We are not doing trophies at the end of the season this year for U6, U8, U10, but instead recognizing players each week via patches. We hand out patches on TUESDAYS, because we want players to recognize (eventually recognize) that practice is what makes a player, not soley games. We want players to have just as strong a connection to practice as games. Recognizing players after practice is a great way to reinforce the importance of being at practice and doing your best. We do realize that this is not the necessarily the case right now for our little players!
There are more applications, but these are a few of them. We are not a Patch Based league as one parent inquired. Patches compliment our league and provide a tangible positive reinforcement, incentive and life application for the players.
- Positive Reinforcement: All players at some point make a good pass, pay attention, help a teammate, etc... The patches give coaches the opportunity to recognize players doing a good job. This league is about developing players and having fun within a competitive environment (not keeping score!).
An example: I don't know too many parents telling their little babies as they are learning to walk: "Just give up already... "You can just crawl your whole life.... "That's not the way you learn how to walk.... "Can't you just walk, I've been explaining it for weeks to you... When a baby is learning to crawl, we applaud them on trying even though they keep falling down on their face. We applaud for days, weeks, months and smile at them and tell them "almost there, keep going, you can do it". The same principle must be applied to our players and the patches allow a tangible way to do this.
- Incentive: Players begin to look at the patches they have and want more patches of the same or others. With each patch having its own meaning, players then must do the things correctly (paying attention, having a good attitude, passing the ball for an assist, etc...) to merit the patch. This helps the players become more complete players and allows the coaches to also remind players what each patch means and how the players can earn them.
Patches and general meaning for each:
Blue Star: Bravery - earned by getting knocked down and getting up. Being a stalwart defender or relentless forward who chases the ball down.
Gold Star: Assist - players who pass the ball to a teammate who then kicks the ball in the goal. Can aid in getting players to keep the ball moving and others involved
A: Attitude - players keep hands to themselves when not playing, keep positive outlook on the game (doesn’t sulk or whine), has a smile on their face
Happy Face: Good Sportsmanship - Players shake hands, help opponents up, are encouraging their own players while they are not playing
Lightning Bolt: Attention - Players are paying listening with eyes, ears to their coaches and do well with instruction
Blue & Red Soccer Ball: Participation - Players have attended practice/game and done a good job. Coaches have chance to come up with own recognition.
- Life Application: Each kid will earn a patch on Tuesday, but not all kids will get each patch. This is a good life lesson for the kids that it is ok not to have everything, but like what you do have or Life isn’t always fair, but you need to be able to cope and move on – Basically you get the idea.