: Thu, 20 Jan 2000 20:00:08 GMT From: killshot6 I agree that the USRA needs to focus more on grass roots racquetball, and I think that we are making the beginning steps toward that with the AmPro certification. Part of the reason that people are leaving racquetball was summed up very well by Tom Kite, the professional golfer, as he was quoted in the most recent issue of Racquetball Magazine. He said that a lot of baby boomers have left racquetball and started playing golf because their bodies could not handle the exertion of racquetball. That is certainly a legitimate reason why baby boomers are leaving the sport, but not an excuse to let our great sport die. I recently started a Juniors program at my club which started with 8 kids the first day and ballooned to 21 kids in just 6 weeks. The interest is there, we just need to offer the programs. I am a strong believer that if we get the kids involved, the parents will follow. I volunteer my time for this program and am not compensated in any way. Unfortunately, there are too few people out there willing to GIVE their time to continue the growth of racquetball.
Subject: Re: When I was asked...... Date: Thu, 20 Jan 2000 18:04:04 -0600 From: "S & L James" Dropshot has started making more and more sense lately...Keep it up Dropshot25 wrote in message > I think it was Karen Abrams that asked me why I get upset with Otto and Luke, > this was my answer............ > No, this doesn't have anything to do with the Promus. In fact it was probalby > the greatest effort put out so far to do a National Event. What is going on > here is , simply put, is an account by the National Organization for the > failure to do anything tangible about the dimishing numbers of players on the > local front. We have lost 50% of our membership over the last 15 years. And the > current regime keeps pouring 90% of the membership money into less than 2% of > the tournament players. I don't see how they expect racquetball to develop by > itself on a local level. They expect people to just give freely of their time > until they are exausted to maintane the growth outside of the Nationals. It > does not make sense and is a poor doctrine. The people at the USRA are all paid > salaries and don't work unless all bills are paid. They ask the membership ( > which is 98% of the local players ) to keep sending those membership dollars in > without them recieving any financial aid in return, to run local tournaments ( > which is where 98% of the tournament players are ) > Dropshot25
Subject: Re: Once upon a time Date: 21 Jan 2000 02:22:18 GMT From: (KathyKlg) OK - well, I think we have a matter of people not liking Rudy's presentation style, his lack of tact, his overt aggression, negativity, etc. But who am I...just an opinion: Let's examine his message. Put yourself in the shoes of a racquetball player that not only will never go to Nationals, but will never leave the city for a weekend long tournament. He doesn't have the time or the drive. He likes leagues, he wants to meet new players, and wants to have fun playing the game once or twice a week - MAYBE play in a local tournament 3 or 4 times a year. OK - now: you are now wearing the typical racquetball player's shoes. Now, will you consider the following question? What has the USRA done to serve YOU? What about the magazine interests YOU? Do you have any idea who the elite players featured in the magazine are? Do you see evidence of the USRA in more than 1% of the facilities with courts in your state? - posters, programs, leagues, lessons, clinics, exhibitions? Ok. Now let me ask you again. What is the USRA's mission statement? Why do they get paid? Does their job description say this: - host large-scale tournament events that cater to the 2% of the competitive elite in the sport that 98% of ALL racquetball players will never even see on TV? - manage the money of the professionals that play so they can win titles in the Olympics on behalf of America? Ok. What then, Kevin? What has the USRA done for that player lately. Because he's not traveling to tournaments. And Sudsy doesn't come to Miami much. High level instructionals? I just want to be able to schlep to the local facility, meet a programmer that is going to politely and warmly invite me to play in his league program. Do my membership dues go towards putting those people in place? Training them? Helping them manage the diverse and financially challenging responsibilites involved in running such a program? Do you see evidence of this kind of local support at your city park? Your college courts? As a typical rb player I'm not interested in the high level package the USRA is selling. I'm just not impressed. I DON'T CARE. I want to burn calories. I want to kick that guy's ass every Wednesday. I want somebody to organize and administrate accessible events so I can enjoy this social sport without turning myself into some competitive tournament playing machine. WHO are YOU, why do I care about you, the USRA? So you will count my non-existent points for me? So I can read about some dude in California that is climbing up the pro rankings? I didn't know the sport even HAD a pro tour. Who are these people? No disrespect, but I can assure you, I have never heard their names, much less seen them... To me, this is what Rudy has been saying, in his own bitter, obnoxious, overbearing, condescending way for the past two years. And I think he is right. Respond to the ideas. Don't shoot the messenger. Kathy Geels Miami, Florida

Subject:
Re: USTA
Date:
Sat, 20 Jan 2001 14:16:13 -0800
From:
"self" <nospam@nospam.com>
Newsgroups:
alt.sport.racquetball
References:
1 , 2


"Jordan Kahn" added more food for thought:

> And get this; you don't have to be a "member" of USTA to participate in
their
> clinics.
>
> They "must" have a different insurance policy than the USRA.

I drive by Brian Piccolo park, and a few other tennis centers frequently. At
least one or twice a year, these centers have huge banners spread across
chain link fence in front of the facility saying "Open House - Free tennis
lessons! Beginner Leagues signing up now!" and "Tennis summer camp" and
"Come learn to play tennis, even if you've never played before!" and other
promotions.
I've even been almost enticed to give it a try, even though we know what
tennis does to our RB game!

I've been around a lot of racquetball-only facilities, and heath clubs with
racquetball featured in them, and it's possible that I've just never been in
the right place at the right time; however, I've NEVER seen ANY invitation
to ANYONE to come try racquetball. Not a banner, not a league night poster,
not a free lesson promotion, not a open house - nada.

Not a peep.

We need to think creatively. This sport does pretty much 'sell itself', but
only once you have the hook, in by getting 'em on the court, with a racquet
in their hand, with a relatively experienced player to help get started! It
isn't like sky diving or rock climbing, which are instantly appealing,
heavily promoted, look exiting, and most beginners are encouraged to believe
that they can participate right away. By contrast, to outsiders, RB looks
cliquish, difficult, dangerous, arcane, and not necessarily even
interesting! It takes probably one or two sessions of 15 to 30 minutes each
to explain the principles, give some basic instruction, rally the ball, and
let the beginner watch other players at a decent level, to know what the
game *can* and *should* look like.

Anyone that is REALLY interested in promoting racquetball as a lifetime
healthy activity that Joe and Josie Everyone can play, would be thinking of
HOW do we standardize on a common 'pitch' that highlights our sport, and
grabs the interest. Think of the guy who straps all those kids into go-karts
at Disney: he can show the gas pedal, the steering wheel, the whole basic
concept in twenty seconds, and they are OFF, driving around the course. Our
sport needs a bit more of a spiel, but we still ought to have a PACKAGE
designed to enthuse potential new players into trying, and then hopefully
staying with the sport. But instead, we are using member resources towards
propping up a pro tour that apparently couldn't even fund itself, on it's
own merits, and that virtually no one gets a chance to see in person, and
virtually no one else will ever see at 3:00 AM on ESPN, on the night WE paid
to have it shown on. Now, I'm sorry, but just dumb.

I love the pros. But they DO NOT sell the sport, and they are a BUSINESS, as
well! If they can't support themselves, too bad! If we build a grass roots
base, who would THEN be interested in seeing the sport played at the highest
level, THEN a pro tour will occur, you can bet your butt! Because it will be
self-sustaining, and make some bucks. Some promoter will see a buck to be
made, and do it THEMSELVES. But the USRA, like Geels, keeps putting the cart
squarely on the horse's back -forget about getting the cart in front of the
horse - at least that would be correctable.

