A practical method for the estimation of roof bolt axial loads in the field as a means for evaluating rock support performance in underground mine openings such as drifts and gate roads is presented. The method is based on attaching an instrumented coupler to the bolt head prior to installation. Once installed, the coupler load cell enables the Measuring and monitoring of the bolt axial force exerted on the face plate. Previously developed load cell technologies for rock anchors are reviewed, and their design deficiencies for applications in underground mining are highlighted. On the other hand, the instrumented coupler technique is shown to provide a simple and practical means for the evaluation of rock support performance in mine openings.