a letter to 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
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
"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
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
- 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
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:
- 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.
- Make a development plan that can be presented at the AGM.
Here is a brief analysis of today's situation (not at all
- 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,
- no written roles for the members of the board (besides me,
- 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
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!