Below are 9 tips for developing a motivational program using iron on soccer patches and star patches.
1. Coming to Practice is Critical, So You Want to Motivate and Reward That. It will be a huge advantage if all your players come to practice. That is the only way to practice as a team.
2. Create a Motivational Program Prior to Giving Out Any Iron On Soccer Patches or Star Patches. List the behaviors that will be awarded, how to earn them and show a picture of the patch. (You can copy and paste the pictures online from Soccer Help).
3. Provide a Copy of the Motivational Program to the Parents and Players. This is essential so that players and parents understand the purpose and motivation behind the system.
4. Be Sure to Buy Enough Soccer Patches or Star Patches. You can estimate how many of each kind you will need by considering the number of games and practices.
5. Use the Soccer Patches and Star Patches to Motivate and Reward Individual Improvement, Effort and Attitude. There are certain things players can do and can’t do. Every player can try their best, hustle, be brave, have a good attitude, listen to the coach and gradually improve. BUT, every player isn’t fast or a great athlete. That is the problem with giving a MVP patch for Rec games – the best athletes will probably custom iron on patches win it every time and the kids who aren’t great athletes probably don’t have much of a chance. Soccer is a team sport and it is important that all your players improve. In fact, it will probably help your team more if your weak, timid players improve than if your great athletes improve because “Weak” links are usually what hurt a Rec team the most.
6. Make a List of the Specific Individual Improvements You Want to Encourage From Each Player. Typical things might be Bravery, Hustle, Listening to the Coach, Playing Your Position, Defense, etc. That way you can look for improvement by each player. Tell the kids what you would like to see them improve in and if they improve, give them a patch and praise them. Try to find a reason to give EVERY player a patch. Continued individual improvement is your goal. Remember: Soccer is a team sport and it is important that all your players improve. In fact, it will probably help your team more if your weak, timid players improve than if your great athletes improve because “Weak” links are usually what hurt a Rec team the most.
7. Giving a MVP Patch is a Bad Idea for Rec Teams and Can Cause Hard Feelings in Any Team Sport. The reasons are stated in no. 5 above. Be careful about giving MVP patches – they give the impression that one player is more important than the others and that can only lead to disagreement and hard feelings. It is VERY hard to decide who is the MVP in a team sport such as soccer.
8. Your Plan Needs to Be Specific to Your Team. Every team is different. A Rec team will have a different plan than a Select Team.
9. It is Best if Every Child who Attends a Rec Game Gets a Patch. Remember, you are playing Rec soccer and it is supposed to be fun! If you don’t give every kid a patch, the players who don’t get one will feel left out and could develop negative attitudes and ill-will towards the coaches and other players. You might not want to give one to a player who was at the game but didn’t try, but here is a way to handle that — you could give a black soccer ball patch to the kids that don’t earn any other type of patch. There are many different kinds of patches and some are cooler than others. That allows you to designate special patch for specific actions. For example – a lightning bolt for hustle and a “C” for courage, D for Defense, A for Attitude, etc. ONLY give those if they are earned. That does NOT mean you have to give every kid an attendance patch for just showing up for the game… you would only give that to kids who didn’t earn a patch for improvement, effort or attitude.