An AYSO trophy is something many kids hold on to and cherish for the rest of their lives as tokens of a wonderful time spent playing soccer. On the other hand, many parents feel that participation trophies send the wrong message to their kids and give them a false sense of achievement. Regardless of your view on the role of trophies, understand that just because every child gets a trophy, it doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be a meaning and a message attached. Check out the following three tips for turning your Region’s participation trophies in to achievement trophies:
1. Give a title to each trophy: Instead of handing out trophies to every player without a meaning attached, add an accomplishment to each one. If one player is particularly good at shooting, give him the “Best Shooter” trophy. Get creative with giving meaning to trophies and make sure to pick achievements that the child has displayed an interest/strength in.
2. Use examples of a child’s play to explain the trophy: Once you’ve picked a strength for each child, a coach should explain why he was chosen for that award. Whether it was a string of great defensive plays during the season, a willingness to motivate and push teammates to do their best, or unselfish play, make sure you let the child know why she's receiving the trophy.
3. Compliment, then assign off season goals: Once you’ve explained the purpose for the trophy and gave an example of the child’s achievement in that area, give him a few tips to get even better next season. For instance, have the “Best Passer” use the off season to work on her speed or shooting skills while continuing to work on passing.
Have you done this before? Send us an email and let us know your strategy!