The Power of Self-Evaluation – 3 Steps to Success
As a player, there is an instinctive habit to continually analyse performance both within a game and in training. This information when used effectively can have a dramatic impact on performance. Have you ever found that your performance has levelled off? Do you find yourself doing the same training session or workout over and over again? Or worse, are you unaware of how you are doing and if you are making progress towards your personal goals?
To improve your athletic performance, as well as getting yourself out of a training rut and to facilitate a more focused, purposeful training session or workout, it is extremely productive to take a good look at what you are doing. One of the best ways to accomplish this is through self-evaluation. This will include assessing specifically what you are doing and if you are taking the necessary steps to meet your performance goals.
Many players get caught up in the day to day specifics of putting in the required kilometres, minutes, kilograms, and repetitions forgetting about the big picture of “why” and where they’re heading and how they are going to get there. They often lose sight of their performance and personal goals and what needs to be done to reach them.
To understand where you are going, it is important to set personal and performance goals. It should come as no surprise that the first step in your self-evaluation is to identify, clarify and commit to your goals. What do you want to accomplish? What milestone do you want to achieve in the next 6-12 months? Take a moment to think about where you are going or what you are trying to accomplish as a player. Write it down and post it somewhere so you will see it every day. By seeing and reading this goal every day, will serve to motivate and direct you in your training activities.
While having an overarching goal to work towards, it is also important to set fitness goals in the short term (make sure they are not too ambitious) while having a set timetable with achievable numbers. Having something that you can measure and is more tangible, makes it easier for you to continually work towards your end goal. The overarching goal is generally something that can take longer to achieve and as such you will need to have a number of bite-size goals along the way. Making goals with the above criteria in mind will help you make progress in a timely manner, it will aid in identifying any appropriate interventions and will allow you to monitor progress over time.
The second step in self-evaluation is to analyse the fundamental qualities or characteristics of an AFL player (refer to Chapter 1: AFL Recruiting in all GWC resources). These can form the basis off an overarching approach to the qualities of what makes a good footballer and focus on the holistic all round footballer including technical, tactical, physical and psychological characteristics.
To maximise the benefits of step two in the self-evaluation process, it is important to narrow down your focus to the position you play on the football field. Analyse the characteristics needed to produce a consistent quality performance in this position. To assist you in the process, think of an AFL player who sets the benchmark for the position you want to play and who you model yourself on. Create a list of the key psychological, technical, tactical and physical attributes needed to perform well in this position. It is reasonable to think that once you have completed your analysis, you have identified 10 to 15 characteristics needed to perform at a high level in the position you play. For example kicking, strength, speed, endurance etc.
Once you have a clear profile of key performance areas needed for the position you play, the third step in the self-evaluation process is to analyse yourself against the characteristics outlined in step two. The easiest way to do this is to rank yourself on each of these skills on a scale from one (1) to five (5). You can use the key performance indicators in Chapter 1 as a guideline. One (1) being low and five (5) being high.
This will allow you to evaluate how well you are doing and identify the attributes you need to improve in your performance to reach your overall goal. It is important to look at the evaluation based on your honest assessment of where you are today. It is also beneficial to get input from a training partner or peer that has played and trained with you in order to get a different perspective. This can often be very powerful feedback as your evaluation of key aspects of your performance may not always be what other people see. This self-rating and peer rating can give you a sense of your strengths and weaknesses, and areas you need to consolidate and focus on to improve to reach your overall goals.
After finishing this self-assessment, you’ll have a list of attributes that you feel are important in achieving your performance goals, as well as a self-ranking for each of the attributes. Now you can use this information to affect your performance and goal attainment. Another benefit of going through this process is that it will increase your awareness of key aspects of performance, which, by itself, will have an impact on your day to day training and performance.
Those areas that you have identified as “weaknesses” need to be decisively addressed in your training. While there are more immediate rewards for focusing on strengths in training, both intrinsically and extrinsically, gratification will come down the road by addressing the areas for improvement today.
Another key aspect in the self-evaluation process is to seek feedback around performance and your self-rating from your coach. Often a coach can provide information and an analysis that may be different to your self-evaluation. They may also agree with your self-evaluation and can provide feedback on areas that you need to focus on to improve your performance in key areas that will help you achieve your overall goals. The coach-player relationship is so much stronger when goals and targets are shared and agreed in this way.
The self-evaluation process is a powerful tool to enhance a player’s performance. It presents itself as a structured way to break down key components of performance in order to target areas for improvement, but also to enhance areas of strength. It gives a player ownership of their own performance and training, and allows them to play an active role in their development as a player.
- Set personal and performance goals to understand where you are going.
- First step of self-evaluation is to identify, clarify and commit to your goals.
- Once you have identified your goals, write it down and post it somewhere, so you will see it every day. This will serve as motivation in everything that you do.
- To complement your overarching goal, establish some bite-size goals that can be measured and tangible, assisting you in reaching your overall end goal. This approach will aid in identifying any appropriate interventions and will allow you to monitor progress over time.
- Analyse the fundamental qualities or characteristics of an AFL player who plays your position that you can model yourself on. These can form the basis off an overarching approach to the qualities of what makes a good footballer and focus on the holistic all round footballer including technical, tactical, physical and psychological characteristics.
- Narrow down your focus to the position you play on the football field.
- Create a list of the key psychological, technical, tactical and physical attributes needed to perform well in this position.
- Analyse yourself against the characteristics you have identified with your benchmark player.
- Start working on your deficiencies at training, as well as continue consolidating your strengths (find that balance)
- Seek feedback around performance and your self-rating from your coach.