Kids5: Supporters’ awards

Kids 5. Supporter Awards.


The kids will get sick of your voice. Who can blame them? You think you don’t but you have your favourites. And in that become predictable, less fresh. When that happens, the learning slows down.

I would always sniff around just after the game, to get a few $5 notes from some senior players, or supporters, or parents, asking them which player they think it should go to, and why. I’d also make it clear it wasn’t for the best players, but the ones who deserved a reward.

I would always put in one or two myself. For kids who kicked to the fumbler rather than had a shot, because it was the team thing to do. The fumbler who used his voice. The person who ran for no reward. If there was no-one close to grab some coin off as we entered the rooms, or I had no time, no worries, I’d supply them all.

Whatever. I would have two or three or four Anonymous Supporter Awards. Every time I gave them out, every time, I would say the same thing, “Always know people are out there, even if you can’t hear them, watching you, barracking for you, wishing you on. Always!” $5 pissy dollars. The sheer acknowledgement of it, to an awkward young kid, means the world.

It also lets them know people are watching them and care, even if, at times, few do.


  1. Mathilde de Hauteclocque says

    These episodes are really strumming good things Matt.
    They seem to be as much about just being with young people, acknowledging them, hanging with them – even parenting them – as they are about coaching.

    My Cygnet played footy from 5 yrs old, when the club Cyggie the Swan toy would he handed out to a player each week to take home and mind. I remember the weeks we had him, we sewed his neck back on a bit more tightly, gave him a good machine wash. He was much loved.

    I went on to assistant coach the Newtown Swannies Under 8s and 9s and – you are so right – it was often at the end of a cold night’s training or the end of a Saturday game, that a short moment of letting the least ostentatious player know you’d seen their play was the thing that rewarded me most.

  2. Malby Dangles says

    Wow, this is fantastic! Thanks Matty

  3. Love it Matt

    Two moments from my watching and coaching kids career:

    1. Awards night, as well as the B&F and most improved, doing the Coach’s award. Always some scepticism over this award, so we looked at it differently. As a coaching group, we went for who we thought was the poster child for junior footy at our club, who epitomised what junior kid footy was about. Having a run with mates, putting in, staying fit, following instructions. We asked ourselves what if the President of the club came to us and said “show me a kid that sums up this club”. When we awarded this kid the prize, his parents nearly burst with pride. Average player, great kid, made me feel great.
    2. We played three seasons with a klid, in a very good side (2 GFs and one flag), who fair dunkum couldn’t get a kick. Ran from the ball, probably had 3-4 touches for the year. Other kids got sick of him and as we had to give every kid (this is Under 12s) three quarters each, he was on when better game-winning players warned the pine. But one game, god knows how, in a mess of players in the square in the second Q, he toe pokes a goal from a few meters out. Every kid from our team ran to him, from down back as well. We end up winning by 4 points, and could justifiably tell him when he got an award after the game he won us the game.

    Great stuff


  4. kath presdee says

    Great ideas Matt. Matilda I love the idea of the Cyggie for the kids. If I manage the U9s next year we might get a mascot and do the same.

  5. kath presdee says

    Sorry Mathilde, autocorrect mis-spelled your name. Sincere apologies.

  6. Mathilde, what a ripper story! I hope Cyggie wasn’t a smoking swan! Haha. Thank you.

    Sean, two great stories.! Ripper move on the voting. The goodAFL coaches separate their vote giving into three. Defenders, mids and forwards. It’s how champions like Geoff Southbey won B&Fs even though they were defenders. Such a good idea. And, yeah, the awkward kid gets a mention next week.

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