Celebrate End of the Season with Award Certificates for Every Player!

Free Sports Award Certificates

I remember how nervous my daughter was when she moved up from the second to the first team at club soccer. She had worked hard all year to reach this goal, training every day between town soccer, club soccer, and a private coach.

After tryouts, her club played one final soccer tournament and the coach of the first team invited all the girls who were moving up to play on their team. Now, I want to note that my daughter and her second team friends knew the first team girls. The two teams had years of combined practices either when one coach could not make a practice or just for team building. There were strong bonds already, and the first team girls were uniformly welcoming.

Still, my daughter was worried about making a mistake in front of her new teammates. This tournament was hosted by her club soccer organization and was meant to bring all the different locations of the club together. In other words, no pressure. This was purely for fun!

At the end of the tournament, her new team gathered under a shady tree. The parent team manager was a kind man who always made an effort to make the new girls feel welcome. He and his daughter had prepared certificates for each player which was presented with a short, funny story and something from the drug store that best exemplified the award. For example, the Most Inclusive Player received a Kind bar.

My daughter was touched to be included in this informal ceremony. Even though, her new team didn’t know her that well, they created an award for her and told a story that made her feel like a valued part of the team.

To make it easy for parent volunteer coaches, we have free downloadable and editable award certificates on our website.

Free Sports Award Certificates

These 35 award certificates are for:

  • Most Positive Player
  • Best Free Kick
  • Best Assist
  • Best Goal
  • Best Penalty Kick
  • Best Throw In
  • Best Save
  • Best Passer
  • Best Attitude
  • Hardest Working
  • Most Dedicated
  • Best Award for Defending
  • Best Cheerleader
  • Most Responsible
  • Most Inclusive
  • Most Motivating
  • Fashionista
  • Never Gives Up
  • Coolest Cleats
  • Fastest Runner and Highest Jumper
  • Most Passionate
  • Most Improved
  • Most Knowledgeable About the Sport
  • Last One Off the Field
  • Always Willing to Help Out
  • Most Supportive
  • Most Focused
  • Performance Under Pressure
  • Risk Taker
  • Not Afraid to Try
  • Fun Award
  • Clutch Award
  • Award for _____________

We hope, as the spring season winds down, this will help coaches end the season on a high note.

 

Mia Wenjen blogs on parenting, education, and diverse children’s books at PragmaticMom. For more information about HOW TO COACH GIRLS, please visit our website. It is available for purchase at Audrey Press.

Alison Foley is the head coach for women’s soccer at Boston College. In addition to co-authoring HOW TO COACH GIRLS, she created a winter training class, Soccer on the Mat, that combines Brazilian feet skills with yoga.

 

 

 

Free Downloadable Soccer Player Evaluation Form for Coaches

How To Coach Girls FREE Soccer Player Evaluation Form

In HOW TO COACH GIRLS, Alison talks about the need to give positive feedback on a constant and regular basis to her players. She gives different examples of how to recognize the achievement of her players, both on and off the pitch.

As the season winds down, I remember how validating it was for my daughter to get a verbal and written evaluation form. Her soccer coaches used the evaluation to recognize and celebrate her development. From the point of view of Growth Mindset, soccer can be used a real-world example that consistent effort is the reason for new skills like curving a shot into goal, or 1v1 evasive maneuvers. Natural ability, particularly in a skill-focused game like soccer, only goes so far.

To make it easy for parent volunteer coaches to give their players an assessment, we created a free, downloadable form that includes attributes such as:

  • Works hard in practice
  • Leads by example
  • Sportsmanship
  • Team Player
  • Agility
  • Quickness
  • Aggression
  • Willing to learn new skills
  • Endurance
  • Overall Fitness
  • Game Sense

You can get the form here.

How To Coach Girls FREE Soccer Player Evaluation Form

Alison recommends that the written evaluation always be accompanied with a face-to-face private conversation. This can be done by simply doing short meetings in a corner of the soccer field. The idea is to go over the form, celebrating each player’s development, and recognizing where they were at the start of the season to how far they have progressed.

From this place of positive reinforcement, you can gently set with your player,  goals for next season, even if you are not going to be coaching this team again. It is often illuminating just to ask the question to the player, “what do you want to work on for next season?” Girls are often their harshest critics so words of encouragement go a long way.

