How Young Athletes Benefit from Participation Trophies

Laurel Riser Trophy 1299There has been a lot of argument as to whether young athletes should or should not be presented with participation trophies. One line of thought is that giving them a trophy for participating encourages them to continue in the sport. On the other hand, there are some who argue only “winners” deserve a trophy. It turns out, that both sides may hold certain truths. There are some strategic ways to use participation trophies to help build young athlete’s self-confidence without taking away from the sweet victory of the one with the highest score. Let’s take a look at some strategic moves.

Praise Athletic Achievements

Keep praise for young athletes realistic. Every child is not going to excel in every area, however, every child can excel at something.  If a child fails at mastering a skill or is unable to demonstrate a specific skill coaches or parents are teaching, praise their effort. Praise the fact that they keep trying. Everyone is not going to be the best, let kids know that’s normal and it’s okay. Help them understand that continuing to work toward improving their skills is a success. No one has to be the best, just continue to do your best.

Setting Realistic Goals for Young Athletes

A young athlete who is starting a new activity is not going to perform at an expert level. Praise accomplishments no matter how small they seem. Develop realistic goals for kids that help them improve and master skills. As they reach each milestone, help them see how much they have improved.

Reward Resilience

Explain to kids that no one is going to succeed or win every single time. Everyone faces failures and setbacks at some time along the way. Show them what they did wrong and explain it in a way that helps them make improvements they can be proud of. It encourages them to keep trying to do their best and to keep practicing. It also encourages them to stay committed before they change to other activities.

Encourage Sports and Physical Activity

Participating in group activities and team sports can help build a child’s self-confidence. They start to learn that with practice, they can tackle new skills and achieve goals. Like adults, children learn their strengths, weaknesses, and how to cope with failure or defeat.  But they also learn how to overcome their weaknesses when they master skills that are difficult at first. Overcoming struggles instead of quitting helps build a confident and successful adult. Participation trophies encourage a positive outlook and help them see successes beyond just winning a game.

Participation Trophies vs Win or Go Home

Silver and Gold Chalice CupOf course, winning is fun. It’s a lot of fun. Working toward a win helps young athletes learn positive work ethics and dedication. There is a balance between encouraging participation versus winning no matter what. Participation trophies encourage kids to keep going, keep working, and keep striving toward being better. They learn how to work harder when they want to reach personal goals and bigger awards. Giving smaller awards for participation rewards their efforts and signals to them that joining in, hard work, and being a team player are all worth it.

Participation Trophies for Your Young Team

Good leaders know how to motivate a team whether that is a group of young athletes, a class of students, or a workgroup. Rewards offer you an excellent return on investment. Team members become more dedicated, are empowered, and they are willing to give it their all. At Suburban Custom Awards, we have a wide selection of participation trophies and other awards. You can also engrave a special message to participants. Check out our broad selection today!