Monday, March 14, 2011

Evaluate and Plan

Posted by Lee Miller | Monday, March 14, 2011 | Category: , , |

My previous blog covered the initial steps of the off-season: RestRecover, and Reflect.

The next two steps are Evaluate and Plan.

After ample rest, players need to formally evaluate their strengths and weaknesses. This step is vital to success; yet rarely done.

Players need to clearly establish what they do well and what needs improvement.  This can only be done effectively by a comprehensiveevaluation by both player and coach.

Rate the following 15 traits:

1.    Ball handling (weak hand? variety of moves? maintain court vision?)
2.    Shooting (form? off the pass? off the dribble? range? FT’s?)
3.    Passing (understand angles? feed post? pass on the move?)
4.    Rebounding (box out consistently? go to the ball?)
5.    Defending (on ball? in post? through screens? team concepts? contest shots? don’t foul?)
6.    Strength & Power (finish with contact? knocked off ball screens? dunk?)
7.    Quickness & Reaction (explosive first step? first to the ball?)
8.    Agility & Movement Efficiency (effectively accelerate, decelerate & change directions?)
9.    Flexibility & Mobility (stiff hamstrings? low back? tight ankles?)
10.  Body Composition (need more muscle? have excess body fat?)
11.  Conditioning (great basketball shape? as effective in the 4th quarter as in the 1st?)
12. Basketball I.Q. (know how to play? quality decision making?)
13. Leadership (do teammates listen? do they follow? ‘Play Present’?)
14. Teammate (know & accept role on team? care about teammates?)
15. Work Ethic (1st in the gym, last to leave? give 100% all of the time?)
Rate each trait on a scale of 1 to 10. Players should write down what they believe; not what their parents or girlfriend thinks or what a scouting service says. Then players should have their coach rate each trait too. 

How do the results compare?  Any score that the player and coach agree on is probably accurate.  If they both believe ball handling is an “8”, then it probably is.  But what if the player thinks it is an “8” and the coach believes it is a “5”?  Is it possible the player thinks an aspect of their game is better than it actually is? Regardless, average out both scores and have a final rating for each trait.  Then list them in descending order: highest scores (strengths) are at the top and lowest scores (weaknesses) are at the bottom.  This ranking will help players prioritize what to work on this off-season (the theme of my next blog).

Once player and coach have filled out the evaluation, averaged the scores, and ranked the traits in descending order… it is time to plot the framework of an off-season training plan.

Before planning the off-season, let’s define it by dividing the year into 3 distinct phases:

Off-season: beginning the day after the last game and ending 8 weeks before the first practice.

Pre-season: beginning 8 weeks before the first practice and ending the day of the first practice.

In-season: beginning the day of the first practice and ending the day of the last game.

Players need to plan their spring and summer schedule and take a look at everything that will necessitate their time. Spring sport? Tutor? AAU? Vacations?  The more they know in advance, the better they can plan a viable schedule.

The initial goal of the off-season is to improve strength and power.  There is no such thing as being too strong!  When players ask me why strength is so important, I say:

“What do you want to be; the bug or the windshield?”

Quickness, agility and conditioning are important, but for the first part of the off-season, players need to focus on increasing their overall strength, address structural imbalances, and develop proper movement patterns. This is the foundation of the entire off-season program.

If you need a quality program to follow, this is an invaluable resource:

My next post will cover the third phase of the off-season: Execute. I will discuss how to prioritize strengths and weaknesses.  My thoughts may surprise you!

As always, feel free to email me directly if I can be of any assistance.

Work hard. Work smart.

Alan Stein

PS: A similar evaluation can also be done by coaches.  After all, the off-season isn’t just about players getting better… coaches need to constantly develop too! Possible traits for coach’s evaluation:
·         Practice plans
·         Game strategies & adjustments
·         Scouting reports
·         Pre-game routine
·         Motivational techniques
·         Teaching concepts
·         Relationships with players
·         Overall attitude
·         Leadership style

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