This is an excerpt from Winning Basketball Fundamentals by Lee Rose.
Objective evaluation of individual and team performance can be a challenge for both players and coaches. Each of us is predisposed to favor certain styles and facets of play. And athletes have the additional bias of their own ego involvement, which makes it difficult for them to fairly assess how their game measures up. Therefore, most coaches develop or use available performance assessment tools to gauge more accurately how their individual athletes and team are playing.
In my case, this tool is called the performance rating system (or PRS). The PRS provides the most comprehensive and factual analysis in basketball. It includes individual statistics in five performance categories:
Reasons Behind the Performance Rating System
Simply put, the PRS is an objective evaluation system that removes guesswork when a coach evaluates and selects players. I created it after realizing that basketball players compete for playing time every practice, so accurate and fair statistics should be kept during practices as well as in games to determine a player’s production.
The PRS details exactly what a player has accomplished or failed to accomplish during a game or practice. In essence, a number value is assigned for each statistic and then converted and posted on a position-specific depth chart after each game or practice. Following are three key reasons behind my creation of the PRS.
1. It stresses the importance of individual production. On the whole, this procedure helps players understand the importance and significance of their individual production. For instance, a player who depends solely on scoring will soon find that as a one-dimensional player (shooting), he will have a hard time grading well in this system. Therefore, all players must work on their total game every day to improve.
2. It promotes learning. Second, the process of having all players contribute their input and vote on their value preference for each statistic is a learning procedure in itself. To present the PRS to a team, a coach must examine each statistic and come up with unbiased values. For instance, which is more important: a field goal or a pass that leads to the field goal? Which is harder to get: an offensive rebound or a defensive rebound? What is the value of a steal, a blocked shot, or taking a charge? How do you take away points for violations such as over and back, a technical foul, or basket interference?
3. It emphasizes objectivity. Third, and most important, having a fair evaluation system goes a long way in helping build and maintain team chemistry. Nothing destroys a team quicker than team members’ sensing that favoritism plays a key part in awarding playing time. Without an objective evaluation system, a coach doesn’t stand a chance of measuring a player’s realistic value to the team.
Five people who watch the same game will likely give five different responses when you ask them detailed questions about the performance of any player on the court. Most people can identify the high scorers during the game, but when you ask, “What did you think of his defense, his ability to play the passing lanes, his rebounding technique, his use of screens, and his rotation out of double teams?” you’d get varied opinions. Everyone has a unique personal perspective that includes subjective preferences and selective attention. So, your analysis might lead you to favor player A, whereas I might be more impressed by player B.
Clearly, a legitimate method of analyzing basketball players’ performance benefits everyone. Whether used to determine who makes the cut, who starts, or who is contributing the most to winning games, the assessment system used should be nonjudgmental, accurate, reliable, and data based.
The PRS is an objective evaluation system that removes guesswork when a coach evaluates and selects players to overcome partiality. This objective evaluation system aids the coach not only in measuring the players’ contributions to the team but also in presenting the information to the players.
As players and coaches work through converting box score statistics into a value conversion table, players begin to realize how statistics can take on a different meaning. Players, coaches, parents, friends, and sports writers all know scoring statistics, but understanding the PRS allows players to increase their knowledge of other important statistical measures. There is no single best solution for assigning values, and players and coaches will determine values from entirely different perspectives.
Read more from Winning Basketball Fundamentals by Lee Rose.