Gold Star Motivation

In 2006, I picked up my current youth football tackle team.  The team was mostly made up of small rookie 8 and 9 year old players, and only two players on the roster played tackle football before the 2006 season.  A few played flag football in the past.    I knew based on the roster I would have to out coach most the of teams we played.  After losing our first few games, I decided to simplify the offense.  I also decided to use a motivational tool idea I got from watching a Willie Nelson 60 Minutes’ interview about how much he loved his grandmother putting Gold Stars on his completed piano lessons.  Even after 50 years, The Hall of Fame Country star said he still cherishes the Gold Stars he received as a youth. 

Football Demon DecalAs a youth football player, our coaches never used Helmet Reward Decals, so I was not open to using them, until last year when I saw Willie Nelson’s eyes tear talking about his Gold Stars.  That night, after watching the WIllie Nelson interview, I Googled Helmet Reward Decals and found the SportStar website.   I ordered about 100 reward stickers from SportStar and implemented the reward program when I received the stickers three days later. 

Our youth football players went wild over the stickers.  Many of the players collected Pokemon Cards and the reward stickers became our Pokemon Man Cards and my best motivational tool to date.  My reward program uses 9 different helmet reward stickers.   By using several stickers, our players try to collect them all and compete over who has the most of each sticker and total stickers.  The RIP Skull sticker above is for a Win.  Below are the other Helmet Reward Decals in our reward program.

Game Sticker

110% practice rewardFootball TDsBlocking SkullMVP Reward StickerHammer Great BlockGreat Tackle - Dead BugSpecial Team Reward

  1. The Red Star sticker is for showing up on time to the game and playing in the game.
  2.  I use the 110% sticker for the best player at each practice.
  3.  I use the football stickers for Touchdowns.
  4. The Black Skull sticker is for great plays like football recoveries.
  5. The 3D star is for the MVP player of the game.
  6. The Hammer is for great blocks
  7. The Dead Bug reward is for great tackles behind the LOS
  8. The White Skull with Patch is for great plays on Special Teams

Yes, it is a lot of work calculating the rewards, but the motivational rewards program has been a huge success for our team.  The kids love the stickers and the helmets look great after the second or third game.  The base color of our helmets are white, so all the reward stickers really spice up our look.  Plus, it is a psychological advantage when the other team sees all of these stickers on our players helmets. 

Last season, the stickers cost me about $30 a game, but I handed out a ton of stickers to offensive linemen.  In our program last year, every offensive linemen received 5 football stickers for each offensive TD.  We scored a ton of TDs, so I was handing out a ton of stickers to the o-line.  This year they will only receive one sticker for a TD.  The stickers are $6 a pack, so you should be able to keep the cost to about $10 a game.  I guarantee the $10 is well worth it. 

Let me know what you do to motivate your team.  I would love to hear from you.  Click on the Comment / Reply link and let me know your motivational tools.

Have a great season and remember to Play for Fun and Winning is Funner!

5 Comments

Filed under Youth Coaching

5 responses to “Gold Star Motivation

  1. jL6

    Thanks for this post! I am a new youth football coach looking for motivation ideas!

  2. Sam Womble

    Looking for drills and motivational techniques to help a couple of my players overcome their fear of hitting larger players

  3. John

    This is my second year coaching defense for our third and fourth graders. I’ve never played organized football. What’s the best way to organize my players during the game so they know who’s going in and where their supposed do be? Is there a system you can recommend to minimize the confusion during the transition from offense to defense? Thanks.

  4. we’re looking for great ways our kids can earn their actual team logo decals on side of helmets….any suggestions?

    we want them to be able to work for it, and have a sense of pride when they finally receive it.

    thx!

    • Here are some ideas.

      Earn two if they reach 200% fundraising goal
      Perfect attendance practice and not tardiness until first game
      100 push and set up club
      learn all offensive plays and or defensive plays Test them on written test
      best tackler or blocker per practice or Practice player of the day
      show up early to practice everyday at least 15 minutes for warm-ups

      Thanks
      Coach Parker

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