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"The coaches who win are the ones who can motivate their players." Vince Lombardi Following is a letter from a Coach and my reply, followed by information from SoccerHelp about how to use patches to motivate players. Hi SoccerHelp, Just wanted to let you know that the motivational patches program that we have introduced to our team this year is amazing!!� The kids love them. The last few years the kids have been playing for the "Trophy" at the end of the year.� We never liked the end of year trophy as the only incentive --�we encouraged week-to-week game-to-game progression and teamwork.� With the Patch System that we implemented, and with suggestions from other coaches on your website, the kids play for�each game and practice for�each practice. Nobody has even mentioned the word "trophy" so far this season!� They want Victory/Practice/Goal/Improvement/Assist/MVP patches!!� They want to work together, have fun, get patches and win!� Isn't that what sports are suppose to be!!� Nice work. You have a customer for life.� Our sponsors are more than happy to keep buying the patches as long as the kids keep giving it everything they got week in and week out!! Coach Robert, CA, USA -------------------------------- Hi Robert, Thanks for writing and for being our customer. I love to get letters like yours. You make an excellent point -- if a coach can keep players motivated each week, they will improve MUCH faster. As you say: "They want to work together, have fun, get patches and win!� Isn't that what sports are supposed to be!!"� Play the Practice Games, teach Coaching Rule No. 3 and keep using the patches, and you will see great improvement. Thanks again, David at SoccerHelp -------------------------------- Where to Put Patches The patches really look good on the player's jerseys, shorts, bags, caps, on a team banner near each player's name, or on a team "sandwich board" at practices so all the players can see their progress. Another idea is to let the player's put them on a special Practice Jersey (this could be a T-Shirt) that is worn to practice, to the season end party, and that player's can wear during warm-ups if they can change before the game. To be effective as a motivational tool, it is best if the players can see them at practice, games or both. Also, make a big deal of giving them out. You can give them as an immediate reward, or in a ceremony at the end of practice or at the end of the game where all the players see who is getting them and why... I found this to be an excellent motivational technique. How to Use Patches to Motivate Players There are many ideas at the Patch Testimonials from coaches. Basically, you can use the SoccerHelp patches to help achieve your objectives, and this varies from team to team. Use them to motivate your players, to get them to come to practice, to encourage hustle and aggressive play, to encourage learning soccer moves, for good defense, for listening to the Coach, or for anything you want to encourage. Here are a few ideas:
Coach who Used Motivational Patches to Motivate Soccer Teamwork, Practice, Have Fun and Win.
Tips for How to Use Patches to Motivate Soccer Players
How to Use Patches to Increase Soccer Scoring
Where to Put Soccer Patches
How Many Seasons On a Uniform? Regarding how many seasons to allow patches to build up, you will have to decide, but I don't see a problem of leaving them for at least a year. You could limit them to one area of the shirt for one season and another area the next, or you could use different colors (we have 18 different patches). Patches Are Usually Done on a Team Basis or by the League or Sponsor. Mostly the patches are done on a team basis, but Kay tells me we sell them to over 100 organizations or leagues (we know because they order several thousand of them and we can set up a special account for them). We have sold over a million patches. I hope these help. The patches worked for me when I coached, and that's how I got the idea for them. We include instructions for how to iron on the patches with each order and there is a link above. If you have better ideas, please let us know. Thanks, David and Kay at SoccerHelp. How to Use Patches to Increase Scoring
- Practice Attendance -- We all know how hard it is to motivate kids to come to practice or to practice on their own time. We also know how important it is for kids to come to practice. Soccer is a team sport. It's impossible to practice or teach some things such as formations if your kids don't come to practice. Your team will definitely play better if your players come to practice. If you want to encourage practice and game attendance you might want to give a Black/White patch each time a player comes to practice or a game (Or even better, give a different color for each 4 to 6 practices. Example: when they have earned 4 Black/White patches, then they start getting a Blue/White patch; and when they get 4 of those they start getting Orange/White, etc. At the end of the season, give a Gold Star patch for perfect practice and game attendance, and ONLY give the Gold Star for that. And give a Blue Star patch to players with a 90% attendance record. This approach is probably better than just giving Black/White because it would be more motivating and fun). I can tell you for certain that teams play much better if most of their players come to practice.
- If you want to encourage Aggressive Play and Winning the Ball, you might give out the Red/White patches or a Red Star patch (we call them Blood Patches or Bravery Patches), but give these sparingly and make a BIG DEAL in front of the entire team of getting one of these and praise bravery, hustle and toughness. This approach really works; it worked for me. Remember, not every kid can be a good athlete, but every kid can hustle and be brave.
