By: Wade Gilbert
Originally Published in: Coaching Better Every Season
Provided by: Human Kinetics
Departing senior athletes are an extremely valuable source of evaluation information. Because of the amount of time spent in the program and with the coaches, these athletes have the best vantage point for providing feedback on the overall quality of the program experience. Furthermore, they may give the most honest and open evaluation because they no longer have any concern for how their feedback might affect their position on the team. The list of evaluation questions for departing seniors in high school or college sport settings created by Michael and Ralph Sabock provides a good template for creating your own athlete feedback form (Click here for the Senior's End-of-Season Evaluation Form - Figure 10.5).
Athlete-Centered Program Climate Evaluation
Creating an athlete-centered motivational climate is an effective way to build trust and quality coach-athlete relationships. Beswick26 has created a two-point rating scale that coaches can use to self-evaluate how well they believe they were able to create an inspiring and engaging athlete-centered environment (Click here for the Program Climate Rating Scale - Figure 10.6). Although designed for use by coaches, assistant coaches and perhaps other members of a program support staff such as equipment and facilities managers or administrators could complete the self-evaluation. Collectively, this feedback will provide a vivid portrait of how well the program staff is able to create and nurture the right type of learning and performance environment for the athletes.
Team Cohesion Evaluation
Another way to measure the quality of the program climate is by assessing how well athletes and coaches support each other. Often referred to as social cohesion, this ingredient is important for building programs of excellence. Athletes and teams will never reach their performance potential if they feel unsupported or, even worse, feel as if they can't trust teammates or coaches. The social cohesion checklist created by Beswick26 is a practical tool for self-assessing the quality of athlete and team relationships, team trust, and overall togetherness (Click here for the Social Cohesion Evaluation Form - Figure 10.7).
Emotional Intelligence Evaluation
The ability to recognize and control emotions and respond effectively to the emotions of others is an important skill for both coaches and athletes. Widely referred to as emotional intelligence, this ability can be improved with practice and has been shown to have a positive effect on performance across a wide range of settings including sport. For example, a study with Olympic-level athletes showed that an athlete's ability to read and use emotions had a direct connection to his or her performance at the Olympic Games."
Numerous tools have been created for measuring emotional intelligence, but the most popular ones can take 40 minutes to complete and are expensive to purchase. A practical alternative for coaches is a quick 16-question emotional intelligence tool (Click here for Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire for Coaches and Athletes - Figure 10.8). This evaluation tool was adapted from the Wong and Law Emotional Intelligence Scale (WLEIS).
A five-point response scale is used, and a higher score suggests a higher level of emotional intelligence. The purpose of this tool is to provide coaches with a general sense of how well their athletes or members of their coaching or support staff, including themselves, are able to control emotions and connect with other people in the sport program. Self-awareness and control of emotions are important skills for building an environment of open communication and trust.