|Can you be better at evaluating players? The answer is a strong yes. In practice, however, the trend seems to be in the opposite direction. Coaches are doing worse at evaluating players, especially future players. This is substantiated by the mostly poor selections in recruiting, drafting and buying.
Coaches deal with players on a regular basis and should know them better than anyone else. They should know all their strong and weak points and as a result, should be able to determine their success or failure on the field. Right?
So why are coaches not better in evaluating present and future players? The problem appears to be in determining strong and weak points. The definition of strong and weak points is critical here. For example, coaches usually define strong and weak points in regard to execution of what they are required to do in execution of a particular strategy or tactic.
In other words, as for example in football, is the player capable of gaining good yardage, throwing the ball for a touchdown, kicking successful field goals; in baseball, hitting home runs, stealing bases, etc. Those with the best accomplishments receive the highest evaluations.
However, in order to score high (and even higher in future years) in gameplay strategy evaluations, the players must have the basic skills of running, cutting, jumping, catching, etc. well mastered. It is the execution of these skills that determines the effectiveness of the player’s performance. However, and this may be the crux of the problem, such basic skills are usually taken for granted and believed to be innate.
This is why coaches focus on accomplishments and past records, not on physical and technical abilities or potential for growth. Understand that effective basic skill execution means that the player is able to execute effective running, throwing, kicking, hitting and cutting actions, elude an opponent, be able to carry out an assignment, etc.. Instead of only looking at whether you can run a particular pattern, it is necessary to look at how well you run or cut in execution of the running pattern.
This is where the problem exists and why many selections are often erroneous. For example, you may be expert at running a specific pattern but ineffective when running different patterns. Or you may be proficient in executing a cut in one direction but very inefficient when executing a cut in the opposite direction.
The ability to run and cut well in order to execute a particular pattern is considered a very basic skill that must be learned; it is not innate. Without this ability you will never attain greatness in executing the coach’s tactics or strategy. When you are able to run well you will be able to more easily and quickly learn any pattern of running that is needed. If your running and cutting mechanics are poor, you will always have difficulty in executing a particular pattern or pass strategy.
The bottom line is that most coaches do not evaluate basic player skills. This is probably due to the fact that they have never been trained or educated in this area. Even University professors as a rule, do not keep abreast of or teach the latest in sports training or in the analysis of the basic skills. As a result most coaches are former players who bring with them their experiences during their playing years.
Experiences are of course, very valuable for use in coaching. But, because teams do not have experiences in evaluating a player's ability to execute the basic skills, they should bring in outside specialists who are capable of doing this. These individuals should also be better qualified to evaluate players prior to player selection and in the specialized strength training of players.
When teams, especially on the professional level, recognize the need for specialists who understand technique analysis and know how to fine-tune or correct technique and enhance it with specialized strength exercises, we will see much better play performance.
For more information on this topic see Build a Better Athlete,and The Revolutionary 1 x 20 RM Strength Training Program.
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