- If you want to encourage good defense, then decide how you will determine this (is it a team effort of limiting the opponent to 1 goal or less?). Example: if the opponent only scores one goal or less everyone gets a Green/White patch.
- If your team isn't scoring many goals, it could be beneficial to use the patches to motivate your players to do the things that can produce goals. Examples of behavior that you want to teach and encourage include: getting in front of the opponent's goal (most goals are score in front of the goal, and the more players you have there, the better your odds), stealing the ball from a defender and scoring in your "Attacking Third", being alert and in position for rebounds, playing off the Far Post, being aggressive, alert and hustling. In brief: if your Forwards and Midfielders are in position, alert, aggressive and hustle, your team will score goals. Over half the goals in Rec games are scored using the inside of the foot. Placement is more important than power. Shoot low and toward the corner... from inside the Penalty Box a groundball is more likely to score than a hard kicked air ball, because the shot will be more accurate (think about how many hard kicked balls totally miss or go straight to the Goalie). Once your team learns how to score, you can discontinue giving patches for scoring. SEE BELOW FOR MORE ABOUT THIS.
- You can use them to encourage kids to participate or behave at practice.
- You can use them to encourage kids to listen to the coaches and follow instructions.
- Do you want to encourage assists or unselfish play?
- Do you want to encourage running or speed training?
- Do you want to encourage players to learn "Moves"? (which they can practice at home)
- Do you want to encourage kids to practice at home?
- Or to practice Juggling? (which they can practice at home). Example: increase your juggling by 10 and get a Gold/Blue Patch or a Red Star patch.
- For another example of how to use them, the Baltimore Soccer Academy developed a program called the "Outstanding Individual Achievement Program" ("OIA"). They used the patches as rewards for achievements such as mastering skills, running, juggling, getting good grades and attendance.Recent correspondence has caused me to re-think the use of patches as a motivation to score goals. (This only applies to U-8 and older). From David at SoccerHelp.The letter I refer to was sent to the Forum by a coach whose team was playing great and dominating games in every way except scoring. They controlled the ball for 80% of the game, but were only scoring one or two goals per game. The coach thought he needed to practice shooting. My thought was that the reason his players weren't scoring was because they weren't in position to score, or weren't aggressive about "finishing". In brief, they needed to be taught "how to score" and motivated to be more alert and aggressive when in scoring range. Also, in his case (where his team is dominating the game) it would help to encourage one-touch shots when in front of the goal and to be more aggressive about shooting. If your team is scoring a lot of goals, I still think it's better to not give patches for goals. But, if your team doesn't know how to score goals or isn't scoring enough goals, it could be beneficial to use the patches to motivate your players to do the things that can produce goals. For example: getting more Forwards and Midfielders in front of the opponent's goal (most goals are score in front of the goal, and the more players you have there, the better your odds), stealing the ball from a defender and scoring in your "Attacking Third" or "Attacking Half", being alert and in position for rebounds, playing off the Far Post, being aggressive, alert and hustling. In brief: if your Forwards and Midfielders are in position, alert, aggressive and hustle, you will score goals. Over half the goals in Rec games are scored using the inside of the foot. Placement is more important than power. Shoot low and toward the corner... from inside the Penalty Box a groundball is more likely to score than a hard kicked air ball. Once your team learns how to score, you can discontinue giving patches for scoring. Here are some ideas for behavior you want to encourage that will lead to goals and that you might want to give patches for:
- Being in position for rebounds
- Playing off the Far Post
- Stealing the ball from an opponent in your "Attacking Third" (the third of the field nearest the goal you are attacking) or in your Attacking Half (the half of the field closest to the goal you are attacking)
- Consistently being in scoring position (in front of the goal) EVEN if a goal isn't scored. (If you can get your players to do the RIGHT things, they will start to score lots of goals).
- Being alert, aggressive and taking a one-touch shot, even if it doesn't score.
- Perhaps even give a patch for any decent shot taken from inside your Penalty Box.
- In this phase of training, give a patch for any goal scored.
- Remember that you must also continue to praise and give patches to defenders, the Goalie and Defensive Midfielders (Stoppers) so they don't feel left out or second-rate. Once your attackers learn how to score, they will get lots of positive feedback and praise, and at that point it isn't necessary to give patches to attackers, and it can even be counter-productive.