Perfect Weather, Great Program Make St. Pete Beach WM a Hit! As the old Beatles song goes, “It’s getting better all the time.” It could have been the theme song for the 2007 ASBA Winter Meeting, which returned for a third time to the TradeWinds Hotel at St. Pete Beach in sunny Florida. The meeting, which was held February 23-26, was wildly successful in every respect. Read more...
At the recent Sports and Play Construction Association (SAPCA) meeting, Keynote Speaker Spike Jepson, former team leader of The Red Arrows, a 9-man UK aerobatic flying team similar to The Blue Angels, spoke on Teamwork in a High Pressure Environment. Read more...
on Poor Soil
Can We "Quote"
Shoes Prevent Injury
Customer and Employee Data
Q’s and Views
in the Park Update
At our Technical Meeting in Daytona Beach and our Winter Meeting in St. Pete Beach, it was refreshing to see the number of younger attendees, many of whom were second or even third generation members. Their energy and fresh perspective is welcome in an environment where strategies and actions can become stale. Us "older coots" bring a lot of experience to the table but it is the energetic involvement of the next generation that will determine how successful our actions will be.
As your Board of Directors, we often solicit our members for their feedback on the actions that we take and their input on what issues we should address. Our agenda includes not only issues that directly and tangibly affect your membership benefits, such as Technical Meeting Program content, but also opportunities that may have a more intangible effect.
At a Membership Satisfaction roundtable last Winter Meeting in San Antonio, through an on-line survey recently completed, and at our Luncheon Meeting with the members in St. Pete Beach, it became clear that as an Association we are doing a lot of the tangible things reasonably well, but that there are other issues that we must work on. We have worked for a number of years to develop and improve relationships with governing bodies such as ITF, USTA, NCAA and USATF, and with related organizations such as TIA, RSI, Athletic Business and STMA. This has helped to increase the visibility and credibility of the ASBA.
Another mandate from the members is to increase our visibility with design professionals and to better market our membership through our Association. One significant initiative in this area will be to fund the improvement of our website to make it more user-friendly, and more effective in collecting and disseminating information. In this age of electronically-driven information technology, your Board gallantly crawls into the 21st century. No doubt with the help of our next generation, we will soon stride confidently.
As the old Beatles song goes, “It’s getting better all the time.” It could have been the theme song for the 2007 ASBA Winter Meeting, which returned for a third time to the TradeWinds Hotel at St. Pete Beach in sunny Florida.
The meeting, which was held February 23-26, was wildly successful in every respect. Perfect weather meant sunny days and starry nights, warm sands and balmy breezes. It brought great opportunities for water sports, sunbathing, sightseeing and of course, the main event, the meeting itself, which allowed members to get intensively involved with Association projects, publications and programs. Co-chairmen Bill Righter (Nova Sports USA, Milford, MA) and Rick Ryan (Advanced Polymer Technology Corp., Harmony, PA) planned and executed an exciting, inclusive program as well as many extracurricular activities.
There were topics of interest to tennis, track, sports field and indoor multi-sport facility professionals. Some touched on concerns of all members – for example, David Pettit, ASBA’s legal counsel, presented a program entitled Design Defects, Rising Material Costs and Other Job Hazards – How to Protect Yourself by Contract and Otherwise. Another multi-disciplinary program, Defining Asphalt Standards – Mix Design, Delivery and Installation Guidelines for Tennis and Track Construction, was given by Sam Fisher, CTB (Fisher Tracks, Inc., Boone, IA) and Gordy Pierce, CTCB (Cape & Island Tennis & Track, Pocasset, MA).
Some sessions included those pertaining to the Association and its programs. Technical Meeting/Winter Meeting – What Can Be Improved? and the Member Satisfaction Focus Group, for example, were well-received, and drew many valuable suggestions. Attendees also contributed to sessions about the drafting of a track certification procedure and to fields guidelines and position papers, as well as a fields awards application. Presentations on the Tennis Courts book, the indoor construction manual and the fields book allowed participants to make suggestions on ways to present and update the information the ASBA publishes.
