Player Evaluation Tips for a Short Term Competition
Posted by Dean Holden at August 11th, 2012
By Hockey Alberta
Some good pointers to make you think and it all starts with your own personal coaching philosophy!
Remember this is based on choosing players for a short-term competition, so this list is presuming you have access to many talented individuals (an all-star / provincial / national team). For a club team, use common sense and keep in mind the differences with what you are doing (choosing a seasonal team) from a short-term all-star team. Remember to make it appropriate for the age and level of play that you will be coaching!
- What are the coaching staff’s specific criteria for the team? (philosophy, ghost roster, general characteristics, etc.)
- Ensure each coach, evaluator and player knows, understands and buys into the vision / team concept / program expectations. This needs to be communicated from the outset (posters / coaches comments / 1 on 1 meetings, etc.) and revisited often! This is the foundation when selecting your team!
- Qualities to look for: hockey sense (anticipation, decision-making ability, natural instincts); competitiveness; skating / overall skill set; ability to learn / coachable spirit / ability to accept constructive criticism (critical in a short-term competition!); speed of execution (do things quick but don’t be in a hurry – John Wooden.)
- Fill spots based on needs. Don’t necessarily take the “best” players – they may all be one position and may struggle to play out of position. (Scoring line, checking line, energy line, offensive D, shut-down D, special teams, leadership / character / grinder, etc.) How do you want your lines / pairings to “look” according to your vision / master plan. (THIS really applies to an all-star team!)
- Use a number / colour system at a camp; not names! This avoids pre-conceived biases.
- Base ratings on a 1 – 5 rating and only on players at camp (not a “National Team 5” – i.e.: your best player in camp is a 5; worse player is a 1. It is relative to your level / situation.)
- Ratings must be based on the player’s expected role (as per vision communicated above) and what they do during scouting observations; not hearsay or past performances.
- Look for consistency in performance (each shift / each drill / each game / each camp(s).)
- Let players come to you (you “see” them vs. “expecting” to see them or “looking” for them.) If you don’t notice them / they didn’t stand out (for good or bad), they are probably “middle” players. The cream always rises! Good players will always “show”!
- Separate the top and bottom early (rate initially and establish baselines.) Rank order the top and evaluate the middle (spend more time on the top / middle – you only need a couple comments for each of the bottom players.)
- Character – try to determine who has it / doesn’t have it and if a potential problem, deal with it in 1 on 1 meetings. The coaching staff wants to interact with all the players to “get a feel.” Try to challenge / change them by telling them what you expect (behaviour) vs. what you see; and put a time line on it that fits your situation. You need to address this quickly or else it could infect others. (—- ——- @ U17 Team Alberta example.)
- Use all staff for input in evaluations but head coach gets the final say. Fight for who you believe belongs on the team. Don’t allow others to sway your impression. Don’t base your impressions on past history – ONLY what they do at that particular camp.
- Input results ASAP so as not to miss key points / recollections. These change each session, so make sure you complete your thoughts prior to the next session. If you don’t remember, don’t make stuff up. Mark as “?”.
- Consider the timing of the year (big players have a disadvantage in summer – late start to season.)
- Demonstrate flexibility in decision-making but stay true to your vision / needs. If in doubt, go with your gut.
- Keep an open mind and re-evaluate regularly over time (daily at camp.) Label as an A / B / C prospect during the year to categorize.