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Kids, sports &
'Encouragement Awards'

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#1 Fr0g

Posted 17 November 2012 - 08:48 AM

When kids (from age 7 - 10) participate in club sports for a whole year, and go to a Presentation Dinner, do you think it's fair that all kids receive an encouragement award to thank them for a year of commitment and effort?

I have recently attended such a function and noticed that of the 16 kids who are in the club in this age group - the top 5 performers received a beautiful Award Cup, about 6 received smaller encouragement trophies, and the other 5 got diddly squat.

I'm not coming from a sour grapes perspective (it wasn't anything to do with my kids - they're not in this age bracket) -  just my observation.

I was sitting by a boy who missed out though, and as soon as they moved on to the next age group, he turned to his mum and said "I didn't get anything", in a very matter of fact way.  This kid, comes out to every event, and tries just as hard as everyone else and for one reason or another, doesn't do so well. However, when I was a kid playing club sport - every kid received at least a certificate at the end of the year (does anyone remember the Maccas ones with free cheesburger and small drink?  Now THAT was some treat  biggrin.gif )

I'm of the opinion that yes, the world is a competitive place but for the love of Pete, how hard would it have been to buy 5 more little trophies, or pennants/ certificates to encourage a child and their family to keep doing what they love???


Edited by FrogIsAFrogIsAFrog, 17 November 2012 - 08:54 AM.

#2 Fr0g

Posted 17 November 2012 - 08:54 AM

That's where I'm coming from, Ferdinand.  It's almost a no-brainer to me, that's why I was surprised to see a few kids miss out.  

I'm actually thinking that I'll draft up a letter, outlining my concerns, and send it to the committee.  Then it won't look like a sour parent.  I'm hoping the vast majority of club members wouldn't mind all kids receiving an award!

#3 idignantlyright

Posted 17 November 2012 - 08:55 AM

At every club the kids have played at, the entire team have gotten a trophy each at presentation night. There was also a Best & Fairest for each team.

At grassroots level(park/association) one of the younger ones also got a Macdonalds encouragment award after each game.

At PL/SL level each player got a trophy, then there was Coaches Player & Players Player.
Then in the club there was Senior & Junior Golden Boot, as well as Senior & Junior Player of the year.

The presentation method in the OP would never be allowed. Especially in Juniors.

ETA that the above awards are not encouragment awards, they acknowledge the participation etc.
The coaches player is for the player who shows dedication, is eager to learn etc.

Edited by idignantlyright, 17 November 2012 - 09:09 AM.

#4 la di dah

Posted 17 November 2012 - 08:56 AM

I would have thought you choose whether to only reward the top performers, or you have "party favour awards" where everyone gets at least a small one/ribbon/certificate, but you don't mix and match so that the number of kids without anything is smaller than the number with something?

That just seems odd to me from an outsider perspective?

#5 Therese

Posted 17 November 2012 - 08:58 AM

QUOTE (Ferdinand @ 17/11/2012, 09:51 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
If you're going to give encouragement awards, everyone needs to get one.

I agree with this.

#6 JRA

Posted 17 November 2012 - 09:02 AM

This is an interesting one. We have found by about 8 or 9, kids are very aware of "real" awards and "nothing" awards. DS is nearly 10, a couple of years ago at school apparently the children were talking about this. They all knew which ones are real and which ones aren't.

At hockey for the under 9s we given "medals" to all children. For under 11 and up, we only do the best and fairest, team player and coaches award. If the team wins a premiership they all also get a plaque as well as their crappy Hockey Vic medal. Runners up get the Hockey Vic medal only. That is also driven by the fact that U9s don't have finals etc.

This is a good reminder for me, next year the age groups change and we need to rethink this, as they go to u10 and u12. The top u10 team will play a proper season with finals. We will need to rethink how we manage this next year. Great.

I have to say I think the OPs situation where 10 out of 15 got something is really pretty poor

#7 BadCat

Posted 17 November 2012 - 09:09 AM

I think it does kids the world of good to participate in a season of sport with no reward other than personal enjoyment.

While the situation described in the OP is unusual it's not a big deal.

#8 Fr0g

Posted 17 November 2012 - 09:12 AM

While the situation described in the OP is unusual it's not a big deal.

Badcat, I'm not proclaiming it's the end of the world, more kind of thinking out loud on the boards.  I do acknowledge the parents were clearly more miffed than the kids.

I asked DS if he thought it was bad that some missed out, he replied "no, because the kids who came out to every event got an encouragement award".  He thought it fair and reasonable.

