Thursdays mark Day 4 of WCS basketball camp each week. Thursdays are also Cookie Day and Goal Setting Day, where the campers eat cookies while marking a checklist of what they need to work on. It also meant two days ago that I did the coach's evaluations of campers with the assistance of my camp assistants, Tyra and Lizeth. If you do it right, it takes some time. Below, from June 21, 2007, is an evaluation of the evaluation process we use.
We are down to the last day of basketball camps. Tomorrow is Day 15, Sessions 24 and 25: the seventy-five hours have flown! Both morning and afternoon groups will have closing ceremonies. The little ones in the AM have watermelon and go down the Slip-N-Slide set up outside. The older campers settle for watermelon only. As coaches, we tell the kids how much fun it has been and how we were blessed to have worked with them. This week was Shooting Camp where we focused on what most players consider the best part of the game. On the final day, we give each camper an evaluation of the aspects of their shooting technique. In the morning, the evaluation form is very elementary. We make several comments about areas of potential improvement along with a little note from the coach. I have co-coaches, Devin in the morning and Sonja in the afternoon. Both fill out about half the evaluations and I do the remainder. Since we might have campers on multiple occasions, I think it's best they get more than one point of view. Devin was on my team at least six times as a camper so she probably has my summary memorized! She did an amazing job in putting in words what will help the girls (THE HUSKERS!) maximize their shooting talent. The evaluations for the older players are much more detailed. They include a checklist of about forty criterion coaches look at when evaluating shooting technique. The rating system is as follows:
EXCELLENT GOOD FAIR POOR
I advised Sonja to be generous with the excellents and goods and to be sparing with the fairs and poors. Some categories we rated were based on little observation. A girl on our team missed two days when we worked on some of these movable parts. My rule is be positive if at all possible and temper honesty with kindness. In other camps at other places, I've known coaches who were brutal in their remarks to the kids, usually a youngster who was not the most fun to work with. I've seen the flip side as well. A mother was ecstatic when her child came home with a glowing evaluation from camp, making him out to be the next Magic Johnson. What a shock when the boy got cut from his team in the fall! The evaluation was part of her argument concerning the perceived unfair treatment of her son. How could a young man with so much talent not be good enough for a middle school squad? Kids evaluate shooting by what is often the poorest standard, that being whether the ball goes in the basket. We use video tape which should make flaws in form apparent but some youngsters dissociate themselves from the image on the screen and they can't take the video tape with them. So, the blue hard-stock paper becomes the written synopsis of a teen's or pre-teen's shooting abilities.
I like James 2:13 for a number of reasons, not the least of which is its application to coaching and teaching:"Mercy triumphs over judgment!"
We can evaluate without degrading. We can critique without harshness. We can teach without fostering anger. My evaluation sheets tomorrow are top-heavy with E's and G's. That doesn't mean the next Larry Bird or Candace Parker was in the gym this week- I'm pretty sure I missed them if they were. But, alot of good kids did come by my basket. I hope they left better equipped as a shooter, and as a person, than when they arrived.
Applicable quote of the day:
"A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment."
John Wooden/ UCLA basketball coach
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org