Alternating of Age Groups
Many people ask why we change our age groups and the dates of elegibility (see below for cut-off dates). We alternate our age groups from evens (Under 8’s to Under 21’s) to odds (Under 9’s to Under 21’s) for the following reasons:
1. FAIRNESS AND SPREADING OPPORTUNITIES
There has been research that has demonstrated the considerable advantage of being born early in the year “top age” for elite playing levels such as state teams and VC teams in the VJBL competition. This advantage goes down the line to all Saturday Domestic levels as well.
If we did not vary our cut-off dates for age, then you may go through your playing career either always being “top” age or always being “bottom” age.
The maturity that comes with age is very important in determining on-court performance. When players have that maturity it gives them confidence which can carry over many seasons.
In order to give all players the opportunity of being “top age” we vary our cut-off dates so that over a two season period every player has the opportunity of being both “top” and “bottom” age.
When “top” age you are likely to have the reward of either playing in a higher grade than usual or being the stronger player in their team.
When “bottom” age you usually have to battle harder to achieve your accustomed degree of success, ultimately providing you with determination and an understanding that you have to work hard to improve.
2. VARIETY IN COMPETITION
If the cut-off date did not alter between Winter and Summer seasons, then there would be a lot of repetition between two consecutive seasons. While there is no doubt there will be some adjustment of teams with individual players coming in and out, overall the sturctures of the teams are likely to stay the same. This can result in the same teams continually playing against each other as they move through the competition. If this was to occur, the competition would become stale.
3. EXPANDING PLAYERS’ ASSOCIATION WITH OTHER PLAYERS
If the cut-off dates did not alter then players would play with the same core group of people strictly within their own age. By alternating the cut-off we are helping to expand a player’s friendships especially with older or younger players who they may not have crossed paths with otherwise.
Although alternating age cut-offs means that certain “custom” made teams will be split up, the EDJBA believes the benefits outlined far outweigh this situation.