When I say “measuring performance” I’m talking about creating a method that gives players a clear idea of how they’re doing – before you hand out the lineup. Find out how doing so makes tryouts & practices better!
Trust me, players and parents have a method for evaluating performance – it’s called the lineup. If you’re on it you’re good, if not then you’re not. If you’re on it near the top then you’re better, and near the bottom, well you’re barely hanging on. While this might sound like an exaggeration, it’s pretty close to the truth.
Games act as their own skill-evaluation tool by separating starters from non-starters, good players from not-so-good players, and ultimately winners from losers. And while we’re ultimately trying out and practicing to have the game evaluate how good we are, we rarely evaluate our players on a consistent basis. Sure, we kind of keep an ongoing evaluation in our mind – which players we’re excited about, which ones the verdict’s still out on and which ones we aren’t sure what we’re going to do with. But that’s in OUR minds and certainly nothing that anyone can use to identify areas that need improvement, or recognize when improvement has occurred.
Evaluation charts don’t have to be complicated; in fact, the simpler they are the better. But, the benefit of using them can be HUGE! Here’s a look at how evaluation tools can help us either during Tryouts or Practice:
- They’re Objective – since all coaches use the same rating system it takes the “but I just like her” factor out of it.
- They’re Specific – being able to see that a certain hitter scores lower on the outside pitch but high on the inside and middle pitch is far more specific than “she’s weak on the outside pitch”.
- They Help Multiple Coaches Rate Players – having lots of different coaches evaluate players is helpful, as long as they’re all evaluating the same way – that’s what evaluation forms help you do.
- Show Areas to Improve – because they are specific, evaluation forms can help players see both their strengths as well as their areas needing improvement.
- Show Over Time Where Improvement has Happened – if you use these evaluation tools on a consistent basis and hold onto them, you’re able to show players how they’ve improved over time.
The form in this article is one of the 11 different Evaluation Forms we included with our eClinic – Everything You Need to Know About Holding a Great Tryout!
This form is designed to help coaches evaluate a player’s ability to hit the ball off a Batting T. It has a space for every player’s name, and then 3 columns that allow you to rate the player’s ability to hit an Inside Pitch (by placing the T at the Inside Pitch location), a Center or Middle Pitch as well as an Outside Pitch.
Not only can you rate how the hitter handles these 3 different locations, but it also allows you to rate the quality of each swing using a 6 for Excellent, 3 for Average and 0 for a Missed Ball. There are 3 squares for each pitch location which means after 9 swings you should have a much more accurate evaluation of each player’s ability to hit the ball off the T.
Now, do this for all the different skills you’ll cover in a Practice or a Tryout and you’ll start to see on paper, which players are strong at which skills. You’ll also have a clear story on what each player needs to work on in practice. And, if your decisions are every challenged, you’ve got a record of why you made the decisions you made.
Remember that these evaluation tools can also help players see the progress they make over the course of a month or a season – which is super important for us to remember!
Take this concept of skill evaluation and start creating ways to measure Pitching, Catching, Infield, Outfield, Hitting, Slapping, Bunting and Teammateness. Or, let us do it all for you in our eClinic: