I recently received an email from Coach Mike Petrino at Central Catholic High School in Portland, Oregon asking about postseason evaluations. I am thankful that Coach Petrino asked because this has allowed me an opportunity to explore as well. I, like Coach Petrino, am always looking for ways to improve.
I think the most common thing we do as coaches at the end of the season is meet individually with our players. While I definitely can agree that meeting is important, it is even more critical that we use this time constructively towards improving our programs. It is a time to find the holes to plug to keep the ship afloat.
I have mentioned Tom Oswald previously in posts. I worked for Tom at Texas Lutheran and consider him one of my biggest mentors. Tom was a very organized and analytic coach. His postseason evaluations were not just with players, but with his coaching staff as well. He would ask questions that would lead the player (or coach, in my case) to discover, on their own, the areas that Tom felt that particular individual needed to work on. It was also an open forum for the player to evaluate the coaching staff as well.
In my case, I had never been in a situation like that as a coach. Tom knew what he wanted out of me, but wanted me to verbalize it myself. I never felt pressured into answering a certain way, but I always ended up saying the things Tom wanted me to improve upon. He also shared with me the responses that the players had when he asked them about me. It was a great learning opportunity for me to grow as a coach!
I also had the tremendous opportunity to work for Kevin Eastman, who is also a big mentor, during his time at Washington State. When he would meet with players after the season he wanted to make sure that the players were on the same page and headed in the same direction as the staff. He also wanted to see what the players thoughts were about the program in general and how they felt about each other. The following are things that he would ask of every player:
- What are the 3 most important things we stress on 1) Offense, 2) Defense, 3) Academics, 4) the type of players we want.
- Rank each player from best to worst in the areas of hardest worker, best leader, etc.
- What is good about the program? What is bad? What needs improvement?
- If we had an unlimited budget, what would you love to see in our program? Nothing is off limits.
If you want to quantify production, I don't think there is a better tool than Danny Miles' efficiency rating. In a recent phone conversation with Coach Miles, I asked him if he used the efficiency rating scores in his postseason evaluations. The answer was a resounding, "YES!" He said that often players would come to him after the season wanting to improve their rating in order to gain more minutes the following year. At that time, Coach Miles would break down the formula and show the player his deficiencies. In that same conversation, the player was shown how he can improve his overall rating within his game and playing to his individual strengths.
I think Coach Eastman's comment was probably the most important part of postseason evaluations: "The biggest thing I can tell you is that the coach has to be honest with the players but in a way that it is received and acted upon properly."
I would love to hear how other coaches evaluate their respective teams. If you have other thoughts and ideas on postseason evaluations, please comment.