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Coaches Zone

Rewarding Achievement and Positive Behavior

In addition to creating policies that state expected behavior for your team, you need to plan ahead for how you will reward positive behavior and accomplishment. Awards should not be restricted to performance outcomes. Rather, positively reinforce behavior that reflects the six moral values: respect, responsibility, caring, honesty, fairness, and good citizenship.

Here are several sample reward systems of Successful Coaching, by Rainer Martens (2004, p. 423):

  • Decals given to players for various types and levels of achievement.
  • Player of the game, week, or month recognition.
  • Letters for letter jacket (for team members meeting certain criteria over the course of the season).
  • Specific performance honors for each game, match, or meet (e.g., the highest percentage of good first tennis serves).
  • Publicly spotlighting the athlete who demonstrates the most effort in practice each week.
  • Publicizing the most valuable reserve player in the school newspaper each week.
  • Allowing a "practice player of the day" to have input into the next practice session.

Here are several more ideas:

  • Award ribbons, pins, or magnets for each personal best in sports such as track and field and swimming.
  • Establish a team "traveling trophy" (which could be something goofy or something very nice) that is passed to a new athlete after each contest.
  • Develop your own signature phrases that you save for when athletes do something extraordinary (be sure not to overuse them).

from Human Kintics,