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Squad selection issues and solutions | Welcome and General

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Posted in: General

Squad selection issues and solutions

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  • paulcrocker

    i have been coaching 1-2-1 for over 15 years now, in the past 18 months I’ve taken on two synchronised skating teams opening a whole new dynamic to my daily coaching with things like team dynamics, community and culture. 

    One area I struggle with is choosing and delivering the squad for the next competition. I know I will never keep everyone happy. I’m a lot nicer than some coaches I’ve heard just make their decision and that’s that. 

    We are blessed with good numbers and sinned by these decisions as someone has to be let down. It causes hurt for athlete, parent and committee.

    How do you deal with squad selection and naming your teams for the next event?? Has anyone got this right or is it just one of the bad sides to the job of coaching a team?

  • Hi Paul

  • As a hockey coach it's something we have to do quite a bit - might be an idea to reach out to Darrin Laishley he might be able to give you some support

  • My guidance would be what is the goal of the team - is it to be an elite squad or a inclusive team it's also an interesting exercise to get the members of the squad to put forward their ideas in a goals setting workshop then you can gauge why they want to be part of a team in what is essentially an individual sport so their reasons may be social rather than performance. Something else to consider do you audition or trial to be on the team ? Many moons ago I was part of skate electric before I started playing hockey and we had to audition I only managed to be an understudy so I knew where I stood . Hope any of that helps and good luck

  • JimNewsome

    Hi Paul,

    Having been an athlete as well as now a coach, I can vouch for the difficulty of these decisions from both ends. I would say that having a published selection policy can be a real help. That way everyone, athletes and coaches, know exactly where they stand. As a starting point this should include some objective measures of performance but can also include subjective opinions from qualified panels (spread the liability!) and an appeal process - but as long as the athletes know what they need to do to get selected, it should motivate them as well as defuse fallout from decisions they don't like.

    FYI - the British Shooting selection policies are publicly available here if that helps as an example - http://britishshooting.org.uk/policies

    Good luck,


  • MattFiander

    Hi Paul,

    Oddly enough I've just finished a PhD which looked at team selection (in my case, in rugby union, but the lessons should be helpful to anyone making selection decisions in sport). My advice would be:


    - Really stop to think about selection, ask yourself: how do you select your players? What bits of information do you use to make your selections? How do these bits of information shape your selection decisions or the selection processes you go through? Are there any other bits of information that you might use without realising it? We rarely stop to think about the "how" and "why" of our decisions so I would first reflect on these questions.

    - Talk about selection to your coaching team (if you work with other coaches), players, and parents (if necessary). Research suggests that players are more satisfied when they have lots of positive interactions with their coaches, so speak to them about selection, be open with them, and encourage them to talk to you about their ideas for selection.

    - Come up with a selection criteria with your coaches (if you work with other coaches), write it all down, show your players, then stick to it! You'll make fairer and more objective selection decisions as a result (this criteria can, and probably will, change, but make sure you start the process again!).


    My PhD came up with a huge number of findings so if you've got any other questions then let me know!




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