Greg Stoner

Subject: Racquetball "Chain Club" Promotion Suggestion
Date: 26 Apr 2003 18:08:18 GMT
(Jordan Kahn)

A few years back, I posted an article about how racquetball will eventually
move from "racquetball clubs" with many courts to "Multi-Fitness Mega-Clubs"
facilities with just a few courts, but lots of different activities and
thousands of memberships.

I also mentioned that the trend for many clubs may be towards "programs" and
"family programs", including pre-school and youth programs, which allows
members more reasons to join and renew their memberships. Like a cross between
a YMCA, Park District and an Exclusive Private Club.

These new mega clubs may not have lots of courts, but they have lots of
"members" that can create lots of players.

I have been saying this for years, but the USRA (national association) needs to
get more involved with local facilities.

Perhaps a lot of energy, time and money could be saved by having the USRA (and
local states) working with a few of these growing "mega clubs" chains.

It may be easier to set up meetings with "regional" chain club
managers/directors to develop new programs at their club, using experienced
racquetball programmers, than to try work with individual facilities.

The mega clubs will likely be interested in any new programs/advice that they
can turn into a profit or member retention, especially coming from a credible
or proven source, like the USRA.

While some club chains may or may not promote racquetball, they all need to
'sell" and "retain" memberships. But few facilities have the staff, energy or
funds to dedicate "racquetball" programs at individual clubs.

While individual clubs may not be able to justify or afford to "pay" a
racquetball programmer, surely the "corporate office" would approve local
facilities barter a "free membership and title" for exchange of individuals
running local racquetball programs.

Example:

1. National and regional club personal meets to determine possible racquetball
programs that will work for individual club demographics for chain clubs.
Including promotional material and print work that will be shared at the local
level.

2. Regional directors return to meet with individual club managers and discuss
possible racquetball programs and provide promotional material and print work t
promote programs

3. Individual clubs offer these racquetball programs.

The racquetball pros/staff work for that clubs director in charge of
racquetball, who may not have time or the experience to devote for racquetball
programs.

Usually, the existing local chain club director in charge of "racquetball" has
other responsibilities besides racquetball to devote their time and energy to.
So delegating racquetball responsibilities to others may lighten their workload
and be appreciated, especially if more memberships are sold!

This is a win-win situation for club chains, club staff, club members and
racquetball.

Clubs gain valuable knowledge to help sell and retain memberships while
promoting racquetball. Its that simple!

Is there work required? Yes. But the results are truly profitable for all
concerned.

Jordan


Sept 11, 2003

Despite your take on it ('why would I *have* to flash my card to buy balls'?), my
point is: what if membership to an amateur organization, called the USRA, were
to be offered FREE, with the purchase of ANY racquetball gear? Would you
'need' a membership to buy balls (as you ASSUMED)? Of course not. You would
simply be 're-offered' a chance to participate in the USRA 'club' with every
purchase, though. It would be foolish NOT to send in at least one of the many
free entry forms that you easily found with every glove, bag, racquet, and can of
balls you purchased. Hell, the USRA would be ubiquitous! Benefits? At that
LEVEL of membership

(Ah ha.)

all you would be entitled to is a free magazine (once, not subscription),
information mailed to you about the game, copy of rules, list of clubs in your
area, and added to mailing list for future offers.

In order to get regular mailing of mag, need second tiered membership, slight
fee...

In order to get level of membership required to compete, and be ranked, need to
pay more...

Want level of membership to get discounts on lodging, get dental insurance from
IAB <wink>, then pay a little more...

Want to go to PRO (Olympic) camp? Gotta pay $5,321.68 for membership.

Ah, ASSUMPTIONS. "Some world, not yours?" Don't be so sure. You are
assuming pretty much status quo. Thanks for bringing up the restrictive stiltifying
nature of assumptions, especially unstated ones.

Opus


Subject: Re: A new way to make things work......
Date: 09 Sep 2003 17:43:50 GMT
From: (Tomkat9111)

At the YMCA where I currently play there are approximately 80 league players
and another 30-40 players that just show up with someone to play semi
regularly. Of all those players, 6+ have played at least ONE tournament within
a year, three have played more than 3 tournaments.

I would venture to say that 30% of the players didn't pay as much as $30 for
their racquets and they think thats a lot.

Even though Racquetball Areobics, rules and tournament play classes and
challenge court night is offered only a dozen or so take part in those. The Y
wants to see if there is going to be a number of people show up before they
will even charge anyone to attend. So its free classes and still only a few
take advantage of it. At least this fall I believe more than a dozen players
will play in a tournament.

The majority of these players don't want to spend $30 on membership, play one
tournament for another $35+ thats more than they spent on their whole gear for
the sport. The leagues are only $15 and that lasts 10 weeks. For 4 seasons of
league, 40 weeks, that $60 is almost the same for one tournament a year.

If the Y's and JCCs and private clubs could get together with the USRA with
some kind of programing and include the rules book and some kind of adhearance
to safety equipment minimums. Some how get the majority into the flow of the
national game to feel a part of the bigger whole. If a place with courts does
not have a die hard person that will give up time and effort to get people into
the game the courts get taken out and the rest run amok.

I know the Y's ask for volunteers for every sport to get coaches involved. Its
not like they are takeing away their livelyhood its just a part time thing. I
heard there were over 300 kids playing soccer and they each paid $30 for the
session. Thats just one Y in a small town of 35,000+.

What if the USRA would come up with a package of the rule book and a phamphlet
with some game situations and info about playing in tournaments for $5.00 no
magazine, maybe the State's quarterly newsletter??? for the Y's , JCC's and
private clubs to use to get people into playing and useing their courts? All
league players would have to purchase a package each year to play in their
courts the players would be safer and have some idea of the rules.

From my experience most of those league players don't even know the USRA
exists. They think tournaments are only for "VERY" serious players. I put up a
picture of two players,from the Y, that won the A./B doubles,Doug Blaha and Jim
Heckemyer, at the Show Me State(Missouri) games this year and the reaction was
overwhelming.
Maybe there is hope.

Thats my ranting for the day.Cudos to those giving time and effort to keep the
game alive.

TomKat Racquetball & Golf


 

From Jordan: 8/24/2002

What do I believe the USRA should provide?

Club management support, promotional leadership support and sponsoring
non-tournament activities to create new players and NEW MEMBERS at the local
club. Leadership and direction for local states to promote non-tournament
activities to non-USRA members.

Local club managers are not dumb, they know that hosting a tournament does
little to create new members, since all these players live in other cities or
belong to another club.

But mention that the "State or National" organization will help host and run
promotional events "at the clubs scheduling" to attract new members, including
provide promotional material, you will get a club managers attention, since it
saves them time, energy and money.

The average racquetball player plays a friend for fun, and may not be ready for
a tournament, but is a ideal market target for mixers, leagues and parties,
which can introduce these people to existing USRA members.


From: Ed Aria: How about just starting a junior program at your club ... I think that would be the easiest and worthwhile thing the average player could do. I think most club do not have a junior program...I know mine doesn't and I tried doing it for a while but then ran out of time with the video thing.

Subject: Re: Here's a question...
Date: 06 Aug 2002 17:06:31 GMT
From: (Jordan Kahn)


The major difference between racquetball and how other sports are promoted is
fundamental.

Most sports have a history of existing programs offered to the public.

Tennis is a good example. Tennis didn't really become the "money sport" until
the televised "Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs" battle of the sexes match.

While many viewers did not play tennis or played in tennis tournaments, all
shared a common feeling of "beating" a friend or family member at the local
tennis court during their own "grudge match".

This was all "hype and spin" which attracted a huge non-tennis playing
audience.

Sure, there was outdoor tennis and private clubs, which "peaked" in the mid
1970's, but the key was programming, memberships and instruction.

Tennis was primarily a social activity for members. While some played in house
leagues, fewer played in any tournament. Most played for recreational
enjoyment.

The advantage tennis had was plenty of classes, leagues and participants,
especially the ladies in the morning hours.

Kids classes would be scheduled at 4PM after school, with prime-time open
courts and adult leagues starting at 5:30 PM.

Pro staff to teach classes, host leagues and run programs were available. It
was not uncommon for several teaching pros to work full time at a single club.

While price may have kept many participants from joining indoor tennis clubs,
programs helped attract and retain new members.

Racquetball is a young sport that achieved "fad" status when tennis was at its
peak.

Racquetball was the "poor mans" alternative to tennis, since memberships and
court time were priced for almost anyone.

It was common (in the late 1970-early 1980) for a new person to walk into a
racquetball club in the fall and buy a membership, sign-up leagues and pay less
than $100.

With this luck for club management, there was no real need to advertise or
promote, since new members were flocking in on their own.

Lessons and classes were not needed, as with tennis, because of the ease of the
sport.

But the social aspect was much different then tennis, due to the confines of
individual courts and singles being played instead of doubles. Although some
courts with lower glass walls have much better social interactions between
members.

So you have this racquetball sport which all of a sudden loses half the
memberships to the new fad- "Health Clubs" that offer those new electronic
weight machines, aerobics classes and most important, socialization between
members.

Racquetball clubs still have not learned how to promote successfully, since
there was no real history of "trial and error" to learn from, and most clubs
went out of business.

The only facilities left are multi-facility that offers many activities (YMCA,
JCC Park District), or new clubs that only had a few courts built.

Now we have a sport without a history of promotion or programs AND memberships
are more expensive, since you must join the "club" and not just a racquetball
department.

The average club membership is about $450 per year. While court time may be
included, it is difficult for a facility with a few courts to attract new
racquetball members.

Most clubs now require membership to play- and how many "new" players are
willing to drop that type of money without knowing anyone or having existing
programs available?

Racquetball needs to start at "STEP ONE" all over and work with club management
to "sell" memberships at the club, which is the only way that most facilities
will allow an outside source to promote.

Jordan
--


Subject: Re: Here's a question...
Date: 02 Aug 2002 17:27:59 GMT
(Jordan Kahn)


Glad you asked! The key for participation is FUN.

Recently youth soccer became the number one youth participation sport,
primarily because of the active younger recreational player's ages 5 - 8, not
the older youth or adult tournament players.

Like any sport, at about age 11 there is a major drop in participation, due to
other activities and lack of desire for participation unless you are a star
athlete and the fear of looking bad in public.

Imagine what "would" have happened if the youth soccer programs forced all
players to buy a "membership" before they even participated or tried the game?

Imagine if the younger players, who play games for fun and who DON'T KEEP SCORE
actually kept score? Half would win and half would quit playing because it was
no longer FUN to play.

People don't compete in tournaments for one major reason, FEAR!

This is why it's so important to offer non-tournament programs!

This is the same reason why most men don't dance in public (and that's free!).
But you won't have any problems with men watching others dance, or getting
"lost" on the dance floor if no one can see them!

Men have a terrible fear of looking stupid in public, similar to how most women
have a fear of looking "bad" without the right makeup or wearing the latest
fashions.

Making people feel comfortable is the key.

Tournaments actually chase away most players who have never played a
tournament.

Even some challenge courts, if not "hosted correctly" can be uncomfortable for
new players that don't know other players.

"Us" experienced and "advanced" players don't have this problem. We are already
used to losing, aren't afraid to introduce us to others and are sought out by
others to play!

If a person, any age, feels threatened to participate, chances are they won't,
especially for those without experience.

The USRA "only" offers tournaments, and most (except round robin) have all the
participants pay about $35 and half of the players will be out after 1 match.
While some die-hard players call this fun and part of competing, most players
don't.

SUGGESTION-
The USRA, like other sport organizations NEEDS to offer non-tournament programs
to introduce new players and retain players who no play tournaments, be it for
family, work or injury reasons.

WHAT TYPE OF PROGRAMS?
Free Clinics
Classes
Mixers
Challenge Courts
Inter Club Mixers
Inter Club Leagues

While I wouldn't suggest the USRA force USRA membership to participate, a small
"fee" for non-USRA members, which go directly to the host club.

This is a great incentive for clubs to host these events and the state and USRA
will eventually get new memberships from such events.

Incentives for joining the USRA would be saving on the "added fees" and of
course receiving Racquetball Magazine and USRA Membership!

EXAMPLE PROGRAM - Club Mixer with Free drinks and snacks provided.
Club makes deal with local state and USRA to host weekly mixers.
Club members pay $5 (or $3 if members don't pay court fees)
Club Members who are USRA members pay $3 (free if they don't pay court fees)
Guests pay $8.
Guests who are USRA members pay $5.

While these are only sample prices, the goal is to keep prices as low as
possible without chasing away customers, but encouraging fee discounts by
joining the USRA.

If clubs ran weekly events, and a few local clubs also participated, clubs get
needed "cash" while providing members with players- and the state and USRA gets
new memberships, from participants who see this as a way to save money
participating in local club programs.

Jordan


Subject: Re: My $.02 on the USRA Giving More $ to the States
Date: 01 Aug 2002 21:05:36 GMT
From: (Jordan Kahn)

Hi Otto, I don't think that "money" is the major problem, support from the USRA
for non-USRA member's participation is.

Otto, if you were the person in charge of racquetball at a facility that only
allowed programs for "existing" club members, and all the existing members were
already happy with other activities in that club, how would you get new
racquetball participants and retain the few you had?

Some facilities do not allow participation (as a policy) to non-members; others
allow non-members to participate in "programs" at a premium expense, if there
is space available.

All clubs will allow prospective members free tour, most even allow a free
try-out.

The USRA should use these methods of promotion, which need only the "sanctioned
support" from the national body (USRA).

If the USRA won't touch non-member participation for fear of liability, why
should the state affiliates, who have even less financial resources?

My state, and most others, believes that the success is getting new players to
play tournaments.

This is far from reality, since most new participants at any sport will not
compete until they have had enough playing experience and the confidence to do
so.

Most tournament players first played for fun, then got involved in challenge
courts or leagues, then tournaments. A few eventually joined the USRA and
probably play at least twice a week.

But there is a huge racquetball market of recreational players and non-players.

The USRA says it's the states problem, the states say it's the clubs problem,
the clubs have no time, funds or experience to promote racquetball.

But there are plenty of local players who would be willing to help FOR FREE at
a local club. What these people need is credibility and guidance from a leader,
like the state or national association.

If you were about to hire or allow an intern to work for you, your company's
reputation is on the line. You want employees that have the experience and
credentials needed to do the work. If they don't have the "experience", the
next best thing is credentials.

This is where the USRA can help. Give the USRA power to have local states
assign people under sanction of both state and national association to call on
local clubs.

It would be so much easier and less expensive, for one source to print
brochures which carry the authority and credibility required at most clubs just
to get inside the door!

The USRA "needs" to diversify into an organization that provides non-tournament
players, and expired-USRA members with available programs, which create a need
for purchasing USRA memberships.

Jordan


Subject: Re: USRA - Purpose
Date: 05 Jul 2002 17:05:08 GMT
From: (Jordan Kahn)

The (national and state) organizations "feed off" the tournament players
created from the club level. The problem is the number of club players has
continued to decline.

Why is racquetball not as popular as it once was? Choices of alternative
activities and cost.

