How To Assess A Coach

From conversations with many coaches over the duration of personal experience, an aspect that seems to be commonly lacking in the experience is the proper evaluation and feedback to the coach.

This at times, for many administrators, can be a rather difficult conversation to approach and facilitate. Which can seem quite at odds with the pursuit of a coach in the first place.

This is the first of a series of posts to explain this type of occurrence as the mystique and secrecy behind is not really necessary. Cricket is a tremendous builder of relationships that last beyond a lifetime. The pure amount of time involved will always enable connections to emerge and flourish. Of this we should be proud and grateful.

It has been suggested, that coaching a club below elite level could be defined as the following (with a slight dash of attempted humour):

  • Expectation = professional, hard working, accountable, 100% attendance
  • Payment = equivalent to part time rates for a convenience store operator
  • Judgement = by volunteer administrators, elected under duress, or in place because their children are playing

With a nod towards Peter Schwab, ex AFL coach at Hawthorn, in his role as AFL Director of Coaching, he wrote an article in 2013 about this theme from his AFL experience that opened with:

“In my experience, sometimes there isn’t an evaluation process for coaches, even at the elite AFL level. Or, if there is, it often hasn’t been made clear to the coach, particularly one in the final year of a contract.”

From the viewpoint of a coach or administrator this would be a known experience. Not that difficult to visualise quite a few heads instinctively nodding or temples being rubbed.

According to Schwab, the Key Performance Areas for a coach to be properly assessed by a club board, selection committee, leadership group or a combination of all, are as follows:

  • Vision – does the coach have a vision for the club and can they put people, values, objectives and strategies in place to achieve the vision.
  • Leadership – does the coach have an underlying coaching philosophy, management and leadership style which can unite all sections of the club in their belief and commitment. Can the coach get people to follow?
  • Technical Ability – can the coach implement a specific and credible game plan which players believe in and will adhere to, knowing it will ultimately bring success.
  • Passion – does the coach have the drive and energy to do the job and create the same energy and drive among the players and staff.
  • High Performance – does the coach have the capacity to create a high performance mindset throughout the club, encouraging the best standards approach from everyone.
  • Communication – can the coach communicate messages to players in all situations to achieve the outcomes planned? Can the coach also communicate effectively with all club personnel, sponsors, members and media?
  • Teaching Ability – can the coach educate, train and prepare the players and staff for the maximum effect in every game? Can they develop players and people? Can they teach?
  • Identify & Recruit Talent – can the coach identify, recruit and develop people as well as get the right people involved?

A much better process than a few refreshments around the clubrooms at the end of play where an emotional and foggy mind is not conducive to either party.

As Schwab concludes:

“In the end a club can determine how long it will wait for on field success, but it needs t make sure and needs to know why and who is responsible if success does not occur.

Believe it or not, it might not be the coach!”

More to come……

About Andrew Walton

Cricket exposure as a player, coach, fan, observer, analyst & tragic! Coached at Melbourne Cricket Club, Prahran Cricket Club. Premiership player and coach at South Yarra Cricket Club ~ Home of The Vincibles! Academy coach at Karnataka Institute of Cricket, Bangalore.
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