Performance Profiling

Performance profiling is a form of assessment that can be employed to discover a player’s perceived weaknesses. The process can be employed to evaluate and monitor any aspects that contribute to a player’s performance, including physical, psychological, technical and sociological factors. The process has its three main purposes;

  • It aids in identifying an appropriate training programme
  • It helps to maximise the participant’s motivation and adherence to the program
  • It can help monitor any changes that occur over a given period of time

Performance profiles are documents that are created to highlight what a player perceives as their weakness. The player(s) should be introduced to the idea through a discussion and an explanation of the reasoning and thought behind it. They should also be made aware that this is for their own benefit and that no one else expect the allocated personnel will see the form. (These personnel should be outlined before the assessment is completed). The player must then be completely honest with themselves and the coach when completing the form.

The first step is to devise a list of desired attributes related to the area the coach would like to assess. This list can be created through a brain storming session between coach and player or simply provided to the player by the coach. Although, if it is obtained through a brain storming session the coach can begin to visualize the way their players minds work and also the player feels more involved in the process. The list created can contain any number of attributes or factors but each should be specific to the evaluated area. (It is suggested that the list contains no more than 20-22 attributes). This list is then transferred into a table or circular (figure 1) format, so that the player can complete the assessment.

Performance Profile for Centre Forward - Blank

Once the player has the chart they must then assign each attribute a desired level. This level can relate to:

How important that attribute is for their role?

  • The ideal standard the attribute should be at
  • The standard the current ‘best player’ is at (either at the club or in the league)
  • The standard of the current ‘best player’ at the club for each attribute
  • The standard they have previously been at

The level that the player uses as a benchmark is dependant on the coaches’ objectives for the assessment and the desired course of action.

For example if the player has been in poor form then comparing themselves to their best could be the desired result, or another approach could be that the player is required to compare themselves against the divisions or teams top player. The level is then marked out on each of the attributes. For the example below the performance profile was completed by a player on the fringes of playing for a first team. They were then required to compare themselves to the first choice centre forward. Therefore figure 2 shows the player’s perceived ability of the first choice centre forward.

Performace Profile for a Centre Forward - Desired Requirements

Once the player has completed the chart for their benchmark target, they must then fill in each attribute with a rating for their own ability (at that present time). In the example provided the centre forward was then asked to complete the chart, comparing how good they were compared to the first choice centre forward. The outcome is shown in figure 3 below.

Performance Profile for a Centre Forward - Actual Present Level

The fully completed chart can then be used to highlight the areas that the player must improve upon if they are to reach their desired level and also allows the coach to be conscious of how the player perceives themselves. The more space between the desired and actual levels indicates the attributes that require a greater improvement. In the example the fringe first team centre forward now has areas to work upon to obtain the same standard as their team mate, especially their weaker foot, confidence, speed and work rate. Once the results are anaylsed the coach can then construct a training programme that can be used by the player to improve the required areas, so that their performance reaches their desired standard.

Generally the performance profile is completed by the player about themselves. However it is possible for the coach to complete one on the player as well so a comparison can occur. This will show any major discrepancies that the player and coach may have regarding the players ability, which in turn can highlight any unwarranted arrogance, cockiness and ego, or even any insecurity the player may possess within their game.

Another use for performance profiling can be seen when implemented with a team as a whole. The players could each complete a chart based upon the general state of the team, to include such factors as team spirit, confidence, work rate, attacking and defending qualities etc. This would then allow the coach the ability to evaluate how the players perceive the current condition of the team, compared to how it has been or the other teams in the league.

Performance profiling can be a very useful tool to help the planning and monitoring of player’s training programmes. However, they are heavily based on subjective views so results may vary greatly. It is for that reason training programmes should therefore not be created based on these results alone, as players may over- or under-estimate their own strengths and weaknesses. The most fundamentally crucial element of the whole process is to ensure that the player completing it is totally honest with themselves and their answers, and not just filling out what they think their coach wants to see.

Figure .1. Adapted from:
Butler, R J (1996). Sport Psychology in Action. Butterworth-Heinemann Ltd.

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