Just food for thought.

#9 JRA

Posted 17 November 2012 - 09:15 AM

I am now confused

This kid, comes out to every event, and tries just as hard as everyone else and for one reason or another, doesn't do so well

I asked DS if he thought it was bad that some missed out, he replied "no, because the kids who came out to every event got an encouragement award". He thought it fair and reasonable.

So the children who didn't get an award didn't come to everything?

#10 BadCat

Posted 17 November 2012 - 09:19 AM

QUOTE (FrogIsAFrogIsAFrog @ 17/11/2012, 10:12 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Badcat, I'm not proclaiming it's the end of the world, more kind of thinking out loud on the boards.

Sorry, I didn't mean you were making a big deal of it.  Just that I don't see it as a big deal IYKWIM?  original.gif

Fine, but then you don't give encouragement awards to half of the competitors and single out a small few by giving them nothing.

Depends what the encouragement awards were for.  If they were for turning up at every game, paying attention to the coach at training, and actually making a real effort to improve your skills then I don't think it's unreasonable to leave some kids out.  When I was coaching I would have given 3 or 4 kids an encouragment award based on those criteria and not given the others anything.  Some of the kids were downright obnoxious week in, week out.  Giving them an award seems counterproductive to me.

If they were throwaway awards then by all means give them to everyone.

Edited by BadCat, 17 November 2012 - 09:24 AM.

#11 Fr0g

Posted 17 November 2012 - 09:21 AM

So the children who didn't get an award didn't come to everything?

Sorry for the confusion.  There were 5 specific events that were included in club championship.  The 'winners' participated in at least 4 (like DS did), so there was no compulsiuon to come to each event.  So, in my mind - kids could be 'winners' even by not attending every event, but kids were 'penalised' (by not receiving recognition) for not attending them all.  Doesn't make sense to me.

Despite being club members, the sport requires entry fees for each event.  So it feels like some kids, who came to as many as they could for whatever reason, were overlooked by the club.  It doesn't make them less deserving of an encouragement award.

Edited by FrogIsAFrogIsAFrog, 17 November 2012 - 09:24 AM.

#12 EssentialBludger

Posted 17 November 2012 - 09:26 AM

DD does dancing. At the end of each year, only one kid from each class gets the award. I thought this was pretty normal? There's hundreds of kids at her dance school, it would cost them a fortune to give trophies to everyone.

#13 BadCat

Posted 17 November 2012 - 09:26 AM

So they didn't get awards because they didn't turn up to certain events, but you could get a special trophy even if you didn't turn up to all the events?  Yeah, that's wrong.

#14 Fr0g

Posted 17 November 2012 - 09:29 AM

DD does dancing. At the end of each year, only one kid from each class gets the award. I thought this was pretty normal? There's hundreds of kids at her dance school, it would cost them a fortune to give trophies to everyone.

It's not dance, there were 16 kids.  5 missed out.

#15 casime

Posted 17 November 2012 - 09:30 AM

I'm not generally a fan of the "every player wins a prize" mentality, but I think in this particular circumstance, a bigger prize for a couple of kids, with the rest receiving participation certificates would be fair.  

Surely part of "team" sports is to acknowledge that everyone has a role to play?

#16 Holidayromp

Posted 17 November 2012 - 09:34 AM

This touchy feely thing I have noticed these days where everyone gets an award.  I don't understand it and don't think it is necessary and think it is a crock.

I was heavily into sports and there were awards that were coveted by all members of the club but they only went to a few not all.  When there was a presentation night it was accompanied by a 'supper' where ALL club members brought a plate and cheered and were pleased for the winners sure there was disappointment when they didn't get an award but that was part of growing up.  Everyone cannot be a winner and they strived to be better next season.  The same people did not get all the awards season after season.  At the end of the day most members would have received a reward.

The awards should be for the achievers and as 'encouragement' for those to do better.  Limiting the awards taught people to be happy for those who won them not an expected 'trophy' which at the end of the day holds little meaning to the child who by the age of about 8/9 know that they are just mass produced bits of paper which hold little meaning and that there are still the real awards to aim for.

This method of awards for all teaches children not to bother striving as they will always get something out of it in the end which could explain why today's society is all me me me.

#17 i-candi

Posted 17 November 2012 - 09:42 AM

QUOTE (Ferdinand @ 17/11/2012, 09:51 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
If you're going to give encouragement awards, everyone needs to get one.