In the 70's, tennis and racquetball were the only indoor activities, besides
swimming and basketball. The only "weight" rooms were at the local YMCA and
JCC, which were dark and dingy.

The cost to join a club was around $50 a year since court time was between $6
and $15 per hour.

In the late 70's and early 80's a new "service" was created, health clubs that
offered electronic weight machines and aerobics classes. This was in direct
competition to racquetball and tennis clubs.

Many tennis and racquetball clubs could not compete with these health clubs, so
the eventually went out of business.

Even the "leaders" of racquetball diversified into the health club business
(IHRSA).

Currently, most clubs charge about $400 per year, which is a little high o try
racquetball for the first time.

It is almost impossible for a health club with 3 or 4 clubs to afford to pay
someone to promote racquetball, and that's just part-time!

The typical racquetball facility only has about 4 courts, is not a chain and
doesn't own any other clubs.

This is how a national organization can help.

Valuable resources like experience; contacts and programs are cost efficient
when done by one party, similar to how "franchise businesses" are run.

But the national racquetball organization won't touch any program unless all
participants are paid ($30) members.

So much for promoting racquetball. Can you imagine if a club said there would
be no guests allowed, no free racquet demos and no club tours before joining?

Juniors:

I would guess that most, if not all (tournament) juniors have a close family
(or friend) that plays racquetball and has access to a club.

Basically, mom or dad plays tournaments (or played) and the kids have parents
that are more than happy to drive them to a club.

In the real world, most parents have only played recreational racquetball and
are not as willing (as tournament parents) to push racquetball on their kids.

This is not a cost issue, but a "marketing" problem, since there are few
programs for youth or adults at clubs.

Racquetball has not been a social event, like tennis, baseball, basketball and
soccer.

Kids play for the social and fun aspects of the game, just like adults. But the
adults have a wallet and drivers license to get them to the club.

WERE SHOULD RACQUETBALL BE MARKETED?

Simple, the "FAMILY". You get more bang for your buck.

People will spend more cash on their kids and family than for themselves.

And juniors must be sought way before they turn 11 years, since this is the age
where it is difficult to get participation for new activities.

What is the best age for juniors to start? Pre-school, since there are few
options for activities and courts are available during weekday mornings and
afternoons.

You will be surprised to learn that promoting pre-school racquetball also
promotes adult racquetball and youth racquetball, since it becomes a household
discussion.

If just dad or mom played racquetball, there is little discussion about
racquetball.

This is one way soccer advanced so quickly as a participant sport, word of
mouth from the "mommy" network!

Jordan
PS. I have taught racquetball since 1977 and have worked in racquetball clubs,
tennis and racquetball clubs, Park Districts and YMCAs. I switched from running
programs for adults to mostly juniors in the early 1990's, since I accidentally
found there was greater job security with pre-school and elementary ages.


Subject:
Re: Racquetball on TV (sort of)
Date:
10 Jul 2002 00:21:08 GMT
From:
jordanisra@aol.com (Jordan Kahn)
Organization:
AOL http://www.aol.com
Newsgroups:
alt.sport.racquetball
References:
1


I was just thinking about how racquetball (on TV) would effect racquetball
growth and increase membership or participation in the local clubs.

I was watching the TV news about the minor league baseball team that "locked"
their gates so no one could get in to watch their game.

This was done to get into the record books and get some free promotional play
in the press, which it certainly did. The game before only had 12 spectators in
attendance!

I have come to believe that it may not be the "sport", but rather the hype for
a particular player.

The Michael Jordan's & Tiger Woods are what bring out the big audiences AND
sponsors!

Even racquetball tries to get top players to enhance their credibility with
participants and sponsors in local and pro tournaments.

For racquetball to be a TV sport, it needs to have players who are household
names, or sponsors may not want to support it.

If the advertising world only expects a 3% customer draw for a good ad, imagine
the cost and time it would take to air racquetball on TV to get the same
effect?

The most effective way to get NEW racquetball players?

FAMILY and FRIENDS! Not through TV.

Its nice to see racquetball on TV, even if its just part of the background in a
sitcom or commercial, but it has no effect on the increase of racquetball
participation.

TV, as with ANY marketing campaign requires five ingredients:

1. An interesting sales pitch that creates a demand for the product or service.

2. A direct message that clearly shows how to receive the product or service.

3. A affordable price for the product or service.

4. The product or service must be available in local markets to purchase right
away.

5. The message (TV Commercial) must air several times per week for months at
times and places of the targeted market.

Jordan

PS. A good example is Soccer. Soccer has a terrible American TV market, but
recently Youth Soccer passed baseball for sports with youth participants.
--

Subject: Racquetball on TV (sort of)
From: "Otto Dietrich" ottod@bellsouth.net
Date: 7/9/02 2:08 PM Central Daylight Time
Message-id: <KjGW8.349$JU3.45220@e3500-atl1.usenetserver.com>

Hi All

In looking at today's newspaper to confirm the times of tonight's MLB All
Star Game, I also noticed that the ABC affiliate here in Atlanta is airing
an episode of "According to Jim" (I've never once watched this show) that is
entitled "Racquetball Showdown". The time is listed as 8:30 PM EDT and I
don't know if it is a national or local only airing.

I set my VCR and will check it out after the All Star Game!

Thought some of you would be interested.

Enjoy,

Otto

OTTO E. DIETRICH
President, United States Racquetball Association 1998-Present
National Rules Commissioner 1988-1998
Member of National Rules Committee 1982-Present


 

Subject: Re: A Simple Concept
Date: 28 May 2002 16:35:16 GMT
From: (Jordan Kahn)

Very nice post Lynn.

I have been saying this since 1986, when I attended my first state board
meeting.

The problem doesn't fall on the monthly meeting of state board "volunteers",
but at the top at the national level.

The state associations run and promote tournaments, just like the national
organization, but on a smaller but more frequent basis.

The national organization does not promote racquetball to non-members of their
organization and leaves up the promotion of racquetball to the local state and
club personal.

Likewise, the state follows the national rule and doesn't promote racquetball
to non-state members and leaves the promotion up to the local club personal.

State associations only offer tournaments, clubs only offer courts, and no one
is offering any promotional services to create and maintain the players.

That's the way it has been for years. Unlike the local tennis professionals,
racquetball has no professional base at facilities to promote and create new
players.

Eventually, clubs will be financially forced to convert courts and fewer
players mean less state and national memberships.

That's the problem, here is a solution.

YES! Run ALL racquetball associations like a BUSINESS, not a private membership
exclusive ONLY to its members!

Encourage and promote programs designed to reach new, current and recreational
players without promoting "tournaments". The "Tournament" aspect of promotions
is already in place.

What is missing and needed is promotional content at the club level. Sure,
state and local players can help the local clubs, but true credibility comes
from the national organization leadership.

Like any business, no one joins (first time) a club without first taking a tour
or trying out the facility. Why should promoting racquetball be any different?

There should have been programs 30 years ago promoted by the national
organization that state associations could offer at local clubs for non-USRA
members.

(The USRA ONLY offers programs to their existing $30 annual members, according
to the USRA, which is due to "insurance" reasons.)

The USRA should get a new insurance carrier or buy additional coverage to allow
promotion outside their membership with limited liability to the host club,
just like when the USRA runs a tournament and gets a "sponsor" to help
underwrite costs- should sponsors refuse because of the liability too?

Currently there are very few facilities that have enough courts to run
tournaments, but just the right number of courts to run promotional events and
clinics.

Try this at your facility this week.

Ask the manager/owner if they ever host free racquetball clinics? Ask if they
would be willing to let members run the clinic? Then ask if they would rather
have their pro run the clinic (free).

