Tips for coaches

Most coaches of junior sport will need to do selections. Some coaches select teams every week, while others might select squads occasionally for one-off events. Selections vary greatly from sport to sport, club to club and group to group. Regardless, it can often present issues, so coaches need to be proactive and communicate well.

Here are some simple guidelines to follow for coaches at community level sport:

1. Understand your sport and/or club guidelines

Where available, be familiar with either your club and/or sport guidelines on team selections. Sporting codes often have guidelines in place for junior sport. For example, in some team sports, when it comes to young children, your sport may require players to be rotated equally through positions.  Your club may also have a guideline or expectation, so make sure you ask.

2. Develop simple team selection guidelines 

Based on your club/sport rules, it may be a good idea to develop you own simple selection guideline or set of rules. You could do this in consultation with the players and parents too. The guideline will vary greatly from sport to sport but may cover:

  • playing time, position rotation (team sports)
  • qualifying times (timed sports)
  • finals policy
  • logistics (e.g., key dates, communication methods)
  • commitment to attendance
  • commitment to training
  • importance of sportsmanship and good attitude.

Keep in mind the Junior sport selection principles

3. Communicate 

Outline the selection guidelines to players and parents prior to the season starting. Then reinforce the guidelines again at key times eg. before finals or major events.

4. Be consistent

Always be consistent with your selection guideline, in your actions and words.

5. Deal with issues immediately

If issues do arise, don’t ignore them, deal with them immediately. Unhappy players and parents, justified or not, can create a poor team culture.

6. Review

At the end of the season, review your selection guideline while it’s fresh in your mind. Seek input from players, parents and your club. Update your policy for next season.

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