In doing some reading and reflecting on the spring season I've come up with a new idea/program for our team this fall. I've found a Soccer Patch Motivation Program that is designed and aligned with what we'll be working on throughout the season. My main goal with this program is to acknowledge and reward the kids for improvement, effort, attitude and development. Below I have documented an explanation of how the program will work and an example/explanation of each patch (page 2):
CW Angry Birds Soccer Patch Overview
Why are you doing this? As I mentioned above I think an important part of youth sports is building self esteem and working with kids both individually and as a team progress and feel good about themselves. I've been coaching for several years now and I've found that kids respond to positive encouragement and recognition. I've also found that kids like "stuff” and like to collect "stuff”. So these badges are a way to help give the kids something to strive for and reward them when they get there, plus give them "stuff” to display on their shirts with pride.
How does it work? I will explain to the kids at the first practice what we are doing, what each badge means and what they can do to earn the various badges. I will continue to explain it to them throughout the season and reinforcement. So as an example if we work on a skill I'll say in practice/games "try a dragback and earn that skills patch!!!”
How are patches awarded? The key to this program is recognition, building esteem and giving the kids goal to work towards. As part of that thought the awarding of patches will be a big deal! What I will do is gather the kids each Thursday after practice as well as after each game. I will award each child with their patch in front of parents by giving them the patch and mentioning what they did to earn the patch.
What do we do with the patches? These patches are iron-on so and believe me the kids are going to want to display what they've earned. So upon receiving the patches each parent simply will warm up and iron and iron on these patches onto the sleeve of your child's jersey (example picture below). Once the patches are in place, turn the jersey inside out and apply more heat.
What if my child doesn't get a patch? Maybe I'm an optimist but in my years of coaching I can tell you that each game and practice a kid does something great or they improve on something or they help another child out or even help me out. My goal is to look for the good things they are doing and reward them for it and trust me, each week there will be multiple things each child is doing that is deserved of a badge and recognition!
|GOOD LUCK – I will provide each child this patch at the first practice after explaining the program to them. This is to wish them luck for the upcoming season!|
|FUN - I will also be providing each child this patch at the first practice after explaining the program to them. This patch will be used as a reminder to everyone, kids, coaches, and parents that our season is about having fun, making friends and learning and trying our best!|
|DEFENSE – Each time the Angry Birds allow one goal or less, each player in attendance will be awarded this badge. We will also reward outstanding goal keeping and defensive play with this defensive patch. If I see a player make a great save or defensive play I will note and reward that player with this patch.|
|BRAVERY At this age contact and challenging the ball become more common and with that kids can at times be tentative. This badge will be awarded as means to encourage kids to be brave, make contact, and challenge and win the ball.|
|HUSTLE – All of you know I love the word hustle and I love to see hustle during practice and games even more. This badge will be awarded when I see kids hustling and really giving it their all in practice or games.|
|TEAMWORK – It’s important for kids to support and work with each other. I think teamwork has a broad range as far as meaning so it’s hard to fully explain what I’m looking for but in short if I see kids helping each other or me out, working together, hi fiving, etc that’s worthy of this badge.|
|SKILLS - We will be working on certain skills in practice such as dragbacks, cross overs, throw ins, etc. When a child properly completes one of the skills we’ve reviewed in practice during a game the child will be rewarded with this badge for each time they’ve displayed that skill.|
|WARM-UP WARRIOR – Before each practice we conduct our FIFA warm-ups (jog-sprint, cross, back peddle, hip out). I’m looking for kids to properly perform each of the warm-ups. Each time a child performs their warm-ups properly I will award them with this badge.|