Inquire if they would be interested if the state association hosted the clinic,
and provided free instructors and advertisement in the state newsletter?

Finally, ask if they would be interested if this was a clinic sponsored by the
"national" organization, and instructors, promotional flyers and advertisement
was provided FREE?

Does it cost much to provide the services mentioned above? NO, actually, most
racquet companies would be more than happy to provide free "Press Kits" that
included material that could be reproduced via copy machine or computer.

And who would staff and instruct these events? The experienced players that no
longer play tournaments because of age, injury of family/work commitments.

Just a few ideas that have been proposed to the national organization for many
years.

Unlike the "Olympic Dream", these promotional concepts can be immediately
applied to any club, without waiting 4 years between each Olympics.

Jordan
PS: The Olympic Dream will not have much impact on forming programs in clubs or
creating new club memberships. If and when the Olympic Dream occurs, there will
be a need to have existing club programs for the "Olympic TV Viewers" who rush
to their local clubs to play racquetball, just like there was for "Curling".

--
Subject: A Simple Concept
From: "Lynn Stephens"
Date: 5/28/02 9:29 AM Central Daylight Time

People always wonder how and what it will take to build racquetball up to
the level we feel it should reach. To me, it all boils down to one simple
concept. Your State Boards need to treat their organization like a business.
The membership are your *current* customers and the rest of the people in
the state that may have an interest in racquetball are your *potential*
customers. Take care of the ones you have, and go after the ones you want.
If we did the business of business like most organizations do the business
of racquetball, you would be out on the street in a year. You have to keep
up with changing times and lifestyles and adjust accordingly. You have to
give people a reason to use your business (organization). You have to make
them want to continue using your business (organization). Sometimes you have
to give someone something for free (support non-membership programs) to
attract them to membership at a later date. Everyone loves to get something
for nothing. I've gotten and kept some of my best customers that way. If all
State Organizations would do this you would see the number of organized
racquetball players increase by at least 30% in the next 2 years.

Lynn


Subject: Re: McPherson Kansas
Date: Sat, 29 Sep 2001 22:49:53 GMT
From: "J

Actually I wanted to take that thought one step further. What would be wrong with developing the outdoor game to promote the indoor game? I cant imagine that it would cost Park Depts a whole lot to spring up a couple of 3 walled courts in a few parks here and there---adults and kids could then learn the outdoor game without the hassle of belonging to a expensive club---might evolve into a interest in the indoor game when winter rolled around

Tennis legend James Scott Conners once said that the problem with american tennis was that it needed to get kids out on the public courts were the better athletes could be found and not just try to develop the country club crowd. I think to a certain extent the Williams sistas are a product of that type of thinking. Maybe racquetball needs to start looking to the play grounds and parks instead of the clubs---who knows maybe some gifted athletes might try hitting a racquetball while waiting for a basketball
court to open up and get hooked for life

J

"J
Just came back from a high school tennis tourny in McPherson Ks. McPherson for you that dont know is a lil town just north of DoDah, past Crabwell Corners, west of Pixley, a stones throw from Hooterville right outside Pettycoat Junction....Anyway

They have a very nice tennis facility located in Wall Park, 6 nice courts but no lights. I noticed at the far end of the courts a hugh concrete wall existed with sets of lights above it. Between matches I took a stroll to see what might be on the other side of that wall and guess what my eyes saw??

3 perfect outdoor racquetball courts with outdoor lighting!!!!! Un FREKIN believable--the courts lines were freshly painted and on the side of each wall was a button to turn on the court lights. I was stunned.

In DoDah(wichita) with our population of 350,000 I know of 2 old run down outdoor courts. Now granted Im not big on the outdoor game but DAMN if the courts were available who knows.

I wonder how long it will be before skateboarders find these courts???

J


Subject: Re: Grassroots USRA suggestion (survey)
Date: 04 May 2002 16:13:14 GMT
From: (Jordan Kahn)


The USRA and state associations do a good job running tournaments, but clubs
don't need tournaments, they need players and members, otherwise say goodbye to
the racquetball courts at your local club.

I will get some flack for this, but running tournaments is not that difficult
to do, compared to promoting non-tournament programs.

Back in the late 1970s, at the peak of racquetball, there were inexpensive
tournaments ($20-$25) every weekend with large attendance.

This was only because there were thousands of tournament players playing at
thousands of clubs, many clubs that had 6 - 10 courts.

Now, there are not as many players or clubs and clubs average 3 - 6 courts per
facility (if that).

Sure, ordering shirts, trophies and printing up entry forms is work, and
working all weekend can be stressful, but it was not that difficult because the
"tournament player base" was very large.

If you had 1000 possible active tournament players in a 2 hour radius, you
could expect 150 to play your tournament.

Back then there were also many recreational players too.

Remember how difficult it was to get a court reservation? You had to call
7-days in advance just to get an 8:00 PM court!

Today you can get an 8:00 "walk-in" court time at almost every racquetball
facility.


 

Subject: Re: Is it time for a grassroots org.?
Date: 25 Apr 2002 05:20:04 GMT
(Jordan Kahn)


Brian has the same complaint (question) I had many years ago.

I had the good fortune to work in some of the larger and smaller clubs in the
Northern Chicago suburbs.

This area has had and still has some of the key racquetball personalities.
Names like Kendler, Newman, Sweeney, Leve, Peters, Negrete, Clay and Adams and
Gudinas.

I am lucky to have come in contact with many players and club management in the
past 25 years that I have worked for private clubs, park districts, city
recreational facilities and the YMCA.

All these clubs share one common goal, programming and selling memberships.

Unfortunately, the national organizational representing racquetball fails to
meet the typical standards that the average club uses to promote racquetball.

Imagine a club pro telling the club that they could only teach club members who
were USRA members, and only if they played in a USRA tournament- then
criticizes the clubs way of promoting racquetball? The club would fire this
person on the spot.

Basically that is what the USRA offers to the racquetball facilities.

The USRA only offers tournaments, to those that are USRA members or purchase a
$30 membership. Then, the USRA explains how the USRA benefits racquetball and
how the club could increase their potential.

It doesn't take a genus to figure out the clubs animosity towards the USRA,
especially when the USRA "charges" their members to play at their own clubs
tournament but expects the USRA non-club members to participate free of charge.

Worse, the club gets rejected when asking if the USRA could offer any clinics
(free or paid) at the club?

The USRA says sure, but only for the USRA members. Ironic that most clubs only
have 2 or 3 USRA members and these are the last type of members who would need
a clinic!

Another insult is the USRA explains they can't offer programs to non-USRA
members- but expect the same club to host a 3-day tournament to non-members of
that club?

And the reason, insurance!

Heck, the club that hosts a USRA tournament is going to have dozens of
non-members and their guests all weekend long that use the clubs facilities.

Eventually the USRA will start running out of facilities willing to "host"
local sanction tournaments at affordable prices. Guess who is going to end up
paying? The USRA membership.

But, if the USRA and local states actually offered "sanctioned" services to
non-USRA members at these clubs, you would begin seeing more non-tournament
events. More players and lower entry fees for tournaments because the clubs
would be willing to work with the USRA and not just renting the courts out like
a private club party.

The USRA is like a little baseball kid telling others how to play because it's
"his bat and ball". The USRA may own the "bat and ball", but they don't own a
"playing field".

Jordan
PS. I once complained about how my state didn't offer any programs to the
clubs. One of the club owners told me that's why they didn't work with the
state association, and that I should get involved to change this. Most USRA
members are not aware its not the "states" fault, it's the policy of the
national organization.


