Award children with certificates when your sports season is over to commemorate the highs of the season and give them something to look forward to. Earning an award typically builds self-confidence in children and makes them want to work harder and do better. There are various ways to recognise the children as a team and as individuals without leaving anyone out.
Give a certificate to one or two players after each game in recognising a great play, outstanding achievement or other contributions. Keep track of who receives the game award so that each child ends up with at least one during the season, especially for younger children.
For example, if a child on your basketball team doesn't play much but steals the ball from the opposing team or makes a shot, give it to that child for that game. If another player scores more than usual or makes the winning basket, award that player.
Choose something that the team did well together, or that each athlete did well. Award each of the kids with a certificate of recognition to commemorate the season. For example, if the team worked hard, honour each player with a "hustle" award. You could also give out a "dedicated" award for the kids who showed up to every practice and game.
Recognise outstanding individual achievements as well. For example, awards could include the most valuable player, the most improved offensive player, the most improved defensive player, the "sixth man" award (or award for the most valuable "bench" player), and the offensive and defensive player of the year.
Ask each kid to vote on a couple of subjects toward the end of the season to give kids awards from their peers. For example, the team could vote on the most inspirational player, or the player who had the most team spirit. Ask the kids to consider which player kept them pumped up for each game and helped them get through tough practices. Kids can also vote on whom they felt the team leader or most helpful teammate was throughout the season.
Download pre-made certificates from the Internet or create your own if you have the software and knowledge to do so. If neither of those scenarios work, consider asking a friend or commissioning someone else to design one-of-a-kind certificates for you.
Each certificate could include a graphic or image that's kid-friendly and pertains to the sport they played. For example, a soccer award might have a soccer ball going into a net or a baseball award might include a baseball diamond, a mitt, or a bat and baseball.
Awards decided on by the team could include a team picture that's faded into the background. A "hustle" award, or something similar, that's given to each player could include a picture of that child during a game.
Each certificate should include the team name, sport, child's name, position (if applicable), date and what the award is for. It should be signed by all of the coaches.