Yes, yes, we sort of did this in step one. But now… we do it FOR REAL.
Get a list of players and rank them on everything. And I do mean EVERYTHING. And give each player a number rating.
In the book, The Draft by Emma Quayle, she talks about how Hawthorn rated their players on a scale of 1 to 5, but divided 4 into two sections: 4A and 4B. These players were about the same talent level, but 4A represented players that were young and needed attention while 4B represented players that were getting old (sounds a bit like the life cycles we talked about earlier, huh?).
Now, before we go any further, let me stress something: THESE RANKINGS ARE NOT IN COMPARISON TO THE CLUB OR OTHER PLAYERS. THEY ARE NOT RELATIVE. THEY ARE RANKINGS AS PLAYERS.
It’s easy to pick out your best players. But the harsh reality is that in some cases, you may not have any elite players – and clubs need to face that. This is ranking players by how you NEED THEM to perform. It doesn’t matter if your best player can jump 1.5 meters high. If everyone else in the league can jump 2 meters… he’s just not good enough.
You start with the unchangeable (well, mostly unchangeable). Age. Height. Weight. Ideally, players will be between 24-27 years old, 180-190 cm, and 80-85 kg. Players in those categories would get ones and the further away they got from the ideal, the lower their rankings would get.
Then we get into stats. For each position, decide which statistics are most important (i.e. tackles for defenders, marking percentage for mids, clearances for rucks and accuracy for forwards) and what is considered to be ‘elite’ for each statistic. Again, the players who have accomplished the ‘elite’ statistic get a one and the further away from the statistic they get, the lower their score becomes. These scores should be weighted in order of importance and players should also receive points if they excel in another area (i.e. the Luke Hodges and Ben Reids of the world).
Finally… the hard stuff. The immeasurables. This is where you evaluate the personal aspects of a player – how easy they are to coach, their leadership abilities, if they have an attitude problem, if they are somehow reminiscent of Ben Cousins… you know what I mean. This can be particularly important for the younger players at the club (those in the 4A section). If a player is not the best, ut you can see that he follows direction, has never been late and is always finding ways to improve – that’s someone you probably want to hang on to. Contrarily, if you’ve got a fantastic player but he’s got an attitude problem (I’m looking at you, Buddy) and whines and fights and has a couple drink driving tickets? Yea… probably not in your best interest to keep that guy around.
There are psychological tests for this and some clubs really rely on the analysis and won’t make a conflicting decision while others simply use it as an FYI and move on. This could be a contentious area between a coach and a football ops department, but (in my opinion – coach should get final say).
It is possible that at the end of this analysis you have no players that are 1s. You could have no 5s. There’s an infinite number of possibilities. And remember: these rankings are based on how players need to perform in order to win. Once you know how many good players you have, you can start moving them around and really start building.