There are so many ways that managers can say good job and place value on effort, achievement, and accomplishment without counting wins and losses.
Every Little League® regular season, children with a broad range of skills, energy, and attention spans fill out team rosters throughout the world. Some distinguish themselves through their physical performance on the field, while others experience Little League and contribute in ways that are less obvious, but equally important.
Dr. Darrell Burnett, Ph.D., is a sports psychologist, father of three, former Little League Coach, and was long-time member of the Little League International Board of Directors. “Being a successful manager or coach is not necessarily reflected in the win-loss column of your team,” said Dr. Burnett. “The ultimate measure is whether your players end up the season seeing themselves as winners regardless of their place in the standings.”
In Dr. Burnett’s The Art of Being a Successful Youth League Manager-Coach, he identifies 86 ways to say “Very Good!” To appreciate the Little League experience and applaud the efforts of the players, team volunteers, and parents, be sure to celebrate the enjoyment of the season and the importance of team-centric success.
Here are seven suggestions on how managers and coaches can highlight the team camaraderie, and commemorate the fun and special moments from the regular season.
- Host a team party, with all players and their families.
- Organize a fun day at your playing facility that features a whiffle ball game between players and parents.
- Arrange a team outing to a local professional baseball game, theme or amusement park, movie theater, beach, or picnic area, etc. If there’s a message board, see if you can get your team picture or congratulatory message for your team on the board.
- Take a team picture, and give each player a copy and have the whole team sign it.
- Have the team autograph a baseball or softball for each player and coach to keep.
- Work with other parents to create a photo album for each player that can be distributed to the families on as a printed photo album.
- Collect donations or mementos from the players’ families to place in goodie bags that are stuffed with simple baseball or softball-related items of your choice or that reflect special moments from your season.
Remember, baseball and softball are team games, which feature individual contributions of all kinds. Little League emphasizes that it is just a game, and is supposed to be fun for everyone. This is why it so important for managers and coaches to make sure that the whole team ends the season brimming with as much enthusiasm as the first day of practice and that an end-of-season gift celebrates the entire team and not individual performance.