How to Motivate Youth Football Players – Gold Star Motivation

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How to Motivate Youth Football Players using the Gold Star Motivation system is pretty easy. It costs about $200 per season for the helmet award motivational stickers. The benefits toward getting your youth football players to do some of the harder fundamentals is worth every penny. When we collect money for team t-shirts we usually have this award sticker cost budgeted into the fee.

In 2006, I picked up a rookie youth football tackle team thrown together by the league with mostly last minute registrations.  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 youth football teams we played.  I definitely would need to figure out How to Motivate Youth Football Players.

motivating youth football players with stickers

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. Would this be my answer How to Motivate Youth Football Players?

How to Motivate Youth Football Players – Gold Star Motivation

how to motivate youth football players with award stickers

As 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 on How to Motivate Youth Football Players.

Red Star Motivation Award
110% helmet award sticker
football motivation award
Skull helmet award sticker to motivate pee wee players
3d star for MVP award
motivate hammer sticker
dead bug award sticker motivation
White Skull Award Motivation
  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. This is How to Motivate Youth Football Players.

Let me know what you do to motivate your youth football 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!

helmet award motivation stickers

Update 2/9/21 – How to Motivate Youth Football Players – Gold Star Motivation

I still give out a ton of stickers. I use Healy Stickers now. As I got older I went to just one sticker because it is easier to manage but having multiple stickers for different things does work better.

Please leave me a comment below or contact me anytime. I love talking youth football, how to motivate youth football players, plays, and especially in old football formations like the Yale Single Wing or Beast Offense.

Remember to Play for Fun and Winning is Funner!
Coach Parker
Fort Worth, Texas / Keller / N Fort Worth

PS: Stay Safe & Be Nice.

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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.


    1. 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

      Coach Parker

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