Agree however I still think the top player/s need a trophy.

DD did nippers, she was the only nipper that refused to go into the water unless I made her and then she would only go in if boards were involved rolleyes.gif  yeah great choice of sport hey but I figured she chose it so she had to continue. It got really hard to wake her in the morning and she protested the whole 40 minute drive !!!! after Christmas I gave up the fight and at the end of the season DD got a medal and certificate of participation in the mail !!!!  ohmy.gif  I was shocked and thought that giving something to everyone had gone truly overboard.

#18 mombasa

Posted 17 November 2012 - 09:42 AM

At DD's gymnastics parents are offered the choice of paying for a trophy for their child at the presentation, it's only a few dollars and all parents to my knowledge participate in supplying an encouragement trophy for their child.

#19 Fr0g

Posted 17 November 2012 - 09:43 AM

This method of awards for all teaches children not to bother striving as they will always get something out of it in the end which could explain why today's society is all me me me.

I hear what you're saying and I'm not a fan of tokenism, either.  In saying that, I have seen the amount of effort these kids put in, the whole weekend commitment of the families, the amount of time and money invested in just competing.  The reality in this particular instance is, not all kids will eventually go on to win an award, so why deny encouraging everyone with an acknowledgement of participation at junior level?  They put in just as much effort as everyone else.  

And it's not team sport, it's individuals competing within clubs, with other clubs, and at state level - not sure if this changes anything?

Edited by FrogIsAFrogIsAFrog, 17 November 2012 - 09:43 AM.

#20 Fr0g

Posted 17 November 2012 - 09:49 AM

They spend all year teaching them that it's a team sport and not a competition, it would seem weird and not in the spirit of things to then leave out such a small number of kids.

Sorry if I've mislead, but in this instance it is not a teamsport, it is individuals competing within a club.

#21 JRA

Posted 17 November 2012 - 09:52 AM

oh, that is different

#22 Holidayromp

Posted 17 November 2012 - 09:59 AM

The example I gave was for an Athletics Club.  Whilst it was individual all the points created from winning and participation went to the Club as a whole which ranked it.  I won the award for club champion because I attend every meet and due to me doing really well the Club accumulated alot of points and ranked well.  I did not expect an award I just did what I did without expectation.

I was shocked when my name was read out for Club Champion.  Out of all my awards,medals and cups that was the one I loved the best.  I still remember it.  

I played soccer and cricket there wasn't 'participation and encouragement awards there' you went to be part of a team and play well for the team you didn't expect to get something for it except for the glow of being part of a team.  If you go along with the expectation that you are going to get something out of it in the end then it is not the sport for you and don't bother going.  These types are the ones that actually bring a team down.

#23 FeralLIfeHacker

Posted 17 November 2012 - 10:19 AM

This is my take on it. You play for a team for the participation, friends, the spirit of it all, you play an individual sport to better yourself, beast your own personal best. If you excel in either you deserve some recognition of that, everyone else should enjoy playing and not expect anything.

#24 LynnyP

Posted 17 November 2012 - 01:48 PM

The team sports my daughter has participated in have participation markers of some kind.  Netta/netball has a plaque where each completed playing year earns you a shield to be put on the plaque, soccer had the same.  Tennis had a certificate for playing.  Tennis also had most points scored trophies per age group.  Netta and soccer had nothing for best player.  Teeball so far has a certificate each week for trying hardest and paying attention at training.  I don't know if they have anything at the end of the year.  The school sports day and swimming day has first, second, third for each race and a participation ribbon for each child for competing.

#25 canuckmel

Posted 17 November 2012 - 02:12 PM

I see both sides of it.

I am not a big fan of tokenism either and children are not stupid, by about age 9 at the latest, they are well aware of what awards are the 'real' ones and what awards are the 'token' awards. I'm fine with the big awards being the big awards, but also have no problem with a certificate thanking every child for their participation and contribution to the team because the 'star' players wouldn't have a team if the rest of them didn't show up. DS1 who is almost 14 is one of 3 state level players on his rec team and yes, they clean up the awards nights, but I always remind him that if not for the rest of the team showing up, he wouldn't be able to play because it takes at least 11 boys to make a soccer team.

So while I hate tokenism, I think if you are going to give awards as a thank you for participating, then everyone should be included if they were all reasonably committed to the team and played for the whole season. Otherwise it often sends the message of 'favoritism' to 'certain families' which can drive people away and is something we saw at an old soccer club of ours.

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