06 Mar How to Use Trophies to Encourage Kids Sports
Everyone grows up with the notion that efforts and achievements will be rewarded in some way or another. Trophies have always played an important part in this, nowhere more so than on the sporting field.
Take the Brownlow medal for example; this small medallion is revered across the Australian football world as the pinnacle of achievement for a season of success for the winner. It is an award granted for consistently high performance at an individual level irrespective of the team’s performance on the day. It rewards not only superb and consistent effort but it is even more highly regarded because the winner is judged to be not just the best but the fairest throughout an entire season.
The Brownlow example is an important one because it highlights the fact that individual sporting prowess is not always the single most important factor in rewarding an athlete. Whilst we can always admire, and reward with long accolades, the achievement of a highly skilled physical feat, for the majority of athletes this is unlikely to ever occur.
Experts agree that children need to be encouraged not just to perform at their very best across a broad range of endeavours, but also to do this in a way that emphasises the importance of team spirit or community involvement.
We have all witnessed unfortunate examples of sporting arrogance and there is no doubt that whilst such highly skilled athletes can be acknowledged for their physical prowess, the image remains tainted in the public eye if their performance does not have an air of deference about it. We all love the self-deprecating athlete and a champion who honours the skill and achievement of his or her opponent.
These are the things which remain common in all champion athletes who are remembered beyond the grave.
The sentiment of a gracious winner is one which can be encouraged and rewarded from an early age, and trophies can play a vital part in this process. Whilst we cannot ignore the fact that winners should be rewarded for their achievements, it is more important to recognise those values that make sporting achievements truly great.
These include such personal traits as:
- Acknowledgement of an opponent.
- Graciousness in defeat and in victory
- Dedication to training.
- Contributing consistently to a team’s effort.
- Determination and focus.
Psychologists acknowledge that it is equally important to reward children for their efforts as much as their results and the above criteria can be used as examples by which to judge any child’s sporting performance.
They also point out that the order in which trophies are presented at an awards ceremony may also have some bearing on the development of desirable characteristics.
This means that the fastest or highest achieving award need not be presented last in the evening but that perhaps the best overall performance should be the one which is presented at the end of the ceremony so it stays fresh in the minds of all children who are awarded trophies on the night.