Participation Trophies Award Effort!
I had the pleasure of coaching a youth basketball team through our local city recently.
The end of the season is a great time for reflection and acknowledgment of my players’ efforts over the course of the 10 week season. Having 4 out of 6 players who had never played basketball before, you can imagine the growth they experienced from the 1st practice of the season to the last game of the season. It is important to provide them with a memento along with words of praise for their “Improved Defense, Outstanding Dribbling, Excellent Shooting, etc., etc.”
Handing them something physical will carry your words of praise into future activities they pursue and provide confidence when needed with just a glance to their shelf where their memento is displayed.
In my years of coaching, I’ve seen some true talented players. My message to my teams are that talent will take you so far in anything you do in life. If you build the habit to practice and work hard, at some point down the line they will catch and pass a talented player or associate who will have reached their ceiling and not be accustomed to putting in the work to improve their skill. Participation trophies are the fuel to this concept, letting the kids know that while they may have not achieved a first-place finish, they did put the work in to improve themselves, and for that, they should be proud of their investment in discipline and effort.
I look outside in my neighborhood, and I see no children playing these days. Technology has stolen all free time physical play and placed an electronic device in the palm of our children’s hands. If nothing else, I was proud to award my kids for putting in 6 hours a week of work in the gym and providing their brains a break from gaming and videos.
We need to continue to encourage our children to try new things, and when they find something they like, work hard to develop the skills required for that activity. Our jobs as a coach or a parent? Be supportive of them, encourage them positively, praise good sportsmanship, and if nothing else, let them know you are proud of them and enjoy watching them play. That’s one participation award that every kid will cherish for life!
Wishing you a Fun experience! - Mike