During the weekend of the 27th/28th of September the Council got together in Wellington for a workshop and a key item for discussion was the Selection Policy and some of the challenges with individual team selections.
Previously we had a call for feedback on the Selection Policy and I wish to thank everyone and all clubs that contributed to that call. The feedback and recommendations were fundamental to identifying issues as well as ideas on not just the Selection Policy itself, but actually on how we could improve the way we select teams overall.
We put our hands up and say that selections have not been running as smoothly as they should be. It is important to reflect on why that is and we see the Performance Leader role being very pivotal in making our Performance side of the sport work. We also see a major need for communication improvements around team selections, about the details of what teams we select, when, how etc.
Coming out of the weekend the key changes that we are looking at include (but not limited to):
- The use of Queens Birthday as the primary ‘trial’ event for the NZ Schools Team.
- The splitting of the Selection Panel into three respective panels (Senior, Junior, MTBO)
- Changes to the notification process and making the website the primary source
- Tightening of ‘extreme circumstance’ conditions
There are many positive reasons for moving the primary trial for the NZ Schools Team to Queens Birthday. Firstly, we have been concerned by the level of grade changing for individuals to try to increase their percieved chances of making the team. This has had the effect of undermining one of our National Championships, which is deeply concerning. Secondly, we want to help bridge the club-school divide and see the strengthening of Queens Birthday as providing opportunities for regional competition. Lastly, as it isn’t a National Championships we are happy to have people run different grades and difficulties to match the Australian School Championships, for example having M/W16 being the Junior grade trial and M/W18 being the Senior grade trial.
There is one downside around Queens Birthday and that is the additional cost that it inparticular will place on our South Island competitors. We realise this issue but have determined that the issues we have seen around this teams selection outweigh this concern. But to help prevent this being an issue further we would look to run Queens Birthday on a 1 in 3 year cycle around our main centres, Christchurch, Auckland and Wellington where the events would need to be ideally no more than an hour or so from each main centre. This will help reduce travel costs for this event and also bring in more potential to use it as a home venue for an Elite Test Match with Australia. Whilst Queens Birthday will feature as the primary trial, secondary events will include the respective Island School Championships, NZ Club Nationals (Easter) and the NZ Schools Championships.
We had significant feedback about splitting the Selection Panels into a Junior and Senior panel. Over the last 5-10 years we have seen a significant increase in the number of teams we select as a sport and this has meant the role for the Selection Panel has grown significantly. What we intend on doing is forming three panels, one for MTBO and one for Senior and Junior foot orienteering. The main reason for us is around making the workload more manageable and relevant.
A number of individuals commented that they didn’t know where to go to find information around selections, so we are making the website the sole location. We have not been successful in ensuring that all selection notices make it out to club members, so therefore this step is to make it so everyone knows where to look and understand the process. We will still try to send information out to clubs about team timeframes, however this is will not be a requirement.
Lastly, many people have commented that selectors should be at all trials and that they need to be more in touch. Whilst I can understand people’s viewpoint on this, what it is important to note is that we do not select on hearsay – we select on fact. What we wish for is that if anyone has an issue at a trial, then they need to make sure they go through the event processes (ie make a complaint to the controller) so that the controller can investigate and note this for the selectors. It is incredibly important that we select on facts and not hearsay. Likewise for medical conditions these will need to be provided as information within a specified timeframe with supporting evidence to be provided within a particular timeframe as well.
I really do wish to thank everyone for their input to the Selection Policy review and we look forward to sending out the formal communication around all of the proposed changes.