1. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com, a friendly forum for discussing all things sports and journalism.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register for a free account to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Access to private conversations with other members.
    • Fewer ads.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

All-star team selection processes

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by printdust, Dec 5, 2007.

  1. printdust

    printdust New Member

    How do you guys pick your all-region, area, etc teams?

    I've come across one that has proven to be pretty useful and gets some good cross-section insight.

    Coaches nominate. The list is compiled with all commentary. Nominations are grouped on the ballot not by position, but team. That way you can see the patterns of reasoning between coaches as to their own players and how they count stats, which as we know, can be embellished.

    Writers, stringers, all people who helped you put together your section on game nights, from phone workers who took calls on non-covered games, get one full vote. Those coaches get a percentage of vote based on the number of teams in the area they played. Example: a district or conference with four area teams get a vote one-fourth the value of a whole. This prevents larger groups who have seen their players and would be partial to those from gaining an unfair advantage for those players over a team that had no area competition in its district. Adding the percentages is tougher, but it's the best system we've come up with.

    Also, we have one team. No second teams, no honorable mention. We've found that while more names might mean more papers sold, the more likely you will also have more bitching from the 65th player on a team of 64.
  2. I just finished mine the other day. A couple things:

    I wouldn't worry about the "one vote, two votes" thing. No reason to add more math. We get coach nomination forms, not just their players, but their prediction of first and second team All-Region. But personally, I think if my name is going to be on the project, my "vote" is the final one. We as prep writers have seen these teams, some more often than the coaches.
    Of course, these coaches know their sport the best, so here's what I do:

    Take volleyball, for example.
    1) I take every player that a coached named First-team and put them on a list. Once you have done that, you will have a few girls that are consensus. With the remaining spots, I make sure the girl wasn't just a one-time, team plug from her coach. Get rid of those. With the rest, I make the calls based on what I've seen. If there's a close tie between two girls, I will call a coach I know well (who also doesn't have a conflict of interest) and see what he/she thinks.

    That's a nutshell of how I do it.
  3. BigJim5190

    BigJim5190 Member

    We should have this question posted somewhere permanently. I'm always looking for better ideas.

    I just did mine last week. Have about 75 schools to worry about. Football being the big ticket, then soccer and field hockey. I get league all-star lists before the meeting, where I invite one coach from each league (sometimes two for the bigger leagues) and they're usually coaches who are reliable or league reps.

    Luckily all three sports have their own coaches teams they vote on after the league all-star meetings. That helps out tremendously, as I can say at the meeting "Here are the 24 players that made the area coaches all-star team. The coaches and I pick the best 12. Then cut down the list, giving preference to the teams that won postseason tournaments.

    Then we have three divisions, so we pick a 12-person "honorable mention" team for each one. We take the 12 players that were left over, push them into the HM teams and then scour the league all-star lists for the remaining spots. What helps even further is that some leagues rank their voting, so if people are talking about how one player was great this fall, but they were ranked #4 in the league voting, I need to look at the three previous players before putting that person on the team.

    Thankfully, the voting came off well this year and I didn't get one call about why "so and so" was left off the team. The only call I got was about a player who was voted to the team, but in my haze of putting out a master list to contact ADs with for photos, I left that kid off.

    After those four teams are picked, I assemble an XC team based on the top seven finishers from the championship meet from the two divisions (14 players). The golf all-stars are the ones that qualified for the state tournament and the new volleyball team I assemble based on postseason performance. I pick 12 players, give the championship team two and work down from there. It's not a big sport around my area. We might have a 20-0 team locally, but when they go into the tournament they lose, 3-0, to a 12-8 out of area team that lives and breathes the sport).

    The horror show that is girls' basketball is what I dread the most. I had one coach last winter on the panel because it's a league that doesn't really have a "regular" coach I rely on, since there's so much changeover. I invited him because his team went 18-2 and did well in the postseason. They had the league MVP on the team, so when I told him they got one player on the team for winning their division, he nominated his daughter. She was a good player, but she wasn't the MVP. I asked him what the voting in the league was and he said, "It was close, they were like 1A and 1B, but we wouldn't have won without (my daughter). The other coaches just were looking at stats."

