(Note to coaches: this can easily be adapted for other sports too - just copy and paste it into a document and alter it to meet your needs. When a goal is scored, everyone sees it, and the scorer gets lots of praise. Try to give Defense and Team Play as much Glory as the scorers get. The most effective way to praise and reward players is to make a BIG DEAL out of it so BOTH the other players and the parents see it. Give the patches in a Ceremony on the field or immediately after practices or games in front of the parents and players and talk about what each player did to earn a patch. The patches such as the "D" patch help make a statement about the importance of Defense. This will help educate the players and parents that Defense is just as important as scoring goals. One reason the Team Goal Celebration idea is good is because it is on the field and EVERYONE on the team participates in the celebration. It makes the point that scoring a goal is a Team Effort, and I strongly encourage it.)
We hope that this soccer season provides your child with a basic knowledge and understanding of the game. It is SoccerHelp's coaching philosophy to encourage and motivate players to have fun, to do their best, and to help build confidence and self-esteem during practice and in the games. Each individual player will learn about teamwork, bravery, leadership, following instructions, and will be encouraged to do their best to the best of their abilities. Many players come out of their quiet shell and we hope timid players will become braver while on the field of play. We also hope to give each player the opportunity to develop into a true leader. All of these qualities are the necessary building blocks or tools that can help them be successful in life. Below is our Patch Award System Key that describes each patch and how to earn them throughout the season. (NOTE to Coaches: Discuss here how the patches will be displayed. Can they be ironed on the player's jerseys? On a backpack or sports bag? On a practice jersey, team spirit shirt, T-shirt or jacket? A hole punched in them so they can be put on a key chain? Ironed on a banner or pennant? Ironed on Streamers or Ribbons that can be attached to a backpack? Or Just collected?)
RED STAR = AKA "Braveheart" The player shows bravery by battling for the ball and not backing down from opponents. There is no player too big or too tall that you are afraid of taking the ball away from. This player is very brave, an inspiration to teammates and leads by example. If this player collides with an opponent or a teammate, they gets right back up and battle for the ball. This player never gives up. It will be exciting if all of our players are brave. This player could be at any position. Players have different abilities, but every player can be a "Braveheart".
GOLD STAR = AKA "The General" The player showed great leadership skills on and off the field around the other players at practice or during the game. The player takes the initiative to lead or rally the team to victory. This player gets fired up and gets the rest of the team on the same page. This player sets a good example for other players by listening to the Coach and following directions at practice and during games.
BLUE STAR = AKA "True Blue" Given to a player who will do anything for the team. This player comes to practice and games, hustles, has a great attitude and always gives 100%. This player believes in the Coaches and in the team. This player is respectful, listens to the Coaches, is nice to teammates, is a role model for other players and behaves in the way the Coach wishes all players behaved.
GREEN STAR = AKA "Special Effort Patch" Given to a player who has a special or spectacular effort during a practice or game that doesn't fall into another category for earning a patch, or in the Coach's discretion.
The "A" Patch = AKA "Team Attacking and Scoring Patch" Given to players who do something that creates the opportunity to score a goal, assists with scoring a goal, and to the player who actually scores the goal. Scoring a goal is a team effort and this patch recognizes that and rewards the players who contribute to a goal being scored. More than one player can earn this patch when a goal is scored. Sometimes the key pass isn't the last pass before the goal, so it will be given to the players who the coach thinks helped the goal occur. This patch will be given for passes OR for runs that create scoring opportunities and lead to goals. This could be for a through pass, for a breakaway run, for an assist, for pulling a defender out of position, for taking a shot that the opposing Goalkeeper blocks and we then score on a rebound, or for stealing the ball or winning the ball that results in a goal, even if the goal wasn't immediately scored, AND the player who actually scores will also always get this patch. So, it is possible that 3 or 4 players will get this patch when a goal is scored. This patch makes the point that effort is important, but that we need to "finish" and actually score goals, so this patch will only be awarded when a goal is scored. However, the better the effort, the more likely it is that a goal will be scored, and great effort can earn a Green Star patch even if a goal isn't scored. This patch will encourage teamwork and discourage selfish play. We can only win through teamwork. This patch will cause players to think about and notice the types of actions that result in goals, and to learn that more players are involved in a goal than just the player who actually scored the goal. Sometimes actually scoring the goal is the easy part, and the opportunity to score the goal was created by another player, who could even be a defender who steals the ball, or sends a long pass, or even by the Goalkeeper who makes a great punt or a great goal kick that leads to a goal. When a goal is scored the ENTIRE Team (including the Goalie and subs) will come together in the Center Circle or near the sideline for a Team Goal Celebration where they stand in a circle and put their arms on each other's shoulders and do a Team Cheer or a Chant. This Team Goal Celebration will allow EVERY member of the team to celebrate and share the spotlight for scoring the goal. This is what the Brazilian National Team does after scoring a goal. NOTE TO THE COACH: Read this but delete it from this Hand Out. This patch will cause Coaches, Players and Parents to think about how goals are scored, and that will cause everyone to think about "Team Attacking", and it will result in better attacking by your team. It is much more difficult to teach "Team Attacking" than it is to teach "Team Defending". The reason is that great Attacking requires creativity and "Team Attacking" requires creativity and anticipation by several players, not just one. This is the best approach I know of for getting players to think about and strive for "Team Attacking". "Team Attacking" is especially hard if you have some unathletic or unmotivated players who are "weak links". If you have better ideas, please let me know. David at SoccerHelp
The "D" Patch = AKA "Big D for Defense Patch" Any player can earn this patch, at any position. The defenders and Goalkeeper will usually earn the most of these, but Forwards and Midfielders should also be thinking about Defense when we lose the ball or when we don't have the ball, so Forwards and Midfielders will also be encouraged to earn this patch. When we don't have the ball, we want good defense. Remember that "Good Defense" doesn't mean just chasing the ball. Players MUST play their positions and follow the Coach's instructions in order to win this patch. Good Defense requires good teamwork.
LIGHTNING BOLT = AKA "The Two-Way Player Patch" Given when a player does as the Coach asks them to do on both ends of the field. This player is aggressive on offense and helps on defense too, as instructed by the Coach. The player understands they must work hard on defense and protecting the goal as well as helping on offense, and that when we lose the ball on our half of the field, that we immediately switch to Defense. Half of the lightning bolt is for defense and the other half is for offense. Remember that if this player is a Forward or Midfielder, they will not go as far back to defend as the defenders, and Defenders sometimes might not Push Up when we attack, so the players who earn this will be those who hustle and follow the coach's directions for playing on offense and on defense. Sometimes, a great defense is the best offense. This will be awarded based on how the Coach thinks players have contributed to the overall game plan for both offense and defense.