The Ultimate Sports Awards Program
It’s no secret that everyone likes a little recognition, and for kids, it can be a determining factor when deciding to stay with a sport or not. A recent survey of parents conducted by TNS Worldwide reported that more than 76% of parents support recognizing a player’s contribution and participation. Parents also said that feedback from the coach was a key component of their child’s sports experience.
Below are tips for starting or enhancing your youth sports recognition program:
- Look to the end of the season first - Determine what type of recognition program you want. Check and see if your sponsoring organization provides trophies or ribbons, and if so, how and when you will receive them. Be sure that you will have them well in advance of the season’s end.
- Make notes - At the start of the season, keep a log via a notebook or smart phone with notes on each player’s progress. These notes will become helpful at the end of the season when recognizing each individual player for their effort and improvement throughout the season.
- Catch them in action - Ask parents to catch “action” photos of each player. Have them print out the best shots. Distribute the photos with their award, or use a picture frame or other decor to turn the photo itself into the award!
- Make it an event - Plan an end of season event. This is a great way for a non-coaching parent to get involved. Whether pizza or pot luck, visit Pinterest.com and search “end of season party” or the name of your sport for great ideas. Be sure to ask (or assign) families to bring an item.
- Be specific - Have a plan for each child. Don’t wing it. Determine how each player contributed to the team. Be specific. Instead of saying “you worked hard,” point out something specific to each child such as “your batting average improved” or “your ball handling skills and assists increased.” This is the difference between giving a participation award and a recognition award. You can have this statement engraved directly on the award!
- Recognize regularly - Remember to make recognition a part of every practice and game/match/event. Point out positive traits, new skills learned and good sportsmanship. Make your specific comments, not a blanket statement.