Feedback after netball trials can be a real double-edged sword.
It’s wonderful to be able to tell trialing players and their parents that they will be offered feedback after trials conclude, if they wish to receive it. But providing feedback to large numbers of players is incredibly time consuming for selectors, and particularly when the coaches and club are likely wanting to move into ‘planning mode’ for the players they’ve chosen.
But for players who may have spent considerable time over multiple days trying out for your club, sending them away with at least a couple of things they can work on is the easiest way to show them that the selection process was rigorous, and that you valued them being there.
So how can you structure your feedback process to ensure clarity for all involved?
Here are some tips.
BE CLEAR ON THE PROCESS
Every player and parent attending a netball trial should be clear on how the club conducts its selections, before they attend.
You should provide a link to/copy of the club’s selection policy when players register or after they register, so that they are educated on the process. The policy should also be given to selectors to ensure they adhere to its requirements.
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A selection policy should include things such as how many selectors will be present for each trial, whether any of those selectors are required to be external or ‘impartial’, and also if and when feedback will be provided.
Will players be cut from the trial as it progresses? When will players be notified about their selection/non-selection? These are all important factors that should be outlined on or before trial day.
Every player would love detailed feedback on their performance at every trial they attend.
But when there are dozens or even hundreds of players at some trials, it’s often unrealistic to provide detailed feedback to every single player who requests it.
It’s important that players are aware if they’re eligible to request feedback or not, when that feedback will be provided and what the process will be. As a club or selection panel you should take the time to outline this to them at the end of your final trial day.
LEVELS OF FEEDBACK
While it might not be possible to give individual feedback to every player who attends the first day of your trials, sending out position-specific feedback to the entire group of unsuccessful players (or even the selected ones) can be a great way to ensure everyone walks away from the trial with something.
That means the selectors putting their heads together and listing 3-4 things they noticed across each area of the court – goalers, midcourt and defence – that players need to work on, and providing those general points to the trialing group via email or on your club website when players are notified of the trial results.
Some clubs choose to offer general feedback to the larger group, and individual feedback to players who progress beyond a specific stage of the trial (i.e. 20-30 players at a final selection), which can be a great way to engage further with players who may have been very close to selection and who you’d like to see again next year.
Whatever level of feedback you choose to provide at specific stages, make it known to the players trialing in order to manage their expectations from the beginning.
SELECTORS TAKE NOTES
There’s nothing more frustrating than when a player requests feedback and none of the selectors have made any notes on that player during any of their trial runs.
Selectors should make it a priority to include at least one or two notes on each player throughout the night, even if it’s just a quick cue phrase such as “defensive pressure inconsistent” or “needs prelim moves”, so that they can be fleshed out in greater detail if a player asks for feedback.
This will also help in identifying themes across the entire player group from that trial, which can be included if more general feedback is being provided.
TIPS FOR PLAYERS AND PARENTS
Unless the selectors have suggested it, DO NOT approach the selectors for feedback on the night of the trials. Chances are they haven’t even had a chance to discuss the trial/players in detail yet, and requesting feedback just minutes after a trial has concluded screams “high maintenance”.
Wait until selection notifications have gone out, and if the club has confirmed it will provide individual feedback, then request your feedback via whatever process the club has outlined.
Be patient, and allow them time to respond. It may take days or even weeks for the selectors to be able to collate their feedback for all of the players who’ve requested it, so understand that it may take some time. If you’ve heard nothing within a reasonable timeframe, politely touch base via the club’s appropriate contact channel.