The recent survey results included some feedback directed to the Association. This year a number of respondents provided comments or questions re: “balancing” of House League teams. Some questioned the efficacy of the current approach eg “If the teams were balanced, how come our team won only one game all year?” Others put forward ideas for improving the process such as having someone other than coaches balance the teams or dividing up inexperienced players more evenly among all the teams in a division.
We agree that every effort should be made to ensure teams are competitively balanced. Currently, division convenors consult with all coaches early in the season. We involve coaches in the process because they generally have some first-hand knowledge of the relative capabilities of the players. Initial player assessments are usually done before players are assigned to teams to limit the potential for bias. Our coaches understand the benefits of balancing and are usually very open to moving players if that will contribute to a level playing field.
There are, of course, factors which can limit the effectiveness of the balancing process. We have a relatively brief window of opportunity to make player changes. We want to avoid transferring players who have already established relationships with their new team mates, and we do not want to make changes after team pictures have been taken. We often get requests to assign players to the same team for car pooling purposes and we try to honour such requests even though it limits our flexibility in terms of team balancing. We have the same issue when it comes to the sons or daughters of coaching staff. Finally, we must accept that players develop at different rates and this can cause a competitive imbalance to develop over the course of a few weeks, particularly in the case of the younger age groups.
The foregoing notwithstanding, the Association recognizes the benefits of competitive parity and we will continue to look at ways for improving this aspect of our House League program.
More information re: our policies and procedures is available on this website under “About Us”.