UK Racketlon

Written by James Pope

How to run a racketlon tournament on the UK Tour

Short answer
 
1) Find a sports centre with the relevant facilities, agree an appropriate fee (less than £300 is good for one day event) and a date that fits into tour, the rest all falls into place. We can even take care of all the on day running of the event for a small referee fee (to cover expenses).
 
2) Get entries in locally. Local press, clubs that sort of thing. Get sponsors if you can. Write a report afterwards. We estimate someone can make £200-£300 per event.
 
We are offering a prize fund this year also of £120 per event (start small, but attracts players).
 
Long Answer
 
Running a Tournament
 
Brief Description:
 
Run a tournament which is to be part of the British Tour. Key responsibilities include finding and booking a suitable racketlon venue for a 6-8 hour period and marketing the event locally. This should be primarily through electronic and free means using social media and by contacting local sports clubs via email. Having a network of players / contacts in the local area where you live and organising a tournament locally where you are based would also be helpful. More detail below. This is primarily geared towards 2013 and beyond.
 
Steps Involved in Running a Racketlon Event
 
Secure the facility
 
A facility is needed with table tennis, badminton, squash and tennis facilities. Some venues have run events by hiring or purchasing table tennis tables if they don’t have them already and also used roll out badminton mats on tennis courts where courts do not exist. However, clearly it is logistically more sound and cheaper if a centre has all four courts and the more courts the better!
 
a) Courts
 
A minimum of 2 courts in each sport must be available in order to start 2 matches parallel every 15 min (21up) or 5-10 minutes (11up).
 
Tennis courts should be indoors. Tournaments in the summer months could potentially use outdoor tennis courts, but this is a risk.
 
One table tennis table is potentially ok, as the table tennis part of racketlon is very quick.
 
Practice Courts is a nice extra, but not a necessity.
 
Ideally there should be one more tennis court than the other sports. An extra tennis court above what is available in squash & badminton helps with timings as Tennis always takes longer than the other sports.
 
EG 2 TT, 2BA, 2SQ, 3TE
 
The Nottingham Open runs with only one badminton court but participants are then limited to 24 entries per day and typically tour events are larger in size than this, although we are still keen for one court venues for smaller events.
 
b) Timing & Format
 
One day singles tournaments is recommended for the first time a venue hosts a racketlon event. With the above courts as a guide (2 Parallel Matches in One Day between 9am-5pm), a longer day with more entries can be done. Strictly speaking the 1 court times 24 formula can be used but this is with a long day and jammed full. With 2 courts, 40 entries is a sensible limit and so on.
 
A taster event in advance of the tournament for members is recommended and any local members of the existing racketlon community can also attend in order to explain rules, etc. A nice event in December 2007 happened in advance of the English Champs in Jan 2008 where 8 members and 8 non-members turned up at Next Generation Romford and each member was paired up with a non-member hence giving a personal touch on what was involved in the sport, thus the members were experts by the time the tournament proper came round a month later. This local involvement greatly enhances the success of the tournament and the possibility to set up a regular club for practice in the future.
 
To give everyone at least one tennis match the first round is preferable and after that stop at the point where the match is over. Round Robin matches will need to be completed in full unless the positions will not be affected by the result.
 
c) Cost
 
Project Managers are required to take financial responsibility & risk for gaining entrants and managing the tournament budget. This can be profitable to the tune of £200-£300 for a person organizing. To be a part of The British Tour and have the tournament gain UK ranking points, 20% of the entry fee will be paid as an entry affiliation fee to English Racketlon including the tournament entry system and advertising in any ERA literature. It is very important the organizer pushes the event locally. Entry fees are a standard £25 per event in 2013 (more for larger events) and TBC in 2013. The organiser is responsible for setting up on facebook.
 
The balance IE £20 per player is paid in full to the project manager at the end of the event. This can be done through installments if preferred. Pullouts and no shows are not included in the transfer to the organizer and certain ERA key players will be given complimentary entries if they volunteer regularly, this is normally only 1 or 2 entries so under 5%.
 
Further revenue can be generated by obtaining sponsors (EG local sponsors) and this can help fuel both prizes and prize money plus additional profits. Prize money in 2013 is offered as standard at £120 fund per event.
 
