Reply To: Have you used token rewards?

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Thinking back to coaching tennis, I am unsure as to whether I used token rewards directly. Some of the games in tennis I played with kids (7-11 years old) involved the others being in a “jail” due to being unsuccessful at something, and one of them having to complete a particular task (e.g. hit 3 out of 3 balls over the net) to rescue the others. The joy kids had when rescuing their peers was something much more powerful than any reward I have seen. It is something intangible, yet real. Meaningless to life, yet meaningful to them.

On the other hand, before I knew what extrinsic and intrinsic rewards were, I thought it was a good idea to reward the winners of a game with a chocolate bar (yes I know, not the best diet for tennis, but kids looooove this). After doing this a few times, I noticed that the kids would always ask “If I do this, do I get a chocolate bar?” The rewards seemed to shift their intrinsic motivation to extrinsic, and this is not a good thing for the wll-being of the kids. Use rewards wisely…