FETA Changes Proposed Prior to 2022 Season
These proposals from FETA members have come up in prior years, but they appeared more attractive after the 2021 season due to the fewer overall matches played, including lower participation in the tournaments. Fewer matches than usual resulted from the cold spring, hesitancy to meet with others during the pandemic, inability for some to get vaccinations early, and suspension of the normal requirement to play matches during the first half of the season. FETA Group Coordinators and others were consulted in evaluating these proposals.

Reducing Match Requirements

Players earn a highly-coveted FETA T-shirt and the right to participate in a tournament by playing a specified number of matches during the 4-month regular season (May - August). The number of matches is 5 for doubles and 8 for singles. This proposal would reduce the requirement to 4 matches for doubles and 6 matches for singles.
Based on the matches played for the period 2018 to 2021, these changes would result in an average of 4 more singles players and 2 more doubles teams qualifying each year. However, the total number of matches played during the regular season would likely be reduced in proportion to the number of players/teams that usually play only the minimum number of matches needed to qualify. Based on 2018-2021 data, the number of singles matches would be reduced by 15% and the number of doubles matches would be reduced by 8%. Applying this to the 2018-2021 seasons gives an average reduction of 25 matches during the regular season. Fewer matches during the regular season means fewer opportunities to play for everyone, including those who do not qualify.

The purpose of having T-shirt and tournament qualifying requirements is to encourage more play. Making the goals easier would encourage more tournament play at the expense of regular season play, and making the goals more difficult would have the opposite effect up to the point where players become discouraged from trying to qualify. For the 2018-2021 period, an average 64% of members qualified annually. Of those that qualified, 56% of singles players and 60% of doubles teams played more than the minimum number of matches needed to qualify. 

Extend the Season Length
This proposal would extend the regular season (May - August) by either ending later or starting earlier in order to give players more time to qualify and take better advantage of nice September weather.
If the season were extended 2 weeks into September, tournaments that currently end October 5 would end October 19. The picnic would be held during the tournament period. T-shirts could not be ordered in time for distribution at the picnic. The later the season extends, the more likely it is that poor weather becomes an issue for all activities. The FETA Organizer and the Group Coordinators would need to continue their tasks for an additional two weeks. Although regular season match play currently ends August 31, players can continue to contact each other to play and practice for their tournaments during September.

Starting play in mid-April rather than May 1 is another option for extending the season. While relatively few singles matches are normally played in early May, there has historically been substantial doubles activity. Most doubles teams, however, have little trouble meeting the tournament qualification requirement of playing 5 matches during the 4-month regular season. For the 2018-2021 seasons, 2 doubles teams/year on average have gotten stuck at 4 matches and, as noted above, 60% of doubles qualifiers played more than 5 matches. Teams unable to play 5 matches in 4 months are likely to have difficulty playing every week during the tournament. Registration would start March 15 instead of April 1. The Spring Fling, where many people register, would take place about April 1. The Organizer and the Group Coordinators would need to begin their tasks two weeks earlier.
These proposals do not appear to offer substantial benefits at this time.