Local Leagues looking to grow participation and rejuvenate their current structures have the chance to give TT Fast Format a try.
TT Fast Format was unveiled at the National Conference on Saturday and will start with pilot leagues from the 2021/22 season.
It provides a structure for league matches to be completed in less than two hours, based on two-a-side teams playing five matches or three-a-side teams playing six – the same format as competitions including Veterans’ British League, Junior British League and National Cadet and Junior Leagues.
Developed in consultation with the Members’ Advisory Group and in consultation with 40 league administrators, it is being introduced in response to feedback from clubs, leagues and individuals across the country.
It is still in its test phase, so further consultation with pilot leagues will help to refine and further develop the format with the aim to ensure it is ready to be used more widely from 2022/23.
Any leagues which want to discuss TT Fast Format can contact our Adult Participation Officer, Chris Newton.
Why are we introducing TT Fast Format and why should leagues consider it?
We believe that in order to secure the future of our sport, the league table tennis community needs to become more sustainable and offer its players more options.
This is based on the insight we have gathered from the table tennis community, which suggests that a number of issues are making more traditional league set-ups harder to sustain.
Among the common issues identified are:
- Lack of suitable venues
- Venues closing at 10pm
- No new teams entering leagues for several years
- Lack of junior players in leagues
- Lack of female players in leagues
- Total number of players in leagues falling
During our Big Conversation survey in 2019, 61% of parents of young players said they were put off local leagues by late finishing times.
And in our Return to Play survey in September 2020, to which 106 leagues replied, 49% of leagues said they would consider a new format if it helped them to play within any covid restrictions and a further 39% said they might consider a new format.
TT Fast Format looks to address these issues, complementing existing league structures and offering current and new players more choice and a modern, fast-paced offer which provides them with the experience they want from a local league.
Leagues which choose to adopt TT Fast Format as part of their overall programme can expect to:
- Offer a better experience for more members
- Attract more junior and female players
- Improve retention of players
- Have more social time after matches
Current and prospective players can decide which formats would work best in their league and at their venues.
Leagues could also choose to implement a mixed solution, for example longer formats at Premier Division level and TT Fast Format in lower divisions.
All formats are already available on the TT Leagues management platform.
Table Tennis England Adult Participation Officer Chris Newton said: “Based on widespread evidence, the option of a shorter league format is attractive to a lot of people who currently play or who want to play, so leagues may want to consider offering that option. Many will already do so in their summer competitions.
“TT Fast Format allows for much greater flexibility in terms of venues and match times, opening up venues which perhaps were not available before.
“It provides a competitive format for those who, for whatever reason, are put off by late finishes and will help to attract new players, offering different opposition to more established teams and players.
“Those who like to socialise or practice after matches will have greater opportunity to do so.
“If anyone would like to discuss this further, I’d be pleased to discuss how TT Fast Formats could benefit their league.”