Grading

General Grading Information

  • Grading is an important part of The Gap Netball Club. Each year players are graded in order to ensure that they are placed in a team with players of a similar ability and that the team is then placed in a division at Downey Park where they will compete against teams of a similar ability. This is done in order to maximise player development and their enjoyment of the game.
  • The Gap Netball Club is committed to providing an enjoyable netball experience for players of all abilities. So whether or not you or your daughter/son are going to be the next Firebird or simply want to be active and have fun, we are committed to taking the time necessary to grade you into a team which will suit your ability and maximise your enjoyment.
  • Please ensure that each player comes suitably dressed to play netball, has a water bottle, a healthy snack (a banana is great if you can’t think of anything else) and brings along something to entertain themselves (e.g. a book) in the event that they have to spend some time waiting. The players are supervised the entire time they are in the Sports Hall and are not permitted to leave the Hall until grading has concluded and there is a parent/carer there to pick them up. Parents – you will not be permitted in the Hall during grading and there is absolutely no need for you to remain outside the Hall waiting for the two hours.  Take the opportunity to do whatever you need to do during this time, especially if it involves having a coffee and some downtime!  As mentioned previously, the players will not be allowed to leave the Hall until you or a nominated carer has arrived to pick them up.  If you have a child who is nervous/anxious please bring it to the Grading Convenors attention and they will keep an eye on them.

What do Graders consider when grading a player?

While this information is not meant to be an exhaustive list of what graders are looking for when grading a player, it will hopefully provide an overview of the kinds of player attributes which are considered when assessing a player.

Please note that there is no ‘standard’ grading format and that every club/association will grade differently depending on their club/association requirements, the standard of the players, the level of the competition into which teams are being placed and the number of teams being graded at any one time.

  • Physical fitness – playing netball requires rapid acceleration and rapid changes in direction, with short bursts of highly intense speed. This is combined with jumping and leaping movements. A successful netballer requires high levels of aerobic and anaerobic fitness.
  • Physical attributes – speed, power, agility, balance and coordination. Because the onset of puberty is variable, generally between 11 and 15 in females, players who are grouped by age (born in the same year) may demonstrate different physical abilities (skills and capacity) which will change over time. “Relative age effect” is a phenomenon when maturity can be mistaken for ability, consequently some players ‘mature’ earlier than others, appearing to be more advanced than their same age peers.  This difference in ability often evens out over time.
  • Movement Skills – e.g. take-off, footwork, jumping, landing
  • Ball Skills – e.g. catching, throwing
  • Attacking Skills – e.g. straight/diagonal leads, dodging, changing direction, holding, creating space, special awareness, decision making, communication skills
  • Defending Skills – e.g. defensive footwork, body control and re-positioning, one on one defending, intercepting, delay and deny space, communication skills, working together in and out of the circle
  • Shooting – e.g. demonstrate correct and accurate technique, rebounding, working together in and out of the circle, communication skills

Grading for 11s

  • For those of you moving up from U10s this will be your first experience of grading. The grading format involves all players being placed into temporary teams based on their positions of choice (as indicated in their registration information) and playing a series of games. The graders then individually assess each player in these positions.  Players will be moved around from team to team until a good blend of players, based on ability and position preference, is decided upon for each team.  Grading sessions for U11s are two hours long and there is no guarantee as to how long each player will spend on court nor as to when they will make it onto the court.  We require all the players to be there for the full two hours as players are often swapped in and out as the time goes by.  As the U11s cohort tends to be large and has not been graded before they are usually asked to attend (if possible) three grading sessions.
  • Please do not be concerned if your child seems to spend only a short time on the court compared to another player. This has nothing to do with your child’s ability rather it is to do with the graders endeavouring to work out the best combinations. We aim to ensure that each player has a turn at their two preferred positions however at times the graders will notice that a player also shows signs of having a good ability in a different position and may get them to play that position to see how they perform.  As we often have an abundance of players requesting to play GA or C it is likely that these players may be asked to take the court at a GS or WA in order to provide teams with an even balance of positions.  At other times, players may be asked to “fill in” in a position they do not normally play simply to make up numbers on the court.
  • As the 11s tends to be a large group we may also grade during the week when the same procedures apply.

Please note – teams are not formed on the basis of friendship groups or carpooling requirements.  While it can be a little sad not to play netball with the same friends as in previous years, this is a marvellous opportunity for players to develop new friendships and expand their social networks.  This often has a flow on benefit outside of netball when players enter High School and realise that they know quite a few of their new school mates because they have been playing netball with them.

Grading for 12s and 13s

Grading for the 12 year and 13 year age groups is carried out in the same manner as the 11 years.

Grading for Cadets

While you are familiar with the grading process, this is the first time you will be graded into an age group with existing and older players (depending on dates of birth there may be nearly a two year age difference).  As usual the graders will work towards putting each girl into a team based on their playing position preference and their ability.  For those players coming up from U13s this may mean being placed into a team in a lower division than you have previously played in (e.g. a U13 Div 2 player may end up in a Cadet Div 4 team).  This does not represent a “decline” in the player’s ability but is a result of that player now being assessed in amongst existing players who are all a bit older and more experienced.  Equally, with the influx of new players into the Cadet age group, it is possible that existing Cadets (playing in their second year of Cadets)  may end up in a lower division team, not because of a decline in their ability, but due to the fact that new, stronger players have moved into the Cadet age group.  While it can initially be a little sad not to be playing with team mates from previous years, this is an opportunity to make new friends and expand your social network.

