Best Rules for Public Courts

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by lcalamar, Jul 23, 2012.

  1. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    I think enough people will figure out how to "game" the system and have no problem doing it. It's always really just a few that make it hard for everyone, but those few are ever present unfortunately.

    It's so much easier to just charge a few bucks. Works just like a co-pay in terms of dissuading people from scheduling worthless appointments, but the money isn't enough to stop people who really need to see a doctor from being seen.

    As soon as they started actually charging for missed court reservations at the University courts, the problem vanished overnight. They do however allow cancelations up to 24 hours in advance without a charge. People know this, so enough people call in during peak hours in the winter and take the courts that have been cancelled. It works well.
     
  2. NineMileSkid

    NineMileSkid Rookie

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    Same rules apply to them.
     
  3. zerowords

    zerowords New User

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    Gaming the system

    I don't disagree about gaming the system, (especially in University environment?) but there are a few disincentives with an app like ReservationSchedule.appspot.com. For example, when a person does show up for a reservation, anyone can make a mental note of that person's appearance and with enough time, by connecting that person's arrivals at the court with a history of time stamped reservations, can see if that person is booking multiple times instead of only once or if that person is a habitual no-show (you can erase your name/reservation at anytime within the signup time window). It might be time consuming and personally appalling to pursue anyone in such a way, but I don't think the alternative of having no reservations is very appealing, either.

    Of course, I am coming from a perspective where I really want this app too work.

    Thank you for voicing a very common concern,

    Brian in Atlanta
     
  4. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    ^^ If you put it to use, come back and let us know what works, what doesn't, problems, and solutions you came up with.

    Likely you'll need to refine any system based on user actions, feedback, etc.

    I really hope you get it to work and that your hard work can help others.

    Good luck!!!

    PS: At the university, this bank of courts costs between $8 per hour (student rate) and I think $18 per hour plus guest fee (public rate). There are also 2 indoor courts that are free for students at a different facility, so pretty much all of the students play there (except for the "real" players). So the guys gaming the system are "old enough to know better" shall we say.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2012
  5. NTRPolice

    NTRPolice Semi-Pro

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    The only people I see who have problems with the rules are people who dont know the rules (new players) or people who disregard the rules (teaching tennis on public courts).

    The signup idea just wont work because the general public wont sign up for it. The only people I can see who will signup are people groups who already camp public courts anyway. I really do feel like public parks should be on a first come first serve basis, with few exception.

    There are already enough problems as it is with leagues legitimately reserving courts and the public who seems to disregard the notices that are posted. A few months ago there was this group of 6 or 7 guys from NZ who decided they were just going to walk onto courts reserved for league. There was almost a mini-riot there because they didnt take into the fact that the 4 people they were arguing with were part of much larger teams... and those teams families. Those of us who were done playing were probably already drunk, but there had to be at least 30 of us against this "common enemy" and further empowered by alchyhaaalll.
     
  6. slymule

    slymule New User

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    Wow, I guess I'm blessed. I've just gotten back in the game and usually play two and once in a while three times a week. I have yet to have had to wait for a court to open up and usually they're not even half full. Thank you Grand Junction, Colorado!
     
  7. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    Agree completely. There needs to be a cost, even if nominal, associated with making a reservation, or it will be abused. Those that refuse to pay for public court usage out of principle can of course take their chances re court availability and continue playing for free (as long as only half the courts are reservable).

    I hope it works - I like seeing people take initiative to address a need, and think they should be rewarded if they do it right.

    Why do you see it as being problematic to build into the app ability to charge for reservations? It seems easily achievable from a technical point of view (many small payment collection services out there that can be utilized).
    From a business point of view, it would deter no-shows as discussed. Also, could be a (small) revenue source for the county / court owners, that they can use to offset the cost of signage etc. So it might make it an easier sell to them. And of course down the road, it provides an opportunity for the app developer to take a small cut for providing the service - nothing wrong with that.
     
  8. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    In addition to the abuse that happens when things are both free and anonymous, I think you will have trouble with the part in bold.

