Steps to Improve Your Player Evaluations

Steps to Improve Your Player Evaluations


Are you the person who gets handed the pile of paper after player evaluations and gets prized for doing countless hours of mind-numbing data entry? What about the coach that gets handed a team, and after seeing the athletes listed you are left wondering “How did that kid make this team?”

This blog is dedicated to all the coaches who give selflessly to their sport, to make their lives easier, and improve what to do with the information we as coaches spend hours gathering.

What Are The Problems With Player Evaluations?

  1. Athletes almost never received any formal feedback on their performance after an evaluation.
  2. Coaches spend countless hours doing data entry into spreadsheets to try and make sense of the data.
  3. Parents are often unsatisfied with the justification for the placement decision of their kids and very seldom receive information to help understand what their child needs to work on and develop.

It all comes down to information. A coach’s time is already spread so thin that they rarely have the time to reformat results from a spreadsheet. Let alone in a digestible “form” consumable for each athlete. Consequently, athletes and their parents often lack a clear understanding of the reasons WHY they didn’t secure a spot on the top team.

How Can Athlete Evaluation Software Help?

Technology today can solve all that. Having the evaluators gather information through sports apps like SkillShark, streamlines the entire process, allowing the athlete to receive their performance report before they even have their cleats off. With SkillShark, a coach can view evaluation results instantly, instead of doing days of data entry to calculate and track scores. Lastly, parents can clearly indicate what their child needs to work on to be considered for next year’s top team.

How Can I Ensure a Smooth Evaluation Process?

As coaches, we know the importance of planning out everything we do, and a good evaluation is no different. The key things every organization should know well in advance of an evaluation are:

1) Assigning player numbers

The three most common methods for assigning athletes a number so they can be easily identifiable to evaluators are:

  • Pre-assign numbers (e.g. 1-100) and have that athlete come prepared with that number pinned to a shirt or written on their leg. Using hockey tape to create numbers usually does not work well as the tape falls off, leaving no way to identify them. The slightest bit of rain can make any papers pinned to their shirt become fragile and tear off.
  • Hand out unique-sized bib/numbers upon arrival at the event. This requires a registration station where someone records the number/color of the bib provided and records that on the website.

2) Determine station timing

Determine how many drills will be executed on the day of evaluations. From there, decide how many evaluators will be needed. Ideally, you will need 1 evaluator per drill to ensure athletes are properly scored.

Make sure to understand how much time each evaluator will have to measure each athlete when the drill is being performed. You need to know how many stations will be required and if you have enough space. You might need to split up the evaluations into multiple sessions if you aren’t able to run them all at once.

3) Provide athlete feedback

Before player evaluations even take place, you need to plan ahead on how to provide detailed feedback to both parents and athletes. When athletes are told they didn’t make the team or get assigned to their position of choice, their first question is often “Why didn’t I make the cut, and what can I do to improve?” Sure, providing one-to-one feedback through a phone call or email might suffice for a few athletes, but what happens when dozens of athletes want detailed feedback?

Determine ahead of evaluations if you will go ahead with manual reports through phone and email, or if you will turn to a player evaluation software to provide reports. With player evaluation software like SkillShark, any evaluators with access to the app can score athletes right from their mobile device on the day of evaluations. As all scores are stored in a central repository, various player reports are instantly generated.

No need to spend hours manually entering data and configuring it in Excel to provide insightful reports. Evaluation software automatically generates reports for you. All you have to do is scroll through the list of provided reports, select one, and select which player(s) you would like to review in-depth or compare.

Types of Reports With Player Evaluation Software

Individual Reports

As mentioned above, players (and their parents) want detailed feedback. Players want to know what skills they were evaluated on, how they scored individually, and even how they compared to the team average.

This is where individual reports come in, providing athletes with a detailed snapshot of what skills were evaluated and how they performed.

Individual development report

Weighted Reports

Aside from individual reports, weighted reports can come in handy for making accurate team placement decisions. For example, if you are trying to choose a few “Top Hitters” for your softball team, weighted reports can come in handy.

For weighted reports, assign a designated weight to the “softball “hitting” metrics that are most essential to the position (weight must be added to 100%). Once the weighted report is run, it will indicate which players are best suited for the Top Hitter.

Weighted reports

Player Comparison Reports

If you have one or two spots left on the team to draft, and you are trying to decide which players will make the cut, you can compare multiple players against each other across a variety of skills using the player comparison report.

Player comparison

Player Progress Tracking

You can track individual player development over time (on objective skills) to show the athlete the results of all the extra effort they’ve put into their development within the sports team.

Individual player development report

Wrapping Up

Going through trial runs of player evaluations and visualizing how things will run the day of the event in advance will solve many of your stressful issues. The trend of all sports is definitely leaning towards increasing communication from the sports organization to the athletes/parents, so utilizing tools like SkillShark allows your organization to have data transparency and save 50+ hours per event on average.

Discover how much you can save with SkillShark

How many athletes do you have at a tryout/camp/event?
How many events do you do a year?
You could save hours this year with SkillShark.
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Athlete evaluation software

See SkillShark in action

We’ll happily answer your questions and walk you through the entire product to set you up for your first evaluation.

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FAQ — Improving Your Player Evaluations

Now, with technology like SkillShark, having more evaluators doesn’t mean increased data entry into spreadsheets. You can save a huge amount of time and have as many helpers as you like. You also have instant access to your player data once the evaluation is complete.

Aim to have one evaluator at each station to observe players and record scores.

This determines whether you’ll need to download the app ahead of time, sync before they leave the house, gather data and then sync data to the SkillShark website when they get home or near a cell tower. Knowing this will also help you understand how to handle the registration process or walk-ups.

This determines whether you’ll need to download the app ahead of time, sync before they leave the house, gather data and then sync data to the SkillShark website when they get home or near a cell tower. Knowing this will also help you understand how to handle the registration process or walk-ups.

The traditional evaluation process is riddled with problems when using pen/paper, so why not let SkillShark remove all those problems?

Players evaluations should be conducted more than once a year at your tryouts. Aim to add two additional player evaluations throughout the year.

Introduce a mid-season and end-of-year evaluation to comprehensively assess players’ skill set. Evaluating players on the same skills at various intervals throughout the year enables them to see their progression over time.

Neil Anderson

As an engineer from the UofS, I’ve spent 30 years focused on optimizing industrial processes like mines or manufacturing facilities… combine that with my love of playing or coaching competitive softball the majority of my life, that’s where I saw the need for SkillShark. I took over the U18 Softball program in 2016 and saw the evaluation process was archaic and the way gathered data that was being used to decide team placement could be vastly improved.