The process of critically evaluating your own talent level is an often overlooked, yet highly beneficial endeavor. In a sports world filled with chest pounding and roof raising, we often dismiss the need for self evaluation, and replace it with self promotion. In reality, very few young athletes can boast of a flawless repertoire of skills. Everyone could benefit from putting time in on the practice floor, from four year starter, to full time bench warmer. The process of improving your game should always begin with an honest measure of your ability. From the evaluation, a potent plan of attack can be developed that will turn weakness into strength. IAS has unidentified a few different avenues to explore when conducting an honest measure of your ability.
Self Evaluation It is a great idea to start off by conducting a self assessment based purely on your own experiences and opinions. After all, you know your own game better than the majority of the people around you. Maybe you have a difficult time finishing with your left hand but you keep it your little secret by only using your right during practice and games. It is your job to recognize this weakness and work to correct it. Make a list of the strengths but also note the areas of your game that need improving. Remember to also include non skill related facets of the game such as leadership, communication, and hustle. Don’t hesitate to be overly critical as it will only help in the long run. Coach Another resource to utilize is your current coach, who can bring additional insight into the ground work that you have already laid. They have most likely achieved their position based on experience and a healthy knowledge of basketball. As a result, they bring a different perspective to the discussion. Make sure that you preface the conversation by asking for complete honesty, as even coaches can have a tendency to be gentle with their players. Don’t be discouraged by any constructive criticism that you may receive. Instead, view it as an opportunity to improve. Players Another great avenue to explore is players who you regularly compete against. Seek out your teammates or the point guard from the rival school. They may provide certain insights that only result from being on the same court. Your backup point guard might inform you that you always go left after you pump fake, making it easier to defend. Teammates are particularly adept at pointing out tendencies in your game because of the amount of time spent practicing together. Stats Statistics are another resources that can be beneficial as you evaluate your skills. One benefit of looking at your stat line is that it tells a story on how you are performing specifically in game scenarios. Maybe you have three point shooting listed as one of your strengths under your self evaluation, but the stat line reveals you are only shooting 29%. This might suggest that you need to practice shooting contested shots, or at game speed. There is a big difference between being good at a particular skill when you are all alone in the gym, and during a game. A true competitor doesn’t settle for being a great practice player. Always keep in mind that the box score never tells the whole story, but only offers a glimpse of your ability. You probably won’t be averaging 20 points and 10 boards with two division one centers on your team, but that doesn’t mean you don’t possess the potential to play at the next level. Maybe you play on a run and gun squad that averages 90 ppg per game. Just because you get 16 of those doesn’t mean you are ready for prime time. Always remember to weigh your stat line against the other resources you have consulted. When your evaluations are complete, compile the information into a comprehensive summary that illustrates your strengths and weaknesses. Once you have this information at your disposal, you are now prepared to develop a plan of attack to improve the weaker aspects of your game. Although some are blessed with incredible athletic ability and talent, the fact remains that players are made and not born. Don’t be afraid humble yourself enough to conduct an honest assessment of your ability so that you can access the full potential of your abilities.