In the beginning of the season, when you've just started working with a group of players, it will be necessary to measure their
individual / combined strengths and weaknesses. Among other things, you'll need to know who is the fastest / slowest, which
player can control the ball on a sprint, who is afraid of contact with other players, who the day dreamers are, who doesn't like to
run, or who excels at everything they do.
- Aggressiveness: Not afraid of contact with others, not shy in 1:1 battles
- Speed: How each player compares to others on the team (below, at or above average)
- Stamina: Conditioning level meets or exceeds the rigorous demands of competition
- Ball Handling: Abilities at receiving, passing (short & long), dribbling (possession & sprint)
- Effort: Consistently shows grit and desire in all conditions
- Focus: Enjoys the game and concentrates on improving their skills, takes physical conditioning seriously
- Field Awareness - Ability to position for field advantage for offense & defensive situations
- Defensive Techniques: Knowledge of various defensive positions and how to work with others in a unit
- Offensive Techniques: Knowledge of various offensive positions and how to work with others in a unit
- Play Maker: Ability to succeed in several different positions, offense & defense, changes the game dynamic
- Teamwork: Ability to move the ball in a unit, selfless, give and go, makes the pass when there's an advantage
- Sportsmanship: Demonstrates respect for the game, opponents, teammates and referee staff by obeying the rules and
not attempting to gain an unfair advantage on the field.
Primary reasons for player assessment::
Practice Strategies: Every team is made up of players who are quite different from each other. Some have been playing
the game for several seasons (or years) while others may be just starting out and have no formal training on how to
handle the ball or work in a team environment. Some are just not coordinated yet and the younger ages have not
developed major motor skills.
One of the most daunting tasks when planning your practice is to make sure everyone can experience growth while
having fun playing the game. By completing the player assessment you will be able to see how the players stack up
against each other in both abilities and mental awareness on the field. Having this knowledge allows you to plan
activities that target the middle of the group. Once you've know the mid range zone you can tweak the overall plan or
specific drill (game) so that all players can be challenged in a way that they can have fun and be successful.
We often talk a lot about building skills on the ball as if it were an easy thing to do. It's easy to look at ourselves as adults
and then apply the same theory to the players...but we cannot. Youths in soccer must first learn to balance, to run, to
make their feet contact a ball and send it on a predictable course is very difficult! Youths in soccer need to develop
themselves psychologically enough to take chances, to risk making mistakes, to build their self esteem and confidence.
To be an effective coach, you need to know each players strengths and weaknesses. The skill assessment strategies
listed here are a good step in that direction.
Game Strategies: Games can be loads of fun for the kids, but they also can be filled with stress and feelings of
inadequacy. The biggest factors on how well a team competes in a match rests within the coach's ability to select
formations that work well with the skills of the team and by placing players in positions where they can be successful.
For example, you would not want to place a player into the defensive position if they're afraid of the contact, shy and won't
fight for the ball. The other team will simply drive through and score every time. Not that we really care about the score,
it's the player we need to focus on. It would be an understatement to say this player would not have a good time. In fact,
the players confidence and self esteem might be so negatively impacted that they would lose desire to put forth effort,
lose respect for the game, and most likely not want to return next season.
However, if you placed this same player into a midfield position, perhaps on the wing, they would have time to develop
their skills which will increase their confidence and aggressiveness on the ball. Combine strategic placement on the
game field with a finely tuned practice plan to help this player (and others) build their confidence and soon that player
might be able to work well in a defensive position.
Player Goal Setting: One way of motivating players to improve their skills / awareness is to involve both player and
parents in the overall assessment process. When the team unit of parent - coach - player sit down and decide on the
player goals together then the players are more likely to stay focused and be successful. See more on this on the "Player
Goal Setting" page.
A successful coach knows how to evaluate players abilities and use this information to form practice plans / game
strategies that allow each individual to improve their skills, increase self esteem and build confidence.
Assessing the skills and personalities of your players is such an important step towards being a winning coach and one
that is often overlooked. Be sure to read this area carefully and try your best to implement in the beginning of every season.