When we sat down to define the structure of our youth league we began with a blank sheet of paper and quite a few experiences we didn’t want to see repeated. We began with a few guiding principals:
- Kid focused
- Keep it fun
- Skill development
We knew we had to listen to the community and remain teachable through the process. When the discussion came to the draft process we generally had a few guiding goals:
- Reduce or eliminate manipulation in the draft
- Stacked rosters suck for kids
- Balanced rosters are good for kids and player development
- New coaches often get slaughtered in the draft
The result was our own version of a blind draft. We felt a group of knowledgable community members and coaches could evaluate the talent and rank each player by their abilities and experience. This ranking would be used to draft players on each team. Once the process was complete the coaches were assigned to the teams based on where their child fell.
To take this one step further we need to identify our coaches before the draft to include them in the process. Maybe we let coaches draft all the teams before knowing which team they are assigned. Once the draft is complete the coaches will draw lots to see which team they are assigned. This would ensure that coaches do a good job of making the teams balanced and avoid any dominant or stacking of the rosters.
Generally, we feel our competition level is balanced and the blind draft was a success. We’re looking forward to feedback from the community and improving the process next year.