Evals don’t have to be hard, but it takes some pre-planning from all involved
Plus: 7 steps to Evals in about an hour
Along with tryout season, many organizations ask coaches for evaluations of their players from the recently concluded season. This is a good practice, but not everyone loves them.
Many coaches cringe when they see that ominous email in their inbox. But it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, it shouldn’t be that way.
Coaches: 3 Ways to minimize the stress of Player Evaluations.
- Communicate: Keep players informed of how they are progressing.
- Keep Notes: Keeping notes throughout the season is an excellent way to minimize the evaluation stress.
- Know the standard: Does your organization have a standard for the age group you’re coaching? If so, do you what that standard is? If there is no standard published, ask the coaching director.
Organizations: Help coaches with evaluations.
- Communicate this early: If evaluations are part of the tryout procedure, let your coaches know early. Like, the beginning of the season early. Coaches will be better prepared, if they know in advance.
- Set the Standard: If the organization wants players objectively evaluated, there must be a standard. At each level, there should be specific, measurable standards for coaches to measure their players. A yardstick. But it must be specific for each level.
- Allow space for notes: While a strict numbers-based system makes it easy to rack-and-stack the players, it stands to miss some of the players’ qualities. As much as we would like to fit everything into a cozy, Excel spreadsheet, it will invariably not tell the whole story.
Players & Parents: You should know what your coach is working towards.
- Communicate: The coach should let you know what he or she is working toward.
- Listen: You should know what standard players will be measured against.
- Ask: If you don’t know what the goal is, ask the question!
This is great, Coach, but it doesn’t help me now!
I have this Excel spreadsheet staring me in the face. I can’t go back and recreate the season, and it’s due tomorrow!
7 steps to excellent, on-time evaluations in about an hour!
Okay. You can do this. Don’t sweat it. We’ve all crammed for exams. If you need to get your evaluation done, try these steps:
- Set aside some time, at least an hour. Stay up late. Get up early. Carve some time in your day. Make the time if you have to. But you’ll need a solid block of uninterrupted time.
- Print your roster. By having a printed copy, it becomes real, tangible. Plus, if you’re doing it at work, it may make it look like you’re actually doing work if someone walks by your cubicle.
- Make some notes. Write down each player’s biggest strength, and most obvious weakness. Go straight down your roster, and do the same for each player. Be honest. This is between you and that piece of paper. Now, you are more prepared to provide honest evaluations.
- Evaluate your players, based on your organization’s criteria. If your organization doesn’t have a set criteria, check with your governing body: USA Hockey or Hockey Canada. These can help. If you are still at a loss, rate them based on your gut. You’ve seen your players develop. You have watched them improve. You have seen them compete against other players and teams in their own age-group. Do your best, with the knowledge that no one is more qualified to rate these players than you are.
- Put it aside. Get a cup of coffee. Have dinner. Do some of the actual work you get paid to do. Allow it to just sit, and occupy your brain with something else. Let it sit overnight, if you can.
- Review. Now that you have done the evaluations, and had time to put it aside, go back to it. Review your ratings and comments. Are you confidently satisfied with it? Do you need to tweak some things? Spelling errors? Make your corrections now. Give it one last look. Good to go?
- Send it. Save a copy for yourself (It will come in handy next season.), and send it. It’s done. Congratulations. If you followed these steps, you’ve done the best you could with the time and resources you had. You probably provided a better evaluation, than at least 75 percent of your organization.
Prepare now for next season.
Before you stick that evaluation sheet into some manilla folder or big black binder, hold up a minute. Remember, the way you felt when that email was staring at you from your inbox? Okay. You know, if you don’t prepare for next season, you will be in the same boat a year from now. So, now is the time to put it in your calendar. Add the line in your outline for your parent meeting. Put that sticky note somewhere safe, where you’ll find it in a few months.
If you follow our steps, you’ll be in much better shape a year from now. When that email comes in next year, you’ll already have the data. You just have to plug it in!
For more, check out Behind the Bench, our coaches page.