I was thinking about using some helmet decals for my team this year and was wondering what you think about using them as a way of recognizing effort, hits or whatever. What criteria would you use in giving out the decals and how would you do it? Attendance is important as well as effort and paying attention. I will be coaching 7-9 year old boys.
Coach Swift answers:
This is a good idea, especially for younger players.
I would ask you to think about team goals — some hard and some easy — so that the decals are about team accomplishments. These will help all the players, even the ones on the bench. Then make the individual goals be strictly for the individual player. I personally love the idea of using a decal to recognize attendance.
Here are some examples:
Team Goals (per game)
- Less than 5 strike outs
- Less than 2 errors
- 5 or more runs scored
- 5 or less runs given up
- Good sportsmanship/conduct (this one is especially good after a loss)
- Being on time
- Moving a runner over
- Not striking out
For additional individual goals it’s best to make them defensive orientated, not offensive.
Lastly, if you are super organized or have a team Mom that is, you can have special goals for each game. Some will be hard, some easy, but the important thing is that these goals are different from your usual team and/or individual goals.
Once you set these goals, tell them to your players. It’s important to NOT vary from the criteria set, no matter if the goal is hard or easy. Make it black and white so that the kids know they have to earn the reward (decal). Just remember to keep track of who accomplishes what and bring enough decals!