Subject: Re: Voting
Date: 2 Sep 2002 16:39:33 -0700
(Mark)

>
> Mark,
> Tennis has one thing racquetball doesn't have. Many, many tennis courts in
> public parks and facilities paid for and maintained by taxpayer dollars.
> This makes tennis a very accessible sport for anyone that's interested in
> playing. What would be your specific suggestion on how to make racquetball
> more accessible to the public?
>
> Lynn
>
>

Lynn:
The fact that tennis has public courts is not news. Racquetball was
growing at a tremendous pace in the 70's. If it would have continued,
I contend that tax dollars would have been spent for outdoor
racquetball courts. They still exist in Florida and California. Tax
dollars are spent on athletic facilities that people ask for.
Since that growth did not occur for many reasons discussed in a
number of posts, I simply am suggesting the USRA refocus its
priorities. Racquetball was just turned down for inclusion in the 2008
Olympics so how long will we continue this pursuit?? I think it is
time to refocus.
Suggestions:
1. Use USRA money to run amateur tournmaments instead of jetting Board
Members to IOC meetings and elite athletes to World Championships.
Club owners would be more willing to have tournaments if it was
subsidized and they could see a way to make money and bring in new
members.
2. Require AMPRO instructors to donate a certain amount of hours a
year in free lessons in order to help new comers to the sport and
maintain certification.
3. Figure out how to convince club owners that juniors should be able
to play racquetball. Most clubs won't let them play until they are 16.
The spoke screen used is "for insurance reasons" they can not play.
BS.....
4. Donate racquets to Colleges that have racquetball courts.
5. Convince manufacturers to promote the top IRT pros so young people
will see what a great game racquetball is and how incredible athletic
the top Pros are.
Slogan: "Racquetball is Cool" followed by "Hey, Dad will you teach me
how to play racquetball?"

That is it for now, Labor Day party to attend.

Happy Hitting

Mark


 

Subject: Grass Roots VS. Olympic Dream
Date: 21 Apr 2002 04:23:26 GMT
From: (Jordan Kahn)
Organization:


Grass Roots VS. Olympic Dream

In a nutshell, there are two basic groups of racquetball players.

Those who want to promote from the "top" (Olympic dream) and those who want to
promote from the "bottom" (grassroots).

The Olympic dream is more complicated since the IOC requires a minimum number
of countries to have racquetball programs in place, the host country to decide
to let racquetball be "exhibition" status and the vote from the IOC to become a
full Olympic sport.

So lots of time and money is spent at the international level by the USRA to
obtain this status, worldwide. Plus, the USRA receives "bonus money" when the
USA racquetball team wins these international events.

The main complaint by the "grassroots group".

The USRA receives over ½ million dollars (annually) from the USOC to provide
developmental programs. Most if not all this expense is directed to the
international programs and the top elite players.

Even if racquetball does become an Olympic sport, there still needs to be
existing in-house programs to teach, promote and program new "recreational"
players at the local club level.

So the complaint from the "grassroots" group is basic, start at the bottom to
put in place programs that would be utilized to create new players.

The complaint of "Olympic dream" group is simple, get racquetball into the
Olympic for the exposure and new players will see this and want to play
racquetball.

My personal opinion is simple, go for the "Olympic dream" while developing
programs that would be in place if racquetball becomes an Olympic sport.

You can develop and offer programs to new and recreational players everyday of
the year, but the Olympic dream only occurs a few weeks every four years.

Jordan

PS. Which program creates and retains more members? A racquet club that hosts a
Pro Tour every 4 years or a racquet club that offers clinics, lessons, leagues
and social player weekly?


Subject: Re: Grass Roots VS. Olympic Dream
Date: 21 Apr 2002 21:09:17 -0700
From: (Joe Argentina)

Jordan,
Can we define "grassroots"? You've talked extensively about
sanctioning new tournament formats and novice outreach, and Kathy has
mentioned hands-on state organization and club support. I wouldn't
presume to paraphrase you, so perhaps those ideas could be formalized
in this thread.

Here are some things I'd like to see:

A network of local organizers and support personnel. There's the USRA,
then the state people, then… nobody (it seems). Peter Mcmillon may
drive around California helping his local clubs, but here in PA, I've
never seen anyone from the state level, and I play in our largest
city, in one of only three city clubs. The USRA and state association
effort isn't reaching us AT ALL. We need a functional outreach program
that would put a rep of some kind into every club on a regular basis.
These folks would promote the sport to club management and
recreational players, standardize the rules, maintain minimal safety
requirements, sponsor inter-club tournaments, LISTEN, and provide
whatever general authority the local players need.

A valuable communication infrastructure. "Racquetball Magazine" isn't
serving our needs. It's published too infrequently, and doesn't
provide peer-to-peer communications between local organizers. We need
an organized network of local and state websites, e-mailing lists, and
traditional newsletters. The standardized websites would provide
static resources (Rules, tips, directions, FAQ, help for club
organizers, etc.), dynamic resources (upcoming events, meet-and-play,
tournament results, bios, news, etc.), provide some kind of feedback
forum for the player population, and promote the "racquetball brand"
(see below). The USRA site does some of this already, but the state
sites are uneven and most seem woefully under-funded and ineffective.
The newsletters could be a digest version of these more robust
electronic forms. Both the websites and newsletters would be
professionally designed.

A national marketing campaign. Commercials? Print ads? Not so fast.
First we need a "racquetball brand", complete with brand qualities,
visibility agenda, differentiation analysis, graphic standards, and on
and on. The brand would drive our ideas, and guide our evaluations.
It's incredibly powerful, and incredibly expensive. It could be the
USRA organization, or the IRT, or something else. The campaign itself
might include overt stuff like advertising along with
cross-promotional marketing. One example: Doesn't the military still
build courts? Couldn't we lobby them to put that into some of their
ads? Or their "web-story". Joint promotion is cheaper. We could kick
ideas around the aforementioned "public forum" or here in ASR, but
we'd need some hope that those ideas would be implemented, or at least
considered. An organized campaign would emerge.

Ok. This might be too expensive. Or inadequate. Or inappropriate in
some way that I can't see. And it's easy to second guess the USRA
people who would love to do more if only they had the resources. It's
just useless to beat on them for not providing something that we
vaguely define as "grassroots".

Joe Argentina
Philadelphia, PA


Subject: Re: Grass Roots VS. Olympic Dream
Date: 22 Apr 2002 05:20:56 GMT
(Jordan Kahn)


Joe, good question, what exactly is a "Grassroots Program"?

Any social program offered to the non-player or recreational player, at their
level and interest, to promote racquetball.

Obviously, tournaments are not part of these introductory grassroot programs,
but could be available later as players develop confidence and skills.

The (a) national office should be in control of these grassroot programs, as a
central headquarters to program, promote and receive funding needed to share
ideas that work.

The USRA is unable to promote racquetball to any non-USRA member, due to their
current insurance restrictions.

The USRA budget shows the annual (secondary) insurance cost per individual to
be only $4, and this insurance benefit only takes place after the host facility
own insurance runs out

Perhaps it is time the USRA retains the help of the IHRSA to purchase a new or
additional insurance that could allow non-USRA members to participate in these
grassroot programs?

Or, consult with lawyers to re-word the sponsorship of USRA grassroot programs
to limit any claims to the host facility for non-USRA members.

Almost every sport except racquetball offers free clinics and events sponsored
by their national organizations.

It's a shame that the USRA places more importance on promoting racquetball ONLY
to their existing members.

If the local clubs were to promote this way, to only existing members, they may
have happy members, but would be forced to increase membership rates or convert
courts / programming due to the lack of new members and revenue!

Ironic that is exactly what has happened to the USRA. They recently raised
membership fees from $20 to $30 and removed "Amateur" from their mission
statement (changed programs).

