Divisioning Team Sports
One of the most important aspects of a successful tournament is the placement of teams in appropriate ability levels. Within most conferences there is an “unofficial” hierarchy of teams that has developed over the years. This is usually called level A, B, C, D. These “unofficial” hierarchies are based on past performance and local knowledge of teams.
Participation in Provincial Qualifiers, Provincial Games and National Games requires that specific divisioning rounds occur to place teams in the correct divisions. It is strongly recommended that Divisioning Rounds or a Divisioning Tournament also occur at Conference and Invitational competitions. Those “unofficial” hierarchies may be pertinent to a team within one conference or province, but may not necessarily apply when that team plays outside their conference or province.
The two most important facts to remember regarding the teams’ level of play are:
- There is no quantitative or qualitative measure of what constitutes an A, B, C, or D team
- The level of play is relative to the other teams that are entered in that competition. Therefore, if you are a “B” team in Southwestern Ontario, it does not mean you will automatically be in the “B” division at Provincials. You may be in a higher or lower division.
Prior to the start of the tournament, and before divisioning teams, the following assumptions can usually be made:
- The Event Coordinator or the SSCT has some knowledge about the ability of a majority of the teams attending the competition
- That no ability level will have less than two (2) teams and no more than eight (8) teams.
Divisioning Procedure: Pre-Competition
It is highly encouraged that Conferences have an invitational tournament act as a “Divisioning Tournament” sometime prior to the Provincial Qualifier. This will allow for a thorough judgment of all teams’ ability levels, so that divisioning for the Provincial Qualifier will be made easier. For teams unable to attend, judgment will be made by the Provincial Qualifier divisioning committee based on play throughout the season and by discussion with the Head Coach.
Provincial Qualifier and Conference Competitions
The competition host shall determine if assessments are required prior to Conference Competition.
Divisioning evaluation forms must be completed by the coaches of qualifying teams and submitted to the Competition Developer no later than one month prior to the start of the Provincial Games. These will provide both individual athlete assessment and team assessment (ranked A, B, C, or D). These assessments are a part of the team roster form that must be submitted and will assist in developing the divisioning schedule along with input from the Sport Technical Advisor.
Divisioning Steps: Day of Competition
Mini-Game Divisioning Matches
Divisioning games are 6 minutes in length with no game breaks. Teams should play a minimum of one game and two if there is sufficient time. All players on the roster must play a roughly equal amount of time.
Divisioning matches in curling will consist of two ends and all players whose names are on the final rosters must play in each match. There will be a minimum of three divisioning games per team.
Teams play a minimum of one game. Teams will play three, 3-minute shifts. All players on the roster must play, and if a team has more than one goalie they both must play.
Two 7-minute halves with one 1-minute break between halves. Teams should play a minimum of one game, and two if there is sufficient time. All players on the roster must play a roughly equal amount of time. Keepers must play the keeper position in the divisioning rounds. If there is a back-up keeper, he or she must also play the keeper position for a period of time in the divisioning round.
Each team shall play one, 2-inning game with all players batting twice. All pitchers to be used during the tournament must pitch during the divisioning round.
The starting line-up for the first divisioning games shall be the starting line-up for the first inning of the first games of the tournament. All multi-position players must play a portion of the divisioning round at their various positions, i.e., if you have an athlete who plays first and third, that athlete must play in both those positions during the divisioning round. Teams will be judged on batting, base running, pitching, catching and throwing.
For all team sports, each team must play at least once, and some teams may play twice. If you are involved in setting up a Divisioning Round, your knowledge of which teams are stronger and which teams are weaker will be important. If you can immediately determine the top two and the bottom two teams, you can then concentrate on dividing the remaining teams.
In setting up the divisioning schedule, try to avoid any strong vs. weak games. Have the top team play a middle team to assess the middle team’s ability. The most important teams to assess will be the middle teams.
The divisioning schedule should only include each team’s first game. After that, teams will need to be “on-call” so that any further divisioning games may be arranged as needed.
As soon as a team can be released because a decision has been made about them, do so. However, remember that sometimes it is helpful to have a team around that is a known “quantity” to assist in assessing borderline teams. Until teams are released they must remain “on-call” in case the divisioning committee needs to further assess them.
The Competition Host should be the chair of the Divisioning Committee.
The divisioning committee should be made up of at least five individuals, with two people at each match, and one person acting as a floater to watch all matches to ensure consistency. The Competition Host will also float and not be assigned to any particular divisioning matches. Remember that in larger tournaments there may be more than one game taking place at once. Non-local SOO volunteers can also be used on the divisioning committee. The divisioning committee will be made up of individuals who are knowledgeable about the sport, are not coaching a team involved in the tournament and remain unbiased.
Following the divisioning rounds, the Divisioning Committee will have a private meeting in order to come to a consensus. The formal unveiling of divisions will be announced at the coaches meeting.
Divisioning Committee Meeting
The process of divisioning following the divisioning rounds shall be as follows:
- The Competition Host asks each divisioning committee member for their recommendations (A, B, C, D) for the teams they viewed. Recommendations will be given without discussion or comment. These recommendations will be placed on a chart.
- Discussion will follow to resolve rankings on those clubs on which there is no clear consensus.
- If there is no consensus by the end of the meeting the Committee Chair will determine the final team placements.
A blank schedule based on divisions of 3, 4, 5, and 6 teams should have already been established. Have coaches, or the Divisioning Committee (depending on time) randomly choose a number from a list to decide where they fit on the schedule.
To assist you in organizing schedules beforehand and to overcome the problem of coaches asking why they are in Level A at this tournament when they are in Level B at home, give your divisions names. These names can simply be colours, or they can be names chosen to reflect part of your district’s history.
The process for how to division athletes that participate in Team Sports is outlined in Policy 7000-200 on the information portal.
For more information regarding divisioning please contact the Sport & Competition Developer or your District Developer.