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Why MVP Awards and Trophies are a Bad Idea for Most Youth Teams
Your Team Will Be Better if All Improve and Do Their Best Free Soccer Patches
We recently heard from the President of a Club who told us that the motivational patches have increased Club membership. The reason was that they started giving the patches for individual improvement, whereas before they had only given trophies for the top 3 winners. The result was a higher level of satisfaction among club members, who were so happy that they told their friends, who then joined the Club. So the Club is growing by word-of-mouth because the members are happy. This isn't a soccer club, it is a skating club, but the principal is the same, and it reminded me of how important motivation is to young athletes, and how if we aren't careful we can do things that have counterproductive results. For example, think about a Rec soccer team. There are usually a few good athletes, some average and some unathletic, slow or timid kids. If you only give patches to the "Best", the same players will win most of the time and the weak players will never win. That is why "elimination" games are a terrible idea for youth sports and we don't use them - the best athletes always win and the unathletic players (who need the most practice) are eliminated first. If you can motivate ALL of your players to come to practice, be enthusiastic, to want to improve and to do their best, then ALL of your players will improve. That will produce a MUCH better team. Trophies and MVP awards are bad ideas for most youth teams because the same kids will win all the time. Ongoing awards based on improvement are the best approach because they provide positive reinforcement on an ongoing basis. The iron-on patches have the advantages that kids love them and that they are visible - kids will ask other kids what the patches are for and they know how they can earn one. Like many of you, I don't think end of season trophies do much to cause players to improve and they sort of cause everyone to be the same because everyone gets one whether they have tried or not, and even if they haven't attended most of the games. Because of that they are sort of meaningless and they just get put on the shelf. The patches are visible on a jersey, sweatshirt, T-Shirt, jacket, bag or scarf that players can wear to practice or games to show their achievements and to be seen by other players. So, when you develop your motivational plan, focus on individual improvement and a plan that motivates EVERY player to improve and to do their best. That will be more fun and achieve better results. See 4-Step Plan for Successfully Motivating Players, Teams, Athletes and Students See Patch Handouts Examples - How Coaches Use Our Patches to Motivate and Reward Achievements and Behavior David at SoccerHelp
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