Development Committee
- established and cancelled.

It did not take me long to realize that our table tennis association needed some plans for its activities. There were no proper structure in place; there were board meetings where everybody read the previous minutes and what discussed what had happened since the last meeting but no forwards thinking. No plans and very seldom any specific tasks for the members of the board. President Kevin asked in his report to the annual general meeting in November 2008 how you could measure the success of an association. Well, if you have not set any goals they of course it will be impossible to measure if you have reached them! Our association did not have any goals.
For any sporting or business organisation it is vital to set goals. You have to have a mission statement (with vision) followed by objectives and goals and then plans on how and when to reach the goals. So I suggested that we should have a Development Committee, and this was approved at a management meeting. Gerard Byrne to joined the committee and he and I started to collect the information we needed as a basis to make a proper development plan. Then Brian resigned, as the president of our association, and his friend Gerard did the same shortly after. I was keen on getting on with the development plan anyway, but then the management committee decided that all sub-committees should be dissolved. Not a smart move in my eyes!

From a letter to Gerard:

Hi Gerard,

It was great that you wanted to look into the problem with the front-part of our venue!
It seems that some of the board-members believe that the future of the association totally depends in income from renting it out. I do not agree, most sporting associations are not as fortunate that they have a venue they can rent out; most of them are struggling with paying rent for their venues! But they survive and thrive - but of course they will work to get the money in; from membership fees, coaching fees, raffles, garage sales, sponsorships and so on. TTTA is very fortunate - but an income from the front-part should be a plus, not the backbone!

Well, it is one thing we did not do when we started up our small Development Committee: We did no make any objectives and goals for the committee. Can I suggest that the objective is to make an overall plan for TTTA, with a view to the associations visions, objectives and goals - a plan that are looking into factors like the environment and structure/roles for players, parent, coaches, board members, and the association itself with a view to it's constitution, by-laws and plans (if any) - plus the over-all economy (like budgeting)?
Might be a goal (kind of short-term) shall be to present a Development Plan that can be presented and accepted at the next AGM?

To make a proper Development Plan that can be cemented at an AGM we should need a vision and mission statement for the TTTA. The constitution does not say much - and is as you pointed out overdue for a revision. When we established the Coaching Committee we suggested a (temporary) vision and mission statement for the TTTA - and our document was approved at a board meeting. Here is what we suggested:
Suggested Vision we are working towards:
"TTTA shall be recognized as the premier table tennis association in Queensland"
Suggested Mission Statement as part of Townsville Table Tennis Assoc. Inc.
"To cater for table tennis players of all levels from beginners/social players to elite, to foster friendship and responsibility and to help and support those who are aiming high to achieve their maximum as players."

The vision and mission statement (and the Coaching Committee paper) must of course be approved at an AGM - but I feel that we can use the same ones for our Development Plan. When I mentioned for you that I hoped that we could arrange a meeting for all the members - the thought was that we at this meeting should get all the members to more or less agree upon vision and mission statement - to make the work with a development plan easier.

Myself I have been making development plans (table tennis and soccer) and business plans (my own internet-magazine plus for banks/businesses in Norway), and what I have found is important is:
- analyze the present situation of the association, look at assets and problems.
- look at the environment for everybody involved, like players and board members.
- decide what we want.
- find out if it is possible to get where we want (if not - review the goal/s).
- make a plan for how we can get where we want.
- make a timeframe/schedule for the work towards short-term and long term goals.
- decide who is going to do what and who is responsible.
- review the process at set, regular intervals.
I have also found that motivation can be a key factor when it comes to making a successful plan - everybody must be motivated (players, parents, board-members, coaches)!
I feel this factor is so important when it comes to TTTA - there seems to be very little positive spirit. It is so much individualistic thinking that it now is about to tear the association apart. We will have to try to turn this around. We have to take ourselves and our sport seriously and create a positive team-spirit.


From a letter to Brian:

Hi Brian,

I strongly feel that we must get the Development Committee up and going as soon as possible. We really need to get a change to a more positive and "sportslike" environment - we need to get everybody to understand what the situation today is like with a view to the association's economy and coaching, and what is normal in other sporting associations (besides table tennis). We need to find out what the association and the members actually want: Shall TTTA just be a social club or also a place where people can learn and thrive with table tennis (as a modern sport)? We need to make an overall development plan with goals and timeframes that can be presented at the AGM.
Can I suggest that we have an initiating meeting on Sunday after 12.30 - with you, Paul and me - just to agree upon a roadmap with a view to objectives and some (short term) goals/actions for the Development Committee?

Here are just a few objectives/goals that I hope we can discuss:
Short term:
- Help to create a more positive spirit and a better understanding among the members on how a sporting association normally function with a view to coaching and competitions (preferably in co-operation with the Coaching Committee). A meeting - for all members?
(I believe that it is important that all the members understand the economical situation is different with no income from bingo and that private coaching (with or without paid coaches) is a burden to the economy).
- Help the committee that is looking into the economy to find a solution to the problem with the front-part of our venue not rented out.
- Find members to the Development Committee, establish objectives.
Longer term:
- Make a development plan that can be presented at the AGM.

Here is a brief analysis of today's situation (not at all complete):
- the front part of the venue is not rented out, no income from bingo any longer.
- more dependent on the volunteers - no development officer in a paid position.
- not steady enough income under today's system for coaching fees and fixtures.
- few members, not enough income, no continuity, not enough players for a social feeling.
- few coaches, cannot recruit new members.
- no real understanding of group coaching and some unwillingness to compare to other sports.
- private coaching and groups undermining economy, coaching and social belonging.
- a defunct Action Plan with no goals.
- a constitution that needs to be revised (we do not promote the sport or establish clubs).
- no by-laws? (Code of conduct, objectives/goals, use of venue, coaching/competitions)
- no written roles for the members of the board (besides me, I guess).
- a (partly) working Coaching Committee that lacks support.
- poor offers to the members with a view to the competitive side of our sport.
- lack of/not good enough routines (collect money, register members, run fixtures and so on ).
- regular board meetings, but other committees needs to establish routines (meetings/reports).

It is very hard for Paul and me to see what is happening to our association (as well as for you), but I am willing to put in a (last) effort to help to get things going in a better direction. And I definitely feel that it is utmost important for us to get the Development Committee going!

Academy 2008 - the academy was never approved/started.
Newsletter 2009 - start of the season/year.
Coaching Comittee - 2009 - established and later cancelled.
Development Committee 2009 - established and later cancelled.
Coaching plan, period 1 - 2009
Coaching plan, period 2 - 2009
Coaching plan, period 3 - 2009
The Turbo Table
Coaching Clinic - 2009 - Easter Holiday week-end coaching.
All Ages Tournament
Recuitment - 2009 - drives to get new members.
"Time for a change"
- letter concerning coaching.
Junior Invitation Series
- an attempt to get the juniors back.
Coaches Workshop - 2010
- cancelled same day.

Supporting letter for Terry - from Paul Jones
Who is Terry Dahl? Information about me.