Tournament Cancelled? WWYPTC Do?

Ann Turner
June 3, 2013
West Chester, OH

Last Call TournamentWhat would your platform tennis club do when a favorite area tournament was cancelled? After the Miami Valley Menʼs and Womenʼs Platform Tennis Championship in Dayton, Ohio, was called off, the women players at Beckett Ridge Aquatics and Tennis Club in West Chester, OH, created their own—The Last Call Classic.

Initially, the intent was to run a regular platform tournament. But after much consideration, the tournament morphed into a “Switcheroonie.” Everyone who wanted to play could sign up, no partner necessary, and would be playing with and against different people all day. Prizes? Yes, we had prizes! What do you think of when someone says “Last Call”? Everyone received a wine glass as their favor, which was put to good use before the day was over. The winners on each court at the end of the day received a “trophy” and a bottle of wine. All of the other participants left with a prize as well, choosing something from the centerpiece, which consisted of more glassware, new balls, overgrips, wine stoppers, shot glasses and refrigerator magnets.

Hereʼs how it worked:

  • PrizesTwenty-four players signed up to play
  • The group was divided into two groups of 12 by ability
  • The top 12 players each were randomly assigned an even number and the bottom 12 were randomly assigned an odd number
  • Four rounds of play occurred; eight games per round
  • Each team consisted of one player from each group—an odd number was paired with an even number
  • Every round, your partner changed as well as your opponents—new faces each round
  • At the end of the four rounds, the game totals were calculated (games won by each person per round), and all 24 players were involved in the playoff round. The four players with the highest game totals from the first four rounds ended up on Court 1, the next four on Court 2 and so on
  • In the playoff round, each person played six games with each person on their court, using tie breakers if the score got to 3-3. At the end of the playoff round, games were totaled once again resulting in one overall “winner” on each of the six courts
  • The prizes were the same, whether you were the winner on Court 1 or 6

As the day unfolded, lessons were learned:

  1. FavorsBy only playing eight games total in each of the first four rounds, the importance of getting off to a fast start was huge.
  2. Having different partners and opponents in each round forced all of the players to have to figure out a game plan very quickly, such as which side to play, strengths and weaknesses as a team, opponents’ strengths and weaknesses, etc.
  3. Embrace a new role by having a “weaker” player as a partner, and find the right style of leadership and balance of power. 
  4. Those grouped in the bottom 12 made comments throughout the day about how much fun it was to get to play with and against some “Division 1” players and figure out how to stay in longer points.
  5. For the stronger players, it was a chance to “give back” to the game, like someone did for them when they first started. The satisfaction came from seeing how they could help their partners grow during the day. 

CenterpieceFrom my perspective, the tournament was a big success. Of the four teams that play league paddle, eleven players from the top two teams and thirteen from the bottom two teams came out. Using the “Switcheroonie” format resulted in a sense of inclusiveness across all ability levels, and not the “we versus them” mentality experienced during paddle season. Between matches, those waiting to play were rooting for others out on the courts and cheering for an occasional amazing shot, especially when executed by one of the “weaker” players. At the end of the day, with beverages flowing, the general consensus was very positive, with the feeling of “belonging” regardless of one’s ability level. When life throws you a cancelled tournament, switch it up!

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