It can be common for selections to cause issues and conflict in clubs and organisations.
It’s important to manage junior selections well, ensuring children’s enjoyment is top priority and team/club/group culture remains positive.
- Understand your sport/activity guidelines – where appropriate, be familiar with your overarching sport/activity guidelines on junior sport/activity. This might come from a national, 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.
- Develop selection policies/guidelines – document the who, why, what, when, where and how of your team selections.
- Develop coach/supervisor guidelines – some club or organisation committees may need to develop coach/supervisor guidelines – setting out to your club or organisation coaches/supervisors what you expect as a club or organisation when it comes to the week-in, week-out decisions e.g., equal participation time for all juniors.
- 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.
- 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.
- Be consistent – with your policy in your actions and all communication, written and verbal.
- Deal with issues immediately – don’t ignore them. Unhappy participants, parents, caregivers and whānau, justified or not, can create an unhappy club or organisation culture.
- 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.
Selections, member protection and the law
This is where member protection policies are useful because they should include 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.