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 Post subject: Self-Improvement or Promotion of Go Game?
Post #1 Posted: Wed Feb 05, 2020 9:04 pm 
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Hello all,

Recently, I'd just joined my local Go club and was immediately presented a hard topic to debate. My local Go club is relatively small and new, and it seems the existing members have been beating around the bush for sometime.

They are eager to promote aggressively as they dreamed of being able to make Go a top choice hobby among the locals, but they also struggled because no one has achieved Shodan thus far.

In my point of view, promoting Go is a totally separated task to self-improvement. But as the Club grows, we receive demands of setting up "teaching classes" and almost all of the club members believe that at some point the class system is best to bring in fresh bloods to the club. In that aspect, I was thinking that self-improvement is mandatory because if the members do not achieve higher levels, the players that we can approach and guide will meet a bottleneck very quickly.

That aside, there are also members of the committee that disregards self-improvement and arguing on the basis of "learn and grow together". That sounds too optimistic for me. But I've no idea what is the best way that can facilitate self-growth and promotion at the same time.

TL;DR: I'm eager to know how does everyone else's Go club doing in growing the club, promoting the game and helping members to grow. What is the experience of those who had participated in these kind of activities. I'll appreciated all inputs and share this to my local Go club.


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 Post subject: Re: Self-Improvement or Promotion of Go Game?
Post #2 Posted: Wed Feb 05, 2020 9:33 pm 
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In forty years, I have seen the Boise Go Club rise to 15-20 members and fall to zero interest and almost dry up and blow away four or five times. If you want to grow your club, someone has to be the champion. That person does not need to be any good at go at all. They just need to be really good at recruiting, teaching, and developing talented players without scaring them away. I have found those qualities are rarely present in highly skilled go players. In fact, they are mutually exclusive character traits.

Beginners do not need know anything except the basics for 20-50 games so your ability to play at low kyu or dan is of no importance to them, serves no purpose. So, yes, promoting go is separate from self-improvement. If rising to dan is your goal, you do not have time to promote and teach. That is, until you achieve that goal. Then, if you have the required people skills, you can devote your time to teaching the talented players. I do not agree that your stronger members should accept any responsibility for your newbies hitting a bottleneck. They either want to learn more and find the resources to accomplish their own goals or they do not. Plenty of resources on the inter webs, plenty of stronger players to either compete against or learn from.

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 Post subject: Re: Self-Improvement or Promotion of Go Game?
Post #3 Posted: Wed Feb 05, 2020 10:38 pm 
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bogiesan wrote:
If you want to grow your club, someone has to be the champion. That person does not need to be any good at go at all. They just need to be really good at recruiting, teaching, and developing talented players without scaring them away.


Well worth repeating. :)

The champion does not have to be good at go to do a very good job. However, if you want to have simuls, lectures, and a newsletter it helps to have someone who is good enough at go to do those things well. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Self-Improvement or Promotion of Go Game?
Post #4 Posted: Wed Feb 05, 2020 11:14 pm 
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Thanks for the input thus far.
I'll bring this up to my Club committees :tmbup:

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 Post subject: Re: Self-Improvement or Promotion of Go Game?
Post #5 Posted: Fri Feb 07, 2020 3:03 pm 
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I find the original post to be confusing, not to say self-contradicting.
zafuri95 wrote:
In my point of view, promoting Go is a totally separated task to self-improvement.

If so, why make a point out of it trying to combine or prioritize?
To add: promoting go and your club is a totally different matter than helping members grow.

In my humble view, one does not have to be strong or shodan to promote go and your club. Just be welcoming, enthusiastic and create a good atmosphere.
You also do not have to be strong or shodan to help existing members to grow. At least, until perhaps around SDK level.
Most people do not become a member with the intent of becoming shodan. Most people come for some fun, to have an entertaining time, a good pastime and a valuable discussion on the side. Improvement is a by-product.
On the other hand: if existing members aim for improvement, just let them. You can even join them if you like.


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 Post subject: Re: Self-Improvement or Promotion of Go Game?
Post #6 Posted: Sat Feb 08, 2020 3:47 am 
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I'd just like to add that promoting go has nothing to do with a growing your club.

People are generally interested in go as a game and play it a lot when our club is present at a fare or something. But no one has ever come to the club afterwards. Not even to the beginner event, promoted at said fares.

The mahjong and shogi clubs face the same problem.

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 Post subject: Re: Self-Improvement or Promotion of Go Game?
Post #7 Posted: Sun Feb 09, 2020 6:27 am 
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Quote:
I find the original post to be confusing, not to say self-contradicting.


I apologize if the way I put it confused the forum readers here. Yes it was a confusing topic that the club members have been discussing to be frank.