My daughter’s first evaluation with her coach on the first team was simply centered around his telling her that she’s a good soccer player. For him to believe in her went a long way in making her feel like she belonged on this new, higher level team. It bonded to her to him as her coach in a way that she would put forth her best effort both on the practice field and in a game. For a coach to believe in a player is a gift that will carry past soccer games and into life.

I have a 3-ring binder of my daughter’s evaluations. It includes her report cards, standardized test scores, and sports evaluations. It’s a keepsake that I think she will appreciate when she has children and can look back at how working hard has shaped her life. It’s part of precious memories she will carry forever, including how her soccer coach believed in her and made her a better player.

To examine our print book more closely at Amazon, please click on image of book. Our ebook version with 3 bonus chapters is here.

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Soccer Team Service Project

How To Keep Girls In Sports series with Berkshire Soccer Academy

Once nice way to build team chemistry is to do a service project together. Many players on the team are so overscheduled that they are too busy to do charity work so doing it as part of the season is a nice way to fit it in.

You can let the players decide what they want to do. It can be as simple as wearing pink during one game to raise awareness for breast cancer. Collecting used cleats, gear, and uniforms at the end of the season to donate is another easy way to get kids involved.

If you want to let your team do service work during a practice or even as the practice and want ideas, here are some charities to support:

GuideStarCharityNavigator, and CharityWatch are a few websites that will give you an overview of an organization’s financial health and budget breakdown. GiveWell does in-depth research on programs that it determines have had the most impact on people’s lives and then suggests a handful of charities it deems best at delivering these programs.

We have our own list here:

Sports-Related Nonprofits

p.s. Don’t forget to verify the charity to make sure it is a tax-exempt organization registered with the Internal Revenue Service by reviewing its Form 990.

To examine our print book more closely at Amazon, please click on image of book. Our ebook version with 3 bonus chapters is here.

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Girls, Confidence, and Giving Feedback

Is it surprising that girls and women regularly underestimate their abilities and intelligence? It’s the opposite for boys and men who overestimate theirs.

Katelyn Cooper, a doctoral candidate at Arizona State University, and her team asked 250 undergraduate biology students about their intelligence as compared to their colleagues.

“I would ask students about how their classes were going and I noticed a trend,” Cooper said. “Over and over again, women would tell me that they were afraid that other students thought that they were ‘stupid.’ I never heard this from the men in those same biology classes, so I wanted to study it.”

She found that men are 3.2 times more likely than women to believe they are smarter. On average, a man has a 61% chance of believing he is smarter than his colleagues, while a woman has only a 33% chance.

This confidence disparity by sex is not just true for biology students. Girls (and women) also underestimate their abilities across the board from academics to the workplace to sports. And, also notable, is that boys (and men) are the complete opposite, believing that they are better than they actually are.

Coach Alison Foley with South Shore Select

What does this mean for coaches of girls? The key to coaching girls is to establish a trust relationship with each member on your team. Only when this exists — and this means getting to know the whole person not just the athlete — will that player be able to accept feedback.

Coach Alison Foley recommends finding opportunities to give positive feedback to each player during practice. She says that it doesn’t always have to be skill based. Recognize players who shown empathy on the field. Praise teammates who have contributed off the field by doing service work. Celebrate teammates’ extracurricular achievements in performing arts by supporting their events.

She advises that girls can never be in the unknown. “Girls needs constant positive feedback because if they are not receiving it, they assume that either they are not doing well or that the coach doesn’t like them,” counsels Coach Foley.

Coach Alison Foley and Coach Ainslee Lamb

Field Hockey Coach Ainslee Lamb, who contributed to HOW TO COACH GIRLS, recalls asking her college players what they thought they do well. Even players on the national team were hesitant to acknowledge anything they do well. It’s not false modesty; it’s this same phenomenon that girls and women truly underestimate their own abilities.

It’s the small things that matter. Taking the time to connect with each player on an individual level will keep her in the game. She might not have the best shot. She might not be the fastest on the field. But if coach take the time to compliment a cool pair of cleats or thank her for doing something thoughtful or recognize her improvement, she’ll keep coming back. And one day, she might be even be the best on the team.

Alison Foley Mia Wenjen How to Coach Girls

Did you know that 70% of all kids quit organized sports by the age of 13, with girls quitting at 6x the rate of boys? 

