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Steps to Consider When Running Your First Athlete Evaluation

Steps to Consider When Running Your First Athlete Evaluation

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Stress can run high during athlete evaluations as there are drills to plan, schedules to align, and teams to be selected. Not to mention coaches need to sort out the finer details, like what evaluators to use, how to check-in athletes, and how to organize athletes for easy assessment.

If you are about to conduct your first ever athlete evaluation, we walk through 5 tips you don’t want to miss to ensure it is smooth sailing!

1. Write down a list of equipment

Document who will bring what equipment and when they will arrive on site. Even if this will be yourself, having a checklist is important. Alter this checklist as registration numbers increase and always make sure you have enough balls, pucks, pylons, etc to reflect the number of athletes attending. If you plan on running the event in big heats, have enough equipment to make this happen. Generally speaking, an evaluation cannot start without the proper equipment, so start your day off with a win and leave no question when it comes to what will be used.

As an added bonus, consider having an extra set of equipment for an athlete if they find themselves in a situation needing something. Think of hockey — if a player’s stick breaks early in the evaluation and they did not bring an extra stick, having something there for them shows preparedness on the organization’s end. 

2. Choose your evaluators

There will likely be the need to have extra bodies to help run the athlete evaluation, such as assistant coaches or paid third-party groups (i.e., unbiased evaluators). Make sure your registration starts far enough ahead of the evaluation date so that you have time to get a general idea of numbers and figure out how many extra evaluators you will need.

A couple days before the evaluation, have a brief meeting with all of the evaluators. Use this time to inform them on what skill they will be evaluating and what criteria they should look for when scoring. As a general rule of thumb, it is a good idea to have one evaluator at each station.

For instance, if you assign an evaluator to score hockey players on edge work (on a ranking scale from 0-10), inform evaluators what makes a perfect “10.” When evaluators are informed about the specifics of what they should be looking for, scores will be reflected more accurately. This will lead to more effective drafting decisions.

3. Create a Schedule

Coaches know exactly what they need to accomplish during athlete evaluations, but they often go in blind when it comes to timing. Setting a schedule keeps everyone on the same page, including evaluators, assistant coaches, and even athletes and parents.

The schedule should ensure that there is ample time to run the drills that you have selected and also allow time for tasks such as drill explanation, transition time, water breaks, and warm up/cool-downs. Allotting a proper amount of time will allow an evaluator to properly enter athlete scores, add comments, and even take videos of the athlete performing a skill. 

4. Understand the data

A successful evaluation starts by recording scores and ends with the data collected. An athlete evaluation software makes it easy to collect the data, scored through mobile devices or tablets during the event. By eliminating the data entry process, coaches can move straight to analyzing and using the data to create teams or divisions. You can even run individual feedback reports and send them out to athletes for review.

By eliminating data entry, and saving countless hours in the process, you can divert your focus to running reports to: compare athletes, monitor athlete development, create teams, and identify top players.

5. Provide athlete feedback

One of the largest issues with athlete evaluations is that players don’t get the opportunity to receive feedback on their performance. What criteria were they scored on? How did they fare to the team average? What skills can they work on to make their desired position or team next year?

By using athlete evaluation software, coaches can share this information with athletes (and parents) instantly. Coaches can email athletes and parents individual feedback reports, including their scores and how they fare against the team average (for each skill evaluated). If comments were added during tryouts, providing the player with additional information on what their strengths & opportunities for improvement pertaining to a specific skill, these will also appear on the reports.

Athlete feedback report

Evaluations are hectic, but there are tools out there to make them easier. SkillShark is modernizing the approach and saving coaches time along the way. Coaches report saving over 50+ hours by using the evaluation software.

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Elanne is SkillShark’s marketing aficionado who is equal parts passionate about sports, marketing and sports marketing. She can usually be found with a golf ball or three in her purse, and her favorite way to spend downtime is out on the course with friends and family.