Grading for Inters

While you are familiar with the grading process, this is the second time that you will be graded into an age group with existing and older players (depending on dates of birth there may be nearly a three year age difference).  As usual the graders will work towards putting each girl into a team based on their playing position preference and their ability.  For those players coming up from Cadets this may mean being placed into a team in a lower division than you have previously played in (e.g. a Cadets Div 2 player may end up in an Inters Div 4 team).  This does not represent a “decline” in the player’s ability but is a result of that player now being assessed in amongst existing players who are all a bit older and more experienced.  Equally, with the influx of new players into the Inters age group, it is possible that existing Inters (playing in their second or third year of Inters)  may end up in a lower division team, not because of a decline in their ability, but due to the fact that new, stronger players have moved into the Inters age group.  While it can initially be a little sad not to be playing with team mates from previous years, this is an opportunity to make new friends and expand your social network.

Grading for Opens

While you are familiar with the grading process, this is the third time that you will be graded into an age group with existing and older players.  As usual the graders will work towards putting each player into a team based on their playing position preference and their ability.  For those players coming up from Inters this may mean being placed into a team in a lower division than you have previously played in (e.g. Inters Div 2 player may end up in an Opens Div 5 team).  This does not represent a “decline” in the player’s ability but is a result of that player now being assessed in amongst existing players who are all older and more experienced.  Equally, with the influx of new players into the Opens age group, it is possible that existing Opens may end up in a lower division team, not because of a decline in their ability, but due to the fact that new, stronger players have moved into the Opens age group.  While it can initially be a little sad not to be playing with team mates from previous years, this is an opportunity to make new friends and expand your social network.

Where does grading happen?

Hilder Road State School, Kaloma RoadThe Gap, Parking is available on the street or within the school grounds.

Location of Hilder Road State School

Grading Procedures

  • All players from the age of 11 years are graded on ability only. Friendship groups, car pooling and coaching requests are not taken into account.
  • Players nominate two preferred positions when registering with club.
  • Coaches feedback is used from previous season to ‘paper grade’ players for the forthcoming grading trials. In the first instance, players are assessed on their play on the day unless there are mitigating circumstances (e.g. injury, illness) which must be reported to the grading convenor who will then advise the graders. If two players are being considered for the same position/same division then their paper grading from the previous season is incorporated into the final decision on their team placement.
  • New players to the club – information about previous netball experience is used in lieu of coaches feedback if available.
  • Grading dates and times are chosen in order to tie in with Downey Park’s calendar (i.e. club/team registration dates) – typically there are a minimum of two grading sessions per age group, with a third session being organised for larger cohorts (this may change on a year by year basis).
  • Players must advise the Grading Convenor as soon as possible if they are unable to attend one or more grading sessions. If they are unable to attend any grading sessions then their coaches feedback (if available) will be used from the previous season. New members to the club may be asked to grade at a training session if they are unable to attend grading sessions.
  • Players are placed into team games based on their position requests. Graders (usually a team of 2 or 3) assess the players on their performance.
  • At the end of the first (and second sessions, if applicable) the team games are re-worked based on the players performance, ready for the final grading session.
  • At the conclusion of each grading session, players are asked if they have been trialled in both their nominated preferred positions. If, for some reason, they have not, then immediate arrangements are made to ensure that they are trialled in the nominated position they did not play. At the conclusion of the final grading session, players are placed into a team which suits their playing ability and/or position request.
  • Ideally each team consists of 9 players only (3 attack, 3 midcourt and 3 defence). While players are identified as being attack, midcourt or defence (this being their area of strength) this does not rule out the possibility of their playing other positions throughout the season.
  • Teams and coaches are posted on the club website shortly after the conclusion of grading.
  • Players may appeal their grading and request a review. This must be done within the first two week after the team is announced. The Grading Convenor must be contacted by email, requesting a review. No verbal or text message contact to any member of the club other than the Grading Convenor is considered to be a formal request. Graders will be organised to go down to a training session in order to assess/review the player concerned.  The possibility of a player moving up a division is tempered by the fact that there must be a player in the higher graded team who has been identified as being a weaker player than the appealing player and can, therefore, be moved down a division.
  • Grading of late registrations – Players who register late are typically placed into a team which has a vacancy and suits the playing standard of the new player. However, if they are being considered for a position in team A and there are other players in the team below (team B) who are of equal ability, then these players are also asked if they would like to be considered for a position in team A. The new player is then assessed against the players from team B who have indicated that they would like to be considered for the position in team A.
  • All grading decisions are transparent and made independent of the club executive.  Graders may not grade family members or the division in which they play (this applies to Opens players).  Graders must have completed the Netball Australia online Select for Netball Success course.

What if I still have questions?

If you have any questions about the grading process please email the Grading Convener.