Last Spring Training, I did extensive research with Pittsburgh Pirates minor league players to understand more about how they evaluated themselves in a number of areas of character. I first asked players to rate themselves on character traits like relentlessness, integrity, passion, energy, etc. Next, I asked their coaches to rate them on the same traits. What I found was not surprising, but was a nice confirmation of what we suspected…that players rated themselves higher than their coaches would. I listed four reasons for inaccurate self-evaluation and thought this would make for an interesting topic for today’s post.
The four reasons players are poor self-evaluators are:
- Lack of experience.
- They rate their intentions rather than their actions.
- They are afraid to admit weakness so they project false confidence.
- They don’t take their evaluation process seriously.
Lack of Experience
Many younger players may fall into the category of poor self-evaluators because they don’t have enough experience yet on or off the field to know how to rate themselves. Ratings on skills are more about the results achieved than on the learning and progress that has taken place. And there is no criteria to rate themselves on intangibles that have always simply been words on posters to them in the past. Young players who lack experience need to be taught how to properly evaluate themselves.
Intentions vs. Actions
Players that rated themselves based on intentions rather than actions need to start developing greater awareness of when they are truly demonstrating proper execution and good character and when they are not. I have found that this is especially true with respect to character. The majority of players WANT to have good character and can make improvements in the way they carry themselves simply by tracking their behavior in the same way they would measure success in throwing first-pitch strikes or moving runners over with situational hitting.
Players who are afraid to admit weakness need to learn that there is more strength in admitting weakness than in projecting perfection. It is important to reinforce honest appraisal of work as well as commitment to the learning process to minimize the possibility of fearful ratings from players. A first step toward progress in this area could be simply asking the player to re-evaluate his scores and challenge himself to be tougher in his ratings so he can identify important areas for growth.
Players who don’t put enough thought into their self evaluations need to take their baseball more seriously. They need to spend more time evaluating the meaning of their preparation and performances. They should not under-estimate the valuable learning opportunities they have in front of them or the quality of the competition that awaits them at higher levels. The evaluation and review process should be emphasized so these players don’t just value working hard and playing the game.
I will be releasing more results of my research on self-evaluation in the future, but you are welcome to ask specific questions in the comments section or by emailing me directly if self-evaluation has been a challenge for you and/or your players.
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Geoff Miller’s book, Intangibles: Big-League Stories and Strategies for Winning the Mental Game — in Baseball and in Life, will be released in August, 2012. For more information and free sample chapters, please visit:
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