Our "scheduling" Feed
20 Aug 2019 14:31
Notes from from the August 20 meeting of the Scheduling planning group
(Words below that are bold face font identify words that will be part of our glossary of terms to facilitate ongoing discussions.)
The premise the scheduling planning group accepts is that we will have a large demand (members) for limited resources (courts). We discussed a number of factors that can exacerbate planning to come to opinion as to whether simplifying assumptions can be made. We felt that at least during the initial months of operation of the club, we should do that because our initial decisions will be based on a survey, and as we observe actual play, we will make adjustments.
Perhaps the most significant factor is the duration of league matches. (League play is not to be confused with tournaments.) Non-league, aka open, play is commonly arranged in two hour sessions. Could league matches also be confined to two hour matches? If not, we must have a plan that supports league play and open play co-existing in the same schedule. It's messy trying to provide the predictability of session times for open play while providing essentially unlimited time for league matches. We agreed to confine league play to two hours also, and that's supported by the way other clubs choose practicality. And we noted that non-club time can be used for groups wishing to be able to complete matches without them being truncated by the clock.
We contemplate the possibility of multiple leagues, like Men, Women, Mixed, Golfers-Do-Bocce, Tennisitus-vs-Pickledballers ... so much that's possible, but we gotta keep an eye on fair play for all formats that members of the club desire.
We noted that league play will in general require blocking out a group of courts for each league and contiguous time slots for those courts, and for multiple days in the same week or a sequence of weeks. A scheduling system must provide the means to schedule sessions in blocks like this.
(See Tournament play below)
The above presents the possibility of multiple leagues. But how many? How would that be enforced in a member wants to start a league but we are at some pre-defined limit in order to balance allocation of court times. In addition to that, it was pointed out that it may be desirable for a group of members to also reserve a block of court times for what might be called private sessions. Calling them private makes sense because the person(s) wanting to reserve blocks intend to use them for purposes private to them, not open to members that the session organizer doesn't invite. Even though private sessions might seem on its face to be unfair, others can also reserve blocks -- or at least that's the working assumption. Carried to excess, with just four courts and a large demand for court times, taking blocks of court times away from the general club membership will be problematic, with a probably outcome that only a few members could be able to reserve blocks. And maybe not at all. This is an unresolved issue. Bottom line: we'll need an fair and effective policy to manage allocation of court times in blocks.
Tournaments were also discussed. Unlike league play, tournament matches must be completed, that is, not cut short by a time limit. Only a few tournaments might be held each year. Or maybe monthly. Weekly? We came to the opinion that tournaments are to be handled like the tennis club handles the Steiness Tennis Festival: completely allocate all court times for the duration of the tournament, probably ranging from a half day to a few days. With that approach, tournaments need not be mentioned in ongoing scheduling discussions. We just have to know the popularity of each type of play and offer a fair allocation for each.
There remain a number of questions, the answers for which have consequences in scheduling. For example, what should be the game size? Two or four players per session for open play, and __ players for league play? In the latter case, a league team might comprise, for example, 11 players, from which a roster of two or four are selected by the league team captain. This 2-of-4 decision has an obvious impact on the ability to allocate courts fairly given the premise at the beginning of this post.
At first glance, the game length in points might seem to be a factor, with the winner determined on a 2 out of 3 basis. But the two hour time limit will take care if that. The league will attempt to pick a game length that gives high confidence the match be completed as a function of the skill level of league participants before the clock ends play.
Finally, we pondered the question of whether residents who are not club members would have access to the same "quality" of court times as club members. Conversely, does "privilege of membership" include access to preferred times? Do HOA dues paid by non-members give them equal access to the amenity without playing dues, or do they give them the opportunity to buy into club membership to get that access (as is the case for the Woodworkers club)? For the record, the Tennis and Pickleball clubs do not provide equal access. The working assumption is access to preferred court times is a privilege of membership.
More to come.