Thursday, January 9, 2014

Musings on Team Selections as a Guest Post

Mr. Stålberg in Montreal has his own blog up and... here is one of his latest posts on Team Selections.
We are proud to share his work with you here and we also recommend the original blog

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Team Selection

The team selection is quite often a controversial thing. Higher profile teams, like national teams, might even spark public debate (or in the case of Montreal Canadiens commentary from the mayor of Montreal) but in every case there will be players and other individuals near the team who are surprised or disappointed in the selection. The old truth is that you can't please everyone and in the end the selection does come down to the subjective opinion of the coaching staff but most often the people who disagree with the team selection just don't have the facts right. In this post I try to explain the process how I see it and in the next post I will talk about how I see an individual player should react to the selection.

There are two major criteria to consider when considering a player for the team and forming the lineups.

1) The expected influence on result
2) The player development

Both of these should always play a part but the weight of each differs depending on the age group as well as the part of the season the team is in. It is a lot different for young kids compared to adult elite but also between the early parts of the regular season and the decisive game in the final series of play-offs. Obviously each coach chooses the weighing individually based on their own experience and viewpoints. Let's look at the criteria more closely.

Influence On Result
The obvious property here is the individual skills of the player in consideration but also how well the player fits into the team and the line. A line is not really good if it does not have a balanced mix of skills and personalities. What the balanced mix is depends on the team and its style of play. The goal of picking players and forming lineups is obviously to create a team that will most likely score more goals than it allows. From a coach's perspective having a line that is able to score two goals and allow only one is a lot better than a line that scores four but allows four as well.

One great tool for evaluating each player's contribution to this scoring balance is the +/- statistic. A player with relatively high value in this statistic is most likely a choice. In floorball only one assistant gets a point but it's quite often what happens before the final pass that makes the play and thus the points league might not be representative of who actually sets up the scoring opportunities. On the other hand how the lines are played might distort the statistics: a player who always plays against the top players of the opponents will obviously have more minuses than a player who plays less minutes and against weaker players.

Of course the coach should have her own opinion on the contribution of each of the available players with or without the statistics but they are nevertheless a good tool.

Player Development
To improve you need to play. Playing with a lot of responsibility and with good players in a high level game accelerates improvement. Sitting at the end of the bench or in the stands is both demotivating and useless in most cases. A regular season game early in the season does very little for a seasoned veteran but it might be very useful for a rookie. On the other hand one player might be better at a certain role but another one's individual skill development might benefit from taking that role in that game. Similarly someone might need to be benched for disciplinary reasons even though being the best choice to a line or a role.

Selecting any team is a complicated process as I was hopefully able to show in this simplified narrative. The coach considers a ton of variables and tries to build the best team for that occasion from the pool of available players and there is a lot of subjective opinion in the selection as everything cannot be objectively measured. Finally, because we are all human even the personal relationship has influence in the selection. All other things being equal it's quite easy to pick a player who is easy to work with over a player who is considered more difficult.

Hint You find more posts at Mr. Ståhlbergs blog too
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To minimize this risk of injury Floorballcentral recommend: Use certified protective eye-wear (mandated in many European areas for the youth). Do not lay down on the court. Follow the rules strict on stick height.

Also if you get addicted to this sport - do not blame us!