Example Tournament Budget - 50 players
 
Type of Spend Income / Expenditure £
Entry Fees 1250
Sponsorship  200
Venue Costs -300
Equipment -200
Trophies -100
ERA Affiliation -250
Expenses for non playing help -75
Prizes / Prize Money  -200
Complimentary Entries -50
Profit 275
Equipment
 
3 star table tennis balls, feather shuttles, double dot yellow squash balls, ITTF-approved tennis balls
 
It is a recommendation that players use protective glasses in squash. We have various equipment contacts for shuttles. Sports World is a good alternative for squash balls and tennis balls.
 
In a typical event as described above over one day – the following levels of equipment is recommended:
 
10 TT Balls
 
12 Tubes of High quality Feather Shuttlecocks
 
10 Squash Balls
 
10 Tubes of Tennis Balls
 
This should be sufficient in our experience, clearly if the entries are higher or over two days or with more courts these ball recommendations can be multiplied accordingly. EG English Open – 3 Days/5 Courts – 50 Tubes of Shuttles.
 
Organisers/Project Managers are responsible to pay for venue costs, equipment costs and trophies/prizes as they see fit to an extent. Trophies are mandatory. Prizes are optional. Minimum prize money fund of £120 is introduced in 2013. This is to come out of the £20 per player revenue generated (£25 minus £5 ERA fee). Any profits are then kept by the organiser/project manager. If getting a cheap venue, the more profit an organiser can make.
 
ERA can help with getting good deals on balls.
 
Tournament Information
 
Via englishracketlon.org and facebook set-up is also recommended. ERA set up on .org and the organiser should set up on facebook.
 
Getting Entries in, Promotion & Media
 
a)    Contact with local media
 
b)    Contact with individual sporting (TT, BA, SQ, TE) bodies (regional, national) & their respective websites, write articles and re-use exisiting articles about racketlon and get them published on www.etta.co.uk, www.englandsquash.com, www.badmintonengland.org , etc
 
c)     Write email for englishracketlon.org mailing list
 
d)    Publicise on Internet EG FaceBook.Com, local club websites.
 
e)    Send posters / flyers / e-flyers to all local TT/BA/SQ/TE clubs.
 
f)     If using a venue with local or national links – ie, David Lloyd or Next Generation – forward promotional posters to other centres
 
Decide the Playing System
 
Options: Monrad or round robin. English Racketlon will recommend.
 
Monrad means play for your place (progressive knockout). Even if you lose you carry on playing, playing against opponents who mirror your results in your section of the draw. Winning means you proceed like a normal knockout draw. Monrad is good for racketlon because even if new players get knocked out early, they can carry on playing and get a good feeling for the sport. Also, walkovers and byes have less impact because everyone gets plenty of games.
 
Deciding the playing system according to number of entries is a good idea.
 
Players should be asked to play no more than 3 21up matches in one day or 5 11up matches in one day. As a guide players are generally satisfied with either two 21up matches a day or 3/4 11up matches. 11up gives the advantage of more opponents and variety.
 
Draw & Schedule Spreadsheets
 
All provided by ERA.
 
Rankings & Seedings
 
The UK Rankings should be used. Category guidance is available on line and the new 2012 ranking system defines category entry.
 
Draw Publishing
 
Typically done a few days before the event by ERA and emailed to players.
 
On the Day
 
Ensure someone is at the tournament desk to sign in players and keep matches moving and as a point of contact for competitors. Some non playing help is ideal. This is sometimes paid for. ERA can provide non playing help for a fee. ERA do not guarantee a presence at the event but this is fairly likely and additionally players with experience of events and knowledge of the rules is also likely but this should be checked in advance in the event of any disputes.
 
Juniors should be accompanied by a parent / guardian at all times.
 
Basic first aid should be available at the tournament venue.
 
It is a good idea to give a briefing before the event starts stating the rules and format (ideal for new players). This can be done by the ERA referee if present.
 
Tennis: Inevitably queues occur on the tennis (slowest out of the four to complete). ERA have special queue sheets which can be used.
 
Minimal warm up needs to be encouraged to avoid bottlenecks. Also, the location of a sign in desk needs to be thought about as do the printing of scoresheets and draws. A laptop on site is also a good idea. The location of bags also needs to be addressed from a health and safety perspective. Payment on the day is not accepted, players must pay in advance via Englishracketlon.org, bank transfer or by cheque.
 
Some form of trophy / prize presentation is ideal at the end of the tournament or as events finish.
 
Results at the centre
 
Ideally results can be displayed in the sports centre so players and spectators can follow the tournament.
 
After the event
 
The results spreadsheet needs to be sent to ERA or if ERA present uploaded to website. A report should also be produced by the organiser for the ERA website and any other appropriate press.