    Say I am a captain of a couple of USTA league teams, and I need courts for singles and doubles during peak times. You have the system set up so that if I am playing doubles with three teammates, we should reserve 2 hours.

    Alas, I am committed to hogging the courts and gaming the system. All I have to do is book a court for two hours for four phantom people. Then my three other teammates can do the same. The four of us can easily book 8 hours of court time. Indeed, we can have phantom identities and have our phantom identities book another 8 hours, just in case some of our teammates decide to drop in.

    Especially obnoxious is how it works if my teammates and I coordinate our bookings. I could book a court for 30 minutes at noon and then not show up. Another group sees the vacant court at 12:05 and starts playing. My teammate, who booked the court for 12:30, could kick off the group, and then we could tie up the court for the rest of the day, with each of us booking these 30-minute windows. To fix this, you would need to declare no player can make more than one reservation per day.

    Say instead that you charge a few bucks and make it non-refundable AND you declare that anyone violating the rules about booking multiple courts will have all their reservations canceled without refund and will have their account suspended. A scoundrel like me would then think twice about booking 8 hours of court time and not cancelling it.
     
  9. chopstic

    chopstic New User

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    who's going to enforce these rules and reservation times?
     
  10. zerowords

    zerowords New User

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    Paying for unattended courts.

    It is very problematic to me to deal with money. I don't have the first idea how to do so in a computer app. If that becomes a major issue, I guess it could be folded into paypal.com or square.com but a municipality would have to manage that and I would try to help.

    But to be honest I don't believe unattended courts would benefit from money and I would not want to set such a precedent. Free is best to me.

    Brian in Atlanta
     
  11. zerowords

    zerowords New User

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    League play at unattended courts

    If your municipality allows league play on unattended courts then the time limits I suggested would be inadequate and perhaps special rules for leagues would be required. ReservationSchedule.appspot.com is much more flexible in the time limits than the rules I suggested, but it is anonymous and it does not track reservations.

    In Atlanta, which is my sole experience, I don't believe leagues are permitted to use unreservable courts.

    Brian in Atlanta
     
  12. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I was referring to a team hoping to use public courts for practice for its members. I wasn't referring to actual league play.

    My points is that the system would break down when groups of people choose not to abide by the restriction of 30 minutes per person.

    Think of it this way. Cindy, Susie, Carol and Alice are court hogs. Cindy reserves 9am-11 am. Under the rules, that should be all Cindy reserves for her foursome.

    But no. Susie reserves 11-1, Carol reserves 1-3 and Alice reserves 3-5. Then they wake up late, get lunch, stroll in at 1 and play until 5.

    If you charge money, the four ladies will probably figure out how much time they actually plan to use and show up.
     
  13. zerowords

    zerowords New User

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    Asking for multiple names for sign up

    Your example really clarifies that point. And there is no sure fire method to eliminating that problem. What if reservers were expected (in rules) to enter all the names of their players? Would that act as a slight deterrent in that their reservation would be public and their behavior can be seen by the court "police"?

    Brian in Atlanta
     
  14. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Sure, that would help. I mean, if there is someone to enforce the rules, there wouldn't be a problem.

    But if the only policing is by the tennis community, then requiring reservers to put down the names of their players wouldn't help much. It would take some serious police work to get things sorted. In my example, someone irked that the courts are taken wouldn't know of the other reservations and couldn't uncover the scheme.
     
  15. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    What is there to enforce?
    You make a reservation online and pay for it. Non refundable.
    You print out the confirmation, which includes the reservation time.
    A sign posted at the court explains clearly that the court is reserve-able, and that someone using it without a reservation is bump-able by someone holding a reservation.
    If you arrive at the court with a reservation and it is occupied, you direct the people's attention (nicely) to the sign.
     
  16. NineMileSkid

    NineMileSkid Rookie

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    I am going to tell you what NineMileSkid does. If he is using a court with others, and someone is waiting, he is going to finish within in hour of their arrival.

    If he is serving into the corners, he is going to finish out the hopper, scoop up his balls, and vacate the court.
     
  17. lcalamar

    lcalamar Rookie

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    Perfect! !
     

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