Stretched between practice planning, game planning, teaching and spending time with our families it becomes essential for a quick turnaround time to grade the previous games film and provide immediate feedback to our players.
By Casey Miller
Cottonwood High School (UT)
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Coaches spend hours and hours of time each offseason doing installs, drills, footwork, conditioning, and many other countless activities with their players to prepare them for the season. These many activities are critical to the success of each and every player regardless of their position on the football field. When evaluating player performance in practices, scrimmages, or games, often players are only given grades based on a +/- system which more often than not, is mostly based on the result of the play, not based on more of the skills that coaches spend so much time working on with their players. Being able to give each player much more specific feedback on which things they are doing well, and more importantly the things they need to improve upon can give them the buy-in to focus on those skills during practice sessions the following week, which will lead to more focused players in practice. The number one thing that tends to be the driving force behind not having a more specific and detailed grading system is TIME.
Our grading system gives each player a score of 0 or 1 in 5 categories for each play. These scores are then turned into an overall grade for the play, an average score for each category for the entire game, as well as an overall grade for that player’s performance that week. Using an Excel spreadsheet, the coach grading that player just has to copy-paste the playlist from HUDL and start grading… the worksheet does the rest of the work for you. Since each position has slightly different things they focus on, each position has their own set of categories that get scored. For instance, a QB has both a pre-snap decision-making process and a post snap decision- making process for each play. He could do one well and not do the other one, so they need to be tracked separately. A running back may only have his read post snap, so giving him a grade for “pre-snap read” would be a waste of time. We feel as if we have created an objective way to grade all positions with great detail, give specific feedback to each player about their performance, and have tried to eliminate the often times result-based grading system that many coaches use. The 5 categories for each position in our grading system are:
- Post snap
- Head Placement
- Hand Usage
This is always the fun position… they are graded as OL on run plays, but WR on pass plays
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- The criteria Coach Miller uses to grade each of his players based on these five components
- An itemized schedule for each Coach’s responsibilities using this evaluation system
- How Coach Miller delegates the weekly workload with each of his staff members
- Plus, a downloadable template of this criteria format which can be manipulated based on your program’s needs
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The ability to stick to this schedule and sharing the workload allows us to get everything we feel necessary for us to self-evaluate, opponent-evaluate, and prepare for the following week while still giving coaches some time with their families over the weekend. Obviously, the first time trying to run the schedule doesn’t quite fit into the timeline, but with a practice-run or two, it can easily be done without occupying everyone’s entire weekend. We feel this system of evaluation of our players has helped our players and program become much more efficient.
Meet Coach Miller: Coach Miller has been coaching at the high school level for the past 16 seasons and has spent time on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball in both California and Utah. In 2015, he was the offensive coordinator of the state champion in the largest classification in the state of Utah. He is currently in his 1st season as the head coach at a program in the state of Utah and trying to completely rebuild it after the program has won only 1 game in the past 2 seasons.