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  • How to Provide a Proper Player Evaluation Posted by ClubSportal on April 25, 2016

    In these days of short attention spans and instant gratification, we often focus on grades or numbers as a means of evaluation of our performance in whatever endeavor we undertake.  Kids want to know what grade they got in their math class (parents want to know too).  Adults want to know on a scale of 1 to 10 how they are doing in their jobs.  However, relatively few of us take the time to understand how we can improve, but this isn’t necessarily our fault.  Proper evaluations are very rarely provided by those doing the evaluating, and as a result personal growth is stunted.

    At the local elementary school my children attended, each teacher had 30 kids in a classroom.  One could hardly blame a teacher for not having the time to provide thorough assessments of each student in each subject.  As a result report cards came home with a series of numbers (1 being best and 4 being worst) and two or three stock sentences in the comment field chosen from a drop down list in the report-writing software.  Sure, it was fun to see all the places my kids got a “1,” but for those instances where the number was something lower there was no guidance as to how the kid could improve for the next quarter.  Soccer evaluations suffer from the same lack of clarity.

    My son attended a soccer camp last summer, and at the end of the camp he received a hand-written evaluation form.  It was broken into multiple sections, such as attacking, defending, shooting, etc.  Each section listed several skills which were rated on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being best and 5 being worst) and then had a small box for comments.  Every grade was a “1” or “2,” and the comments said things like, “Great job” or “Keep up the good work.”  Now, my son is a good soccer player, but there is definitely room for improvement, and the evaluation my son received after being watched by a coach for nearly 40 hours over the course of a week provided zero guidance as to how to plan for the needed improvement.

    So, what can evaluators do better?  How do they actually provide meaningful guidance?  For starters, we shouldn’t focus on numbers or grades.  They are meaningless.  What is an “A” or a “1” to one coach may be a “C” or a “3” to another.  There is no consistency across the board, and players cannot learn from a number.  Instead, evaluations need to be qualitative.  They need to be descriptive, they need to give specific examples of what a player is doing right and wrong, and they need to provide guidance about one improves areas of weakness.  This sounds like a lot of work, but it doesn’t need to be.

    Powerful software, such as ClubSportal, provides easy-to-create and easy-to-use templates that will fit any coach’s needs.  These templates can then be filled out for each player with meaningful feedback about the player’s performance.  Moreover, some software packages allow coaches to append multimedia files – such as videos, diagrams, and articles – to the evaluation to demonstrate to a player the correct way to do things or to show techniques for improvement.  Ambitious coaches can even provide customized plans for each player so they know exactly what they need to do to improve specific skills or areas of play.

    Rather than focusing on grades or numbers, coaches should take advantage of existing technology to give players the feedback they need and deserve.  By doing this, players will understand how to improve and will have the tools they need to work on that improvement