Organising a Tournament
Why Run a Competition and What May be Involved
Competition helps to keep players engaged in the sport and motivates them to train and improve their game. It helps to create a healthy club atmosphere and retain members.
Clubs should aim to provide competitive opportunities for all players’ levels and age groups. There are formats suitable for everybody. From an organizers point of view, there is a learning curve that starts with coordinating short events for a handful of players. This helps volunteers to gain experience and confidence before facing sophisticated and bigger events.
The first steps before running a competition involve answering a few questions:
- Short in-club competitions using formats that provide players a few matches against competitors of similar level are the most suitable for beginner players. Some examples:
- Play points, winners move to the court on the right, losers to the court on the left.
- Compass draw, one set match.
- Round robin, play a tie-break to 7.
- Junior tournaments may require more volunteers to provide adequate court supervision.
- Non-performance players are likely to be more interested in tournaments that include a social element.
The number of courts available at any given time will determine how many events you can run, the draw and scoring formats that can be used and the number of entries that can be accepted. More information available on “How many events can you run in a tournament?”
If not, can it be upgraded or acquired if required?
- Small one day events do not require a lot of experience.
- You will need someone that is familiar with the Rules of Tennis, Tennis Tournament Planner, and scheduling to run Club Championships or big tournaments.
- Tennis Ireland has an Officiating Pathway to train volunteers and officials.
- Open tournaments must have a Tennis Ireland qualified referee. Qualification levels are described in the Officiating Pathway.
- The main costs include tennis balls, prizes, and officials. If the officials are volunteers, the overall cost will be considerably lower.
- The sources of income are likely to come from entry fees, sponsorship, associated social events (open bar, BBQ) or raffles.
- The expectation is that the tournament will cover its own expenses or even bring an income.
- In club tournaments are likely to face less opposition from members as they will benefit from them.
- Open tournaments have impact on the court availability for members. Notifying them with plenty time usually helps to avoid problems during the tournament.
- Posters on the Noticeboard and local retailers.
- Social Media: your own, other local clubs, and in the case of Open Tournaments the local Branch and Tennis Ireland.
- Members newsletters or email.
- Captain’s WhatsApp groups.
- Encourage coaches running classes or members coordinating social sessions to notify players involved in their sessions.
Running the Competition
Once the decision to run a Competition has been taken and the managing Team created, the competition will have to be organized.
Internal small competitions do not need much preparation. For example, a small round robin, playing a tie-break to seven per match can be finished in 1 or 2 hours (depending on the number of players) and may only need a coordinator and an explanation about the rules before the event starts.
However, club championships, and big in-club or open tournaments require proper planning, as described in the following steps:
- The tournament committee should include a Referee, Tournament Director and, in the case of junior tournaments the child protection officer.
- Having a designated member responsible for hospitality helps to provide a positive player experience.
- Confirm that you have the volunteers needed and that everybody understands their role. This includes managing courts, matches and social activities.
- Organize prizes if applicable.
The published regulations must inform players about:
- The dates and duration of the tournament. When the player would be expected to be available.
- The type of draw and the scoring format that will be used.
- The cost of the entry fee if there is one.
- When will the entry Open and Close.
- The number of entries accepted and how the acceptance will be decided.
- When the draws will be published.
Tennis Ireland has created templates for that purpose. They’ll be available in the future in the Resources Page in the Officiating section. Please contact email@example.com if you need them before their publication.
- Create the tournament in Tennis Tournament Planner and publish it in https://ti.tournamentsoftware.com (Tennis Ireland Tournaments website).
- Take the entries, validate players, check players eligibility and payments. Deal with any queries players may raise and sort out any problems with entries.
- Create the draws and publish the schedule (order of play). Solve problems that may arise after the schedule is published. Remember that changing time to suit one player, frequently creates problems for other players. Do not try to accommodate everybody: it is just not possible.
- Hang a copy of the Draws, Code of Conduct and Tournament Regulations on the Noticeboard or other visible place.
- Arrive early and check that equipment and courts are ready, measure nets, etc.
- Try to stick to the schedule. Encourage players not to waste time (i.e. avoid too long warm-ups, get players ready to go on court as soon as matches look close to finishing, …)
- Be prepared for last minute changes: walk-overs, weather, volunteers getting sick, etc…
- Take pictures and put frequent updates on social media. This will help promote future events.
- Hold an awards ceremony to congratulate and thank players, volunteers, and sponsors.
After the Competition
The job is not finished after the last result is entered. The information that you gathered after that will secure successful future event.
It is easy to forget things, particularly when a lot happens in a small period of time. Take notes of the feed-back from players and volunteers/officials involved in the tournament. It will help to deliver better tournaments in the future, encourage players to come back and keep the enthusiasm and cooperation of volunteers.
Post some pictures in social media and draft a small article for your website and local newspapers. Thanking players, volunteers, and sponsors will make them feel valuable and more likely to take part again. It may also encourage others to join when you run another event.
- Enter any Code Violations, that you haven’t entered.
- Fill and submit the referee Report.
- Refund players that withdrew within the deadline or were not accepted due to restricted number of entries.
- Do the accounts while numbers are fresh.
- Most tournaments bring revenue to the hosting club. Good records will help to make decisions on how the budget can be improved next time, and positive results are likely to encourage clubs to run more events.