Sport clubs usually have to manage a variety of team selections directly, from pre-season grading to special team selection.
For club committees and/or selection panels, here are some good practises to follow:
1. Understand your sport guidelines - where appropriate, be familiar with your overarching sports guidelines on junior sport. This might come from a national, state and/or regional level. There is likely to be guidelines that will impact directly on selection. For example, age groups/restrictions or no scores/placings for children under a certain age.
2. Develop selection policies/guidelines - document the who, why, what, when, where and how of your team selections.
3. Develop coach guidelines - some sport club committees may need to develop coach guidelines – setting out to your club coaches what you expect as a club when it comes to the week-in, week-out decisions e.g., equal playing time for all juniors, player time during finals.
4. Communicate, communicate, communicate - when it comes to selections, communication is critical. Keeping people informed sets expectations and builds trust in the process. Communicate before, during and after selections via email, website or face-to-face briefings.
5. Be honest and understanding - team selections are often not a perfect science and sometimes people are disappointed. Explain this beforehand and set realistic expectations with your club/group.
6. Be consistent– with your policy in your actions and all communication, written and verbal.
7. Deal with issues immediately – don’t ignore them. Unhappy players and parents, justified or not, can create an unhappy team/club culture.
8. Review and update policies – after each major selection (e.g., preseason grading), sit down and review your selection process while it’s fresh in your mind. Update your policy for next season.
Most sports have a Member Protection Policy. It usually includes information on codes of conduct, anti-discrimination, bullying and complaints processes. It can be a useful reference if there are serious selection matters, such as potential discrimination. State and commonwealth anti-discrimination legislation makes it unlawful to discriminate. When it comes to team selection, there can be exceptions including: