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October 2019 English Bridge

www.ebu.co.uk

word of mouth, and if a club's members say to their

friends what a lovely bridge club it is, half the work

of gaining new members is done already.

The opposite is also true. If a club develops a

reputation for unfriendliness or the word goes

round that 'you have to take your bridge really

seriously,' then gaining new members is an uphill

battle.

At the EBU we are determined to change any idea

of EBU clubs being unfriendly into the opposite - at

an EBU club, players of any standard are assured of

a friendly welcome.

What can a club do in order to provide an

enjoyable evening? Quite a lot. The directing is key,

so is the hosting, or making single players welcome.

We also want to encourage more multi-standard

sessions, which means making sure that your top

players (as well as all the others) practice best

behaviour with opponents of a lesser standard: a

smile, patience with inadvertent errors, and never

ever trying to take advantage other than via bidding

and playing to the best of your ability. There is a

post on creating a novice-friendly culture in your

bridge club.

IT WORKS!

In my year at the EBU I have seen plenty of

evidence that where bridge is carefully promoted by

novice-friendly clubs, growth does take place. There

is effort involved, but the rewards are also great, not

only in terms of ensuring a bright future for your

club and for the game, but also in the social and

community benefits of bridge, a partnership game

that is endlessly varied and rewarding.

THREE THINGS I'VE LEARNT

D Every club needs to create a path for newcomers

to learn bridge and eventually migrate to the

main club sessions, or else decline is inevitable.

This might not be a club working on its own, but

with other nearby clubs or possibly county

initiatives.

D Clubs that strive to maintain the highest possible

bridge standard in their main sessions will

struggle to attract newcomers, because of the

shortage of expert players. Our clubs need to run

a variety of sessions where they have the resources

to do so, or to develop mixed-standard sessions

that are welcoming to players of every standard.

D I frequently hear people are put off joining EBU

clubs because they fear an unfriendly atmosphere

or one that is intolerant of newcomers. As the

English Bridge Union we need to counter this by

helping our clubs to develop a culture of

welcoming novices, if they do not have one

already. This impacts aspects like directing,

hosting (welcoming players who are on their

own) and the social aspect of bridge clubs.

VISIT OUR SITE

Anyone can use resources from the Membership

Development Campaign. The site has masses of

information to help you run membership

campaigns, bridge teaching resources, templates for

publicity material, my blogs and more. It can be

found at https://ebumemberdevelop.org.uk

Tim Anderson

Membership Development Officer

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