COACHES CORNER: Why is implementing Performance Profiling an important coaching task

In more recent times, Performance Profiling has become a new tool in the hockey coach’s armory. Performance Profiling has four major purposes:

  • To aid in identifying an appropriate intervention
  • To maximize the athlete’s motivation and adherence to the program
  • To monitor any changes over time
  • Establish performance  goals (individual/team), monitoring and evaluation

The use of Performance Profiles is extremely valuable to implement at the pre or early part of the season to achieve the above purposes.

Factors that influence Performance

The factors that can influence performance are:

  • Lifestyle and support
  • Movement Skills
  • Physical Preparation
  • Psychological Behaviour
  • Technical & Tactical skills

Process

Step 1: Coach outlines the Performance Profiling Process

The first step is for the coach to introduce to the athlete the idea of Performance Profiling and how it can help to direct training in areas of specific need. This process can be aided by a sense of mutual trust, and it should be made clear that any information gained about the athlete will remain strictly confidential. Coaches should stress that there are no right or wrong answers involved in the process, but that honest appraisal will facilitate a more productive outcome. The coach needs to explain that the process will focus on the player’s current feelings regarding their preparation for the competitive season.

Step 2: Player identifies the characteristics of an elite athlete in his/her sport/event

The player becomes actively involved in this step of the process, and the following question should be directed to the player:

What in your opinion are the fundamental playing qualities and player characteristics (psychological/emotional) of an elite or good player in hockey”?

Spend five to ten minutes listing the qualities or characteristics that the player feels are important. If the player finds this difficult, the coach can use predetermined qualities and characteristics, but it is for the player to decide on what qualities/characteristics are chosen. The coach should try to get the athlete to list the key psychological factors, but the same process can be applied to technical skills (e.g., good peripheral skills, understanding space on the hockey field) or physical attributes, such as strength, speed, agility, balance etc.

The coach should determine the data to be collected according to the playing level and age of players. You can locate examples of different Performance Profiles through internet searches.

One suggestion is http://www.tacklesport.com/store/performance-profiler/

Step 3: Player rates each in terms of a level of importance and self-assessment

The next step is for the player  to rate each of the identified characteristics

  • On a scale of zero (not at all important) to 10 (extremely important), the player rates the perceived importance of each characteristic for an elite or good performer in hockey.
  • The player uses the same zero to 10 scale to rate their current perception of themselves in relation to an ideal state of 10.
  • A calculation is then carried out to determine the ‘Discrepancy’ value. The higher discrepancies indicate areas that may need to be addressed through training or other intervention.

Step 4: Player and Coach analyze the results and agree to ways of improving performance

The table below provides an example of these calculations for part of a player’s performance profile.

For this particular player refocusing after errors and concentration are key concerns that could be addressed. The coach and player can then collectively set measureable goals for player improvement

Reassessment should always relate to the same characteristics identified in the initial profiling process and be conducted every four to eight weeks during the season.

Benefits

Performance Profiling can help coaches develop a better understanding of your players by:

  • Highlighting perceived strengths and weaknesses
  • Clarifying the player’s and coach’s vision of the key characteristics of elite or expected performance, and highlighting any differences
  • Highlighting discrepancies between the player’s and coach’s assessment of performance
  • Providing a means of monitoring progress

Although the above profiling is aimed at individual players by accumulating the results of all players and analyzing results team performance goals for the season can be determined.

Source; adapted Brianmac

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