In every job you have, there is more than likely going to be an evaluation process. This is a critical element to learning from past experiences and hopefully growing, depending on your job, but always learning and becoming better. One of the keys to success is to not become stagnant. As soon as you do that, you are passed by your competition. This is true in almost every profession.
My question is, how should coaches evaluate their season? Is it simply wins and losses? Is it number of kids who go on to play at the next level? Is it statistical growth from the previous year?
My job previous to teaching was evaluated strictly on numbers. My entire purpose was to grow from the previous year. Lawyers are more than likely evaluated upon cases won and lost. Teachers are evaluated on classroom performance and curriculum development and instruction. CEO’s on growth, secretaries on performance, doctors on health improvements and the beat goes on. My point is that you can’t evaluate every job in the same way. I would even argue that you can’t evaluate high school football the same way you would college, and college shouldn’t be held to the same standards as pro football. The jobs are completely different, even though the game is the same.
So let’s narrow this down a bit, job specific here, this is a high school football team, now how do we evaluate our season?
Take 1… wins losses.
Take 2… statistical performance.
254 points for
267 points against
2184 yards passing
.594 completion percentage
11.56 yards per reception
1151 yards rushing
3.65 yards per rush
Take 3… growth (comparing this season to last season)
* means we did not improve
Lower points for*
More points against*
Lower passing yards*
Lower completion percentage*
Lower yards per reception*
More rushing yards
Lower yards per rush*
(only 1 statistical category listed did we improve upon)
The previous three takes, are perhaps better for college and pro teams to evaluate themselves upon. Don’t get me wrong, statistics and growth play a huge part in the development of a successful program. If you asked me at the beginning of the season each year, would you be happy if you had a better record and better stats than the previous season, of course I would be happy, but that doesn’t mean it was a successful season.
So how do you evaluate a high school football season?
It is simple, how many of your pre-season goals did you meet?
At the beginning of every season, the coaching staff and players should develop goals.
Every leadership and coaching book I have ever read stresses the importance of goals and having quality goals. Do not make winning the goal, according to Dean Smith, “making winning the goal can actually get in the way of winning.” He talks about sticking to a philosophy and having realistic expectations of the players.
When creating goals, it is important to set realistic, attainable goals. If you went 0 for 9 last year, going undefeated the next season is not a goal I would set. Rather, create goals that will lead to winning more games. What was the reason for going 0 and 9 last year? Improve upon that. I never like making winning a priority. I would rather the wins be a result of the philosophy and goals of the team and the staff. Take Nick Saban and his Alabama Crimson Tide, currently the epitome of a winning program. Nowhere in that locker room is it posted on the wall that they will win a National Championship the next year, they rather focus on playing by the principles of the program, and winning is a result of those principles. Read more about one of college’s greatest coaches and his thoughts of goals and motivation herehttp://www.ncsasports.org/blog/2013/01/02/nick-saban-power-motivation/.
I have to be honest, we didn’t have a successful season this year. It is not because of the numbers you saw earlier in this blog. I could deal with all those statistics if our goals were met. What is most disappointing is the fact that we didn’t have goals as a coaching staff to judge if our season was a success or not. We never took the time to sit down with each other and lay out the goals of the year. We asked the players to write their goals down, and talked to them about their goals, but we never created goals ourselves. I said earlier that winning shouldn’t be the goal, rather the result of meeting the goals, well in our case this year, losing was a direct result of not having goals. The blame is squarely on us for that.
Did you have a successful season? Were your goals met or exceeded? Did you learn anything about setting goals for the future? I would really love to hear from you!