Learn Bridge In A Day (LBIAD)
LBIAD is designed to provide a one day emersion bridge experience for folks completely new to bridge, although it is also a good re-introduction for long lapsed players. In D17, well-advertised events have attracted 30 to 60 new faces.
District 17 has a site license which gives access to Units and clubs for any LBIAD event that is either Unit sanctioned event, or if the event is expected to generate new players for many classes and games.
A typical LBIAD day runs about 5 hours and includes a lunch break. Participants get an introduction to three major components of bridge: bidding, scoring and play. LBIAD features a Powerpoint type slide show, spiral bound student workbook and cards on the table.
LBIAD does not produce instant bridge players. Rather, the participants get a broad exposure to bridge and can determine if they are interested in taking additional lessons. The key to a successful LBIAD program is to design follow activities for participants such as EasyBridge lessons, mentoring, a 49er game, and/or individual lessons. Ideally, you may want to offer some choices in follow up activities - night vs daytime, group lessons vs individual mentoring.
Is this a well-tested program?
An LBIAD event has been run hundreds of times over the past several years. D17 has had LBIAD events in Castle Rock, Ft Collins (twice), Loveland, Greeley, Albuequerque, and Boulder (twice) that pulled 30 to 60 participants at each session/site. Patty Tucker, one of the main developers of the program, is a nationally known bridge teacher (and President of ABTA) and is actively involved in running events at NABCs and major regionals. Patty suggests that somewhere between 50 and 70% of participants in LBIAD will sign up for follow on activities.
Can anyone run an LBIAD event?
Yes. The program is available under either a site or personal license. Whirlwind Bridge does not allow users to modify the material in an effort to maintain a high standard. A presenter should participate in an LBIAD event as a table helper and attend the 1.5 hour certification seminar. One option is to arrange for an experienced person to be the presenter, which might include Patty Tucker if arranged through the ACBL Education Foundation. John Grossmann and John Wolf have done multiple LBIAD presentations in D17.
The LBIAD program requires experienced bridge players to be “table helpers”. Their job is not to teach or insert additional material but to demonstrate the mechanics of play and to keep the process flowing at their table. Non-life masters can be excellent table helpers, in part because can better relate to the novice and are less likely to feel compelled to add extra material (you don’t want a table helper to say “well, it’s actually more complicated than that….”)
Does LBIAD include “cards on the table”?
Yes. In the first hour, players play a no trump hand, then a trump hand. There are four pre-made boards at each table to illustrate bidding concepts. In the last hour of the event, players shuffle and play with time to talk about each hand.
What does LBIAD cost?
District 17 has a site license for the package, so eligible clubs and units have access to the program without charge. (When an LBIAD event is held just to benefit a single game owner or teacher, they should acquire an individual license.)
Our experience to date has shown that advertising is the single biggest hard cost. However, 50% of these expenditures may be covered by the ACBL CAP program, up to $500. Another major cost is printing workbooks for each participant (65 pages) and a smaller document for table helpers. The Northern Colorado Unit recently printed 120 copies of the student workbook with tubular spiral binding at a cost of $5.10 per copy. Other cost can include venue rental, Powerpoint projector rental and hospitality.
D17 experience has shown that folks are willing to pay $25 to $50 for this well designed program. It is possible to create an event where the bulk of the costs are offset by revenue, CAP subsidies and a D17 grant. In a recent D17 LBIAD events, 70 to 90% of the total costs were recovered.
What are the main components of creating an LBIAD event?
The planning period takes between 2-3 months. You have to identify a team: primary presenter, hospitality coordinator, registration person, and the very important table helpers. During this period, the advertising options will be identified. An important part is to get the “word of mouth” going with existing players. You need to find a suitable venue. Is there a screen? What is the seating capacity? Does a projector need to be rented?
The second phase is focused on the actual event. The week before is very busy. Folks will be calling with questions and to register. You need a check list for all the materials and technology (extension cords!). On the day of the event, you should have specialists in charge of registration, hospitality and the presentation. You should have a special package to give each participant: recommendations for follow on activities, list of local clubs, list of bridge teachers and free plays or other promotions.
The final phase of a good LBIAD event is the follow up with participants. Registration gives you a list with phone numbers and email. Personal contacts with participants will improve retention. Someone should be involved in tracking participants, getting feedback and steering players to follow on events. You should shoot for a 50% retention rate or better.
Sending a thank you to all table helpers should not be overlooked.
What is typically done for advertising?
Each Unit and club will have different options and priorities. Advertising of an upcoming LBIAD event often has these components:  word of mouth campaign,  posters a clubs and around town,  “post card” type invitations,  website and email notices, and  traditional advertising in major newspapers, newsletters, senior center publications, and neighborhood/community papers. There may be “free” options like TV community bulletin boards or public service radio announcements that might be available in your area. Boulder arranged to get a radio station interview.
Major newspaper ads are expensive, but many papers have special promotions for non-profits. ACBL has a CAP (Cooperative Advertising Program) subsidy of 50% for the cost of eligible advertising up to $500. Click here for CAP info.
How do we know how many people will attend?
You need a count of people so that you can print documents and buy lunches. The simplest way to solve his problem is to have folks call or register online. To minimize the number of no shows, it is best to have folks pay for the class upfront. You will have some people show up without registering and you may have to decide if you can accommodate them.
Can LBIAD participants immediately play in club games?
Generally not. They need some additional mini-lessons on key things like Staymen, signaling, Blackwood and experience with filling in travelers and scoring slips. Most LBIAD participants are eager to play and will respond well to a single table mentoring session, beginner lessons like Easybridge, and mini-lessons coupled with a 49er game. For example, in 2015 Northern Colorado had three LBIAD events. One of the follow up options was a brand new 99er game in Loveland with mini-lessons and extra helpers to assist with scoring. Initially those players needed 10+ minutes per board, but after four months, they generally are taking 8 minutes a board. Ten months later, the "new" Loveland game averages 10 tables each week!
Why include a lunch?
LBIAD introduces a lot of material to participants and the event runs close to 5 hours. Players need a break, plus lunch gives them a chance to develop the social bonds with their new friends, which is so essential to getting folks to return for future activities. The program is also designed to have a short mid-morning and mid-afternoon break. Local hospitality customs will vary, but D17 events have coffee/tea, juices, soft drinks, morning snacks and something sweet for later breaks. Lunch can be sub sandwiches or pizza.
Where can I go for additional information?
Check out the Whirlwind Bridge website for LBIAD.
John Grossman is the coordinator for the D17 site license for LBIAD and can be reached at Blackstone.firstname.lastname@example.org or (719) 233-9464. John Wolf has been involved in four LBIAD events and can also answer questions . Johnemail@example.com
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