Well, it has been about 6 months since I've gotten my hands on my first crokinole boards, and I've showed off the game to enough people (who have responded VERY enthusiastically) that I am ready for Phase 2 of my "Crokinole takes over Michigan" plan. It's time to start planning a club!
I have been daydreaming about starting a crokinole club since about 2 hours after placing my first order. I promptly watched every one of the CrokinoleCentre videos (I would put watching crokinole up against any major league sport) and started imagining the possibilities of adding our own club to the mix, to perhaps join in on some of the western Ontario tourneys. We might be light years away from the playing level of our Canadian competitors, but you know what they say about the journey of 1,000 miles!
More to the point, I'm curious about league formatting and meeting frequency. I guess I'm not even entirely sure if "crokinole night" entails true league play. My original template was to draw on the mid-Michigan dart leagues I have played on, and rotate weekly matchups with an eye towards season-long point accrual. However, I noticed that the London club only meets monthly, and for all I know that could just be to play casual crokinole. Does the focus in Canada stay on the NCA tournaments, with club get-togethers just a chance to casually play and sharpen your skills? Or do the clubs often have some sort of in-house league play? If there is a structure to your club meetings, could you expand on the format? I think for starters my goal is to have 4 tables, and hopefully work both singles and doubles play into the mix.
Either way, the focus stays on having fun. I'm hopeful that this adds to the momentum for crokinole in the US, and thanks again for being such a great resource!
Always excellent to see another crokinole club coming into existence, and I'll share my thoughts, even though every club is different and finds success a different way.
Starting out, drawing on any sort of existing gathering is a great way to gain ground. Since crokinole isn't extraordinarily well known, it's not the easiest thing to start a new club and expect 40 people to show up. Piggy-backing off of dart leagues, or just friends, is a great way to casually introduce people to the game and help the club get somewhat established.
In terms of format, I'm a proponent of keeping club play pretty casual. Usually that means playing doubles (more social), and perhaps keeping score for the evening, but not necessarily for the entire season. For the most part, players tend to look at club meetups as casual, and pick up a little bit more competitiveness when tournament roll around. The key for club growth is to try to make sure everyone is having a good time. Word of mouth goes very far, and crokinole tends to attract some great personalities, so if you can manage to convince people comeback time and again, your club will grow.
With respect to rotation, most clubs use a simple rotation for singles play that allows everyone to play each other. Doubles can be a bit more complicated, but some clubs play a "progressive" style, where the winners of one game move to the next table, and switch partners for the next game.
Meeting every second week is a good place to start. Speaking from general experience, some people find meeting every week to be a bit too much of a commitment. But if you can garner enough support, I don't any reason not to go every week.
Thanks for some great advice, Nathan. After hearing some thoughts, I do think that we'll try to start off with a casual atmosphere. Let the group function primarily as a social function, and once we can garner enough interest, we can maneuver in to the occasional tournament. I do like the progressive style of play, we use that format during our euchre tournaments and it serves well to balance and help folks meet one another.
As always, thanks for your great insight and dedication to the game.