Ten Ways to Destroy Your Team 
with Player Evaluations

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I have made a variety of serious mistakes with written evaluations. The results have been tragic, entertaining, sorrowful, and amusing. I list a few possible evaluation mistake strategies here. Maybe you can make some new and more innovative mistakes instead of the ones I've already enjoyed, or combine a couple of these tried and true evaluation process mistakes to create novel results that will provide you, your team manager, and your club president with some interesting experiences, depending on who fields the phone calls first.

  1. Make the level of detail too great. Build a beautiful and detailed set of tables in word processing format. The evaluation should be at least 8 pages long. Completing it in detail for each player should take at least an hour, and at least an hour or more to explain to the player and parent.

  2. Base large parts of the evaluation on lengthy skills testing. Completing this testing in an objective way over a comprehensive set of skills for just one group of players, like 5 or 6 kids, can take 3 or 4 training sessions. This should far exceeds the time available. Without dozens of volunteers with clipboards, only one or a few players are participating at any moment, so this particular activity prevents meaningful team training. If you prefer to use parents with clipboards, then you can introduce the suspicion of favoritism, as one player got a higher rating out of mom or dad than any other player did.

  3. Don't prepare the parents and players to receive the evaluation. You can generate more angry or unsettlingly hostile phone calls by writing an honest and detailed evaluation that spells out clearly flaws to be corrected, and then send it out cold without letting parents and players know, about 6 times in advance, what purpose the evaluation serves and how it should be used. Make sure it looks like a report card, not a player development plan. Unprepared parents will interpret the list of problems to be fixed as a detailed failure record that the coach is documenting prior to letting the player go from the team at the next tryout.

  4. Send out the evaluations at a bad time. As long as you don't prepare the parents to receive and to work with you on improvements noted in a written evaluation, you might as well enhance the effect and send out a written evaluation just before the state cup final or a major travel tournament to improve the team's chances of falling apart under pressure.

  5. Send out the evaluation as a list of player goals, but at the end of the year just before tryouts. This helps ensure that the players will have only time to worry about any weaknesses, not to correct them during the training year, and will help increase their anxiety and sense of hopelessness over tryouts.

  6. Deliver part of the evaluations late. Try to do some of the evaluations early and deliver them, and then let work and other issues prevent you from completing and delivering the rest until much later. This helps generate fear and suspicion.

  7. Rate players inconsistently. Try to start with one standard in mind, and then change your standard during the course of writing the evaluations. If you are able to send out some of the evaluations as soon as you complete them, you will be able to avoid correcting the early evaluations to make them consistent with the later ones.

  8. Bring up weaknesses discussed in confidence with the player earlier in front of the player and the team later. This ensures that the player will hate you and will help prevent the player from ever bother you again with trust and respect.

  9. Imply that tryouts are strongly linked to evaluation results. Why not make the tryout anxiety experience a year-long torture by connecting tryouts and evaluations with repeated evaluations.

  10. Use a lot of jargon and coach talk in your evaluation to help make it unclear what has to be corrected and how this could be accomplished. Avoid following up with the player and parents to prevent a workable training plan might correct playing problems from being created. If there is a corrective plan, be sure to avoid following up on the plan, so that the potential benefit of a written evaluation becomes just one more unfulfilled promise to the team and the player.