Player and Team Grading Information

 

As the new season approaches the club needs to organise its players into teams, which in many cases involves grading. This process sometimes raises questions which we have attempted to answer below.

Why do we grade?
We want to try get players with similar ability playing together. Having players of widely different ability in the same team can lead to frustration for both the higher and lesser skilled players and benefits neither in the long run. We also want our teams playing with like ability teams in the various competitions our teams are entered into. Having lop sided results each week is not good for the players – whether in competitive or uncompetitive formats. Losing heavily each week is soul destroying and can see players abandoning the game. At the same time winning 10 – nil does nothing to build player skills and they actually learn less. Players (and parents) enjoy games far more when players are playing at the right level.

Who do we grade?
Generally we do not grade players in our all girls teams with the exception of our AA1 / AA2 ladies - with not as many players as the boys / mixed football and generally only 1 or maybe 2 divisions per age group we generally leave the team coach and manager of our all girls teams to build the team - we will introduce new players to the team where places are available.

We actually rank or grade all other teams – this is very “soft” for U6s, U7's and U8s where we organise teams on the friendships and connections people may already have across the age group -  in these ages we just give the team a rough overall rating of A, B or C, just to try and get balance in the games during the season.
 
From U9's and sometimes U8's, we start grading players individually and placing like ability players in the same team. This is a bit like what happens each new school year – teachers do not keep the classes the same – they mix and match to get the best learning environment.

How do we grade?
Whilst not an exact science we are looking for a few key attributes as well as actual skill on the ball. For example, does the player look up when he receives the ball, does he get into space, does he look for the pass rather than going for a run head down. We also look for ball control / dribbling, passing, shooting, tackling, one on one skills, first touch, speed, endurance, team work and strength. We also consider how players work together as a team – especially at the higher divisions where we do need to potentially select the best player in each position.
 
The actual process we use allows the players the opportunity to demonstrate their skills over a number of different activities, in small, medium and big games. Where possible we try to have graders independent of the players being graded. This is to maintain transparency in the selection process. Our graders are always experienced coaches within the club lead by the coaching director and most often have external coaching qualifications. The grading committee will then draft teams to be finally approved by EFC Committee.

Do we get it right?
Most of the time history says we do.  The most important thing is that we get players enjoying their football. The vast majority of the time we think we achieve the right outcome. This is often confirmed with our conversations with players and parents at games on weekends and from comments on our Facebook page.
 
What can you do if you think we have it wrong?
You can ask for the Coaching Director and football club committee to review and reconsider the grading result. Often children are more resilient than we give them credit for. Although they may be disappointed at first, often they quickly overcome this and enjoy making new friends. There are many stories of players who didn’t initially make the team they were wanting to get into.  However, they went on to enjoy their season, worked harder and showed resilience. They came back the next year a much better player and were promoted into a higher division team.  The role of parents, managers and coaches is to teach our players resilience, encourage them to work hard and do their best. If this is achieved they will get the most out of this wonderful game.

 

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