Between sessions and after hours, attendees were able to enjoy the company of their colleagues and competitors and to drink in the surroundings of an area far removed from the snow and ice many were facing. Competitive events, including the Golf, Tennis, Fishing and Trivia Tournaments, offered diversions as well (for more information on these events, see the next article).
Beneath the sunny skies, attendees enjoyed the beachfront accommodations of the TradeWinds, which offered not only first-class amenities, but also the relaxed, tropical feel of a barefoot vacation resort. Those who wanted to get out and enjoy the city’s cultural sights and nightlife found them easily accessible, but were equally tempted to just kick back and enjoy the seaside ambience.
What’s that? You missed the meeting? Don’t miss your next chance to make connections, catch up on the latest industry developments and get more involved with the Association – the Technical Meeting will be held December 2-4, 2007 at the Hyatt Regency Austin, Austin, TX. Members will receive information automatically; others can have their names added to the list by calling 866.501.ASBA (2722) or by e-mailing email@example.com. Look for updates on the ASBA website, www.sportsbuilders.org.
This year’s Winter Meeting Golf Tournament was chaired by Robert Werner, CTB, CTCB (Sportsline, Inc. Villanova, PA). In the spirit of keeping things interesting, Rob scored the tournament in a different manner, tabulating scores according to “couples.” Rick Ryan (Advanced Polymer Technology Corp, Harmony, PA) and Gerry Wright, CTCB (Court One, Youngsville, NC) were the highest scoring couple at 116. Scores ranged from 86-116. Other distinguished awards went to John Welborn (Lee Tennis, Charlottesville, VA) for Ugliest Shot and to Gordy Pierce, CTCB (Cape and Island Tennis and Track, Pocasset, MA) for Rookie of the Year. This year, the award for Closest to the Pin (8' from the mark) was Bill "Hit It” Righter (Nova Sports USA, Milford, MA). The Longest Drive prize went to Dave Marsden, CTCB (Boston Tennis Court Construction Co., Hanover, MA).
Up next? The ever-popular ASBA Tennis Tournament. Tom DeRosa (DeRosa Tennis Contractors, Mamaroneck, NY) was the chairman of the tournament, played on Har-Tru courts which were, unfortunately, bone-dry. (Apparently, not every owner/manager reads Tennis Courts: A Construction and Maintenance Manual.)
David Clapp, CTB, CTCB (Baseline Sports Construction, LLC, Knoxville, TN) and ASBA legal counsel David Pettit came in second. The first-place doubles team was made up of Tom DeRosa and new member Bill Hein (Visionaire Lighting, Rancho Dominguez, CA). Tom waived his winner's prize and gave it to newest participant (and lowest scoring) Bob Cohen, CTB, (Robert Cohen Co., LLC, Abuquerque, NM.) Let’s hear it for the great combination of heckling and sportsmanship!
Then there was ASBA’s Fishing Tournament, chaired by Andy Little (Sparton Enterprises, Inc., Barberton, OH). Because conditions were too windy to go out in a boat, participants dropped their lines from a nearby bridge. Rick Ryan (Advanced Polymer Technology Corp, Harmony, PA) caught the first fish as well as the most fish (two). Frank DePaul (Sportsline, Inc. Villanova, PA) caught the biggest fish, although, as all participants agreed, the fish was a bit smaller than the usual prize winner. DePaul also had the dubious distinction of hooking a large net that had drifted under the bridge.
For those who won, the chance to defend their titles, reputations and bragging rights comes up at the Technical Meeting, to be held December 2-4, 2007 at the Hyatt Regency Austin, Austin, TX. (And for those who didn’t win…? Better mark your calendars for this meeting. It might be your big chance.)
You don’t find many environments more risky than flying fighter jets in formation with just six feet between wingtips. Not only is The Red Arrow mission complex, difficult and calling for split-second adjustment, but the team works under what appears, at least at first, to be a huge disadvantage. At the end of each flying season, the three most experienced team members leave and every other remaining member of the team changes position in the flying formation. Yet, the team carries on producing the same results.
Despite the challenges facing them, Jepson maintains that members of The Red Arrows choose their attitudes because team goals are consistent with their personal goals. They aren’t necessarily dedicated, passionate, self-sacrificing individuals. Instead, they choose to become members of an outstanding team. This happens, he says, because The Red Arrows have created a process and a culture that supports the development of such teams.
That process starts with selection. Candidates are chosen after spending several days in the company of the continuing team members. Certainly, there is a chance for them to demonstrate their flying skills, but that is not the most important criterion. Team members can learn to be better pilots. What the team is looking for are people who will commit to team goals. That means people who will surrender their own egos, demonstrate commitment and dedication to the team and be trustworthy. In this case, trustworthiness is defined as being able to admit mistakes and take criticism. A team player, who can’t admit to a mistake, can’t be trusted to learn from those mistakes. The ability to learn and grow from mistakes is crucial to success. The more risky the venture, the more critical it is.
Next is a clear mission. The Red Arrows’ mission is to fly a perfect show every time. They set their own standards. They do not compare themselves to anyone; in fact, they consider the performance of others irrelevant. Every time they fly, every show, they aim to be perfect.
Even when a team is made up of outstanding individual performers, there is no shortcut to training. Each member of the team trains constantly to improve his own flying skills and the team, as a whole, trains to improve its coordination. As an interesting aside, there are no extra pilots in The Red Arrows, no understudies. The team has brought each pilot in, made a commitment to him and expects him to succeed. There is no Plan B.
The Reds spend a great deal of time planning. Of course, for them, planning is an unnatural process. By style, these are action people. It’s more fun to do something than to talk about it. But, according to Jepson, if you don’t apply the same standard of planning to every event, big or small, the standards for the important things will be lower. Each pre-show briefing includes a review of weather, a “what if” exercise talking out what to do in a given emergency (Jepson calls this high pressure planning in a low pressure environment) and event-specific planning.
When doing “what if” planning, Jepson says it is important to prioritize. In aviation, the priorities in order of importance are aviate, navigate, communicate. For example, if the team flew into a fog bank, the first priority for each team member would be to keep flying his airplane and find a way to get out of close proximity to the other planes without hitting any of them. Next, the pilot would fly to someplace safe and finally, he would communicate with the other team members to come up with a plan to regroup. Priorities will vary depending on the type of team and the type of event.
Once the event is over comes what Jepson calls the most powerful tool for improving team performance – the debriefing. Debriefing allows the team to develop and share best practices and accelerate its performance. It also keeps the team’s feet on the ground; complacency, according to Jepson, can be a killer.
For debriefing to be successful, however, Jepson says that the proper culture is essential. He describes that culture as “no rank, no name, and no attitude.” No rank means everyone from the boss down is equal in the debriefing. Everyone, from the top down, must feel confident enough to admit his own mistakes without fear of shame or criticism. No name means The Reds refer to mistakes by position numbers – “One was late on the smoke; Five wobbled in that formation; Nine was out of position.” It’s not a person making a mistake, it’s a position. That way, no one feels defensive. No attitude means members of the team must point out performance errors without pointing fingers. Fifteen percent of communication is words, according to Jepson, and 85% is attitude. Each member of the team must feel safe and supported and each must be willing to take ownership of his part of any team error.
Jepson says that introducing and ensuring a positive culture of debriefing is difficult, but it is the single strongest tool to improve team performance. During debriefing, authority devolves; team members analyze errors without excuses and learn to correct them.
Great teams are not an accident and they are not necessarily made up of outstanding individual performers. Instead, says Jepson, great teams come from process and culture. High performance teams are about people choosing to commit to team goals, accept the culture, choose their attitudes, dedicate themselves to the team, be determined to succeed and committed to participating in the process.
“Ultimately,” says Jepson, “it’s about people. When people believe in what they are doing, they will come together as a team to do it.”
Editor's Note: Articles in the "Opinion Line" column represent the opinions of their authors and not necessarily those of the ASBA. Readers are invited to respond. Please send comments to ASBA, Attn.: “Opinion Line,” 8480 Baltimore National Pike, #307, Ellicott City, MD 21043.
on Poor Soil
For the most part, we are blessed to be in an area of the country (Southeast) with good soil on which to build tennis courts (sandy red clay, chert, limestone, sandstone, etc.). For this reason, stone base and asphalt are the preferred materials used in court construction.
There are, however, some places in our area of operation where the soil conditions are most unstable. The locals refer to this poor material as “prairie soil.” It ranges in color from white to light grey, but becomes a darker grey where organic material is present. It has a high plasticity and changes volume significantly with changes in moisture. When very dry, this soil shrinks, cracks and crumbles easily. When wet, it swells, heaves and becomes sticky and chalky. You can imagine how challenging it is to build houses, buildings, streets and yes, even tennis courts on top of this unstable soil.
In our normal scope of operation, we install our own stone base material with laser-controlled equipment but we do not get involved with the site preparation portion of the project. Engineers and grading contractors who work daily in a localized region generally know the best way to prepare a stable, compacted subgrade. Most of the time the owner already has the area prepared or has contracted with someone to do the work.
Over the years we have seen both good and bad results with projects built on this poor soil. The pictures show both extremes on courts that are only a few miles apart and built on the same type of material. The good courts were built nine years ago and still have no structural cracks. The bad courts, built only four years ago and prepared by a different grading contractor, began to deteriorate within the first two years. The picture shows an area that heaved around five inches and also displaced horizontally the same distance.
So how do you build a stable pad on this material?
I asked a reputable grading contractor (the one who built the pad under the good courts) to share some of the ways that he has had success over the years. He said that for most road and parking lot projects, lime stabilization is the preferred method. This involves undercutting to remove organic material and then blending lime into the remaining material to a specified depth before compaction. If this is done properly, the result is a very hard, stable base that is not significantly affected by moisture. This process requires a lot of water in order to make the lime react and set up properly. It must also be blended properly and fully compacted. Otherwise, the material will not be able to remain stable in wet conditions.
The bad courts were built on a lime-stabilized site that was installed during a drought. The probable cause for failure is the lack of sufficient water during installation. As the climate changed and the soil became saturated, it swelled and caused the distortion in the court surface.
Another acceptable way to prepare a stable pad is to undercut the bad material to a specified depth (usually 12-24”) and replace it with sandy clay. This is done frequently with smaller pads for homes, parking lots and tennis courts. The good courts were built on a site prepared in this way. The clay seems to serve as a cushion to prevent movement in the poor soil below from affecting the stone base and asphalt. Also, at a deeper level the poor soil moisture content will remain a little more uniform, keeping it from changing volume.
One other very important component in the site preparation with both methods is the installation of a French drain around the perimeter of the pad. The drain can be helpful in two ways. First, it drains off any water that is present in the pad. (This is especially important when red clay is used because the undercut area essentially becomes a pond and the clay will be soft when it is saturated.) Second, it prevents moisture from getting into the pad from the perimeter. This is very beneficial because it helps to keep the moisture content in the pad material and the soil below at a consistent level, thus keeping it from swelling or shrinking.
Post tension concrete is being used also, in recent years, on some building pads in this area to help minimize the cracking caused by soil instability but a certain amount of preparation is still required.
The most important factor seems to be having the experience and know-how to handle each project. The contractor I contacted feels comfortable in most any situation because he knows that when he does the work properly, based on what he has learned over the years, he can be confident that the subgrade will be suitable for the desired use.
OF THE BOARD
American Sports Builders Association, 8480 Baltimore National Pike, #307, Ellicott City, MD 21043, 866.501.ASBA (2722). www.sportsbuilders.org. ©ASBA, 2007. All rights reserved.
McWhorter (B -2007)
Vinton, CTCB (B-2008)
We "Quote" You?
Here’s the way it works. ASBA supplies articles on technical topics to a number of industry-related trade publications. These articles deal with issues involving tracks, tennis courts, sports fields and indoor facilities, as well as various ancillary topics pertaining to these. We write our articles by interviewing our members – those who have volunteered to be interviewed, that is. Questions are sent out by e-mail, along with a deadline for response.
Once all members have responded, our staff writes the articles, using the input and expert opinions of our members in direct quotes. Those quotes list our members not just by name, but using the name and location of their company. Those articles are read by a huge buying public – club managers, athletic directors, coaches, facility managers, parks and recreation department officials, and more.
Want to participate? We’d love to have you! Simply send an e-mail to the staff member who writes our articles, Mary Helen Sprecher, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let her know which topics you prefer to be contacted about: tracks, tennis courts, sports fields, or indoor facilities (or any combination of those) and she will add you to the appropriate list. If you have previously added your name to the list, there is no need to do so again unless your e-mail address has changed.
We look forward to hearing from you!
Generation Righter Joins Nova Sports U.S.A. Inc.
and Atlas Track & Tennis Announce Track Surfacing Partnership
Tennis Introduces New Tennis Surfacing Option
Arthur Ashe Youth Tennis & Education Named International Public Tennis
Facility of the Year
Partners with DecoTurf
Tennis Teams Up with José Higueras
Tarkett Surface Debuts at Princeton
Tennis Announces 2007 Clay Court Seminar Schedule
The following companies have joined the ASBA or renewed their membership since the last NEWSLINE. Please add their names to the appropriate section of your Membership Directory.
Planning Consultants (P)
Sports Builders, Inc. (B)
Shoes Prevent Injury
“You’re going to have a hard time getting soccer players to play in a turf shoe,” said Robin M. Queen, PhD, director of Krzyzewski Human Performance Laboratory (K-Lab) at Duke, who presented her group’s findings at the ACSM meeting.
Soccer players tend to feel that turf shoes, which feature an outsole patterned with small multidirectional rubber studs for improved traction on slick surfaces, do not grip as well during cutting as cleated shoes, Queen said.
Source: BioMechanics, September 2006
Customer and Employee Data
But, help is on the way! The Council of Better Business Bureaus, Arlington, Virginia, in cooperation with Privacy & American Business, Hackensack, New Jersey, has launched a nationwide education initiative to help businesses protect themselves. The program, called “Security & Privacy Made Simpler” includes a free, easy-to-use security and privacy toolkit focused on customer data protection. An employee toolkit is in the works. Eventually a downloadable Webinar is planned.
According to Steve Cole, president and CEO of the Council, “What we’re really trying to do here is make an intimidating issue much more manageable. It’s human nature that if something seems complex or complicated, we tend to put it aside and think we’ll deal with it later.
The educational materials, accessible at www.bbb.org/securityandprivacy, emphasize the importance of a comprehensive security and privacy plan and take both an offline and online security approach using simple steps such as shredding documents, spot checking employees’ backgrounds, avoiding phishing e-mails, etc.
Source: Associations Now, August 2006
US-CERT (The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team), a part of the Department of Homeland Security, offers publications designed to help you report phishing scams, reduce spam, avoid viruses and generally protect yourself from online dangers. Go to www.us-cert.gov and click on “Publications.” To do your part by reporting phishing, go to www.us-cert.gov/nav/report_phishing.html.
The Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG), sponsored by the American Bankers Association among others, is a volunteer organization which is building a repository of phishing scam e-mails. You can search its phishing archive to determine whether a particular e-mail is a scam or report a possible phishing e-mail you receive. Go to www.antiphishing.org for information.
One of the most extensive archives of phishing scams is found in the UK. Check out www.millersmiles.co.uk to search its archives for scam reports.
Play it safe. According to US-CERT, at a minimum, you should:
Don’t trust unsolicited email.
Treat e-mail attachments with caution.
Don’t click links in e-mail messages.
Install anti-virus software and keep it up to date.
Install a personal firewall and keep it up to date.
Configure your email client for security.
Approved OSHA Training Courses in English and Spanish Available Online
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has approved online safety training courses available through OSHA Pros, Inc. A 10-hour Construction Course in Spanish is available as is a 30-hour General Industry Course in English. For details on these and more online courses, visit www.osha-pros.com.
Q’s and Views
breaks when working at the computer. Remember the 20/20/20 rule. Take
a 20-second break every 20 minutes. Focus your eyes on something 20 feet
away. Our eyes were not made to see at a close distance for hours at a
time without a break.
For more information, take the computer ergonomics quiz at www.acuvue.com.
in the Park Update