One of the challenges to working with athletes is that they get overwhelmed with the concept of improving their sport performance. Often times, when I ask athletes what they want to improve on their answers are vague and unspecific like, “I want to be a better basketball player,” or “I want to swim faster.” Instinctively, athletes know there is a constant need for improvement, but the process and approach to improvement can make a big difference.
One of the techniques from sport psychology I use to track performance is a system called performance profiling. This is a tool that can be used by coaches and athletes to help systematically identify areas of improvement for an individual athlete or a team. Similar to goal setting, performance profiling helps athletes stay motivated and focused on quantifiable performance improvements.
Step 1: Athlete identifies key characteristics necessary to achieving an elite level performance. For example, a soccer player might identify the following characteristics:
Execution of the game plan
Step 2: Once the athlete has identified the key characteristics of an elite level performance in their sport, they give each characteristic a perceived level of importance based on a score from zero (meaning not important at all) to 10 (meaning critical or must-have in order to achieve an elite level performance).
Ball Control (10)
Execution of the game plan (9)
Step 3: The athlete then does a self-assessment of their current skills based on a scale of zero to the top score of their perceived level of importance.
Ball Control (6)
Execution of the game plan (7)
Step 4: Calculate the performance profile score by using the following equation. (10 - athletes self-assessment) x perceived level of importance score.
Speed (10-7) x 9 = 27
Ball Control (10-6) x 10 = 40
Execution of the game plan (10-7) x9 = 27
Commitment (10-8) x 10= 20
Leadership (10-4) x 7 = 42
Step 5: Reorganize your list starting with the highest score on top and lowest score at the bottom.
Ball control (40)
Execution of the game plan (27)
The areas at the top of the list are the areas that need to more attention or work. Once you know what your priorities are, you can then get to work formulating a goal setting program to help to achieve the weaker parts of
For a copy of a performance profile worksheet, email the author.
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