TEAM ASSIGNMENT PROCESS –
Over the past several years, the ICGS board has received
feedback from coaches, players and parents on the methods used to assemble
teams for each division. The majority of discussion has centered on the
Intermediate and Junior divisions, which have in recent seasons been the source
of a few very dominant teams.
Part of what makes playing any organized sport fun is the
belief that teams are ‘fair’. Every kid knows what this means: we have a decent
chance of winning this game. In league play when there’s a perception of
imbalance in favor of one or two teams, there are, quite rightly, suspicions
about how those teams were formed, whether there was any actual stacking of players
or not. This imbalance makes the game less fun for all participants. When a division
has one or two dominant teams, it reflects poorly on the organization as a
whole and on the board in particular.
For this reason, the Iowa City Girls Softball Board of
Directors has decided to change the process for team assignment so that going
forward, the method for assembling teams is transparent, sensible, and as fair
The new approach can be broken into two parts. The first
part begins at the end of the 2008 season, when coaching staffs for every division
will be asked to evaluate each player on their team according to several
criteria: hitting, fielding, throwing and game awareness. The evaluation is
simple – the coach provide a numeric score for each of the skills, then adds
them together to arrive at a skill score for each player on the team. More
skilled players will have a higher number, less skilled players, a lower
number. In addition to the standard skills, pitching will be evaluated
separately for those players that pitched during the season. The pitching
evaluation will be performed by board members. Taken together, the skills
evaluations for all the players in a division gives the commissioners an idea
of one player’s skills relative to other players in the division.
The second half of the process involves the assignment of
players to teams. We will start by piloting the process with just the
Intermediate division (4th and 5th graders) in the spring
of 2009. Team assignments will be made by commissioners with the knowledge of
each player’s skill assessment scores, but their names will be hidden from the
commissioners as teams are built. The goal is to achieve teams where more and
less skilled players are combined so teams are more evenly matched. There will
undoubtedly continue to be more successful and less successful teams, but on
the whole, we should see an end to teams that dominate every opponent, and you
might expect every team to win at least a few games.
We will continue the practice of keeping second year division
players on the same teams when possible, but when a player moves up a division,
as today, she will become a ‘free agent’ and can be placed on any team based on
her skill assessment score.
Assuming we are satisfied with the results of the 2009
pilot, we may broaden the scope of the process for the 2010 season to include
the Junior division.
More details on the player evaluation and team formation
processed will be forthcoming. We encourage and value your input on any part
of the process.
Thanks for your help in making ICGS the best it can be!
The ICGS Board