Coach Steve, Yukon Blue Angels, 8U
Coach Steve of the 8U Blue Angels writes:
Rewarding the kids as a team as well as individual contributions.
Rewarding a youth's sports team as well as individuals is a necessity to increase self confidence in the kids. I am experimenting with some new ways to get this accomplished this Fall season.
First are the individual contribution awards. I have been kicking around some ideas about how to accomplish this, so lets get into those.
We have an 8 week season coming and 14 players. This means more than one award per week. The way I plan to handle this is to have a game ball for the player/PLAYERS of the game. I'm going to mix in where every girl will get a Game Ball by the end of the season. For the game ball, I am going to have my coaching staff all sign the ball, date it and write the name of the team on it as well. This will be a good keepsake and a huge confidence builder as well. I also plan to use helmet stickers for special plays, great hits, good sportsmanship, etc. Hopefully I will accomplish the one thing that every coach should be aiming for, and that is to build character, confidence and teach life lessons about teamwork to the girls by the end of the season.
Team awards are very important as well, in my opinion. I am going to hold a pool party for the whole team at the end of the season. Bring in Pizza, drinks, etc.
This last spring season, I wanted to give each girl something special to remember the season by as well as letting them all know that they are equally important to the team, so I printed off some Softball Awards from http://www.123certificates.com/softball.php . I made them all read the same thing. Blue Angels All-Star. This creates a sense of being a team. No one is more special than the other. Everyone is equal. And they are ALL All-Stars in my eyes.
Any other ideas for Team Awards would be greatly appreciated.
I couldn't AGREE more. 8U softball is all about generating enthusiasm and a love for the game. Positive motivation and ENDLESS encouragement are absolutely essential to be an effective coach with this age group.
As to other rewards, we generally had a reward bag filled with prizes that might include bubble gum, pencils, erasers, tattoos, and hair ribbons. If the player did made a good play or got a hit we would let them pick a prize from the bag. Understand, that for some 8U players making a good play might be just running hard to get to the ball.
The 123certificates site looks to be a great source. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. Absolutely free printable certificates. Your cost is going to be a sheet of paper and some toner.
One more thing. Team parties are a must! I strongly urge teams to have a mid-season party. It's a great time for the players to get to know one another outside of softball. This will build team unity and chemistry. Listen to any player that wins a championship and they will immediately talk about team chemistry and how the team came together. It's TRUE. So, start building the chemistry on your team, but don't wait until after the season, start now so it can make a difference on the field and in the dugout.
Good Luck Coach Steve. Now, Go Get 'Em!!!
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