Grading 2016

Wahroonga Football Club  


Grading Policy  


WFC’s grading philosophy is “A team for everyone and everyone in the appropriate team” 


Why do we grade players?   


We make every effort to grade all players into the team appropriate for their age and skill level.  We also assess the relative ability of each WFC team within an age group. The Northern Districts Football Association (NSFA) then grades all teams entered by clubs within both Competition (U12 and above) and Non-Competition (U6-U11) age groups, and places them into divisions or groups made up of teams of similar ability.


This is done because extensive research shows that children enjoy their football much more and develop their skills much more quickly when they are playing at a level commensurate with their abilities.


Obviously, in the Competition (U12 and above) age groups, with teams competing for points and positions on a competition table, it is important for both player development and team competitiveness that we grade players and teams effectively. But it is also important in the Non-Competition age groups, where player development is important but player enjoyment is also a key consideration. It is in no-one’s long term interest for a player or players and/or a team to be playing against teams of a significantly different capability.


It is therefore very important that all players attend all grading days for their age group.   


Principles applied when grading at WFC


WFC is working towards a Football Development Policy based on technique, ball skill and football intelligence, as is the entire NSFA.  This is aimed at encouraging young Australian footballers to learn the skills of football at a young age, whilst also enjoying the game and playing with a smile on their faces. We believe that teaching young WFC players football technique and developing their football skills, with an emphasis on using the ball, enables the players to enjoy football and is likely to lead to a lifetime association with the game as well as giving our talented players the best opportunity to achieve wonderful things in this great game. 


Fitness and strength are important aspects of competitive football but we encourage our players in Non-Competition age groups to focus more on learning ball skills and techniques. Fitness and strength will come naturally as a player grows, but balls skills learnt at an early age will be the platform for an enjoyable football career. When we grade players at WFC, we focus on the following football areas:


·         technique; 


·         ball skills;


·         football intelligence (insight);


·         teamwork; and


·         speed and agility.


Coaching assessments from the previous season are also considered where available. Small sided games are often used in the grading process.


Where possible, particularly from the U10 age group and upwards, we use objective and independent assessors when grading players. This often involves senior WFC players who are not the parents of players in a particular age group to perform grading assessments.


Grading of Non-Competition age groups  


We know that in the Non-Competition age groups, particularly in the U6 & U7 age groups and where a child is playing football for the first time, parents often want their child to play in a team with a friend or friend or friends.  Where possible and where appropriate, we do our best to accommodate this. However, we cannot guarantee that every such request can be accommodated, particularly when the request is made after grading days. Such requests should be made to the club at the time of registration or soon afterwards, to the appropriate Age Manager or to the WFC Secretary. We note that requests for players to play with friends must still be balanced against the desire to have players of similar ability playing together, which is why grading days are important.


WFC can and does accommodate requests for teams made up wholly of children from a particular school, or teams from previous years that want to stay together. However, we note again that we can give no guarantees in relation to the approval of requests – we have a responsibility to all players who register for an age group.


In all circumstances, decisions re placements of players are at the sole discretion of the club.


Even when an application for a particular group of players to play together as a team has been made, it is still important for the team to attend grading days, as we still need to check that there is not a major gap in ability between players in the team and also to assess the relative ability of the team compared to the other WFC teams in the age group.


Grading goalkeepers  


In the NSFA, goalkeepers play in all age groups except for U6 and U7. However, we do not specifically grade goalkeepers until players reach the U10 age group. We recommend that in the U8 and U9 age groups that coaches rotate the goalkeeping duties amongst as many of the team as possible over the course of the season, to give the children a chance to see whether they like and are good at goalkeeping.


From U10s and upwards, players can be assessed specifically for goalkeeping ability. However, there are some important points that need to be highlighted.


Firstly, players who wish to be assessed and selected as goalkeepers should be prepared to play the majority of the season in that position.


Secondly, being assessed as the best goalkeeper of those who were assessed specifically as goalkeepers does not necessarily mean automatic selection into the top team in an age group. There may be field players graded into the top team who are also better goalkeepers than the specifically graded keeper and the Age Manager for the age group may decide that it will be preferable to rotate the field players through the goalkeeping position during the season.  The best goalkeeper who trialled specifically as a goalkeeper may still be more appropriately placed into a lower team. 


Playing in an older age group  


The WFC committee has the discretion to approve applications for players to register and play in an older age group. Such requests should be made at the time of registration and submitted to the appropriate Age Manager prior to the commencement of grading, and not on grading day.  Generally applications will only be approved for a player to play up one age group. Factors the committee will take into account when considering applications are:


·         ability and size of player;


·         whether the player has previously played up an age group;


·         family considerations (eg two siblings wanting to play together);


·         the interests of WFC (eg will a player playing up leave their actual age group short on players).


Announcement of team after grading  


Players will be advised of the compositions of teams within an age group as soon as possible following the last grading day. For the Non-Competition age groups, coaches and managers may still request that changes be made to a team even after the season has commenced, where it is obvious that a player has been placed in a team that is clearly either well above or well below the player’s ability. However, we would only make such a change after consultation with the parents of the player.




Wahroonga Football Club reserves the right to use only one of the published grading days, should they feel teams have been finalised and all players graded satisfactorily.