New Ideas for Using Patches to Motivate Players in All Sports
Also, School, Students, Band, Cheerleading, etc.
Patches can used to motivate, encourage, and reward
Practice, effort, hard work, attitude, achievements
In sports, for hustle, aggressive play, teamwork, skills, etc.
For anything you want to encourage or discourage

See the Sample Patches Handouts Page for more ideas and 9 sample handouts.

Remember, the patches don't have to be ironed on to work. An alternative is to punch a hole in them and put them on a key chain that can be attached to a bag or backpack, or they can just be collected. They still work even if they are just collected.

The patches can be used to motivate, encourage or reward the behavior or results you want. Here are a few ideas from coaches, and there are more in the sample handouts above:

-- Positive Reinforcement: All players at some point hustle, pay attention, help a teammate, etc. The patches give you the opportunity to encourage positive behavior and the results you want. You can develop your players skills and have fun too.

-- An example of why Positive Reinforcement is important: Think about the difference between a positive approach and a negative approach. Here is an example: I don't know of any parents who tell their little babies as they are learning to walk: "Just give up." "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 to you for weeks." When babies are learning to crawl, we applaud them for 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 can be applied to players and the patches allow a tangible way to do this.

-- Motivation and 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, attending practice, hustling and trying hard, being brave, 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.

Ideas for Using Patches:

Below are ideas for coaches of sports teams. If you are a school or organization, these will give you ideas. There are hundreds of possibilities. Think about what you want to encourage or discourage, and the results you want to achieve. Practice attendance? Hard work? Effort? Attitude and listening to the coach or teacher? Defense? Teamwork? Improvement? Achievements such as winning or completing a task? Adjust the patches to fit your sport or activity. In sports, one thing to think through carefully is whether you want to give patches to the players who score Goals - doing so might encourage everyone to want to shoot, but perhaps you want that. For ideas for school student attendance, grades, behavior and achievements, see the no. 9 handout above. Practice, hard work and effort are critical to success in most things - if you can motivate practice, hard work, a good attitude and effort you should see improvement, and when you see improvement, you can reward it to encourage continued improvement.

Choose a Patch to give for Attending Practices or Games: I started giving patches for practice attendance and attendance went from about 70% to almost 100%. Other coaches have had this same experience. If you are a soccer coach, there are many colors of soccer ball patches to choose from. If you coach a different sport, band, cheerleading, etc., choose a Star Patch.

"A" Patch for Attitude and Teamwork: Players keep a positive outlook during the game (don't sulk or whine), listen to the coach, have a smile on their face, behave when not in the game, and encourage their teammates even when on the sideline.

Choose a Star Patch for improvement of skills: If you play our Practice Games, you will see improvement in skills in the various games. In soccer, I gave patches to the players who won the Practice Games that showed significant skill, such as "Dribble Across a Square" and "Dribble Around Cone & Pass Relay Race".

"V" Patch for Victories: This can be for winning a game, or for playing a great game even if you lose. I know I've lost a few games against better teams when my players played SOOO hard that I considered it a victory - when your team plays like that, they are winners, not losers.

Lightning Bolt Patch or Gold Star Patch for Bravery, Hustle and Aggressive Play: This patch can be earned by winning 50/50 balls. Or by getting knocked down and getting right back up. Or by being a player who always hustles. Choose the most desired patch for this and make players earn this patch so it has great value and is highly coveted. This is one of the most important patches a coach can give.

"D" Patch for Defense: Do you have a problem getting players to play defense? A special patch will help. The BIG D is perfect.

Many Coaches give a patch for Assists: In soccer, an assist is when a player who passes 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.

Choose a Star Patch to encourage players to play positions you have a hard time filling: The patches work for all ages - even high school age.

Choose a Star Patch to encourage things you are having a problem with, or to discourage bad habits you want to break, or to encourage things that are very important for success:

Happy Face Patch for Good Sportsmanship: Players shake hands (or touch hands going through a line), play hard but fair, don't intentionally foul, and don't call names or insult the other team. We will do our best, but win or lose we will be good sports. If we win or lose we will say "Good game".

David at SoccerHelp