A Rubric for Evaluating Coaches

March 24, 2019

Before they develop their first practice plan, coaches should know exactly what they are expected to achieve. Athletic directors need to make it clear to their coaches how they will be evaluated. 

Philip J. Willenbrock, EdD, Athletic Director at the Evergreen Campus, a high school within Highline Public Schools near Seattle, Wash., wrote about a system that he developed for his coaches in an article for Athletic Management.

Dr. Willenbrock noted that many school districts have adopted rubrics to serve as a checklist for defining good classroom instruction, and he took the same approach with coaching his evaluations.  He goes over this rubric with his coaches before the start of their season.

While coaches do need sport-specific knowledge to be effective, Dr. Willenbrock believes leadership qualities remain the most critical factor in determining long-term program success. Thus, his rubric focuses more on leadership than the athletic performance of the team.  He evaluates coaches in four primary areas: 1) Team Cohesion; 2) Creating a Culture; 3) Player Development; and 4) Role Modeling. 

Below is a quick look at the criteria that Dr. Willenbrock uses evaluate coaches on for each of the four Coaching Essentials.

Team Cohesion
Clear direction
Rules and policies
Explicit authority
Stability
Appropriate traditions
Communication

Creating a Culture
Culture of motivation
Culture of respect
Culture of responsibility
Culture of safety

Player Development
Progressive teaching
Fulfilling potential
Support systems
Feedback
Rewards

Role Modeling
Sportsmanship
Ethics
Cultural competency
Authenticity
Positive nature
Working with assistants

Dr. Willenbrock details the specific of each area in the Athletic Management article.

Dr. Willenbrock points out that not only will your coaches appreciate the clarity of this process, but the end-of-the-season evaluation will be a true developmental tool for the coach and the entire athletic program.

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