Jordan

PS. Promoting within your existing membership to renew their membership is NOT
promotion; it is retention and a reminder letter with an attached bill.
Promoting is attaining new members that have never been a customer.



Subject: Re: Newspaper Coverage of Stockton!
Date: Tue, 04 Sep 2001 15:19:36 GMT
From: "Brian"


Hi

Great little article!

If not already, USRA should forward this to ESPN as well as all other
networks. This can be e-mailed as well as mailing the original. Maybe Miss
Gilbert can forward some original copies??

On the local front, this can be forwarded to your local sports editor. They
may see a story opportunity here. Maybe they can visit your club etc. Can
this article be forwarded to all state boards from USRA( I received a copy
from Jack Hughes this morning of CARA and USRA)?? From what I have seen most
local papers now show e-mail addresses for their editors. It would be easy
to forward this with a little note (Hi - Come by our club sometime to check
out this great sport.....). I will forward to our local papers, though I am
not so excited that our club (Petaluma Valley Athletic Club) has decided to
eliminate a court (From 6 to 4 in three years).

Seems like a "no brainer", but clubs should automatically send invitations
to the local papers everytime there is a tournament. Invite them to a
specific match, one you know they will leave saying "WOW"!!

WHATEVER - Just a couple thoughts

Brian


Subject: Re: USTA
Date: Mon, 22 Jan 2001 15:09:51 GMT
From: czalegowski

I will comment on what Kevin was talking about here in New Hampshire.
At the JUSTIN OPEN back in October 2000, I saw a magazine
called: "Granite Sports Magazine" I started reading it and it was all
about sports in New Hampshire. That Monday I emailed the Editor of the
magazine, Jenn Danks, and informed her about NH racquetball and how it
is growing here in NH and I thought it wld be a great sport to include
in her magazine. She responded that she wld love to write articles
about racquetball and help promote the sport in New Hampshire. So
Kelley Beane and I met her for dinner one night and we discussed
racquetball at the local, regional and national levels and she was very
impressed. She is very excited about including our sport in her
magazine and has worked with us on a plan to write an article for every
issue. The magazine comes out QUARTERLY and the next one with the RB
article in it will be out in February. This article will be about the
fitness aspects of RB and the health aspects. We are also including in
this artice a "LEARN TO PLAY RB FREE" day. We have asked all the major
clubs in NH to participate and what they wld do is open up there
facilities one day for 4 hours so anyone and everyone who wants to
learn to play can come in for FREE and play. So far we have had NO CLUB
turn down the offer.

they have a website: www.granitesports-nh.com

This is a brand new magazine that just came out in 2000. There is no
subscription fee for it which is nice. Once the articles that Kelley
and I write are appearing in the magazine, we will start handing them
out to our members. We have made the initiative to help get this
magazine sent to all of the clubs in NH and that is just about
completed. We have started handing them out at tournaments already so
people will become familiar with it. Jann and her staff have been
great, but more important, supportive of our sport. She wants to see us
succeed and she knows that she has something that will help us do that.

Our next article, due out in the Summer, will be about how to play
racquetball and our article in the FALL issue will probably be about
the NHRA and how to get involved. I see this as a WIN-WIN situation for
Granite Sports Magazine and NH Racquetball. The funny thing is, is all
it took was a single email and 15 minutes to write it to get a our
sport to be promoted all over the state by the only magazine in the
state that covers just Sports in NH. Let me know if any of you have any
questions on this!

CZ


Subject: Re: USTA
Date: Sun, 21 Jan 2001 14:40:37 GMT
From: kgeels

What if rb were televised on Sunday afternoon, beginning with Superbowl
Sunday, right after the biggest TV moment of the year. Then 5 Sundays
after that, right in the middle of the day. Can you visualize the
impact? Now let's describe it:

Hordes of people would suddenly develop a thirst to play rb. In
reaction to that craving, they would do...what? Get in their
phone-book, look under racquetball? Maybe. They would find probably 1
listing for a club with courts, not necessarily with a programmer.

Then what? Would they drive aimlessly around their city looking for a
game? Perhaps. Statistically, they might have to drive as far as 200
miles to find a club that programs - mainly, they would go into clubs
and the club owner would respond enthusiastically that YES! We do have
rb courts...No...we don't happen to have a league in session right now.
No, we don't actually have a programmer, but we're going to GET one, by
golly! Just for YOU!

So then the dude, his thirst for rb somewhat daunted, might get the
little lightbulb and go to his computer. Where he'd do a search, and
what would he find? If he's wearing his special decoder ring, he MIGHT
find racquetball in his state, maybe wandering through that irrelevant
forest called the USRA.org, and find the rules. Good luck making sense
out of THAT - anybody got a lawyer?

With luck, he'd stumble onto the page with state listings and he'd go to
his state site. What would he find there? A bunch of irrelevant crap
about a tournament schedule and rankings. What the bloody hell! He just
wants to find a club with courts and leagues..He doesn't give a crap
about who the top player on the US team is, or how to hit the monster
backhand. He doesn't even have anybody to play with. He's not even sure
where to buy a racquet.

But yeah, I guess spending $200,000,000,000,000.00 to gain national
exposure through tv would awaken the thirst in the average citizen to
play rb. Good thinkin. :-).

Kathy Geels
MIAMI - spell it right, Joely. Dropshot writes in 10 sentences or less,
and I'm from MIAMI, not Texas, FL.


joely-s
> stoner...
> i generally agree with you even though our club does have 'try r-ball
> free' signs with lessons given by yours truly. i think racquetball is
> more intimidating than tennis so the response is smaller. imo, people
> see tennis on tv and are more responsive to the opportunity to try
when
> it presents itself. i honestly believe the key to racquetball
promotion
> is tv. tv tv tv tv tv tv.
> more tv. they gotta see it on television.
> ok now stand back... that texas moron is gonna respond in ten
paragraphs
> why the usra sucks and why tv is no good. but thats what i think.
>
>


Sent via Deja.com
http://www.deja.com/


Subject: Racquetball Marketing Suggestion #3, Recreational Package Promotion
Date: 25 Jan 2001 07:38:43 GMT
(Jordan Kahn)

Racquetball Marketing Suggestion #3

My #3 suggestion will help promote new club memberships, interest in club
racquetball programs and create new USRA memberships.

Clubs work with local instructors, state associations, USRA and racquet
companies to "co-op" a promotion campaign designed to transform "recreational"
players into the next level of competitive play, without entering sanctioned
tournaments.

Forget trying to get "new" players to play tournaments go after the 6 million
recreational players who don't play in tournaments.

Offer them something of value they can use right now instead of "tournaments".

The USRA should use its "power" of contacts, credibility and "funding" to
promote "non-tournament" activities to attract and showcase what the USRA
offers.

The $24.95 "Recreational Racquetball Package".

Includes:

4 hours of group instruction and play. (Could be two 2-hour clinics, up to host
facility).
Free court time coupons from clubs
Free rulebook
Free issue of "Recreational Racquetball Magazine"

The hook…

For only $5 extra, you get FREE:

One Oversized Racquetball Racquet.
1 can of racquetballs
1 year USRA membership
1 year Racquetball Magazine
1 Year State Racquetball Association membership
1 year tournament license

All of the above for only $29.95.

Makes a great gift, or for the holidays, birthdays or graduations.

HOW IT WORKS.

$9 for the racquet cost. Low-end beginner model.
$20 for the USRA full membership
Rulebooks donated by USRA.
Balls donated by Racquet Company.
Court time coupons donated by clubs.
Instructors donated by state association, local clubs or AmPRO staff.

