Coaching youth sports can be an extremely rewarding experience. I’m not referring to teenagers, though that can be a rewarding experience as well. I’m referring to coaching children as they are just starting to learn the sport. Each practice can be a completely new experience for the players on your team. The kids are learning the basic skills and rules of the game their first couple of seasons. Some will pick up those items much quicker than the others. Some of these kids are gifted athletically, others are smart and pick up things quickly. The key here is that you don’t want to lose the kids who are slower to pick up the sport. This is done by giving out custom awards at the end of the season.
Most youth sports leagues these days give the kids awards at the end of the season. Some of these leagues give out trophies. Other leagues try to instill a love for the game in the kids by giving them a ball from the sport that was participated in, instead of awarding a trophy. As a coach, there is a way to develop a love for the game. Recognize your players’ accomplishments during the past season by creating custom awards for the kids.
One of the easiest ways is to customize the ball that is presented to each child on the team. As their coach, take a few minutes to write a short message on each player’s soccer ball. Some kids will continue to use the ball and think it’s cool to have a new ball to use and not value the signature. For other kids, that signed soccer ball might sit on their living room shelves for the next decade. That small effort might make a player feel good about himself and encourage a love for sports overall.
Different Types Of Gifts For Different Reasons
Soccer balls are not the only gifts coaches can give to their players. Creating a customized framed certificate is another option for the players on your youth soccer team. These certificates are items the kids might be familiar with because their older siblings or adults have them displayed in the awards case. Being recognized for a performance is something many kids would think could never to happen to them.
Gifts That Keep On Giving
Ideas for framed gift certificates can really support those that typically struggle with items such as earning rewards. This can be a significant shaping event in a child’s life. Being recognized by a coach ranks just below recognition by family members.
As a coach, there are a variety of different types of certificates you can give to the kids on your team. Some will recognize the athletic abilities of the players and others will recognize their personalities. Many former players have contacted me and said, “Coach, you were the first one that noticed this ability I had inside of me when you gave me an award for …”
The physical awards are easier to come up with. One of them is the fastest player on the team. Choosing the most accurate player can be done by having the children shoot at buckets inside the goal with the player that hits the most buckets being the one that receives the accuracy award. Some unique ideas could be for “Assistant Coach,” by giving the player that helped you before and after practice. The “team clown” can be given to a player that makes everyone on the team smile. When awarding these prizes, review good sportsmanship with your players and point out how those names are for team bonding.
Never Underestimate Ways You Reach These Kids
Coaches play a large role in children’s lives. For some players, a coach is someone that has authority over them. For other players, a coach can appear to be taking the role of a parent that is no longer around. This is why a certificate can leave a much bigger effect on a child than one of those trophies that every child gets. These days those trophies might not include the player’s name, but that certificate will frequently find a spot on a wall or mantle.