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Player Evaluations:
The First Step Towards Improving Basketball Skills

We want our players to develop and improve, but with good player evaluations, this won't happen. Every player needs work, in at least one area. Every player can adjust something so that he becomes a better player. But on which area should he focus? And what should be changed, specifically? That's what player evaluations are for - to help us improve the basketball skills of our players.

We evaluate players at the beginning of the season to discover what aspects of the game each player performs strongly, and which aspects require additional focus on improving. In other words, we use evaluations to guide our goal setting. Later in the pre-season, we'll use a second round of evaluations to help us determine if progress has been made.

Accurate player evaluations will point the way for the player, will illustrate areas of strengths and weaknesses. To do this effectively, we evaluate the players as they are performing drills and as they are scrimmaging, in the areas below. As they are playing, we observe and mark them in each skill area from 1 to 5.

Player Evaluations: Shooting

  • How good are his shot mechanics? Feet squared to the hoop? Elbow under the ball? Good follow through and backspin? Good arc on the shot?

  • Does he have a quick release? Or does he take a long time to set up?

  • Can he shoot off the dribble? Or is he just a set-shooter?

  • How consistently can he make the shot from 2-point range? i.e., what is his percentage? What about from the 3-point range?

  • How does he shoot under pressure?

Player Evaluations: Passing

  • How good is his ball control? Can he set up and pass quickly? Or does he have hands of rock?

  • How are his fundamentals? Does he have good form when using a chest pass? One-arm push pass? Overhead pass? Bounce pass? Does he snap the ball with power?

  • Does he hit the receiver properly? i.e., does his pass hit the receiver at chest level, a little ahead of him if he is moving? Or is the pass at the receivers feet, or hald a step behind him?

  • How does he pass under pressure?

Player Evaluations: Ball Handling

  • Can he go both ways? Can he use both his left and right hands to dribble with control?

  • Does he see the floor? Or does he constantly stare at the floor or at the ball and fail to see the open man?

  • Can he dribble with speed, while still maintaining control and still seeing the court?

  • Can he penetrate to the hoop? And finish?

  • How does he dribble under pressure?

Player Evaluations: Defensive Skills

  • Does he deny the ball when he is one pass away?

  • Does he position well on the ball? Does he step in, one hand in face, the other in the passing lane, close enough to contest the shot but far enough away to adjust t a drive?

  • Does he position well off the ball? Is he close enough to his man to pick him up if the ball is swung to him, but a few steps off so that he can help out others?

  • Does he help out and recover effectively?

  • Does he anticipate passes and ball movement so that he is able to steal the ball or recover quickly to stop the play?

Player Evaluations: Individual Strengths

  • Attitude

  • Cooperation and Team Work

  • Work Ethic and Hustle

  • Speed and Quickness

A Few Final Pointers

  • Have assistant coaches and managers help you - it will be easier for you to gather the information, just make sure everyone has the same idea of what constitutes a 1 and a 5 on the grading scale.

  • Be sure to indicate to the players that this is a diagnostic test - you are trying to discover how to help them perform better. Some players may feel threatened.

  • Understand that every player has bad days - if a player rates a 2 in something on the day you are observing, but you know from previous observation that he usually would rate a 4, then make allowances.

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