Goal Tracking and Journaling

Now available from Amazon.com in 2 different covers.

Start to create really important life lessons while helping you(player) or your child(parents/coaches) reach their potential.  This is a Journal…

There are 3 sections:

Section 1 includes Goal Setting.  Establish Goals for yourself or for your team and chose the target date. i.e. Full Year, Fall Season, Winter Training, offseason, etc.

The goal includes 4 questions –

  1. What is the Goal?
  2. Why or Purpose?
  3. How will you achieve the goal?
  4. When is the Target Date?

battleplan goal setting

Section 2 is a Daily Journal.

Use the Daily Journal to capture your thoughts, plans, dreams or whatever you want.  Keeping track of how a training session went whether with your team or outside training.

Keep track of what you did, how you felt, what you ate, or even the weather.

This is your journal and your place to write your thoughts and feelings, track performance and manage and measure your goals.

These will be helpful for doing a self-assessment at different times of the year or you can keep them and look back in them in future years for inspiration and motivation.

Pro Tip -Journal Topics

  • Injury
  • School Conflicts
  • Social Conflicts
  • Highlight Moments

Food, Water, and Sleep

battleplan daily journal

Section 3 is Where you assess how you are progressing against your targets.

When you combine written goals and daily journaling, you now have what you need to assess your progress.

Establish Checkpoints where you can return and report on your progress.  If you have achieved your goals, you can set new goals or new targets that you want to hit.  If you are not progressing, you can do a course correction to modify the goals or modify the plan to get there.

Pro Tip – Ideas on Timing

  • Preseason
  • After Fall Season
  • Mid-Winter
  • Pre – Spring Season
  • Year-end
  • Off-Season Training

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Two covers are available for purchase on amazon.

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Podcast 14 – Goal-Setting and Tracking – Realizing Potential and Developing Life Skills

https://anchor.fm/rfh8/embed

 

Episode 14 introduced goal setting as a way to build life skills while trying to reach potential as an athlete.

Episode Highlights:

What is your “Why”?  – establishing an understanding of why an athlete is playing the sport in the first place will provide an indication of what the player is looking to achieve.

Setting goals that are attainable and measurable.

Setting aspirational goals that are seemingly impossible.

Establishing both personal and team goals.

Breaking the season up and creating goals that correspond.

Journaling and keeping a log of what is going on.

Checkpoints and course correction.

 

These are just a few of the topics that are discussed in the Episode, nothing is ever scripted, rehearsed, or edited so it is a raw take on the topic.

Feel free to provide feedback and subscribe to the Podcast and follow the blog.

Youth Soccer – Player Evaluations. Communication is key.

As a Club Director and Coach, I find myself and fellow coaches to be at the time of year where player feedback in the form of evaluations is needed.  Feedback and evaluation are an important part of the development process but often very difficult to get right. The balance between training/development and competition/results puts the process under scrutiny from the start and communication has a direct impact on the outcome.

We are now close to half way through the seasonal year having completed the fall outdoor training and playing season and just over 1/3 of the way through winter training.  Providing an assessment of where each player is at this stage of the year has a lot of benefits.  There are several points of view about the timing and frequency of evaluations.  For me, I have found that the mid-year is a good time because enough time has passed and each player has a amassed a solid body of work in training and games.  There are arguments both for and against more frequent evaluations and the point of this is not to infer that our approach is the right one and that others are not, it is merely a statement to set the background.

There are multiple tools and templates available that have been created and widely used by clubs at all levels. I have leveraged on line systems, checklists, MS Word and MS Excel based documents, etc.  Nearly all of the systems, programs or templates provide very similar evaluation criteria including: technical, tactical, physical, mental and social.  While it is certainly not Rocket Science, it is also not as simple it would seem. There is often a breakdown between intent and interpretation, regardless of the guidance provided to the evaluators as well as the explanations provided to the parents about the purpose and intent of the evaluations.  I have not seen a tool or system that remediates that risk.

Purpose vs Interpretation

Number system – What does it mean? What is the standard of measure? Is it a Stack Rank? These are common and obvious questions. The purpose of the numbering system is to evaluate players on a numerical scale. 1 to 5 is typical.  In some cases, coaches interpret 1-5 in relation to where that player compares to his or her teammates.  Some may consider that 1-5 is based on where they should be based on their age developmentally, while others may consider it based on where the players should be at their age compared to the standard at the regional events they participate in, like leagues, tournaments, ODP, etc.

