After playing the first month and talking with people, I think it might be best to try a new way of adding members to WNC Pickleball Club.
When in doubt — simplify. So let’s try this instead:
1. Gone is the concept of separate 3.5 courts and 4.0 & Up courts. We’ll just have 5 courts for playing each day (with 26 signup slots), and 1 court for drilling (4 slots).
2. On Friday ONLY, we’ll have 2 Guest slots.
3. If you’re already a member, and you know of someone you think would be an IMMEDIATE BENEFIT to our club in terms of skill-level, competitiveness, attitude and demeanor, you can fill one of those Friday guest slots — but you can only invite 1 person per month.
4. If both guest slots are filled this Friday, you’ll have to wait until next Friday to invite your prospect.
5. Over the weekend, when I send the email with the coming week’s signup link, I’ll also send a link where you can vote anonymously on the 2 guests we played with on Friday.
6. You’ll have 3 choices when voting: “YES,” “Not Yet,” and “Never.”
A “YES” vote will count as 1 point, a “Not Yet” or “Never” vote will count as -1 point. That way, everybody’s opinion counts, and not just the people who are voting “Yes.”
7. If they don’t get 7 points, they can keep practicing and improving at another location, and the member who invited them can do so again in a future month, when they once again get to bring a single guest on Friday only.
Here are the benefits I see to this plan:
1. We won’t be inundated with “newbies.” There will never be more than 2 new players, and it will only be on Friday. Playing a couple of games with one new person is totally acceptable, and you’ll never get caught in a “hell rotation” where you’re constantly having to play down all day.
2. One member’s faulty judgement will not continuously dilute our level of play. You only get one guest a month, so choose wisely.
3. There are no “bad guys” as there would be with a rating committee, as the entire club can weigh in on the decision, and different members will be voting anonymously on different weeks, depending on who actually played with the guests on Friday.
4. Having 9 total votes to let someone join is a pretty high bar, which should be enough to stop someone of limited ability from rallying 3 or 4 friends to vote them in.
5. All the intangibles come into play, as we get to see the new players in real games, and not just executing practiced shots.
For this to work, you need to exercise good judgement in who you choose to invite. A good rule of thumb will be:
NEVER invite a guest you think will be the weakest link in the chain. ONLY invite someone you think will be IMMEDIATELY COMPETITIVE with the rest of the club.
Remember, WNC Pickleball Club is NOT here to grow the sport or train new players. It is a private club, meant to provide the area’s top players (those who routinely expect to contend and win at tournaments) a fun and competitive place to play.
As always, I’m open to your opinions and suggestions on how we can improve this and any other aspect of WNC Pickleball Club, and I welcome your input.