When I started coaching I was looking for a way to incentivize my players to come to practice. I was coaching a recreational team and we only had 4 practices before our first game. I realized that it would make a huge difference if I could get all of my players to come to those 4 practices. I was looking for something inexpensive and tried a lot of different things. Finally I found the small one-inch iron-on soccer patches. I paid 55 cents each for them 15 years ago. From the start they really worked. Below are ideas for how to use them as incentives, rewards and for positive reinforcement:
1. Develop a Plan. Think through what you want to encourage and use the patches to incentivize and reward your players. The iron-on patches are used for soccer, baseball, basketball, martial arts, swimming, skating, band, volleyball and other sports. They are also used by schools, churches and clubs.
2. Give them in a Ceremony in Front of the Team and Parents. For the best results, keep in mind the benefits of public praise, competition and group pressure. Everyone loves to be praised in front of a group and it is natural for kids to want to earn something that their teammates have earned. That is why it works best to give the patches out after the game in a ceremony in front of all the players and parents and be sure to PRAISE the players and tell them why they EARNED the patches. This will make them proud and will let the other players know the type of behavior that will EARN a patch.
3. Positive Reinforcement. A positive reinforcement approach gets better results than a negative approach and is a lot more fun for everyone.
4. Visible Symbols. The soccer patches really work to incentivize players and for positive reinforcement. They are a visible symbol.
The Star Patches and Soccer Patches Also Incentivize Other Players Who See the Patches and Want to Earn Them. The patches are an incentive for the behavior you want and when you give a player a patch it is positive reinforcement and a visible symbol that the player has done a good thing and was rewarded. Other players will know how the patches were earned and will want to please the coach and earn patches.