Stack rank – Many of the systems calculate the numbers and create a hierarchical ranking for the players based on how they were scored on the various Attributes. Even though the intent is for Clubs and Coaches to keep that information for their own internal use and not share, my experience has been that many parents get to that question almost immediately upon receiving the review. Further, parents also want to ask where their player ranks in relation to the rest of the team or specific individual players.  As a coach, it is common knowledge to not talk about other players when talking about one child’s evaluation and it is best practice to refrain from comparing performance, attitude, attendance or otherwise. It is just a natural question that is influenced by our current society.

Games vs. Training- At younger ages, and in particular in under 12, everything you read as well as what most clubs do in terms of player development, is focus on individual player development, technical skill acquisition and training over games. One would think that if the ratio of training sessions two games is 2 or 3 to 1, that player evaluation systems would give more credence to training than games, yet almost every evaluation that I’ve seen or used has a much greater emphasis on game performance. So, if the message to the families is to emphasize training, what benefit does a performance or competition-based evaluation really provide?

This brings me to my next point in regards to age specific curriculum – age specific evaluation.  A lot of these systems evaluate things like vision, field awareness, decision making, as well as physical attributes like speed, power, Etc. In reality, while that is all very important, it should also be given different priority at different ages.  The evaluation systems should be based on the age of the players and what is developmentally appropriate.

So, you can see the dilemma that most coaches have as well as clubs when it comes to evaluating players. The idea and the intent are to provide the parents and the players with some feedback and guidance on how they are progressing, what they should be working on, and provide a general overview of where that player is at that snapshot in time. And while most parents are anxious and eager to see them, I have found at least, that there is so much room for interpretation, and it seems that there is a lot of concern or defensiveness, as well as an interest in the justification by the coaches, for the scores that they provided. It is often a much more tense and anxious process than most people anticipated when they sought to evaluate players in the first place.  I have learned directly and from other coaches and administrators, that like everything else, clear communication and expectations are the cornerstone of an effective evaluation cycle.

Guidance for Club Directors

Be sure to communicate the intent to the coaches, and set some clear guidelines to ensure the evaluations are approached from the perspective of developmental priorities based on their current age.  The evaluations should support your methodology and curriculum but should be influenced by best practice guidelines on a national and worldwide standard.

Guidance for Coaches

Be clear about the intent, take direction from the club. If you have more than one team at that age group, be consistent across all teams. If you employ a staff at the age group level or have team-based staff, be sure to coordinate and collaborate with the other staff to ensure that everyone is consistent with the scoring system etc.  If and when you review the evaluations with the players, focus on the positive, point out the area of focus.  Be sure to encourage the parents and players to maintain regular attendance which demonstrates commitment and to train on their own, outside of the team activities. Avoid discussing other players and refrain from answering questions about comparisons with other players. Focus on that player only.

Guidance For parents

Seek to understand the intent. Use the evaluation as a tool to capture feedback and validation. Recognize that this is about player development and the purpose is meant to drive positive outcomes. Avoid the urge to challenge the evaluation but do have a healthy discussion. Avoid the questions about other players and minimize the comparisons with other parents about their and instead focus on your child.

Overall, it is a very important part of player development and the relationship between player and coach, player and parent and coach and parents.  Communication is key. If communicated properly, executed consistently and discussed openly, player evaluations can be a very helpful tool for everyone involved.

Feel free to comment and share feedback, and good luck with player evaluations.

We need to teach our players to Honor the Game

I recently participated in a pretty elite tournament in Maryland and left the weekend more disappointed in the environment surrounding the event than the games themselves.  The way some coaches treated the officials and the way some players acted towards the referees without consequence from their coaches was baffling.  Parents routinely yelled obscenities towards the referees all weekend.  I have to say that I was happy with the way the players that I coached responded and was (mostly) happy with their parents but overall I felt like it was an ugly weekend for youth soccer.  I recorded this synopsis on the way home, it is unscripted and a bit raw but it was the essence of what I was feeling about the disappointment of the weekend.