No one will refuse the additional $5 to get the racquet and other "goodies",
but if they do, the host club can "pocket" the $24.95 for there use of the
facility.

This way, there is an added "cash" incentive for facilities to host these
events.

If a person pays the $29.95, then the club will still benefit since the person
will want to "play" with their new racquet and probably purchase additional
court time, or a club membership.

The prices can be slightly changed, but the idea is to "hook" new players and
members with a great offer at an affordable price.

This is NOT a goodie bag to give EXISTING members, it is a marketing promotion
to create new USRA and club players who are new, or already play but may not
feel they are "ready" for tournament play.

Renewal USRA memberships would not be included in this promotion, or an "extra"
fee could be added to existing USRA members.

Jordan


Subject: Racquetball Promotions
Date: 10 Apr 2001 18:17:56 GMT
From: (Jordan Kahn)


Otto, this was the "third" recently asked question to a "simple" answer (simple
for "experienced players).

Our little "newsgroup" is just a small percent of the racquetball population.

This only validates the reasoning (many others and mine) that the USRA "needs"
to put more emphasis on the "recreational" players.

We hear it all the time, but little seems to be done.

I understand how the USRA has many responsibilities, so why not "delegate" out
a special commission (of new people) who have experience marketing to the new
and beginner players? (NOT AmPRO, they are to busy too)

At the "other" end of tournaments, there are literally millions of players who
have no idea of the basic rules, but would love to find out.

Problem is they don't know and won't ask.

How to inform them?

If the USRA feels that there will be a Recreational Explosion from the
"trickle-down" effect by having "tournaments" in the Olympics or on TV, why not
just start off by promoting "Recreational" playing?

One of the clubs I work at has a new promotion to get new players and members.
For $30, or $36 for non members, you get a regular one hour private (or group)
lesson PLUS a FREE oversize racquet, eyeguards, can of balls and two coupons
for half off court time. (3 people signed up within hours of posting the
information!).

This same facility has done a half dozen FREE clinics to Cub Scouts and Brownie
Troops in the past few months, with more scheduled. This is the type of
"marketing" that needs to be done by other facilities.

Having the USRA "promote" and "print" about such ideas "will" trickle down to
the local clubs much faster than any Olympic dream ever could.

Jordan
PS. IF the Olympic dream occurs, it would be wise to have existing "programs"
available to all who start calling their local facility to learn how to play.

Subject: Re: Service rule question
From: "Otto Dietrich"
Date: 4/10/01
Hi Mic

You are the third person to recently ask this question. The simple answer is
YES--It's legal!

One bounce, one continuous motion of the racquet toward the ball and it's a
legal serve!

At your service,

Otto

OTTO E. DIETRICH
President, United States Racquetball Association 1998-Present
National Rules Commissioner 1988-1998
Member of National Rules Committee 1982-Present

"Mic" wrote in message
> Playing a guy, he bounces the ball once...hard enough to rise over his head
> for an overhand shot on the serve.
>
> I can't find anything specifically against it in the rules. Is this legal??
>
> Thanks in advance.
>
> Mic
>
>


Subject: Re: What's your opinion of the USRA?
Date: 31 Jul 2002 17:45:14 GMT
(Jordan Kahn)
Organization:


The typical racquetball facility does little, if anything, to promote
racquetball. The reasons, lack of funds, time, staff and experience.

Everyone knows this, including the USRA.

While clubs may not promote racquetball, they do promote what makes them money,
memberships.

It is hypocritical when the USRA expects the clubs (or state associations) to
promote racquetball.

Sure, the state associations promote tournaments, but the USRA will not touch
anything that is promoted to non-USRA members.

Just like a club saying they can only promote and offer programs to "existing
members" and they will not promote to non-members.

The USRA could sponsor and support several types of programs that help create
new players while promoting their own existing services, tournaments and
racquetball magazine.

But the USRA refuses based on a "insurance" issue for participation by non-USRA
members.

Perhaps the USRA should talk to their insurance carrier or lawyers to come up
with a waiver that puts all liability on the host club, which is currently does
without the USRA help.

If the USRA is afraid to "lend" their name to racquetball promotion for
non-members, how do they expect to ever get sponsors at racquetball
tournaments? Wouldn't the tournament sponsors have the same fears? I wonder
what the USRA tells the sponsors about this issue?

Jordan
--

Subject: Re: What's your opinion of the USRA?
Date: 7/31/02 9:56 AM Central Daylight Time
Message-id: <20020731105619.27017.00000910@mb-fi.aol.com>

< The states do not get any funding from the USRA except for memberships at
least this was the case when I was on the state board. Then you had to wait for
your money and that would take a year or not at all.>
...... baloney.

< My question would be what does the USRA do for the average player like me.>
...... ok- make a suggestion here... what is it that you would like the USRA to
do for you? what aspect of racquetball are you currently deprived of that is
not readily available from/through/because of/in association with the USRA.
what are you missing?

<I get a mag and that is it for the $30.00 I pay them. I will not pay the
$600.00 to $1000.00 to go play in the national tourny for 1 game or if I am
lucky 2 games.>
.... so then- if you don't see the value then why do you stick with it?

< So again I repeat was does the USRA do for me?>
..... me me me me me me. some of us love this sport and WE ask what can we do
for my club, the sport, the state structure, for the national organization to
help improve things.
if after careful consideration you've concluded that it's not worth your $30-
that they aren't doin' enough for YOU... well, you know what to do.

Subject: Re: What's your opinion of the USRA?
Date: 31 Jul 2002 22:46:41 GMT
(Jordan Kahn)


Free Clinics, Challenge Courts, Informal Inter-Club Play, and Social Mixers.

Tennis, Baseball, Bowling, Golf, Football, Basketball all have programs
sponsored by the national organizations specifically designed for new and
recreational participants to get involved.

I you want details, just see any of the sports websites on the Internet!

While these have worked in facilities with experienced staff, it is difficult
for the "average" player or instructor to walk into a facility and offer these,
without credentials.

While the national association is not required to "staff" these events, support
lends credibility needed for additional support by staff, host and
participants,

What the national organization CAN DO, besides lend their name, work as a
clearing house to over "masters" of press releases, flyers and posters needed
for a successful promotion.

It sure sounds better to have "national backing" when you ask for free press
media space and access to facilities to run these events.

Most importantly, whenever an event is run at a club, the "club" should be the
number one priority, not the event, since without the clubs help no program
will work.

There are lots of players/instructors who do a "clinic" at a club just to
promote themselves, or barter for membership or court time.

A successful program builds upon itself and is never a one-time event.

There are four types of basic programs to offer at facilities with limited
courts and players.
1) Promotional Program for non-players.
2) Promotional programs for existing players.
3) Promotional programs for non-club members.
4) Promotional programs for club members only.

It is easier to build programs for both members and non-members at facilities
that have an existing player base.

It is easier to program at facilities that have access to large amounts of
people not currently involved in existing activities.

It is best to offer any free clinic just before planned programs begin. Free
clinics offered on the same day and time a week or two before classes begin, or
mixers scheduled before a league begins.

Clubs, like any business take a wait and see method, if the club down the
street does it, so will they.

A "national organization" can start this trend in local markets as tests before
jumping in with funds to help pay for promotional materials.

Like printing shirts for tournaments, the cost comes down as the number of
unit's increase.

While it may be too expensive for one club or state to create promotional
material, it is cost effective if created at the national level and paid for by
all the end users, states and clubs.

The states and local clubs are already burdened and will remain this way until
outside help lends a hand.

There is plenty of willing people to help at the local club, but there is a
lack of willingness from the club and national organization. At best, bringing
these two powers together will benefit all.

Jordan