Doubles can be great fun and having players team together makes friendships and the community stronger. However, smaller local tournaments often have trouble running a decent doubles bracket.
People can be reluctant to enter doubles, which leads to not enough teams to form a bracket, leading to doubles never actually happening.
In my experience doubles makes a tournament more fun for players as there are more events for them to be involved with and gives them an extra reason to keep coming back to your tournaments.
If you’re a local TO and what to start getting people interested in doubles here’s some tips that I found really effective in my local scene.
I recently took over Queensland’s weekly tournaments, which were struggling to get even 3 teams involved in doubles, and have been able to get a significant portion of players to enter doubles.
Most recently I ran a weekly with 24 singles entrants. We then had 11 teams enter the doubles bracket. That’s 22/24 players also entering doubles!
1. Take Doubles Seriously and Charge For It
If you don’t take doubles seriously as the TO then no one will. It takes time for people to form teams and have a vested interested in doubles, this only happens if you take it seriously.
If you’ve never tried to run doubles before then running a free doubles bracket can be a great primer for future events. But if doubles is always free people generally won’t take it seriously and eventually will stop entering all together and will instead just prefer to play friendlies.
$5 per person is a good price for doubles. Not too expensive that people won’t enter, but sizeable enough to create a respectable pot for the winners.
2. Run Doubles After Singles
At larger events, when a doubles bracket is guaranteed to get enough entrants, running doubles first makes sense. It creates more hype around singles as the final event.
But if you don’t have people actively engaged in doubles you need to piggyback off the success of singles to get doubles happening.
Running doubles first could lead to people just skipping it and arriving later for doubles. Or they will arrive on time and will prefer to warm up for singles rather than play doubles.
Running singles first means everyone will already be at the venue and thus are way more likely to enter doubles. It also means that singles will be finished so people won’t be worrying about it anymore and thus are more likely to get involved in doubles.
3. Force People To Register For Doubles BEFORE Singles Starts
This is really important. If you wait until singles in finished a lot of people will choose not to enter doubles in favour of playing friendlies.
It also means they will wait to see how many teams have entered before they enter themselves…you don’t want this. It leads to a downward spiral of participants as no one wants to commit.
When collecting registration for singles get people to pay for doubles at the same time.
If they say “I’ll just pay you for doubles after singles” tell them they either sign up now or not at all. This creates FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and tends to cause people on the fence to sign up.
It means that some people that might have entered don’t, butI have found it leads to more entrants overall.
4. Offer To Find People Team Mates
This is also really important. Actively offer to find people their team mate if they don’t have one.
Newer players and people without established partners will hesitate entering because of the effort required to find a team mate.
Encourage them to enter doubles saying “I’ll find you a team mate”
Team people of similar skill level together. People don’t like being teamed with people below their skill level. Teaming people of a similar skill also makes it more likely that they will form a consistent team in the future, which improves their experience of doubles as well as creates overall storylines.
If you end up with an extra entrant and no team mate for them I recommend getting someone who doesn’t want to enter doubles and giving them free entry to team with the odd man out.
5. Create Hype
Creating hype around doubles is hard compared to singles.
Currently the only steps we take to create hype are having people play doubles on stream as well as creating and sharing clips of funny or cool stuff that happened in a doubles game.
You can however create hype with individual players who are on the fence about doubles. Encourage them by explaining how fun and different doubles can be.
Show them it’s not just a clusterfuck but that they can work with their team mate to get better as a team. Even just getting 1 extra team involved in doubles through this can make the difference between always having enough entrants and never having enough entrants.
6. Reward Regular Teams by Creating Storylines
This is something I know I should do but haven’t.
Storylines in doubles only exist if you highlight them. People don’t pay enough attention to doubles to pull out any storylines. By doing it for them you give them extra reasons to compete.
Highlighting the #1 and #2 team can create rivalry if they are close in skill level. Also highlighting lower level players who made an upset will make those players more committed to developing as a team.
Storylines are less for the overall scene and more to make individual teams more interested in their own bracket.
Doubles adds value to the experience of your event which benefits your event as a whole. It strengthens personal relationships and therefore strengthens your community.
As a TO you should take it seriously and work hard to get people involved in doubles. It’ll be worth the extra effort.
If you’ve got any comments on other ways to make doubles more engaging for smaller events let us know in the comments down below.