Why Give Participation Trophies

    Audrey with her trophy Kids love participation trophies! They've earned them!

    If, as the team parent, you have chosen participation trophies for your child’s sports team, you may find that not all parents agree.  Another parent may say to you, “When I was a kid, I had to EARN my trophies. They weren’t just handed to us at the end of the season.” So why do we give our children trophies for participating in sports?

    Celebration Trophies

    Show your team they did a great job and put in an effort worthy of a celebration!  Participation trophies are celebration trophies.  We should not be giving trophies for showing up and breathing and staying upright.  We should be rewarding and celebrating the accomplishments of each player.  Even if they didn't score the most goals, did they learn new skills?  Or improve their sportsmanship?  Or focus more on teamwork?  Award them with a Celebration Trophy.

    Recognition: Kids care about recognition. They want validation from their coach and parents for a job well done.  They deserve kuddos even if they didn't win every game of the season or out-perform the rest of the league. Over the course of a season, each child on the team has done something that they feel proud of.  They've improved their game. Awarding them a trophy gives them the praise that they deserve, and is a tangible item to remind them of that accomplishment.  The best way to do this is to have the coach present the trophy to each player individually.  He or she should take the time to prepare some words of praise for each player, being specific on what new skills they learned or how their game has improved or how valuable they were to the team.

    Commitment: Most of all, participation trophies are a way to reinforce commitment. If a child signs up to play a sport and stays with it until the end of the season, that accomplishment deserves recognition. He or she made a commitment to join the team and stuck it out until the end. This is a life skill.  In the future, they won't get a trophy for showing up everyday for a job.  No one would expect that.  But rewarding commitment at a young age will reinforce the importance of sticking with a task or job until completed in the future.

    The children on your team have accomplished the goals of trying something new, learning about a new sport, working together, making new friends, and more. If you feel like this is your definition of success, then your players deserve meaningful recognition.

    Participation trophies are a symbol of this accomplishment – and they’ll love them now and for years to come!

    Cheers! Jessica

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