Alison Foley, Boston College’s Women’s Head Soccer Coach, and Mia Wenjen, parenting blogger at PragmaticMom.com, help coaches — both parent volunteer and professional — crack the code of how to keep girls in sports. 

Twenty-two chapters cover major issues, including how to pick captains, the importance of growth mindset, issues around body image and puberty, as well as the challenges of coaching your own daughter. This is a hands-on manual to help coaches keep girls in sports!How To Coach Girls by Mia Wenjen and Alison Foley

To examine our print book more closely at Amazon, please click on image of book. Our ebook version with 3 bonus chapters is here.

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Are 70% of Kids Quitting Organized Sports by age 13?

Did you know that 70% of all kids quit organized sports by the age of 13, with girls quitting at 6x the rate of boys?

Alison Foley, Boston College’s Women’s Head Soccer Coach, and Mia Wenjen, parenting blogger at PragmaticMom.com, help coaches — both parent volunteer and professional — were motivated to write a book about coaching girls because Mia had always turned to Alison for advice when her daughters experienced “drama” on their soccer teams.

Alison’s advice, gained from coaching young women professionally for more than two decades, also comes from the point of view of a mother. She is a mother of a young female athlete who plays soccer at a high level.

Mia’s husband, a volunteer parent coach for their two daughters and son, helped to make a list of all the topics they faced, from picking captains, the importance of growth mindset, issues around body image and puberty, as well as the challenges of coaching your own daughter.

Alison and Mia also enlisted the help of fifteen professional coaches from a range of sports, including former Olympian athletes, to share their advice on what girls need from a coach to allow them to flourish in sports, and most importantly, have fun.

Mia and Alison will be contributing to AYSO weekly to share advice to help coaches keep girls in sports. They hope that readers will add to this conversation with questions about topics they would like advice on. Please email pragmaticmomblog@gmail.com. We look forward to working together to keep girls in sports.

Mia Wenjen blogs on parenting, education, and diverse children’s books at PragmaticMom. For more information about HOW TO COACH GIRLS, please visit our website. It is available for purchase at Audrey Press.

Alison Foley is the head coach for women’s soccer at Boston College. In addition to co-authoring HOW TO COACH GIRLS, she created a winter training class, Soccer on the Mat, that combines Brazilian feet skills with yoga.

To examine our print book more closely at Amazon, please click on image of book. Our ebook version with 3 bonus chapters is here.

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Alison Foley on Developing Team Grit 

At the beginning of a season, why not discuss goals with your team?

Alison Foley on developing team grit and overcoming adversity. Alison is presenting for Arlington Soccer Club.

More How To Coach Girls videos here.

To examine our print book more closely at Amazon, please click on image of book. Our ebook version with 3 bonus chapters is here.

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Three bonus chapters in new eBook of How To Coach Girls!

New How To Coach Girls ebook with 3 bonus chapters! Purchase it here.

There are 3 bonus chapters in eBook of How To Coach Girls:

  • When Girls Don’t Want to Be at Practice
  • Integrating Injured Players
  • Making Connections Team Building Games

Three bonus chapters in new eBook of How To Coach Girls!

When Girls Don’t Want to be at Practice

We heard from parent volunteer coaches who coach younger girls’ teams. What do you do when a parent has signed up their daughter to try a sport but she doesn’t want to be there? Perhaps she is not participating or distracting others. How do you get these players engaged?

Integrating Injured Players

Whether it’s a long term injury or a short term one, how do you keep injured players from feeling like they are part of the team when they can’t do the practice?

Making Connections

We have found that girls stay in sports when they have meaningful social connections with teammates and coaches. Sports is a great way to meet new people and coaches can facilitate connections between girls through quick, fun, and easy icebreakers and games that are easy to integrate into a practice. Special thanks to Sidnie Kulik, Alison’s daughter, for the ice breaker games and topics in this chapter!

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Alison Foley featured on Fox Sports

Alison Foley featured on Fox Sports

Young athletes barely out of elementary school committing to college teams

By: Jim Morelli

Soccer players about to enter middle school might suddenly find themselves the objects of surprising attention — from college coaches.

“In women’s soccer right now in Division One, there are 333 teams,” said Alison Foley, former coach of the Boston College women’s soccer team. “Everybody’s out there. All the college coaches are out there every weekend… recruiting.”

