As another season comes to a close it’s important to have a postseason process that allows you to evaluate the previous season and start planning for the next season. While breaking down schemes is an important component of this process (and one we will talk about in future articles) there is no matching the value you can gain by having postseason evaluations with each player.
Why You Should Have Post Season Evaluations
Player feedback is at the heart of great coaching. The art of coaching is getting players to maximize their skill sets. This means that in order to be a truly effective coach you need to cater to your players and make sure you are teaching them in ways that they allow them to improve. This does not mean that you aren’t holding them to high standards but instead that you are changing your techniques to maximize the player’s potential. In my opinion, this is what makes great coaches special. They are able to take the skills that their players will be required to perform and present them in a way that gets the best out of them.
When you accept that coaching is about developing players the next logical step is to discuss with the players what techniques they learn the most from. Ideally this is a conversation that takes place throughout the season, but a great place to start this conversation is in post season evaluations. In the postseason there is no longer the external pressures that come with preparing for an opponent. This is a great time to get honest feedback from players on what they liked and disliked about practice.
This has become something I do annually and even try to do throughout the season. I am always shocked at the insights that my players are able to give me into the way we practice. Sometimes they are positive things that I didn’t think went well, while other times they are things that didn’t go as well as I thought. Either way by creating a clear line of communication it gives me a chance to step into my players shoes and see practice from their viewpoint.
This can be an intimidating thing for many coach because they feel like they are opening themselves up to criticism from their players. The way I see it, we critique our players constantly and expect them to take it as a learning tool. If we expect this from our players, we should be able to model this behavior. In the end I believe it creates a sense of buy in among the players because they see that you are working with them to improve.
Some of the times I cherish most are the postseason evaluations I have had with players. It gives me a chance to talk to them on a personal basis and see how they think. It’s critical as a coach of any sport or any level that you take the time to sit down with your players after the season and understand what their thoughts are.
(See Also) Coaching Beyond the X’s & O’s.