Quote:
In my humble view, one does not have to be strong or shodan to promote go and your club. Just be welcoming, enthusiastic and create a good atmosphere.


The reason my local club was caught in this self-dilemma is because they've been seeing giving lessons as the only way to promote and sustain interest, so they argued whether to stop promoting and just improve the member's ranks. But now that I've seen the responses, it seems the club members' have lost the direction of running a club. Perhaps, the key is not to teach and guide, but more towards creating an enthusiastic and welcoming, comforting environment for people to play Go.

Quote:
But no one has ever come to the club afterwards. Not even to the beginner event, promoted at said fares.


I'm sorry hear that :sad: How do the clubs addressing such problem then?

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 Post subject: Re: Self-Improvement or Promotion of Go Game?
Post #8 Posted: Sun Feb 09, 2020 7:43 am 
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Bill Spight wrote:
bogiesan wrote:
If you want to grow your club, someone has to be the champion. That person does not need to be any good at go at all. They just need to be really good at recruiting, teaching, and developing talented players without scaring them away.


Well worth repeating. :)
The champion does not have to be good at go to do a very good job. However, if you want to have simuls, lectures, and a newsletter it helps to have someone who is good enough at go to do those things well. :)



Perhaps I should not have used the term "champion". I meant champion as "supporter and promoter", not "the winner" or "best player". I can speak from my personal experience only, of course, but the best go players are rarely the best teachers for helping new players. They may be good at teaching experienced players by playing "teaching games" with them. But the ability to be enthusiastic and helpful with new players requires the ability to see go from their point of view and to forget the advanced tactics and strategies that have become automatic. This ability to welcome and encourage new players is rare and difficult to nurture in advanced players unless they already have the sensitivities required for teaching.

I recently acquired a copy of Yasuda-sensei's book, "Go As Communication". Highly recommended for anyone who is interested in trying to expose more people to go.

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 Post subject: Re: Self-Improvement or Promotion of Go Game?
Post #9 Posted: Sun Feb 09, 2020 10:41 am 
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bogiesan wrote:
Bill Spight wrote:
bogiesan wrote:
If you want to grow your club, someone has to be the champion. That person does not need to be any good at go at all. They just need to be really good at recruiting, teaching, and developing talented players without scaring them away.


Well worth repeating. :)
The champion does not have to be good at go to do a very good job. However, if you want to have simuls, lectures, and a newsletter it helps to have someone who is good enough at go to do those things well. :)



Perhaps I should not have used the term "champion". I meant champion as "supporter and promoter", not "the winner" or "best player".


That's what I meant, too. :)

And I agree that, unless you have a large club, you usually will have at most one volunteer who is willing and able to make the time commitment to promote the club. And skill as a promoter are not the same as skill at go. But I think that it is unproductive to make too much of that fact, to create a strong dichotomy between people with different skills. Besides, those skills are not mutually exclusive.

The champion, in the sense we mean, may not be able to lecture about go. But giving occasional lectures does not require a whole lot of time commitment, and a player who is able to give lectures may be recruited from time to time to give one. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Self-Improvement or Promotion of Go Game?
Post #10 Posted: Mon Feb 10, 2020 12:26 pm 
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zafuri95 wrote:
Quote:
But no one has ever come to the club afterwards. Not even to the beginner event, promoted at said fares.


I'm sorry hear that :sad: How do the clubs addressing such problem then?


They essentially don't address it.

From experience there is exactly one type of player who comes to stay: The one who actively searches for the club.

So as the old sales saying goes: The best way to promote your business is to be there when your customer needs you -> we have a facebook page and are also prominently linked on the national go federation website. If you need us, you will easily find us.

A club can only offer companionship. You get games faster via the internet, you can also play much more flexible using a go server. Go is also best learnt on your own and you don't even need a club's ressources because there is plenty free or cheap stuff on the www.

To stay at the business side of things: A go club shouldn't try to solve problems people who go there don't have. The only problem people who visit a club might have, is missing companionship.

So have a nice place, make sure the atmosphere is nice and that people stay friendly and welcoming.

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 Post subject: Re: Self-Improvement or Promotion of Go Game?
Post #11 Posted: Mon Feb 10, 2020 3:03 pm 
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IME, a large majority of players who play in live tournaments and clubs don't really like playing online. There are some who started online and only began playing live after they become quite strong. One player I know was already close to 1d before he played his first real life game (he had to learn how to play and score on a real board and how a real game clock works etcetera). But since then, he started playing in real life clubs clubs and participating in many real life tournaments. That was some years ago and I wouldn't be surprised if he hardly plays online anymore.

So I think there is still a future for real life clubs. Not only for companionship, but also because real life games are much more enjoyable than online games.


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