Who chooses tournaments?
We use a RACI chart to assign ownership of several tasks including “Tournament selection, registration, and payment.” Our directors are Responsible and the Approvers. Coaches, TAs, parents and players are Consulted and Informed and we do seek out their input on what tournaments we attend. There are several reasons for this and for selecting “club-wide” tournaments:
- Good for players and families: it builds community across our club and it’s great for our multi-player families as well as those with friends/neighbors on other teams (i.e., just about everyone).
- Good for coaches: it’s more practical for coaches with multiple teams, allows our coaches to help & learn from each other, and allows our directors to see all our teams compete.
- Good for the club: it’s simpler to manage and we may be able to negotiate lower entry fees by streamlining registration and payment.
Said another way, having our directors centrally managing tournament selection, registration, and payment helps our organization deliver on several of our promises: club-wide community, good organization, clear communications, and consistency of experience across teams.
How do we choose?
We should keep in mind that when researching and registering for a tourney, there’s always some guesswork on the level of the tournament, bracket placement, and level of competition within that bracket. To some degree, we’re at the mercy of the tourney directors and the other teams that choose to apply. Sometimes you get a competitive bracket and other times there are blowouts one way or the other.
First and foremost, we do our best to find tournaments that provide the appropriate level of competition, ideally a bracket where a team is most likely to go 1-1-1. This provides players with the opportunity for some success and some struggle. If they go 3-0 and go on to win the final, that’s even better. If they go 0-3, we hopefully are able to take lessons from those losses and find ways to make our players better.
We also consider things like travel distance, timing within the season, field quality, and variety of teams likely participating. For our high school age teams, we also consider exposure to college coaches. We believe that out-of-town tournaments are great bonding experiences for players and parents. We also believe that too many of them, or travelling inappropriate distances, becomes a burden on our families. Tourneys vary in price, and in some cases we’d also factor in the cost and value proposition.
Do all teams have to attend the same tournaments?
No. A team can certainly request to opt out of club-selected tourney. There are some valid reasons this should happen, such as coach availability (sister’s wedding is that weekend), player conflicts (class trip weekend for 4 players), or competitive reasons (tourney doesn’t offer an appropriate bracket). But we’d like this to be the exception because this approach can chip away at all the benefits listed above and start to feed into a mindset that we care more about some teams than others.