Foley, who coached the Eagles for more than 20 years, says new NCAA recruiting rules for Division 1 and 2 schools restricting back-and-forth communication between players and collegiate coaches until after 10th grade will probably curb some of the middle school recruiting. But she doesn’t see it going away.

“In general do I think it’s a good practice? I don’t,” Foley said. “I just think there are so many more things to think about that you don’t know to think about or consider such a big decision in 7th and 8th grade.”

But Foley, who now works with a Boston-area club soccer team, says recruiting young adolescents sometimes makes sense. She recently found an 8th grader who was a good fit for Boston College and that player verbally committed to that school.

COMMITTING TOO SOON? 

Unfortunately, some verbal commitments made by young student-athletes come with a dangerous assumption, says Kim Penney, owner of One on One College Consulting of Wakefield, Massachusetts “It does not mean that the student-athlete is accepted to the school. It is actually just a handshake.”

Penney warns that if there’s a coaching change at the college or if the student’s grades aren’t good enough for the admissions office, that verbal commitment might not mean much in the end. “To have that sport… the ball so to speak… move that process.. in my opinion is the biggest mistake ever,” she said.

She suggests first finding a school that is an academic and social fit — so that if the sport part of it doesn’t work out, the student won’t be somewhere they don’t want to be.

And keep in mind, Penney said, once you announce a verbal commitment to a school — other coaches will usually respect that — which could prematurely cut off other options. “You are off the market… essentially,” Penney said.

That’s why Penney advises not committing to college until junior year of high school. And to maximize your athletic options — crack the books. “Do the very, very best you can academically,” she said. “The better you do academically the more offers you will have athletically.”

THE ROLE OF COSTLY CLUB TEAMS 

Along with good grades, one other thing is becoming increasingly important for athletic recruitment: playing on a club team. “I don’t remember the last time… it was probably 20 years ago that I got a player who only played high school and wasn’t involved in a club,” said Foley.

For some players, club teams are cost prohibitive. “You’re looking at, per season, usually around three thousand dollars,” Foley said. But that’s just the beginning of the expenses. Club team games often involve travel with sometimes overnight accommodations required. And then there are the tournaments.

“So there are normally three or four tournaments a year,” Foley said. “One may be local. The others might be in Florida, which is very common. Or California.”

Some parents feel the money is well spent. Often attending those tournaments, as well as events known as ‘showcases,’ are collegiate coaches looking for future talent.

Foley helped organize one such event earlier this month at Brandeis University. Some fifty college soccer coaches evaluated more than two hundred girls in grades 7-10.

Fifteen-year-old Grazzie Bhatia and her Mom, Michelle, came to the event all the way from Singapore.

“This is a great opportunity to meet some coaches and some other players and get a feel for what it might be to be a college player,” said Michelle Bhatia.

Tina Datta and daughter Sarah also traveled from Singapore. “This gives a wide opportunity for a multitude of coaches to take a look at your child, Datta said. “We’ve been talking to a number of Division 3 schools that have expressed a lot of interest in Sarah.”

Ryan O’Neill of West Bridgewater watched as his daughter Shea, an 8th grader, played a scrimmage with mostly older girls. “It could pay off,” he said — but added that it’s ultimately up to her. “If she wants to throw the towel in, call it a career at the high school level or advance to the collegiate level. You know it’s a big commitment.”

That’s the part about playing college sports some overlook, said Kim Penney, who played basketball at Tufts University, a Division 3 school. “If you can play a sport in college it’s wonderful,” she said. “You have an instant family… you have camaraderie… you have friends you go through a lot with.”

But, she adds, you also may have restrictions on your life if you’re playing on an athletic scholarship for a Division 1 or 2 school (Division 3 schools do not grant athletic scholarships). Certain majors are off limits because team travel will interfere with classes, she said. You might have to attend summer school for the same reason. And sleeping-in might not be an option if there are early morning practices.

One reason Penney chose to play at Tufts was because she wanted the option to study abroad — which would not have been possible playing for a Division 1 or 2 school.

She said always remember… you are in control of your destiny.

“Even if you’re great… you can play at the highest level… do you want that?” Penney said. “Sports is wonderful. But what else do you want? “

View the footage here.

Alison Foley featured on Fox Sports

To examine our print book more closely at Amazon, please click on image of book. Our ebook version with 3 bonus chapters is here.

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.