    So I tell him I'll put his daughter on the team, but if I got any complaints, I'd make the switch.

    Sure enough, the next day - 10 minutes after I e-mailed all the ADs the list - I get a phone call from the AD asking me what happened. The MVP was left off and his daughter was on. Everyone knows she's not as good a player. The league voting was her at No. 1 and the daughter at No. 3 - it wasn't even close, I was told.

    So I make the switch. Get the call from the coach AND the grandfather the next day complaining about it. In hindsight, I should have just put them both on the team and gone with 13 players. It wasn't fair to the girl, who was told she was an all-star and then told she wasn't. But it was a fringe school for us and it didn't even occur to me at the time. I was so pissed this coach lied to me.

    So, yeah, I hate all-star teams. I like having the coaches involved - for better or worse - because I don't think my desk guys or four call takers could figure out a team if I locked them into a room.
  4. Bob Slydell

    Bob Slydell Active Member

    We let coaches do it, they just can;t vote for their own kids. And if they don;t turn in a ballott, their kids don;t make the teams. Works great. We do it for football, basketball, baseball and softball.

    One parent wrote a letter to the editor last year because his son didn't make all-area in hoops. Classy.
  5. printdust

    printdust New Member

    The desk people see the cross-section of stats. What I'm finding out is that the players with the preseason star power are getting the votes of the coaches REGARDLESS of stats. And the head coach of one of those stars is one of the few so far who hasn't given him a unit (top defense player) honor vote.

    When you look at a Most Valuable Player, do you look at the best player, the best stats or the player who by their absence, would have had the greatest impact on the team they played for?
  6. BillyT

    BillyT Active Member

    The system works for you, so that's good.

    But it seems from here as though it's a little harsh to penalize a kid and keep them off the team because the coach did not vote.

    Does that happen often?
  7. EStreetJoe

    EStreetJoe Well-Known Member

    You can get input from coaches, but as a beat writer you should have seen the majority of the teams, if not all the teams. Pick the team yourself based on a combination of stats and what you witnessed. If you're undecided between a couple of players, that's where you get the input from the coaches.
  8. outofplace

    outofplace Well-Known Member

    That's rough. The most important thing I learned in years of putting these teams together -- NEVER tell somebody they are on the team and then take them off. It's guaranteed to get ugly.
  9. Appgrad05

    Appgrad05 Active Member

    We take coaches nominations, and they factor in. But the majority is ballots from all five of us. After all the math is done, we go through and make sure there was no inconsistency. I had to do a good bit of fixing on our All-Area football team this year, for a variety of reasons. It works out, and we hardly ever get complaints.
  10. BigJim5190

    BigJim5190 Member

    Yeah, I learned my lesson. Even if the school was fringy for us, I should have put both girls on the list. It wasn't fair to the girl who got cut (both girls were juniors, and now after the AD told me the coach would get fired in the offseason, it seems like he's back. I don't think he's going to be calling in too many games this winter to us).

    I was pissed the coach/dad took advantage of me like that, so I was upset. This fall I added a girl to both field hockey and soccer after I had misgivings on how the team was picked. Once I get over myself and realize it's just a meaningless team, it's easy.
  11. pressmurphy

    pressmurphy Member

    I used to have to pick football, soccer, basketball and baseball all-star teams from a circ area with 100-plus schools (only 70 played football) in eight or nine leagues. While we sent ballots out to every coach, my vote was the only one that counted.

    Where the coaches came in handy, though, was in instances where players were getting votes from coaches in multiple leagues. I also assigned more weight to coaches who didn't just vote for kids in their own league or division of a league. A diverse ballot was usually a tipoff that for the most part these were coaches who were getting out and seeing a lot of playoff games or good non-league matchups and were able to put players' ability in proper perspective relative to their own league.

    That helped me more than a few times make decisions when I had three kids batting for the final two spots, etc.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page