We know that most softball players are in it for the love of the game. The thrill of a great hit. The whoosh of a blinding pitch. The thrill of stolen bases and sliding into home. Winning is just the icing on the cake. After all, “It isn’t whether you win or lose; it’s how you play the game,” right?
Well, just like a cake can be ruined by bad icing, the fun of a tournament can be dampened by less-than-stellar awards. We’ve all seen it happen. A cheap trophy or tired medal is okay for the peewee league, but the older the athletes the better the prize needs to be.
Here’s our list of what NOT to do:
- DON’T go to the dollar store. Cheapness isn’t a win.
- DON’T wait until the last minute.
- DON’T give them something you wouldn’t like or use.
- DON’T give the same things to third place and first place.
- DON’T do the same thing every year.
Instead, try these great ideas:
- DO make it personal
- DO give out winner’s t-shirts or hats that can’t be purchased anywhere else
- DO give out trophies that look classy
- DO include something for each individual player
- DO remember to honor the coach
- DO offer participation prizes
Consider adding flowers for the team and really try to think of a dramatic description of the elements of each game that brought the winning team to first place. (Softball Roses can be especially crowd-pleasing!) Do a special presentation of the award. See if you can get past winners to come and present. Or, find another high profile member of your organization to present the awards.
Taking pictures while handing out awards is also a great way to memorialize the moment and make winning special for your standout athletes. Photos from a professional photographer are an award all on their own.
Also, take into consideration how you award the people who didn’t win. While it makes sense for softball awards to be tiered, with the biggest winners winning the most, it also makes sense to award those that don’t make it as far in the tournament but still work hard. Awarding individuals for best runs or most on-base hits is a great way to motivate teams that may not perform as well overall but are still giving it their best.
What are your favorite softball awards?
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